Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The Acasia Tree
Acacia) is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus in 1773. The plants tend to be thorny and pod-bearing. The name derives from ακις (akis) which is Greek for a sharp point, due to the thorns in the type-species Acacia nilotica ("Nile Acacia") from Egypt. Acacias are also known as thorntrees or wattles, including the yellow-fever acacia and umbrella acacias.
This acacia tree is a unique feature of Aplaya Elementary School. It is dubbed as the oldest and biggest tree in Digos City. Its circumference is 5.28 meters or 1.68 meters in diameter. The main and small branches spread and bowed lowly that gives a circular shade. People believed that this tree is more than one and a half century old. Mrs. Felicicima Longo, the second teacher assigned in 1956 said,” this tree was already big I arrived here. Pupil used to play under the shade during noon time. Without my notice, they climbed and played hide and seek on its long leafy branches.”
Many stories were told about the acasia tree. The cutting of the tree was set aside after the construction of the building because the shade was their resting place. After the construction of the pre-fabricated school building in 1966, people living near the school saw sparkling lights on its branches and heard strumming of guitar. “It became the home of ‘engcantos, “said the folks. Mr. Tamiji, the school principal in 1990 commanded a child to cut the branches touching the roof. After cutting the branches, he suffered pain in his right arm. From that time on, nobody dared to cut the tree. Mrs. Abiera, a Grade II teacher was surprised why his pupils kept on looking at one of the big branch. She asked the child, “what are you looking up in the acasia tree?” The child answered, “my classmate is still up in the tree. “Where……?” the teacher asked. But they could not see any child. However, a certain principal planned to cut the tree. He first sought a woodcutter. But before it was cut, he asked permissions to the engcantos. He tacked an ax on the trunk and left overnight. It was found that the ax fell down. Thus, it was a bad phenomenon. The tree do not like to be cut. From that time on, the tree was left untouched even cutting the small branches. A certain David Bedico , a resident of this barangay go near to the tree and recite his ‘oracion’ asking the engcantos to heal his sick relatives. Lately this year, a certain woman removed the thick dried bark and used for firewood. Few days latter, she suffered abdominal pain and latter died. There were, many awesome stories about the acasia tree. Yet, some were untold.
The ‘engcantos’ are parts of God perfect creation. In Col. 1:16, said
“6For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” The invisible things mentioned are the world of the “the spirits, the engcantos.”
Despite of its fallen leaves that decayed and caused damaged to the nearby roofs, MR. Erlito Damo, the principal now, never plan to cut the tree, instead he says, “ Leave it. It’s a living legacy of barangay Aplaya. The tree serves the habitat of many small birds. Moreover, it helps balance our ecosystem. “
But now, it is regarded by the teachers as a friendly tree because it gives chilly-wide shade to the pupils to play during noontime. It never happened that it hurts anybody because broken dried branches fell down during night time.
Hence, this acasia tree is a landmark and identity of Aplaya Elementary School, the biggest barrio school, the home of the oldest and biggest tree in Digos City.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Zipped at Camp Sabros
By Jojie Alcantara
CAMP Sabros is found up in the cool highlands of Kapatagan in Digos City, Davao del Sur, an almost two-hour ride from Davao City.
Before the place became the buzzword nowadays, Rhonson used to hang out in the resthouse owned by the Sacdalans, when invited by his good friend Edwin Sacdalan who is also a mountaineer. The name Sabros is from a coined word meaning Sacdalan Brothers.
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Now why a buzzword? Because it took around 5-6 months after Edwin envisioned a dream over their land and put up the longest zip line in the country.
On December 25, the Zip Line was launched and became a favorite attraction to a growing number of enthusiasts all over the island. Edwin did not expect the surge of visitors to the camp weekly since then.
Rhonson and I went up there one early rainy morning for an engagement shoot (or you may call it pre-nuptial) with our good friend Epong Soliban and fianc‚e Aya (a flight stewardess based in Korea).
It was so cold when we got there, because Kapatagan is on a 3,980 feet elevation. The fog has descended over the area. What started as a normal pictorial turned into an extreme prenuptial session similar to what he did at the top of Mount Apo.
Epong and Aya wanted to try the zip line. Rhon wanted to shoot them zipping off together at close range. So how was that possible? He had himself harnessed backwards to be able to shoot the couple in front.
The zip line was 380 meters long, affording a good view of Mount Apo's peak, and the rows of pine trees jutting out like toys from below at a height of 180ft. It was an unbelievable sight, and therapy for those with fear of heights, if they dare.
As the backup photographer (and feeling giddy at that moment), I had to climb the cable car, which positioned itself in the middle of the long cable, while I waited for Rhon and the couple to zip by from another end. I had to shoot them with my zoom lens in such a shaky situation.
When they finally flew by with their gleeful screams, the sight was like a fantasy movie out of Superman, without capes.
Not long after that, Rhon went flying again solo and not backwards this time. I followed next. The experience of flying alone for less than 60 seconds of pure, adrenalin-pumping, blood-racing flight over pine trees was beyond description.
It felt so good. And unlike other short zip lines, which make your heart stop because of its frightening speed, this zip line makes you SOAR. In such a cruising mode, you get the chance to admire the Mount Apo peak at close range.
I swear I was living in my Darna moment. There was no screaming, just openmouthed amazement at the panorama around me.
Edwin was his usual hospitable self and gave us a hefty breakfast. Though they are still considering putting up additional amenities like food, the package rate for now is P300 per head for the zip line.
Accommodations are still being prepared, as cottages will be added in the future. For now, he offers his own log cabins for guests who wish to stay overnight and brace themselves for a chilly evening.
In the mornings, though, the sight of Mount Apo on a clear sky will leave you breathless, more so when you view it from the cable car suspended midway in the forest. For inquiries and reservations, call Edwin at 09208750015. (email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.witerary.com)
Friday, June 25, 2010
The Booming Mango Industry of San Roque, Digos City
San Roque is a remote barangay in Digos City. Corn was the staple, food in this town in the 1940s, and then in 1970, some farmers started to plant sugarcane as their main crop. But since the price of sugar fluctuated, they shifted to mango production, which has been booming up to now due to the high demand of both export and local markets.
About 75 percent of the mangoes produced in Digos City came from San Roque, hence it is dubbed as the “mango country of Digos City.” More and more farmers are venturing in mango growing because they earn twice of their income from sugarcane. I am one of them. Like my neighbors, I planted my 2-hectare lot to grafted “Mango Cebu”, a sweet and juicy variety.
But the first farmer in San Roque who has succeeded in mango production is Arnold Nebria. He started as a tenant, and with his net profit, he bought agricultural lands and planted these to mangoes. Today, he grosses an average of P1 million every harvest. Another successful farmer is Victoriano Ramos. In September 2008, this 70-year-old farmer and councilman of San Roque has earned almost a million pesos from mangoes.
That’s how profitable mango growing could be. Yet, a capital of P80,000 is needed to start a 1-hectare mango farm, and the harvest, of course, depends on how well the production has gone through.
Regarding production, it is ideal to spray for flowering when the leaves of the latest buds matured. The buds usually mature after nine months. Spraying can be done earlier if the chemicals used are for hastening the maturity of the leaves. Insecticides and fungicides are sprayed at the same time since most of these are compatible with the fertilizer.
To control sucking insects, wrap the fruits with newspapers at 65-70 days. The fruits are ready for harvest after 105-110 days from the first day of spraying for flowering.
Based on my sampling, a 10-year-old mango tree will bear an average of 500 kilos of fruits. So in 1 ha with an average of 70 trees, 35,000 kilos of mangoes could be harvested. If a kilo sells at P20, a gross income of P700,000 could be earned from 1 ha in one harvest or P1.4 million in a year.
The fruits also undergo quality control. The biggest fruits without spots and rusts are mark as, first class and are exported to Hong Kong and China. Second class fruits or those which are of medium size are shipped to Manila, while the third class are sold in the local market.
The biggest problem in mango production, however, is successive and excessive rain during pollination stage. Pollen grains are washed out and thus, few fruits are developed. At this point, the price of mango drops to as low as P10 if there is no export. Farmers can only break even if the price is at least P15 per kilo, but that, of course, still depends on the supply and demand.
On the other hand, this shouldn’t discourage farmers from venturing in mango production. Remember, says Benito Ayop, another successful mango producer in San Roque, “Farming is like gambling. Although you spend and work hard, sometimes you win or lose. Don’t stop and think positive that you will recover next harvest.”
by Felix B. Daray
Pointers on Applying Flower Inducer to Mango Trees
Simultaneous fruiting is possible nowadays with flower inducer. By spraying it to mango trees, not just more, but bigger fruits are produced.
Potassium nitrate is the generic name of chemical flower inducer in mango, and the chemical symbol for this compound is or KNO;. It contains 13% nitrogen and 46% potash, hence it is also called 13-0-46. KNO supplies the potassium requirement of the tree and in the process, induces flowering.
Another flower inducer used, nowadays is calcium nitrate (CaN). It contains 45% calcium and 15% nitrogen. It is affordable, yet the effect is just the same.
Here are some pointers on applying flower inducer to mango trees.
1. Flowering and fruiting vary, depending on the variety.
2. Chemical flower inducers should not be used under the following circumstances:
• when the tree is 10 years old or below
• when the leaves and buds are young
• when the tree is weak and sickly
• during rainy days
3. High dosage of flower inducer should be applied when the tree is healthy and starting to mature, the leaves and buds are maturing, and the weather is cloudy.
4. Use low dosage of flower inducer (1% – 2% of KNO;) when the tree is already mature, healthy, and has dormant buds; the leaves and buds are mature; and the weather is sunny.
5. Induce flowering once a year. However, if it did not flush during the fruiting time, spray again after harvest, but do not expect full bloom.
6. Spraying should be done when the tree and leaves are dry, and with no expected rain within the next six hours.
7. Use Apsa-80 as sticker.
8. Using the same formulation, spray again after two days to hasten the emergence of flowers.
9. From flowering to harvest, it takes 7 to 8 months to rejuvenate and accumulate nutrients for the next fruiting season.
10. Trees that have yielded in the previous season but have not flushed can be induced, but do not expect a full bloom.
In spraying potassium nitrate, prepare a 1% – 3% solution, depending on the condition of the tree. Or, mix 4 kilos per 200 liters of water. Spray it onto the leaves and branches, totally wetting but not dripping. Spray early in the morning (from sunrise to 9:00 a.m.) or late in the afternoon (from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.) to prevent leaf burning due to sunlight. In applying CaN, one one hand, mix 5 kilos to 200 liters of water.
After 12 days, when the flowers start to emerge, spray pesticide and fungicide. The flowers would be fully opened after 20 days. At this time, the flowers are susceptible to pest, so inspect the plants every day to see if there are damages caused by insects, and spray appropriate pesticide.
Applying flower inducer at the right time and amount indeed results in significant increase in production. One mango farmer in San Roque, Digos City, Davao del Sur who uses inducer is Arnold Nebria. In fact he is the first one in San Roque who has succeeded in mango farming. At present, he grosses an average of PI million every harvest. Also applying inducer is Victorino Ramos, and in September 2008 this 70-year-old farmer and councilman of San Roque has earned almost P1 million.
In the same year, I grossed P960,000 from my 2-hectare lot planted to grafted Cebu Mango; and it was the biggest income that I ever earned in my entire life! So consider the said tips on using flower inducer, and you, too, would have a hefty profit.By Felix B. Daray