The Moon last night

Moon last night SONY DSC

The full moon happened two days ago but the moon’s brightness was still in its fullness early last night. It stopped me right on my tract while I was on my way to the wash room from my bedroom.

The moon view was in an adjacent room with a peeping view of the ocean and the sky in between the roofs and side walls of our neighbors’ buildings and residences in the Poblacion. The window faces the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean if not for these residential houses blocking the view. The partly hidden   dazzling moon view was enchanting nevertheless.

It was a mesmerizing sight, magnetic enough to seduce my shutter bug impulse. I captured the moon in the above photos but my camera also caught a reflection or refraction (?) in the window glass pane of a moon goddess gazing (more of staring)  right in front of me (photo below)!

Perhaps my imagination’s getting darker (or shinier?) from too much Kahlua in my black coffee. You be the judge anyway.

Moon Goddess

As captured by my camera – an image of the ‘moon goddess’ on the window pane staring at me.

Photographs by Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines


Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams – Crows


A brilliantly colored vignette featuring director Martin Scorsese as Vincent Van Gogh. An art student (a character wearing Kurosawa’s trademark hat who provides the POV for the rest of the film) finds himself inside the vibrant and sometimes chaotic world of Van Gogh’s artwork, where he meets the artist in a field and converses with him. The student loses track of the artist (who is missing an ear and nearing the end of his life) and travels through other works trying to find him. Van Gogh’s painting Wheat Field with Crows is an important element in this dream. This Segment features Prelude No. 15 in D-flat major (“Raindrop”) by Chopin. The visual effects for this particular segment were provided by George Lucas and his special effects group Industrial Light & Magic.

-Wikipedia,  Dreams  (1990)

Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams is a 1990 magical realism film.  Crows is one of the eight dreams in the film.

Video from Youtube excerpted from Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams.

What Lonely Planet missed out in Palogtoc Falls


Lonely Planet review of Palogtoc Falls was all praises for the ‘lovely’ nature grotto that is Palogtoc. It missed seeing however the activity frenzy of the place during summer when the local villagers troop to the place to beat the heat.

Local villagers mostly kids, frolicking like mischievous elves in the fairyland ambiance of Palogtoc Falls showed me the real fun of what the place can offer aside from its natural beauty.

Watching  the kids do the plunge, dip, dive , splash and swim in the crystal clear mountain spring waters with the backdrop of the mixed ambient sound of the kids’ excited voices and the sound of the rushing waters of the water falls were enough to fill the day with a dose of freshness.

I had to hide my camera and keep myself inconspicuous while shooting the animated water play so as not to break the flow of excitement that surrounds  the place last Sunday afternoon. Even the waters seemed to join in the frolic in perfect rhythm. It was pure water magic!

Lonely Planet review for Palogtoc Falls reads:

“A successful conquest of Mt Bulusan deserves a soak in the Palogtoc Falls. This grotto is accessible by a 500m walk from a trailhead off the main road between the park entrance and San Roque (it’s also on the Bulusan–Irosin jeepney route). It features a gorgeous cold-water pool fed by falls beside a shady river, with mercifully no visible concrete, just a few low-key bamboo and nipa huts. It’s a lovely spot, especially if you luck out and are there alone.”

Palogtoc Falls, Bulusan, Sorsogon


Photos by Alma P. Gamil

Condo musings


I carry my rural wandering eyes where ever I go – urban dwellings included. Even the surroundings in the vicinity of my brother’s condo unit were not spared with my visual musings during my short visit. It is obvious that the rural moon was in my mind when I saw this rounded lamp (photos) fronting the elevator of the condo.

Quezon City, Philippines
Photos by Alma P. Gamil

Up close and personal with Kamandiis


My mountain village stroll yielded another surprise: meeting the charming Kamandiis tree  – a Philippine endemic.

This Kamandiis (photo) though small-built compared to the surrounding trees can easily be singled out because of its looks. It has a compact crown that can be converted into a topiary-like ornamental if cultivated in a backyard garden.

I spotted the small-sized tree side by side with pili trees and assorted coconut, abaca and other wild underbrushes in a state of biodiverse abandon but not too ‘foresty’ for my easy access. The Kamandiis is growing lushly just around 5 meters from the cemented village mountain road. My timing was just right because the minute buds of red flowers are profusely spread in the entire canopy. But it is not the showy kind. The red flowers are minute and shy and drop to the ground as soon as it open leaving the twigs and branches with pure red buds of kamandiis flowers attached on it randomly.

To test the taste, I chewed some of the flowers and the leaves and just as what Oya Choleng, my guide told me, it tasted a little bit sour. A subtle kind of tartness, more of a pleasant kind of acidity. This is  the reason why it is use as a culinary ingredient in Odikin’s cooking. It adds a  dash of tartness to fishes and vegetables dishes. Leaves and fruits can be used. But the flowers I am sure will suit well for fresh salads. The red color will be an added accent. The fruits according to my guide are rounded and the tart taste is more focused here.

I however have to wait for that next stage: fruiting.

Odikin also known as Barangay Santa Barbara is located in the medium elevation slopes of Mt. Bulusan  around 1 to 2 km from the permanent danger zone (PDZ) of  Bulusan Volcano. Recent developments brought electricity, piped water system and paved cemented roads to this outlying village. It is still however a favorite destination of the military which according to most residents are unnecessary and only complicate their peaceful existence. This is of course another story which brings me back to Kamandiis.

The ASEAN Tropical Plant data base listed Kamandiis ( Scientific name:  Garcinia rubra Merr.) as endemic to the Philippines.


Photographs by Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Beach in the raw

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Beach in the raw

Location : Dancalan Beach
Bulusan, Philippines
I have yet to study photoshop. So the imperfections of the linear horizon for example remain uncorrected. All the photographs come in the raw from location to my laptop.

These photos were taken this morning at the nearby Dancalan Beach.

Photos by Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

How to be alone

“You could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it. If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it. There is heat in freezing, be a testament.”

and may I add…..go on a blogging frenzy…. challenge yourself to a photo walk… explore your habitat…start with what is under your feet…wake up early with a smile and a song in your heart 🙂

Good morning!

Species hunting in Bulusan


It is the kind of adventure in which my only tool is a dependable digital camera. I am referring to my quest to record one species at a time the flora I will meet in my wanderings in my hometown’s rich biodiversity. My gallery at PythoImages (Alma P. Gamil images at is waiting for more diverse plant photographs from my base here and my solitary treks almost always result to some surprises. For instance, a wild tree with unique looking wild fruits (photos)  is one of my latest spottings – one of around three plant samples from my recent trek to a secondary forest in two villages in Bulusan.

In these photos are fruits from the native tree locally known as ‘Bangad’. I spotted the tree growing wild in a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the village of Porog.

Photos by Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines