Monday, November 14, 2016

Expanded bamboo deck

Just a short post to show off the new expanded deck. Originally it was only around 6X8 feet, and when the bamboo flooring rotted, since it was open and exposed to the weather, I had our carpenter make it a little bigger, and now I feel it's just the right size. I also had it covered. For expediency, since the rainy season was upon us and it was getting hosed everyday, I had them use bamboo poles and a tarp to cover and protect it so it would not rot as before.
The new deck can now fit outdoor living room furniture, which I am happy to find out, is made right here in Puerto Princesa! The furniture is of synthetic wicker which we found out holds up much better in a forest than natural, since too many bugs eat up the natural stuff!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Drone shots of forest home

If you click the link it will take you to a page with drone and OSMO 360 shots of our home. It will also have links to see the insides of the rooms we have done or slapped together as we went along as as the need arose. It shows all the rooms in our place. I need help redecorating. I find I'm out of steam these day for such activities. Always have painted houses myself but these days I'm inviting friends to come stay and decorate it up and I'll buy the supplies!!

It is truly wonderful to live here in Palawan, even with the ups and downs.

The photo is only a still grab screenshot of the page with 360 drone and OSMO land camera 260. Click the link above to see in full 360.

Here are some recent pictures, the overview of where we are doing our best to be as sustainable as possible. You can see why we want to do so when you see the vast green trees surrounding us. Mangroves dot the shores of Turtle bay giving sanctuary to countless sea life.

A birds eye view of our "back yard" as it were. You can see why we want to keep our place and the area as natural as we can. That bay upper left of photo, is called Turtle bay and it is a natural marine sanctuary and nursery for all variety of sea life.

The little group of buildings on the right of center; red and tin roofs, are our buildings. Consisting of a cook shack, with upstairs apartment, a workshop/storeroom and our bedroom cottage, with the red roof.  In the far left distance you can see our stomping grounds, Turtle bay. I feel so lucky to be living here.

Asian small clawed otters live on the shores of the rivers and mangroves. They are slowly being displaced by immigrant fisherfolk, poachers and those to take them to be pets. They are nocturnal which is why most people never see them. Only us residents from time to time get to see or hear them at dusk.
Rescued asian small clawed otters.
We are still chugging right along doing what we can in our daily life to leave as small a footprint as we can. We always bring eco bags to the grocery, we carry our own water in reusable canisters, we recycle many plastics and cans etc.

Life in Palawan has its ups and downs, but I would not live anywhere else.

Good luck in your own efforts to give back to Mother Earth.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

First Solar lit-banka-boat in Palawan

Dave and his trusted and skilled assistant Jhun, decided to make a solar lit native fishing boat, or banca as they are called here, to give livelihood to an experienced fisherman who needed a boat to go out on. Traditional bancas use diesel run generators for their lights which are used to attract fish at night. The generators are noisy and also put out noxious emissions. Solar lights do not put out any fumes and the battery that runs them is silent! It is currently parked at Mangingisda pier, in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It went out for the first time on a tuna run and came back with a decent haul of yellow fin tuna.

The fishermen are only allowed two fish per day. So there is no fear of over fishing from our crew, and they use hook and line and not nets.

The captain of the solar lit boat is so thrilled at his catch. He said that he is happy he no longer has to breath the fumes from diesel powered lights, plus its much more quiet. The environment is not harmed by C02 emmissions nor their health.

Diesel fueled generator lights only run for 3 hours and then they have to replace the refuel. The fumes from diesel powered lights are bad for the environment and the fishermen. Our solar lights are so efficient that the captain has been running them all night. The light allows the children to swim next to the boat and cool off during these hot nights of summer. Our solar LED lights last 13 hours!

The fishermen say it costs them an average of 10,000 php in diesel, oil and repairs for their night lights, for a three day fishing run at sea. There is no cost for our solar lights, except for the initial investment! Therefore, more profit for the local fishermen. 
Our fishermen will not have to breathe in the noxious diesel fumes or limit the use of nights for safety reasons. Plus, it's much better for the environment!

Fishermen have been swarming to Mangingisda port to see the banca, as word has gotten out through the grape vine. There are 2000 native fishing boats in Puerto Princesa, I am told. Imagine how much better it would be if all the boats were outfitted with solar! Better for the environment and for the health of the fishermen in not breathing fumes but also no noise pollution, as from the generators. Not to mention the 10K php in fuel savings for each 3 day trip. That is 100K php for 10 three day fishing excursions they can pocket!

As the sunsets at Mangingisda pier, the solar lights come on.

An added benefit to the children of the local fishermen, is that they can safely swim at night under the bright lights of the solar lit banca while docked at port to cool off during the summer.

Click link below to view my blog dedicated to this solar lit fishing boat.

Friday, September 12, 2014

More bamboo projects

Since we have our own bamboo groves. Most of the objects we need for our home are made with it.

Here are a few of the things we have built for our home. To read more, visit my blog about the way were are trying to live as sustainably as possible.

I have a lot of bling which I kept in plastic boxes and it was so hard to find anything. I had these bamboo jewelry trees made out of the scrap bamboo we had from building the deck.

I shopped around for kitchen cupboards and every time I tried to buy from a local hardware store, they were out of stock. I got tired of waiting around so I had the carpenters build them for me from bamboo. They turned out just great!

For the bathroom towel racks, I had them make these as well. The stainless steel racks were pretty expensive since everything has to be imported then shipped to the island.

Bamboo dish rack is holding up quite well!
To the left of my hubby's deck is a broom closet made of bamboo as well as the floor deck and railings.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harvesting Sugarcane for Juice for Tubo Delight

Part of our property is planted in sugarcane this year. Tubo Delight, a company that sells sugarcane or tubo juice at the local Robinson's mall helped us plant it, and this is our first harvest. Our juice will soon be at their booth at the mall. It's so sweet, plus it's a very healthy drink.

We used to pay people to clear this part of the land as it was always overgrown with weeds. The canes to plant came from this company and now it's being harvested and making money back instead of laying fallow and going to the weeds!  We have a little less than 1 hectare planted in sugarcane. If you have some land you don't know what to do with, go to Tubo Delight Facebook page and send them a message. They are always looking for more planters or sellers of sugarcane. The stalks need to be at least 1 1/2 inches in circumference

I like to use the sugar cane as BBQ sticks. They don't burn up like the bamboo sticks and when the juice caramelizes, it gives the food on it a great flavor!

You can read about the health benefits of sugarcane or tubo juice here:
This is their second trip to harvest part of our sugar cane. They bring their own crew to harvest the sugarcane.
The next time you see our canes they will be at the Tubo Delight booth at Robinson's mall at the back entrance!

You can make a great desert using sugarcane juice and saba banana or plaintain.
Boil the sugarcane juice till it's thickened and then toss in the bananas till they are cooked and coated with the caramelized juice. You can spice it up with cinnamon, cardamom and other spices to give it a more of a zing too!

Tubo Delight does not leave on the peel so all you get is pure fresh sweet healthy sugarcane juice!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Electric school trike

Our daughter is going to the local elementary school up the road from us this year, and now we get to have her taken to school in Dave's electric trike. It fits her school mates and even room to pick up a few other students along the way. The school is only 5 minutes away, or about 2.8 kms., but the trike makes 3 round trips a day. One in the morning to bring her to school, then get her for lunch, bring her back to school, then go get her from school, and back home again! It has nice shocks for rougher roads, but we are lucky to have the road we ply be totally cemented.

No noise or gas emissions for us! It's a good experience for the village kids too. It might open their minds for the future. After all, the children now are the adults of the future and we hope they can become responsible and eco aware citizens. It's all old hat to Alysha right now, because Dave has been driving her around in electric motorbikes since she was an infant. I imagine someday, she will realize how rarefied her school ride was!
et4-Etrike Now a school transportation vehicle.
This prototype was completely assembled and made in Puerto Princesa by a local body shop run by William Russel. He co designed the body with hubby Dave, based on Dave's passenger load and road conditions here in Puerto Princesa. Dave designed the electrical system and all that other mechanical stuff that makes for a smooth ride.

Here is a video of Dave driving the etrike along the Puerto Princesa north highway heading to Honda Bay. There's a lot more traffic these days in town though. Select HD for a clearer picture.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New master bedroom cottage

Goodness, it's been way too long since I have looked at this and it's so yesterday. We have come a long way and here are more photos of what we have been doing with all the bamboo growing around here.

The lights are all powered by solar batteries. All the light fixtures are inset LED lights. We have solar plugs to operate my PC, lights and fans for the long 4 hour electrical blackouts lately.

The carpenters didn't want to use the crooked bamboo...but I told them to make a railing with them and I think it turned out quite well.
The wrap around deck is 10'(ft) wide also from our bamboo. You can see one of the living bamboo clusters in back of the deck by the marble table. That's sugar cane growing in back of it. It will be made into a healthy juice the canes can be made into BBQ sticks. When grilled with meat stuck through them, they caramelize and give the meat lots of flavor.

I used to sit on this spot before we built anything, listening to the birds chirping and the winds blow through the trees and bamboo. It's so nice to have an idea and dream come true. I always thought it was such a perfect place for a deck, and was I ever right. The sun rises over a little knoll every morning, you can even see the dew glistening on the bamboo poles and leaves.
This is what the deck looks from the side view. I love all the dancing crooked bamboo. Normally they would burn the crooked stuff. They learned a lesson that you can make something beautiful with them. It was so nice to give the carpenters my ideas and have them execute them so well.
Originally the deck wrapped around but with a roof; I found that I missed a nice place to hang out and look at the stars, so I had them kick the deck out in back so I'd have a little slice of sky at night.

To cap off the bamboo poles so that water would not accumulate, I had the carpenters sand and polish some of the coconut shells we have around, for making coconut milk for various dishes we cook with.
This leads to the upstairs which hasn't been finished as we are still working on the downstairs!
The glass doors to the left open to my office. I have a view of both sides of  the property which I like best. My husband Dave likes to work outside, so that is the corner of his desk, front left.
The glass doors left and back lead to the extension which holds the kitchenette, showers and commode. Dave has always liked to work outside when he can.
The bamboo cabinet to the left of Dave is my new broom closet. The glass doors on right, my office.
This is my kitchenette. Mainly a coffee and snack center. We do the main cooking in our original building. I forces me to get off my butt and move. I had them make the wall to the patio, in back of the tea kettle, out of solid bamboo poles; it has a removable screen in a frame.  The cabinetry, all bamboo with space for air to move so things don't get moldy here in the tropics.
I had the carpenters make a custom shelf for the microwave, and shelving for my herbs and spices. The glass door far back, right leads to the patio deck.
All of our light bulbs are LED mounted into the drop ceiling. During the summer, we always have them switched to solar energy. It's really helped with the electric bill and the ubiquitous power outages on this island.

Even the tub and shower area has bamboo. I had this bamboo towel holder made after I saw the prices of stainless ones' at the hardware store.  The glass bricks in the wall make it bright enough to shower without turning on any light bulbs.
We have solar panels for our lighting and solar electrical plugs. When there is an electrical blackout, which is almost for 3 hours every day recently, I can still run my PC, three fans and all the lights are LED so we run those all the time.