I went to buy pandesal this morning and on my way back I noticed that we have a pineapple!

This plant has been around the house for the last 3 years, and has been guarding the front wall due to its spiky character.  Last night we noticed the leaves were drooping and I thought perhaps it needs a bigger pot…

Turns out it’s a pineapple.

Exciting times!


Bamboo heart- Part 1

I have a dream of meditating on the second floor of a bamboo house, waltzing down irregular bamboo stairs, the sun filtering through an open window at the witching hour.

This week Pancho and I have been following this bamboo dream house by meeting with my friend and former colleague Engr. Eric Raymundo.

In 2014, I began to explore the potentials of bamboo while working in Bantayan Island where bamboo proliferates along the roadside.  After typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the wind had visibly ripped down most of the flora.  Bamboo was first to recover.  It is resilient, loves water and can handle periods of dry spell.  It matures in 3-4 years.  It is a versatile material, useful as poles for construction, furniture and crafts, as a textile, as pulp and paper, and for yummy bamboo shoots!

In essence, bamboo is a wood replacement and more!  And given the Philippines’ unfortunate forest predicament (see figure 1), bamboo is the wood of the future.  As a grass, it is rapidly renewing!

However, there are currently some major roadblocks to fully utilizing this amazing grass.  As Eric explained, kawayan tinik, our abundant local species, is commonly regarded as an inferior material due to its size and the thorns that surround the pole.

Yes our kawayan tinik is slimmer than the more famous varieties like giant bamboo, but no less strong, according to Eric.

He believes that if properly harvested and preserved, our local bamboo could be used as a primary building material for residential construction. Concrete necessitates quarrying, a wasteful process with consequences for human health, agriculture, tourism and disaster management.  In addition, concrete houses are too hot for our tropical environment, and adding air conditioning means more power generation required.

As Pancho explained, bamboo design and construction is not even in the Philippine architecture curriculum!  While bamboo construction is visible across the country- it is considered ‘impermanent’ construction.

Under the Philippine building code, architects are liable for their design for 15 years, thus the material must not have defects within this time period.  Bamboo commonly last only 1-4 years in the Philippines, before needing to be replaced.  Therefore, it is not officially regarded as a construction material despite the obvious market preference for bamboo because of its affordability!

In part 2- we’ll go into some ideas for sustainable bamboo harvesting and preservation that might just extend the life of a bamboo pole!


Land, Aid, Justice

I’ve been getting involved in a network called Artists for Kidapawan, which you can read more about here. This Sunday I’ll be doing a yoga class by donation for drought-affected farmers as part of Pagsibol’s fundraiser. Here is my sequence and some thoughts on the flow.

Try it with an intention to renew your relationship to the earth, or in dedication to a farmer!

Tell me how it goes :)


*Relationship to what gives us life

Table top with heel kicking back, stability and groundedness, right then left
Repeat with transition to 3-legged dog

Uttanasana roll up to Tadasana
Utkatasana planting rice

Vinyasa like a prayer of devotion between poses

Vira 1- acknowledge the earth and sky and yoga as union of opposites
Twisted lunge, grounding through hand and touching the sky
High lunge- Sprout and rise
Plant seeds, Vira 3- effort with ease

*Relationship to each other/solidarity not charity

Utkatasana- acknowledge our position, our role
Twist- towards another
Trikonasana- noticing how we push down through our feet and let go with the torso and arms, ground in our own reality (reflexivity) and allow ourselves to go beyond and into the unknown of another’s reality
Half moon- courage!
Pyramid pose- devotional and solid
Tree pose- growing outward from deep roots

*Relationship with the past/future

Vira 2- note the warrior archetype
Reverse Warrior- when we don’t know the answer ask
Side angle pose- reaching forward and grounding back
Prasarita Paddotanasana- towards turning things around with crown of head on a block/floor to headstand
Parighasana- being an example, a gate for others to see

Ustrasana (two sets)- vulnerability
Vajrasana 3 breaths

Downward dog
Eka pada rajakapotasana- surrender to the present moment where our highest selves reside
Viparita karani