Friday, April 24, 2015

Nitecore Tube Review: EDC made really practical and easy

I must admit to a fixation on flashlights and EDC stuff. My definition of EDC though is a highly-personal one - if it can't fit into my pants or shorts pockets, it's not for me. Logic behind it is straightforward, if I can't bring it without a backpack or bag, it's kinda useless for me. I'm admittedly a convert to Nitecore as their flashlights are reasonably-priced and looks/feels like they're made to last. The Tube is no different though it departs from the Nitecore convention of using CNC machined aluminium. Instead, this 45 lumen torch is made from polycarbonate. Sure, there are a lot of keychain lights out there but the pain of looking for those itty-bitty button cell batteries make them kinda impractical; ditto the short runtime and the expense in the long run. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hive Hotel and Convention Place features Lagalog Photography Works

The site for Hive Hotel and Convention Place is now up and running. The hotel is the second in the Cocoon Boutique Hotel developments, this time geared towards the business traveler with its modern pop art-inspired interiors and accents.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Maligcong and nearby Tala Farms: An Organic Experience and How It's Bringing Pride Back Into the Farming Vocation

Organic bounty from Tala Farms with Suzette's heirloom woven baskets
My foray into the northern highlands was meant to be some sort of a wholistic, cathartic, break -- mental, physical, spiritual, and of course, gustatorial.  It's an opportune time to wean myself from the usual fast and admittedly, junk, food choices.  My longtime vice of java got replaced with real, honest-to-goodness mountain-grown coffee (Suzette Che-es of Suzette's Maligcong Homestay and Coffee Shop buys beans from the village elders as a way to help the community).  In lieu of store-bought tea, I get to sip fresh mint and herbal tea, from tanglad (lemongrass) leaves picked from the front yard garden, steeped simply in hot water and stored in old-fashioned thermos bottles for consumption the whole day (Jerome, Suzette's hubby, called it "cleansing" therapy as I would drink the tanglad tea round the clock).

I left the choices for lunch and dinner to Suzette (having whatever for my meals was the last thing I want to worry about) and I'm happy to note that I ate well and more healthfully.  The food is fresh, not fancy.  Sometimes though, Suzette comes up with pleasant tweaks like one dinner when I had chicken marinated overnight in rice wine then fried to a crisp.  Whether it be chicken or fish, I would always get a hefty side dish of fresh veggies especially after a pleasant trip to Tala Farms in the outskirts of Maligcong.  The trip came up after a conversation with Suzette regarding growing herbs in the garden (she has a lot of growing areas in the front and back yard even if I was quick to notice the clay-ey quality of the soil) as gardening is one of my favorite long-time hobbies.

AN ORGANIC FARM AS A TOURIST DESTINATION.  Tala Farms is about a 10-minute jeepney ride from either Bontoc or Maligcong, somewhat halfway between the two.  It can be a pleasant 45-minute to one hour walk given fair weather.  Save for a small wooden gate, there's still no sign to give the passerby an indication that a farm can be found in the undulating terrain fringed by hills and framed by tall cogon grasses.  The farm is not "as-far-as-your-eyes-can-see" big but what it doesn't have in terms of sheer size, it more than makes up for what I would call "output density".  I'm a big fan of the Dervaes family and their concept of square inch/foot gardening so this gives me some sort of familiarity with what Joel Fagsao, owner of Tala Farms, call "bio-intensive gardening".  In simple terms, it means producing more yield per square inch/foot than conventional farming methods without resorting to artificial means.


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