Moth Orchid of Mindanao

I have had this beautiful Phalaenopsis for more than ten years in my garden in Malaysia without knowing what species it was until today when I posted my query on a internet gardening forum - It turns out to be Phalaenopsis stuartiana that originated from the jungles of Mindanao!
I was given a big branch full of baby plants (or keikis) of this orchid around 1998 and I tied it to a tree and let the plants spread. Even though I fully neglected it being a rather lazy gardener, it rewarded me with spikes of beautiful white blooms every once in a while, sometimes up to a hundred flowers. As the tree on which I first grew it toppled, I transfered the plants and keikis to other trees and gave some away. The photos in this post are of a recently transfered plant growing on my star-apple tree that has just flowered for the first time.

Phal. stuartiana has medium sized flowers and beautifully marbled and barred leaves, the flowers look very much like the more well-known Moon or Moth Orchid - Phal. amabilis - which has bigger flowers and plain green leaves and which is more difficult to grow. It grows quite readily when attached to living tree trunks in the shade and soon forms many plantlets; in favourable conditions it produces many flower spikes on which the open flowers look like dancing white moths.

Maya Pula

I was delighted when I received my February copy of the National Geographic and found 2 favourite subjects featured - the Philippine Eagle and the haiku master Basho. The former prompted me to write this post, but not on the Bird King (Haring Ibon, Haribon) itself but his humbler predecessor, the former-reigning national bird of the Philippines no less, the Maya Pula! I have still not seen my first Philippine Eagle yet, and so don't have my own photo of it- and still remains high on my must-see list. The Black-headed Munia aka Chestnut Munia is called Maya Pula (Red Maya) to distinguish it from the Eurasian Tree Sparrow which is also called Maya in the Philippines, just as it is commonly called Pipit Merah in Malaysia where all sparrows are called Pipit. Scientifically it's Lonchura malacca, though lately many ornithologists classify it as a different species Lonchura atricapilla.

Up close it is a handsome bird though small, it's not so surprising that Filipinos in the past chose it as a national bird, maybe also because these birds also demand and extract a tax from the harvest of the rice farmers who are still rather powerless to keep them off their fields!

My second photo shows a "small" flock in a rice field in Sabah, but huge flocks are quite common and spectacular to watch in flight.

Dancing Girl

This was one of my first attempts at making an ani-gif file way back in 1999. I just took a series of shots of Say dancing and used an ani-gif program to put it all together. I've since lost that software and had not been able to find a better and as easy to use program.
Imagine how this young lady would look today!

Lakbayan Map - Where the dragonfly has landed

My Lakbayan grade is C-!

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Created by Eugene Villar.