Category: Photography

Red Sun @ 3PM

Red Sun, Photo by PH Morton

Red Sun @ 3PM

It was a strange day today.  At around 3oClock in the afternoon, the sky turned dirty yellow or has that sepia tone and then red.  The atmosphere was just like the film or television science fiction which came to life.

Apparently this phenomenon was due to Hurricane Ophelia, which sadly battered the Republic of Ireland leaving at least three people dead

The MetOffice has said that the red colouring of the sky is due to the dust being pulled by the strong gust of wind from the Sahara desert in Africa.

The photo, by the way, was taken by Peter from our back garden here in North London.  The sky was red and Peter just managed to take a small sunspot & flare coming off sun’s limb at 3 o’clock position (on the sun).

It’s beautiful but rather disconcerting as it reminded me of apocalyptic films often seen of films and television.

Here Comes October!

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Here Comes October!

The month of October is harvest time.  It is Harvest Festival.

I can see glorious amounts of pumpkins and squashes rolling into the supermarkets ready for end of the month’s Halloween.

October also is the penultimate month for pay-days before Christmas!

October is when Christmas shopping starts to really rev up,.

The above photo shows a beautiful clematis, which will soon stop flowering and will be hibernating for the autumn and winter and will come to life again in the spring.  Blooming its mighty flowers, ready to delight the senses once again.

October heralds the last of the summer days into autumn.  The orange days of the year are upon us.

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

Life size mortar and pestle, photo by JMorton

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

The above photo was taken in Ferdinand Marcos’s Batac ancestral house.  It was used when he was obviously younger as the mortar shows sign of erosion or depreciation.

Having lived in a farming community when I was a young girl, this life-size mortar and pestle is a familiar sight.

It was used in many things that needed pulping like my favourite sweet rice dessert called nilupak or dehusking palay, especially when going to a rice mill is a bit of a hustle.

The term used by Ilocanos, people of Northern Luzon, is agbayo, which means to pound.

Rice comes from palay grains, and if you only wanted a chupa or a ganta of rice, most Ilocanos would probably use a pestle and mortar to pound the palay to dehusk and turn into rice which then ready to cook.

Pounding rice is sometimes more than just a chore.  It can be a way of bonding with friends and family.

I used to help my cousins when they were pounding in the mortar.  Usually there are extra pestles around and two or three people can pound together but take turn.  It is a matter of timing.  It was a lot of fun though can be hard work.  Having someone to help makes this arduous repetitive task less of a chore.

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

These photos were taken at the Ferdinand Marcos Ancestral House Museum, which is located at Batac Ilocos Norte.

The above ‘banga’ can be found in the house kitchen.

Having lived in London for several decades, walking through Marcos’s house is like going back in time, especially around the kitchen.  I suddenly recognised things that I have forgotten.

If you happen to be in Vigan and wanted to have a trip on memory lane, that is if you are as ancient as me, or curious about Ilocano household before the 90s, then I would recommend a visit to this museum.

….

We used banga to cook our viand or ‘abraw’ when we were still living in Marag.  The conical shape of banga sit perfectly on the 3 prong terracotta stove which uses firewood.

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

Kangkong, photo by JMorton

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

I love kangkong, or water spinach as its English given name.

Kangkong is a green leafy aquatic vegetables which is rich in vitamins and nutrients.  They have a long slender leaves attached to a hollow tube stem which is crunchy or there is bite to it. Yummy

They usually grow in anything watery plot, in fields, swamp, lakes, river or even in bogs.

I remember that they grew near a dyke in the middle of your rice field when we were still living in Marag.

Kangkong can grow rather vigorously and needed a good trim to prevent them overpowering the water surface.  Good thing they are so delicious.

I remember going into the waist-high water in our field to gather the kangkong sprout.  I almost had a near panic attack after a carabao leech decided to attached itself to my stomach. It took ages to remove it and it seems the more you pull at it the longer it gets.  That still gives me nightmare to date.

My father did smoke whenever he plowed the field.  He would use the burning ember of the cigarette to unhook any pesky leech.

Oops, back to kangkong, they are delicious in sinigang as were as blanch and made into a salad.

Liturgical Comb

Liturgical Comb, photo by JMorton


Liturgical comb, a lovely name given to the more common or prosaic name of nits (lice) comb, used to comb out head lice.

Well that was how the suyod, we used in the Marag, Philippines looked like.  🙂

The above liturgical comb photo was taken by yours truly at the antiquity at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It looks like it was carved from a piece of ivory. The carving of nativity and death of Christ was so intricate.  An amazing work of art.

Pisces Major by Jesse Watkins

Pisces, photo by PH Morton

Pisces @ RFH, photo by PH Morton

Pisces Major by Jesse Watkins

This huge silver sculpture apparently called Pisces Major was a piece by a British sculpture, Jesse Watkins (1899-1980).

Pisces Major is situated in front of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

It looks beautiful during the day as the sun catches its shiny silvery surface.  It is even more breath-taking when night falls as light dances, projecting many colours into the sculpture.

Chayote (Sayote)

Chayote vine, photo by JMorton

Sayote, photo by JMorton

Chayote (Sayote)

Chayote is what is called sayote in the Philippines.  It is also known as vegetable pear worldwide because of its pear shape and colour.  Chayote belongs to the gourd family like cucumber, squash and melon.  Chayote is a rich source of vitamin C.

It is a much love vegetable in the Philippnes as it is very versatile.  It can be stir-fried, lightly stewed and added to many recipes.  It can also a good substitute for the unripe papaya for a chicken soup called tinola.

Sayote is mostly grown in the mountainous part of the Ilocos region in the Philippines.  In fact the photo above is taken while we were trekking the rice terraces of Benguet.

The vine grows supported by chicken wire against a fence.

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