Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Joyful times. I LOVE Christmas- especially the carols and the nativity scenes. I'd like to share this beautiful Christmas card my cousin sent me:

Let's not forget the real reason for CHRISTmas.

Wishing you all the best,

Tree Frog

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Going with the flow: 2011

December 11? It was almost a struggle to just keep afloat with all the changes and how fast time's gone by this year. It has been a year of great changes for many. 

Early in the year Japan faced devastation with the earthquake and Tsunami.  Bin Laden and Gaddafi- killed. Natural disasters of all types- flood, disease, etcetera all throughout the world. The Euro's in trouble, the Arab Spring revolts continue, and now anti-Putin protests in Russia. Of course, there were many nice events too. 

The All Blacks finally won, quenching the thirst of fans. There's been some progress on the environmental side of things, and also some downsides. GMA is now under arrest. How things change! 

On a personal level, it was quite a year too. I married my fiance of 3 years in June and July (we had two weddings) after not seeing each other personally for well- almost 3 years? Big changes in both of our lives- and most of them, for the better. Not that I'm saying we haven't had any rough spots. We've had many. But we work through them and become better, stronger people and a couple for it. 

We had a monster invasion of hairy, extremely itchy, black caterpillars on our Talisay trees here a month and a half ago. By invasion I mean by the thousands. I didn't take photos because: 
1. I've always hated worms of all kinds except earth worms.If some people have roach shivers, I get worm/caterpillar shivers. 
2. I didn't want to have any photos of caterpillars or worms lying around. Even those make me queasy.
3. It was such a horrible sight to behold anyway! 

We have a lot of Talisay/Indian Almond/Umbrella trees all over our yard. They're beautiful, fast growing trees which grow well even on sand. Of all the years I've lived here, we never encountered a caterpillar problem until this year, so I was rather adamant about not cutting the trees as my husband wanted to. Anyhow, to make a long story short, we cleared all the shrubs and shrubs which were growing at the base of our Talisay trees as to make them less ideal for moths to breed and got some rocks instead. Here's are some of the spots we changed:

 We bought 7 sacks (full size) of assorted rocks for $16.00. Pretty good eh?

Other noteworthy events of the year:
We've found 4 olive ridley nests on our beach since November. Here's to hoping they all hatch so we have this again:

We're making some progress talking to the poachers here. The municipal councilors are even working on a municipal ordinance to protect the marine turtles.

That's it for now. Life's speeding past and so are my deadlines. Oh well. I'm just going with the flow.

All the best,
Sachi of Banyangrove

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving thanks

I'm so tired tonight. But relieved, satisfied, and very thankful. Our little municipality is a coastal town. Much of our natural resources are being used up without much notice. Some of the marine turtles who come around here get eaten, while others who are more fortunate to get to lay their eggs- have their eggs stolen by most poachers.

Today, we had a very nice discussion withe some of the town's stakeholders- the municipal agricultural office, fishery department, barangay captains, and councilors. We all agreed that we need to move forward and act- prevent problems from happening to our little town. We need to work to do what we can for the future generations and for the planet. We are responsible for our world. Our initial meetings on topics like the marine turtles etc., were met with some apprehension or doubt that what we were doing made sense. But now that things are clearer, I do believe we are all thankful.

I offer my thanks again to those who've helped us get here. We're all in this together. We all do what we can to move forward together. And of course, I offer my thanks to the Supreme Father, who in unseen ways, pave a way for us which at times seem so treacherous and difficult it seems it's the totally wrong way to be walking through until later, when a turn in the road reveals a smoother path. Whatever road I may get to, let me walk it with You.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On relationships

I was talking to my good friend, Richard a few days ago about relationships. As a teenager I went through a lot of time wondering why we bothered with relationships. I mean, sooner or later - they end. Sooner or later they leave, move on or die. What was the point? I was thinking a sense of Buddhism was the answer- less relationships, less pain. It took me a while to realize some things (I can be really slow!).

The first thing is, real relationships or lasting relationships - be they one of friendship or more intimate - e.g. boyfriend/girlfriend or marriage- really can't be based on, "I love you IF". It's really just a, "I love you for who you are no matter what." And the best relationships go deeper than that, "I love you in your uniqueness and our relationship is based in the common knowledge that God is the center of this relationship." I don't mean that in a corny or preachy kind of way either. It's a real, straightforward thing.

Second thing is- as you get older, and the less you see certain people who you called "friends" before, you realize who your real friends are. After years of not seeing each other, even without communicating, you're still friends. It's like starting off just where you left off, as if no time had passed. And oh, what a beautiful feeling it is. :)

Third, which is especially true for marriage is- we're all in this world for a certain period of time. We don't know how long. We don't know when we're suddenly going to get pulled out. So we live our lives in a way where we do what we can and learn what we need to and help others and ourselves while developing our relationship with the Supreme Person. We are all totally unique and know all others to be equally unique with their own quirks, skills, and talents. We respect each other. So in whatever short or long time we're in this world, married or in a similar relationship, it's really quite nice to live knowing that, "Just as I'm living my life and walking my own path and developing my relationship with the Supreme Person, my spouse/partner is living his/her life in the same way." In other words, marriage or similar relationships really shouldn't be one of sucking each other dry and trying to see what and how that other person can satisfy my own desires, but one of being there for each other while knowing we're both on our way back to the Supreme Person. We both have faults and what not- but that's not what we focus on. It's not always easy to not see the faults of the other person, but relationships are just so much nicer when you're both not looking at each others faults but instead look at each other's good qualities. It's definitely not going to come instantly either, but all things take time and work. It's all a learning experience.

And yes- belated Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you Lord, for everything.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Learning Process

What a busy month it's been and it's not even over!

I've learned a lot about marine protected areas, coastal resource management, and other similarly related topics in the past few months since we started trying to formulate a program for protecting the marine turtles (pawikan) who lay here, and there's so much more to learn.

Today marks the end of the event - "Water for Life, Tubig At Buhay". It was a pleasure to meet the Chris and Julie from the French Embassy, the staff and life of the Marine Science Institute , and the other people who attended the first symposium and round table event of the "Water for Life, Tubig at Buhay". I wonder how the rest of it went. I'm sure it was educational and interesting, as was the first day.

Ever since I started looking at what can be done to protect, rehabilitate, and conserve the coastal environment (in particular), I've been faced with almost unbelievable resistance. Generally speaking I find that people who have either received enough education or who are just simple folk who wish others no harm are much easier to deal with. They easily grasp the importance of caring for the environment and endangered animals without much explanation or downright arguing to get a point across. For those people who did not receive much education, they find the idea of having to pick up other people's trash - or stop throwing their own trash anywhere they please, what more, do something to protect the environment or an endangered species simply too much. I don't mean to put these people down. I am just stating the truth. It is the sad reality, but almost expected in a place where most people don't even finish high school.

I am a nobody but I believe I can bring about changes to this world- whether good or bad. I choose to do what I can for the betterment of society. Why? Because I know I can, and I am fueled by knowing that I can do something, however small.

Ever since I started trying to save the pawikan and doing other things for the Coastal Underwater Resource Management program, I've been faced with so much adversity. Why stop and go against the flow when it's so much easier to just go along with everyone else? Well sometimes it's good to stop and think about where everyone else is headed. Look at the problems as they are and look for solutions rather than turn a blind eye to them.

Life is a continuous learning process. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open and listen well. Sometimes the softest whispers are the most important ones in life.

All the best from

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quick update

It's been incredibly busy here. My day's been starting at 4 or 4:30 am when we go out and walk 6 km or so (and it's not even the whole cove!) looking for any signs of sea turtles, and ends around 9:30 or 10- and the list of things to do never seems to lessen. Not that I'm complaining.

We have had a horrific infestation of itchy, hairy, black caterpillars. We've found about 5 nests of about 400-500 caterpillars, and a few other ones with tiny ones. Horrible! No wonder we've all been so itchy. Their itchy hairs are in the air. We're in the process of exterminating them. Sorry, I can't live with this itchiness. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I hate all worms except earth worms. A strange fact considering I love gardens and gardening so much. Oh well.

Here are some random notes:

I took a walk the other day and saw 5 little pot bellied pigs not much bigger than full grown chihuahuas running across the dirt road. I've always wanted to have a pot-bellied pig and nearly grabbed one for myself if the mother didn't show her face over the bush. The sow looked very intelligent, and looked us straight in the eye with obvious curiosity.
Then there was thischicken whose feathers all curled up towards her head. She was very pleasant. You could almost feel her smiling at you. Yet another reminder not to judge by looks.

In the meantime, so much to study, so much work to do- and it's all good fun.

Have a nice week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

China's Hit and Run

I'm horrified beyond words to see the video of the little Chinese girl who was run over twice and ignored by passers by. I think this would or should make any human stop and think. Where exactly are we going, what are we doing that's making us so hard and apathetic. Even animals are not quite as hard- the story about a dog guarding an abandoned baby and guarding a fellow dog, or of dolphins saving a surfer from a shark. What's wrong with us humans?

We need to start learning how to care about one another and the planet again. Too many of us are too self centered and focused on just trying to improve our own lives, get rich, and find "happiness" at the expense and suffering of countless other people. The result of this type of lifestyle and mentality is shown in the video of this little girl.  This is of course, an extreme example. An example which, I hope, will really open our eyes to the need to look for the truth which will set  us free from selfishness and hard heartedness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Be like a Tree

I've always believed that many, many lessons can be learned from nature. For example, a tree.
Trees have over 22 major functions from cleaning the air and providing good oxygen to helping soften the rain before it reaches the ground so that the plants below can survive.  It also provides food, shelter, shade, and so many other things to both humans and animals/insects. 

Most trees are also friendly. I mean, there are a few nasty thorn trees out there- but it's good that most trees are actually nice. And just think of it- trees don't complain when we come and get their fruits. Nor do they complain if we saw off one of their branches, or even most of their branches and leave them with a mere stump. Trees are tolerant, withstanding great heat, rain, wind, animals living in them, people- well, doing all kinds of things to them.
In relation to what I said above- well, trees are the epitome of selflessness and giving. I mean, most people would die if they were chopped in half. Trees just grow right back up. Fruits, branches, leaves, wood- all taken away- they keep growing and keep giving as long as they're given a chance to recover. Not very many people could say the same thing.

A friend of mine made the analogy of being like trees. There are some people who are all thorns. They don't give, they don't care, and love to just make everyone else feel miserable because they're miserable. I'm sure we've all had the unfortunate experience of running into these kind of people. (I'm sorry if I've been one sometimes!) Then there are those people who are just wonderful. They don't judge, they love, don't have airs, and have so many gifts to share. I hope one day I'll become more and more like a tree- and not a thorny one!

Have a nice week!

-Tree Frog


Sunday, October 2, 2011

The day after

It’s a normal day at the ocean today but for some reason a lot of plastics washed up on the shore today.

I’m still recovering from my sickness. I’m itching to do some relief work. I feel so sorry for all my fellow Filipinos whose homes are inundated by the floods from the two typhoons this past week. 

Quiel was quite intense here too- but mostly wind. Aside from a few broken windows (the locks broke during the typhoon) and a wind-withered garden, nothing much else happened. I was surprised we didn’t lose any trees.  Lucky we hardly got any rain on this side. It would have been devastating if we had equally strong wind and rain. 

The ocean was surprisingly reserved in the wind. By the late afternoon everything had calmed down. The beach was sculpted anew, and quite clean.
Yesterday morning I got up quite early. The Kingfishers are always noisy at 5 am, and it was no different. They were announcing  a fairly clear day ahead and were obviously pleased to be alive. It seemed so still and peaceful. There were onshore and offshore breezes blowing steadily. Everything was bright and clean- except for the fence, which was gray with all the sand blown on it from the day before. The migrating birds were busy trying to make up for the lost time. 

There were so many different types of birds – big, small, dark and white, all flying south. The bigger birds seemed to have a harder time flying against the wind because they have to fly higher. The smaller birds stayed as close as they could to the ocean, dipping low with the trough of the waves and flying right over the white wash and spray. The determination of birds is quite admirable. 

As the sun started coming out the blue-gray horizon and the ocean’s hues were accentuated. The first kilometer or so was brown because of the water coming in from the rivers. Further out, different shades of aqua, dark green, and blue green, dotted with disappearing and reappearing white peaks from the wind. 

The beauty of nature is amazing, awe inspiring. But once we start messing around with nature, we feel her wrath. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


A tree frog in a banyan grove...

Typhoon Pedring just hit us. Luckily it wasn't as bad as we expected it to be. Nothing more than a few branches broken for us. I feel really bad for the farmers who lost their crops though.
 The power of nature is awe inspiring. I spent a few hours on the beach yesterday (a safe distance from the waves) just feeling so alive, watching the waves smashing, crashing, booming on the beach, and feeling the wind ripping through. 

Lucky for us the only thing we had to rescue was our volleyball net on the beach when the water started to come in closer:

A few minutes later this is what it looked like:

Needless to say, within a few hours, the whole beach had a different look. And it's looking great for the pawikan. For the past few weeks the beach has been littered with sticks and some logs brought by the sea after the last typhoon. We cleaned off the plastics etc but there's been way too much sticks and logs to pick up all at once. The sea buried the sticks below several feet of sand yesterday, so it's all good. The sand dunes are looking much better and the contours are much better for pawikan to crawl on.

Nature's got her act together. We humans just seem to have a knack of messing with her stringent laws with the foolish and selfish intentions. It's time to start thinking twice where we're heading if we keep living the way we are today.