Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sanggumay Dreams

BBQ Sangummay 022

Intoxicating perfume.  Vivid colors of purple, violet, and mauve.  Orchids of my childhood often made into a corsage or simply left as is adorning the dark bark of  a [tamarind] tree.  But, wait!  It also comes in white!  Like the Duchess of Alba–an albino sanggumay.

sanggumayputi 008


Side by side, they compliment each other.  These are my botanical treasures.  They look best after a night rain and a foggy morning.  Truly jewels in the heart of the rainforest (or my front yard).


Click here for more information about Sanggumay.

“If you take care of a heart properly, with immeasurable patience, it will blossom like Sanggumay.”  (I just made this up).  Ha!

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Wisdom of the Mangoes






My father has a mango grove and now that I’m dealing one-on-one with our mangoes, I’ve somewhat learned to understand the profound wisdom of the bearing cycle of a mango tree.  Trees can teach us so much, just like these mango trees–it has shown me that in order to have a successful life, a victor will fight through tough sequential elements and immense internal pressure.

When a mango tree starts blossoming, it will blossom profusely and ever so fragrantly.  To walk through a fully-blossomed tree is to encounter countless flying insects—definitely not as romantic as a cherry tree in full bloom.  There, pollination in full action, making sure all flowers are fertilized triggered by nature.

Then, just a few days after, most of the blossoms will fall off, as well as the nasty sap it’ll shower the ground. Just make sure you don’t park your car under the tree for you will regret it.  At this point, there will be just a few fertilized flowers on the stalks.  And, if it rains, there are much more flowers to fall off.

Then budding of fruits occur.  Throughout the development of the fruit, some will continually fall off the branches naturally.  From tiny to large, developed fruits will also fall leaving the blossoming stalk–that once were a profusion of blossom and fruit buds–with now only fruits that could be counted with just one hand.  It’s natural selection at its best.

When quasi-matured green mango fruits fall off, it’s picked off the ground and made into some salad.  The green fruit is the epitome of pressure. As soon as it is peeled, instantaneously, the crunchy flesh would crack open–as if it was a genuine relief to break free from its rind.  For every green mangoes I’ve peeled, they have always cracked with a loud crunch.  From there, I’ve concluded that a green mango holds so much pressure in order to maintain that compact, dense flesh.  By keeping the pressure inside the fruit, when it ripens, it’ll reward you with its succulent, fine and complex texture with a concentration of sweetness and utter explosion of indescribable flavors only your palette and heart will know how to explain, because there are no words in human language to describe its true taste.

The mango tree teaches me to live through the tough elements of life in order to ripen with elegance and profound quality.

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Isabela Express

After 67 days since I left my beloved San Francisco, I’m beginning to make sense of my reality here in the province I grew up in: Isabela, Philippines.  Armed with tools of my everyday conveniences in the States that I’ve brought with me, I wish to document moments, things and traditions I’ve taken for granted when I was young and stupid growing up in this bucolic, agrarian countryside.  As I hang my apron temporarily, giving my “chef” title a break, to smell the roses (or ilang-ilang in this case), I wish to share the world that happiness comes from the smallest and simplest things.  I look forward to my everyday adventures whether it is around my yard or out and about other provinces and big cities.

Welcome to Isabela Express and come explore with me!


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