Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Lent meanderings etc.

Photo not mine: torture porn?
I heard snare drums and shouts. I looked out and saw a group of children and teenagers dressed in first century Roman and Jewish clothing re-enacting passion of the Christ through our narrow eskenitas.

This is a yearly tradition that I used to join when I was a child, when were still Roman Catholics. But now that our family has been converted to the Southern Baptist tradition, we now believed that the humiliation and the sufferings that Jesus Christ went through was a one time event that happened tow thousand years ago and was meant to give saving grace to humanity: Christ has done it so that anyone would not have to go through the sacrifice again and again.

Old ladies singing the pasyon the traditional way.
Being a Baptist, there's this negative attitude towards how Filipinos observe lent: the pabasa, prusisyon, penitensya, bisita iglesya etc. I believe,as taught by pastors, that all these activities and traditions were unbiblical and hence are un-Christian. But as the Catholics would argue, the Roman Catholic Church has existed for almost four hundred years without the Bible (as we know it now) and has done well using traditions as its guide, which is really a good argument for their doctrine that tradition is an equal authority along with the Bible on church matters.

I cannot imagine lent without the pabasa and the senakulo. The pabasa is getting rarer now, at least in our neighborhood. I missed the off key and and atonal harmonization singing of the passion of the Christ. Lately, they have been adapting modern tunes though there's nothing wrong with it and it is even encouraged by some to promote the pabasa to the younger generations, I missed the old tunes and the vibrato that goes along with the singing.

Bonsai overload. Why would anyone commit fraud because of bonsai?

I have five bougainvilleas. I starved them until their leaves fell 
off and then watered them with a 1:1 urine-water mixture. Of
 course, the stink permeated inside the house. My daughter 
and wife complained but there's nothing I could do
 about it but to let the stink pass.
Ok. I admit it. I'm starting to have problems with bonsai. It started out as a simple hobby but it got to a point where it is starting to get out of hand and unless I stopped now, I may end up with too many trees for me to handle. Hiring help is out and my wife and daughter are not into the hobby; they just like looking at it.
I accumulated around a hundred bonsai materials and almost every nook and cranny of our lot is filled with them in varying stages of training and development.

What happened?
Materials: bluebells and tugas, waiting for signs of life.

Before, I used to go to CP Garcia in Diliman Quezon City to buy materials. The travel and the effort of carrying trees from Quezon City to Taytay limited my purchases to once a month. But since I discovered online bonsai groups, it was only a matter of time before I got into online buying. The affordability as well as the convenience of door to door delivery plus the freebies given by the sellers made online purchasing irresistible.  

My Root-on-rock bonsais. I did not buy these trees. They were
Red Ficuses that I collected from the adobe walls of
St. Joseph Parish Church in Taytay, Rizal and Ficus Microcarpa
cuttings from the school garden.
Aside from the convenience of online purchasing, I was also able to acquire species that are not available here in Rizal Province. I now have Tugas from Mindanao and Blue Bells from Ilocos Norte. The transaction is simple, just surf the posts and if a photo of a materials catches your fancy, just pm the seller then give your address and the mode of payment, the items will be delivered at your doorstep. 

But lately, there are hobbyist who gave in to buying impulsively: they have made purchases beyond their means to pay. It's the hunter-seller that lost here since many of the purchases were done on credit.

Of course I also understand the seemingly irresistible urge to buy because bonsai materials are not identical. Once a photo catches the attention, the idea of not buying that particular item could keep one awake at night. I too, experienced this. I guess everyone does if an item (whatever it is) catches their fancy. It's just matter of controlling the urge. Anyway, this is classic shopping disorder that I thought only ladies  suffer from but I found that bonsai hobbyist do too.


Keep in mind that these materials were once healthy trees pulled out from their habitat and then sold to the bonsai market.

Well, time to stop. I have enough trees to keep me occupied till old age.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kalyos material

I got this broken computer chair from the school's janitor
for sixty pesos and nailed a circular plyboard
 on it  and it worked well as a turntable for working on
 bonsai materials.

It's frustrating how some of the bonsai materials I have been working on do not seem to grow or develop fast enough. It's been almost three years now since I have started the hobby and yet there's not a tree in my collection that I could say even resemble a tree because most of them are still stumps. 

I know, patience...

My niece Brielle who together with my mother and sister were
vacationing here in Cainta.
I have not been doing much with my hobby except pull the weeds off the trainer pots but since I have collected almost a hundred bonsai materials, this is keeping me busy most weekends. It's good because it keeps my hands off from twiddling with the developing materials that may  end up killing them. 

I went to Katipunan this morning to look at the materials that "Barok", the bonsai hunter, had collected from the wild but I met him on his way home, which obviously meant his materials were already sold. I asked and he smiled and told me that this was so. 

Anyway, I continued on towards the street where he and his hunter friends ply their trade to check some materials hoping that I could find that "perfect" trunk form, which does not exist, of course, because they are all stumps and perfection is really nothing but a subjective blah, blah, blah wishful thinking. 

I got these three kalyos (strabler asper) for a hundred each. This was a bargain considering the hunters dig these up and travel them to Quezon City all the way from the mountains or wherever they hunt for these material which definitely is not in the metro manila area. Of course whether the materials live or die is another thing. That's the risk of buying raw materials instead of buying established materials, but there's the excitement and fun with looking out for the little leaf buds that could mean that the material survived or it  could turn out to be nothing but the trunk releasing its reserved energy and it was really already dead. Yes there are time where materials sprout leaves but not roots. Ficuses especially Ficus benjamina is notorious for this. Anyway, established materials are about five to ten times more expensive.

Kalyos is a good material but looking at these yamadoris, there's not that much to expect from them but I guess with or without the "artistic potentialities", it's really  up to me, the hobbyist ( I dare not call myself an artist) to train and shape this tree to its ideal form.

Well, lets see after a year or two.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another molave

 I potted this molave (vitex cofassus) about two years ago. It's time to "operate" on it.

Checking the root growth.

Reduction area identified.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Molave reduction

 A molave (vutex pavlifora) tree planted in a pot.  I have had this for two years. 

I decided to reduce it now.

It is big leafed vitex but with the reduction it will adapt and produce small leaves (I hope).

I exposed the roots. It looks like a giraffe...

Saturday, September 06, 2014

School Repair

Grade six is housed in the Rodriguez Building which was commissioned in January 1969. The building is 45 years old. 

I'm not an engineer but judging from the size of the concrete columns and the  concrete beams, the structure  was made to last except for the floor trusses and slats which was made of wood.

The wood trusses and slats were heavily infested and consumed by termites that the tremor created by a pupil jumping in the room at end of the building could be felt in the room at the other end of the building.

We were informed that there will repairs (maybe retrofitting) of the building. Most of the teachers would like to see the old building demolished and a new building erected in its place but since the school has no available space, I think the demolition will not happen in the near future. I just can't see where the contractor will put the debris and the construction materials aside from the disruptions it will cause to the whole school.

I am glad that the old building will be rehabilitated but I just have one question: Why are they doing this today in the middle of the school year when classes are in full blast and the work will cause disruptions? I mean, we have two months of summer vacation. 

I'm not complaining just asking. 

Anyway, I'm just a classroom teacher.

Mulawin Materials

I don't know which is the mulawin aso from the mulawin surot.

Friday, September 05, 2014


A potted balete from cuttings.  It has grown wild and too big for me.

 I decided to cut it into two.
 I was checking where to split it.
 Because it has been growing in a large pot, it developed radial roots.
 These are the two materials I got out of the tree. Planted in my crude trainer pots. Aside from the trunk, I also planted the top part for future use.

Sunday Hunting

 One of the things I enjoy is bathing in the rain. I was not ready for it last Sunday. I got off the jeepney when it poured and i did not even try to take cover..  

These are bignay pugo stumps (Antidesma bugnius). Bignay is a fruit bearing tree native to the Philippines and is a popular material for bonsai enthusiasts. 

It is also known as bugnay in Ilocos and isip-isip in Pampanga. It is a robust, easy to grow tree.  It's fruits are used in making wine.

I don't know how this material will turn out or if they will even live. I potted it useing my homemade concrete trainer pots.
This will be a fun journey.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Bonsai Branch Guide

Taken from cutebonsai

Some guidelines on which branch to remove or to keep.

1. Branches (called "yagome") growing from the bottom of the tree.(Yagome is just a sprout first but when it becomes a branch (yagoeda), it takes all the nutrition and can kill the other new growing branches on the tree.)

2. Branches (called "kan-nuki eda" or "boat") growing at the same height on the both sides of the tree and one of them should be removed

3. Branches crossing the trunk.

4. Branches growing close to each other and are short, of the same length and in the same direction. (ruins the space that makes good bonsai visual form.)

5. Branches (called "dou-nuki eda") growing from the middle of the trunk. It blocks good growth condition.

6. Branches (called "tachi eda") growing straight up.

7. Branches (called "sagari eda") growing straight down.

8. Branches (called "gyaku eda") growing in the opposite way of the branch they are growing from.

9. Branches (called "kuruma eda") growing from the same spot in many different directions.

10. Branches (called "kousa eda") crossing other branches.

11. Branches (called "Tochoshi") growing much longer than other branches. (however, this branch is sometimes used to adjust the growth of other branches and/or growth of the trunk for the purpose of making the trunk and other branches thicker or to slow down their growth.)

12. (Not pictured) Branches pointing at the viewer from the front side of the bonsai. (this is because pointing at someone is considered to be rude in Japan. No exception even for bonsai I guess)