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HOME GARDENING: Tomatoes and Staples

my kitchen staples: alugbati at talbos ng kamote Living a raw vegan lifestyle reconnected me back not only to myself (better health) but also to nature in its simplest and most intimate form…gardening. It’s virtually impossible to prepare food the way it was designed to consume to forget to observe where it comes from.Working with KNL’s current headquarters offerings, we tilled the empty adjacent lot and used up the empty kitty litter and kibble as our front porch as containers for our tomatoes and herbs. A small portion of the lot cradles our compost pit, this is where all the peels go if it cannot be saved by my dehydrator. I am but a beginner in gardening. As a raw foodist and frustrated microbiologist who loves growing little buggers, I became quite the experienced fermentation enthusiast (kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, nut cheezes) and master sprouter of seeds, I figured how hard can gardening be? My inspiration fueled by the glorious rice paddies of Bali, I came home with a portion of my suitcase with seeds and smuggled kencur (called lesser galangal, floral in scent, integral in Balinese spice pastes). As you can see below, my kencur started as such and it will be ready for transplantation again in two weeks. Shakti Yoga and Wellness Center is the proud recipient of some of my priceless kencur. My kencur in two months (May-July) Growing up with my grandparents in the middle of the metropolis who loved to care for animals and garden gave me the appreciation for fruits of the earth and fresh food. I remember as a very young child, I would skip to our garden and pick the ripest tomato off the vine and bite into it with my eyes closed, feel the sweetness and slight tang flood all over my senses. No other fruit can ever compete with a perfectly vine-ripened tomato, bar none. And so, I made it my mission to replicate the experience by planting all the seeds of the heirloom tomatoes and plum tomatoes bought from Down To Earth and Organic Manila respectively. the first tomatoes! so excited for the harvest. Next project will be lettuces and container pechay and tatsoi. I have yet to secure organic seeds and I already have all the soda bottles required to plant all of them. The more I do this, the more I wish I can garden for a living.... read more

Reading and Raw Food

bound sunshine in Fully Booked (Greenbelt 5) October and November spelled the busiest months of my 2011. By end of September, I took a deep breath before jumping onto the sunrise of October 1st. Balancing the different hats I wear and their individual needs posed a sprinkling of challenges, dropping a couple of balls and quickly picking them all back up. During my lovely retreat to Mama Palawan (Coron and Culion) to bask under the brightest of sunshine, I stopped and just BE! and marveled at the phenomenon of the sky and sea melting to one glorious shade of blue. The miracle that is Palawan requires nothing less than reverent silence. Adjusting back from my sweet reprieve, visiting my favorite bookstores are in order. I realized that for quite some time, I haven’t read the way I used to read…voraciously, curiously, taking delight with each flip of a page–no thanks to the internet. The sweet reprieve–and intermittent internet connection–reminded me how absolutely delicious reading can be and why it will always be my first love. As a light worker with a passion for furthering the advocacy in raw food with a renewed love affair with reading, it is a gift to see THREE–not just one but three!–books on raw food on a bookstore shelf. I take that one small step to awakening in the sunshine and love of raw food! About 3-4 months ago, I only saw one book on raw food in NBS, written by Diana von Cranach: I’ve been diligently praying for local raw food books hitting the market like a storm and I am answered by The Farm at San Benito‘s recent release of RAW!: photo by Celine Fernando Unfortunately, RAW! is not available in local bookstores as of this writing. I trust it will be plus others, and soon! the country thirsts for more raw food books and most of them don’t know it yet.... read more

Finding Christ in Christmas

I have lived many lives and died many deaths, existed 31 years and celebrated 31 Christmases. As a child, I was no different from most kids. Christmas was the color red and green; Santa and his 9 reindeer; gifts underneath a plastic triangular tree; Simbang Gabi; Noche Buena; giant red socks filled with sweets and more toys! Growing up, it became the season to be broke, pack on extra pounds in adipose, toss wads of cash to feed the seemingly unbeatable beast that is consumerism which feed the current ways of the world. It was all the same until Sendong came and its eye cruised through Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, revealing an indescribable trail of sorrow and devastation caused by a combination of climate change and generations-worth of disrespect of nature and life (mining operations and ill-legal logging).  Waking up in my sleep hearing wails grieving souls losing their loved ones and everything they worked so hard for and sight of corpses buried in mud, a firm whisper to HELP muted all others. I shared the same compulsion and desire to help in any way I can by giving my energy in both short and long term relief/aid efforts. After sending off 50+ boxes/bags of bottled water and goods from and with the hearts of my colleagues and impelling Raw Food Support Group Phils. to share our abundance, I hear the whisper again…nudging, firm, all-knowing. As a soul deeply and multifariously grounded in simplicity, sustainability and essence,  I have to help in the best way Wisdom knows how. Sacred Healing Caravan (Christ Consciousness, Raw Food and Inner Dance) in Northern Mindanao – In less than 72 hours, I converged and aligned with hearts burgeoning with the same truth and fire.  Inspired by the wisdom of spirits of the ancients, light workers gathered with ONE divine intention:  Empower our displaced kababayans to be independently and holistically sustainable. When the last donated Peso is gone, the last bottle of water is consumed, the food in cans and plastic are eaten, the homes and bridges are rebuilt, lives will never be the same. In order to live, our kababayans need to heal, feed themselves with the supreme abundance they are graciously surrounded with which the whole world can see and material wealth can never provide, and reconnect with nature with respect and love as it is in Creator’s grand design. it’s free flyer on raw food basics  (Bisaya) – content written and simplified in Manila... read more

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