Tag Archives: decor

some traviesa trivia

My fascination for natural decor has just stepped up a notch.


Traviesa is a Spanish word for a piece of wood that functions as a cross beam or brace to support the rails on a railway track. The photo above ignited our interest for the traviesa. Here it was used to create a deck or platform as part of an outdoor landscape design.


You can assume traviesas to be about a century old. So don’t be surprised that it can function perfectly even outdoors in all-weather conditions. These are some long-aged wood we’re talking about. They’ve been treated with time, no additional chemical treatments needed.

IMG-20130321-01878There’s something about me and old, aged, sturdy wood. I feel like they have so much character, so many stories behind them. And more stories waiting to be written and told.


So, this fascination took us a several kilometres down south as we went on a search for sources of traviesas and other types of old wood. As it turned out, we have a trusty antique wood supplier a quick drive a way.


There was wood of all kinds, sizes and thickness. You could see how deep the wood grains are. Some have cracked and faded. Some used to be staircases, door jambs. Some were materials to make boats.


To me, visiting that store by the highway was a very intimate experience. There was so much history amid these huge planks of wood. As if every piece was speaking to us about where it’s been. And we were all ears.



a flower and garden show

now I have proof that my husband is a bigger flower lover than I am. no wonder I never got flowers from him.


Turo and I spent a lovely Thursday morning at the Los Banos Flower and Garden Show. We consider visiting garden exhibits among the cheapest indulgences and we’re lucky that we have regular exhibitions like this one right here where we live.

seniors' social garden

The Los Banos Flower and Garden show is held twice a year at the UPLB Seniors’ Social Garden. The main attraction inside the hall this year is the Iligan Fern (below). This is about the largest sized fern I’ve ever seen up close, and also the most beautiful. While I love flowers, I am also equally attracted by wild and diverse foliage plants. I believe that leaf patterns, textures, shapes and hues, more than the blooms, are what makes gardens more interesting and alive.

iligan fern

Throughout the exhibit visitors will find an interesting array of ornamental plants and flowers. Plenty of new varieties, but a lot of the well-loved favourites found in Filipino homes and gardens. Bougainvilleas, orchids, petunias, gerberas, the list goes on.

variegated bougainvilla
variegated white bougainvilleas
wild orchid
wild orchid
colorful gerberas
colorful gerberas
indoor foliage
indoor foliage
bed of blossoms
bed of blossoms
bright and cheery blooms
bright and cheery
a floral feast indeed
a floral feast indeed

In a later post I will tell you about the designs featured in the horticultural landscaping contest of this year’s garden show. But for now, I leave you with Turo and his precious anthuriums. Anthuriums are obviously Turo’s favorite plants. He even came close to ordering imported anthurium varieties from Holland.

turo and his anthuriums
turo and his anthuriums

So yes, we bought some white and red anthuriums for our new garden at home. These shade-lovers are perfect out front, where they can get plenty of morning sunshine but stay safe in the afternoon shade. This time we’re moving beyond just edible plants and herbs for our garden. We can’t wait to welcome our guests with splashes of colour from ornamental flowers and plants in our new home very very soon.

ilog maria finds

And I continue to be a sucker for everything local, natural and hand made.


Ilog Maria is a honey bee farm in Silang, Cavite. Just a few minutes drive from our in-law’s home in Dasmarinas. We’ve been seeing signs of the place each time we head to Tagaytay via Aguinaldo Highway but never really took the effort of going there. That was until last January. And then suddenly, we were honeybee lovers.

beeswax bars
beeswax bars

We already have a local source of wild organic honey at the Bee Project here in UPLB’s Institute of Biological Sciences. But Ilog Maria opened our eyes to a whole range of useful, everyday products made from all things bees.


They have handmade soaps made from honey, beeswax and propolis, with variants like lavender or rosemary which are supposed to be great for energizing morning showers. Or charcoal which has a deodorizing effect.


This time I bought the calamansi, sandalwood and charcoal variants, all three are supposed to have some kind of antibacterial or deodorizing effect. If it was just me taking showers in my household I would have done with just about any organic soap you can find in the market. But with my 2 rowdy boys and a farmer-husband, I need an everyday soap that has a good dose of antibacterial powers to keep my boys clean. So far I’m still on an active search. Let’s see how Ilog Maria soaps fare with respect to the germs in my boys’ bodies.


They also sell beeswax candles. These are all handmade and when you hold them, the texture is just glorious. They are a bit expensive but the quality of the product easily speaks for its price. It was good thing I didn’t bring extra cash or we’d end up with going home with a manger-full of beeswax statue candles. But I swear, I’m going to buy candles on our next visit here. And if I can afford to, give them away as gifts for Christmas.


Because it was a weekend of getting something for myself, I bought this handmade, beaded curtain which I plan to drape around the smallish entrance to our new kitchen (did I mention we’ll be moving to a new apartment?). The curtain wasn’t made from bee products or anything, but I did validate that it was made by a local community also in Silang. Still local, which is a good thing.


I think I’m doing a good job of converting my household, and my extended family, into fans of all-natural products. Or maybe it’s just a matter of finding organic products that are of really good quality. Turo is now a huge fan of Ilog Maria’s Honey & Propolis Shampoo which he uses everyday together with 2 slices of calamansi as his conditioner.


Just in case you’re headed for Tagaytay, you may want to pass by Ilog Maria farm and take a look at the range of honey bee based products they offer. You just might find something you can use everyday, and take the first steps to a chemical-free lifestyle.


To all things natural and crafted by hand!

hinting on the holidays

another family milestone: setting up our very first tree..

A day that I should have devoted to writing for a paper that would be due in a few days was spent instead on rearranging furniture and getting excited for the holidays! We can smell Christmas at home. The kids are like, “Is it Christmas? In December? December 25? Then we’ll open the gifts? When the guests are here can we open them?” Continue reading hinting on the holidays

serving and shelving

I went out earlier today for some bank transactions, to get a chest x-ray and find a notary public. A few hours later, I walked home with four huge bags from home and decor stores, a refrigerator catalog and an appliances pricelist. Plus the notarized documents. But no x-ray.

It is a mistake to step inside of a shopping mall after getting some money from the bank. I was only supposed to purchase a gift for my secret santa in an upcoming (but very much delayed) christmas party. But I had to pass through the lane of home stores, alone, and with some money. And I was just too weak. Continue reading serving and shelving