Christine Gaoa, Edible, Feature, Flowers

Today’s Menu: Flowers!!!

What would happen if there are no flowers to this world of ours? Simply boring, perhaps meaningless, without color, seems barren.

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into,” noted Henry Beecher. “Earths laughs in flowers, “Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Hamatreya. And Emma Goldman declared, “I’d rather have rose on my table than diamonds on my neck.”

In Victorian times, certain flowers had specific meaning because the flower selection was limited and people used more symbols and gestures to communicate than words. But today, with so many flower choices, there are no rules – it’s the sentiment that gives the gift its meaning.

People always need to add some freshness in their lives. Flowers have a capacity to regulate people’s emotions. For example, the chrysanthemum makes people feel loyal and truthful; lilies represent purity and love.

But flowers are not merely objects of beauty for decoration and fragrance. Unknowingly, hundreds of fresh flowers are edible but only few are widely marketed as food. Flowers are not only for appreciation but consumption as well. While flowers are often used fresh, they are also preserved for later use when they are stored dried, freeze-dried, candied, crystallized, or even frozen in ice cubes.

Oftentimes flowers are used to add color and flavor to salads. Squash flowers for instance, are dipped in breadcrumbs and fired. Some edible flowers are sometimes candied such a daisy. See there is more to discover in our environment. Most people might not know this, but roses are edible and as with many edible flowers, they actually are quite tasty. Some claim they taste like a sweet apple fruit and others fail to describe the taste of a rose, but a favorite is always candied rose petals, which are a great confection to decorate cookies, cakes, and puddings.

But did you know that you can make omelet out of gumamela leaves? It was discovered in a study conducted by researchers from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB). Gumamela is very common in many gardens, but it is mostly used to adorn table tops or a girl’s hair. The petals of gumamela flower can be pickled or even made as jelly. The flower buds and leaves can also be prepared into a vegetable salad as an omelet (fried with scrambled egg) or a sautéed vegetable dish.

The red and fleshy calyces (outer petals) of rossele flowers can be made as well into wine and jellies. In addition, the young leaves can be used as substitute for spinach, or maybe cooked with fish or meat in making sinigang.

But the use of edible flowers as food also raises a number of concerns. First, culinary flowers must be free from insecticides and herbicides. In one sense, assuring toxin-free flowers is easy because fresh flower buds and flowers grow quickly. On some plants it takes only a few days for new buds and flowers to form. On the other hand, commercial flowers are often sprayed to keep them pest-free and visually attractive.

Perhaps there is still much more to be learned about the secret of flowers.

Christine Gaoa, Eclectic, Feature, Genre, Music

The Nameless Genre of Up Dharma Down

Music is in the air we breathe, it is tighter, every words bursting into a different dimension of sounds that hit the spot and made a subconscious merge in our tangled-up sensation. What if this kind of music brings in our ears? Well, another band takes the seats in our local music arena. In a scene this vibrant, it’s hard for any act to rise above the clamor, but Up Dharma Down might just be doing so.

One of their more ear- catching pieces is “Sana”, a song about past romance; another is “Taya”, a song about the struggles involved in a relationship that turns sour and their quite break-up song the “Unspoken Definite.”

Photo Credits:

Up Dharma Down is a Filipino band with no specific genres but the best way to understand their nameless genre is to press play and listen to their music. They named their band from the concept that everything is interconnectivity and has a purpose of being so. The band composed of four members, being led by Armi Millare (keyboards and vocals), Carlos Tanada (lead guitars), Ean Mayor (drums and loops) and Paul Yap (bass).

The Manila got its first taste of Up Dharma Down on 2004 at Café saGuico-a proving ground for Manila’s young bands- and immediately caught the attention of local cognoscenti. Since then, the band have played in regional music festivals, received numerous nominations and garnered recognition for their work from award-giving bodies: NU107 In The Raw Award (2005), NU107 Best New Artist (2006), NU107 Best Female Award (2006), and MYX Favorite Indie Artist(2008), Avima2010 Best Female Vocalist, AVIMA 2010 Best Video (Sana), AVIMA 2009 Best Female Vocalist, NU 107 Rock Awards 2009 Artist of the Year, NU 107 Rock Awards 2009 Album of the Year (Bipolar), NU 107 Rock Awards 2009 Vocalist of the Year, NU 107 Rock 2005 In The Raw Award, NU 107 Rock Awards 2006 Best New Artist, NU 107 Rock Awards 2006 Best Female Award, MYX Music Awards 2008 Favorite Indie Artist. Up Dharma Down was also the first Filipino band to appear on MTV’s Advance Warning, a showcase of up-and-coming international artists that has featured the likes of the U.K.’s Bloc Party and Canada’s Arcade Fire.

Their influences range from Jill Scott, Robert Plant, The Blue Nile, Janis Joplin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, The Cure Incognito, Spyro Gyra, Zero 7, Photek and  Portishead and even John Williams to name only a few of the band’s list of their musical heroes. The band was influenced by so many but they were able to balance and combine everything and they make music that manages to be both thoughtful and sensual. Their generic goal is “to be heard” for that is something promising.

Perhaps, we would say that music is immortal, most famous artistic musicians of all time spent years pleasing churches and courts. But we can be artists in our own mind as well, expressing emotion in every touch and every breath but don’t expect to convey emotion through music if you haven’t lived enough life to understand the full spectrum of human feelings.

Christine Gaoa, Feature, Games

Street Games vs. Computer Games

In this technology-driven world where almost everyone – including children – practically lives a virtual lifestyle, only a handful of those who are aware of indigenous street games remain. After school or during weekends, children retreat to their own little world — watching TV shows for hours on end, or playing computer games at home, at internet shops or malls.

Traditional Filipino Games or “street games” in the Philippines are games commonly played by children, usually using native materials or instruments. Due to limited resources of toys of Filipino children, they usually come up on inventing games without the need of anything but the players themselves. With the flexibility of a real human to think and act makes the game more interesting and challenging.

Here are some of the known Filipino traditional or street games that seems forgotten by most of us: Patintero or harangang daga, Tumbang preso, Luksong-Baka , Luksong-tinik , Piko , Sekqu Base, Agawang sulok , Araw-lilim , Bahay-Bahayan, Bahay-Kubo, Bati Cobra, Bulong-Pari, Buwan-Buwan, Chinese Garter, Holen, Jack ‘en Poy, Juego de prenda, Kapitang bakod, Langit-lupa,  Lawin-Lawin (Hawk and Chicks, Pacpa Can, Banog Banog), Palo-sebo Pitik Bulag, Sawsaw-Suka, Sipa , Taguan, Takip-silim, Ten-twenty, Siato, Ubusan lahi and Teks or teks game cards.

These games are mostly played before, during and after school as well as during PE class. Some of them are played during fiestas or and when there’s wake for the dead.

Studies shows that street games promote total fitness — from the physical with the locomotor (moving from one place to another) and non-locomotor (moving on-the-spot without going anywhere) movements incorporated into the mental fitness. It was also promoting national culture and Filipino pride among the new generation of youth.

It is also commonly known that games play an important part in the learning process of the child. This educational influence of games on the physical, mental, and moral vitality of a child, by playing street games, children has learned to cooperate with people. They also gained a lot of friends and became physically fit.

Many have always thought that native street games have only been dead in the upper class of society but it still exists in other part of the country, especially on the rural areas. A few decades ago, kids used to gather in the streets or in their neighborhood playground to play their favorite Larong Pinoy games like piko, patintero, taguan, tumbang preso, siato, luksong tinik, etc. These has been their regular and popular pastimes, as well as the favorite games of their parents and grandparents until new and modern forms of entertainment has taken over the interests of young kids.

Moreover, the advent of information technology has ushered high-tech gadgets and computer games that has fascinated children and even adults. Computers and game gadgets are mostly played indoor, with less outdoor physical activity and bonding for children among neighborhood friends.

Amidst by the age of computer and video games, the re-introduction of the traditional Filipino games can be a good vehicle to promote active outdoor play and attachment in things that are Filipino. Our childhood memories won’t be completed if we do not try at least one of those street games that, we, Filipinos have.

Christine Gaoa, Literary, Poem


Panahon na upang bumangon mula sa pagkalugmok

Boluntaryo nating ipaglaban ang kalayaan at demokrasya

Alisin ang mali, palitan ng tama

Kumalas na tayo sa maling lipunan.

Kapit bisig tungo sa pagbabago

Para sa kasalukuyan at sa darating pa na henerasyon

Ating buhayin pangarap na pinatay ng makabagong panahon

Reyalidad ang susi sa lahat ng ito.

Ito ay hindi lamang laban ng isang nilalang

Kasangkot ka sa lahat ng magagnap

Huwag tayong magpipi-pihan at magbulag-bulagan

Nasa harap na natin ang katusuan.

Tingnan mo ang ating bansa,hindi ba’t kabilang ka din dito?

Kahihiyan mo’y kahihiyan ko din

Sa lahat ng mga Pilipino, sa lahat ng masa

Ikilos natin ang ating mga katawan.

Itigil na natin ang away na nag-ugat sa kasakiman

Abutin mo ang aking kamay

Na nais hugasan ang makasalanan mong kamay

Upang matanglawan mo ang liwanag at iwan na ang karimlan.

Christine Gaoa, News

COMGUILD (The Center for Journalism)

Junior and Senior BatStateU Development Communication students joined the 5th Annual Conference of Journalism and Mass Communication students of the Philippines which was held at AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Aug. 1, 2010.

The said conference was organized by COMGUILD “The Center for Journalism”, which aimed to unify the communication students all over the country and presents different opportunities in their chosen field. The event was hosted by GMA7 news anchor and reporter Joey Villarama, Bernadette Reyes and Raffy Tima with the theme “Pursuit of Mass Media towards Responsible Broadcast Journalism.”

The guest speakers were Mr. Doland Castro, a veteran reporter of ABS-CBN, Ms. Mariz Umali, news anchor and reporter of GMA7, Mr. Jeremy Torr, the managing editor of Discovery Channel and Ms. Sandra Aguinaldo, a documentaries and reporter of GMA7.

The speakers/lecturers shared knowledge and experienced then presented different outputs in benefits of the students as the future broadcast journalism. As what Mr. Doland Castro remarked, “a broadcast journalist makes news to extend help and be a journalist for a right reason.”

Mr. Jeremy Torr received his plaque of recognition.

The said conference highlighted the awarding of the 2010 Best Male/Female Field Reporter, the 2010 Most Outstanding Male/Female News Presenter and the Hall Of Fame Award.

Mr. Anthony Taberna (ABS-CBN) awarded as 2010 Best Male Field Reporter and Ms. Ina Reformina for 2010 Best Female Field Reporter. Mr. Ted Failon (ABS-CBN) awarded as the Most Outstanding Male News Presenter and Ms. Karen Davila (ABS-CBN) for the 2010 Most Outstanding Female News Presenter while Ms.Mel Tiangco (GMA7) got the First Hall of Fame Award.

Meanwhile, the awarding of certificates to the judges and to the participants was also given.