Robbie's Posts (129)

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The Greatest Pollinator


There's something roaming around in my itsy-bitsy garden. It's not a bird, not a plane, it's batman! Joke! (How I wish!) Well, it's this flying brown mammal!

I was amazed to see this critter flying back and fort to my seniorita banana tree that has finally set its bloom. Yay! So I was feeling like a NatGeo photographer, I instantly grabbed my camera and used a 300mm lens to capture this one.

I waited patiently for him to come back, like it took more minutes. It's almost midnight and there's darkness everywhere. I didn't mind if I encounter a white lady or ghost (Luckily, no one dared!), I just focused to my subject. Alas, he came back several times and I took as many shots as possible until my camera ran out of juice.

I confess I was a bit nervous, what if he attacks me for startling him with camera flash? Thank goodness he didn't! I learned that bats love cacti flowers (as what I watched on BBC Earth), but I wasn't sure if they like other species of fruit flowers. Now I've documented it and its a great feeling!

I noticed with this shot that he looked like crying. Perhaps someone wants to kill him? I hope I'm wrong. Maybe it's tears of joy for he found tons of nectar! If just people let him and other exotic animals live and enjoy its beauty. They deserve to thrive harmoniously too. People should understand boundaries. If only all humans know how to respect them, we won't be having a pandemic right now...


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Sheer Determination


She aims at her target like a big prize for the day, but still wary what might cause the delay. Could there be something lurking underneath the trees? Perhaps there’s a green-eyed monster waiting for her to ambush. Should she pursue it and risk her life? But the woodland is enchanting and the tropical weather is inviting. Nonetheless, her tummy is getting numb. She needs to act as fast as she can.

Eyeing for the gold comes to her mind. She doesn’t want her chicks to die in hunger, nor return to her nest empty-handed. She should be quick like a bullet train if she wants to get the elusive prize. Time is running out and the grey sky would mean rain is coming. This would become unbearable for her. But the captivating beauty of heather encourages her to give it a go. Now she’s determined even if there are different sounds of threat- from the peregrine falcons, wildcats and baboons.

Famished and exhausted, she hit the target with precision, and outsmarted the other preys in her surroundings. She killed two birds with one stone. Or were they really birds? (C’mon Robbie, tell us what she really killed!!!) Shhh… just a lazy beetle and a horny caterpillar… She’s lucky that she followed her intuition. The moorland is bountiful and for sure she’ll be back. For the meantime, she’s enjoying the prizes together with her chicks. Time is a thief but she didn’t let it rob her…

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Photo Challenge: My Thoughts, My Photo

Welcome to our photo challenge! I hope everything is working well with you. This activity is about using your own photo and adding description using your thoughts and ideas. It’s basically one of the ways to challenge ourselves to describe our photos using words, phrases and figures of speech to improve vocabulary.

Furthermore, it’s exciting to exaggerate the sentences to add humor, drama or even horror in our writings. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. A few sentences would do.

Here’s how to participate;

1. Upload your own photo in our photo gallery. Please use your own photo otherwise it will not be approved.

2. Provide descriptions (very important) to your photo using your own thoughts and ideas. Do not use profane or insulting words. Nevertheless, be creative (sky’s the limit)!

3. Name your photo- Photo Challenge: My Thoughts, My Photo

4. You can check out our photo guidelines as a reminder. 

It’s easy as 1,2,3 right?

I’m looking forward to your participation and wishing you the best of luck! Happy learning!

Here’s my participation


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Thumbs Up for Tithonia!


One of the most prolific annual plants to attract pollinators in the garden is the Tithonia rotundifolia or commonly known as the Mexican sunflower. I wonder if it’s really came from Mexico, though. It has striking red and orange foliage about 8cm which look like daisies. Its main tiny flowers are either yellow or light orange. The plant can be used as borders and can be paired with other herbaceous plants.

3416040200?profile=RESIZE_710xLast February, I seeded some of them in a container. Others didn’t germinate but it’s OK. The following month, I transferred at least three plants on the ground where they received full sun. I noticed they grew so fast. As per packet instruction, they aren’t suitable in a container because they can reach up to 5 feet unless of course if you have a very large and deep pots. True enough, they did grow tall while on the ground. They do not like too much moisture in the soil just like the Helianthus.

Pests came along before they even start producing buds. Common pests are whiteflies and this one that I didn’t know yet. It’s caught red handed devouring the leaves. Its kin kept coming back even though I 3416031910?profile=RESIZE_710xsquashed some of them with my fingers ha ha. Yes, silly me! I regularly checked for pests and feed them with balanced fertilizer. Fortunately, these Tithonias are a champ. They managed to produce lots of buds last June even if pests were around. The much awaited blooms finally appeared in the following weeks and I couldn’t describe my excitement.

Visitors drooled on the flowers as if they were in an end game. It’s priceless to see the butterflies and bees roaming around in the middle of day. I remembered how diligent they were in order to satisfy their hunger. They’re singing like ‘Hallelujah, the food has been served’! Moreover, I was so glad to see one of my fave butterflies - the swallowtail which I caught on camera.

Meanwhile, they already reached their maturity and the rest of the blooms are becoming smaller. How I wish they would last a little longer, for a few more months! I started collecting some dried flowers so I could have fresh seeds. Maybe it’s in the right timing, it’s been raining for days now and I bet they don’t like it. I learned that they aren’t frost tolerant. Nevertheless, the Tithonias are a must in every garden and I can’t wait to see them again in the next summer. They definitely deserved my two thumps up!

I confess growing flowering plants is challenging and quite addictive. It’s truly rewarding to see the fruit of your labor. Even there’s failure, there’s another day and opportunity to start planting again. There’s something to look forward to. The difference is to whether give up easily and let frustrations ruin your momentum. So bear in mind that whatever happens and if things end up poorly no matter how much effort you put in, just calm down and enjoy the rest of the flowers while they last…

What flowering plants you like to grow in your garden? Kindly share them below! Thank you for reading my blog. Wishing you a fantastic blooming season!

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Thorns of Happiness


Gardeners and plant enthusiasts get into phases when it comes to choosing a group of plants. Some would like to have a group of begonias or dahlias. Some are fond of growing edible fruit and vegetables even herbs while others collect and propagate ornamental plants to accentuate beauty to their gardens and homes. A lot of people combine different types of group to have varieties of textures and colors. Other than that, it’s rewarding to consume produce right from your own backyard, isn’t it?

These days though, more and more plant nerds and collectors are into cacti and succulents. They choose them primarily because of limited spaces at home (like what I have) and let’s face it, they are incredibly brighten up our moods. Moreover, they are the most photographed living things on social media. I must confess I’m in love with them now. I used to dislike them and opt not to purchase one whenever I visit a garden center or shop even though I found them so cute and astonishing.  But their thorns discouraged me to hold one while checking out new plants.

Then one fine weekend, I was looking for a specific variety of plant in the market when I accidentally touched a tiny cactus. I didn’t notice its thorns until the seller told me. What! I was stung! My thumb numb for hours and I felt discomfort due to sudden pain until I got home. And later I realized it wasn’t bad at all, I’m still alive! Hooray! The numb sensation it left on me carved like a tattoo and it made me crave for more he he…

I was badly bruised before while gardening and almost injured myself for harvesting a cluster of bananas and other fruit, I don’t think the cactuses’ spines would kill me now. So I decided to finally have one, or two in my garden. I purchased the one above as my first ever cactus plant. I hope it would be the first of many. I will consider them as my thorns of happiness because even though they are spiny, they would bring positive energy to the people who truly care and nurture them.

Furthermore, just like in real life we face the thorns (problems and setbacks) that sting our hearts and minds. But despite the uneasiness we find solutions and strive for happiness and positivity to remain sane. We can never define happiness without experiencing heartaches, right? So if ever you accidentally sting by a cactus, look for a brighter side. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’…

I confess, I would love to have a collection of cacti and succulents for my itsy bitsy garden. I would like to see diversity of plants in a place that I call my refuge. I learned they have therapeutic powers just like the flowering plants. Gazing at my ornamentals relieved me from the stress brought by toxic people and pollution. Of course, if we decide a new plant member in the family, we should at least shower it with TLC, starting by making some research about its growth habits and climate requirements.

How about you? Are you fond of collecting cacti and succulents? Kindly share your plant confessions below… Thank you and happy gardening!

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Mulberry… So Very!

Health is really wealth. When you want to stay fit and fab, having a healthy lifestyle should be a must. One of the ways to living well is by drinking tea (as part of your daily regimen).

Introducing… Mulberry!

Mulberry, you say? It is a tree (Morus nigra) that produces tiny black fruit. Its leaves can be used as herbal tea. Mulberry is considered a superfood by many experts, and it’s been proven effective to controlling the blood sugar levels in the body. It contains anti-oxidant that curbs free radicals in the blood stream as well as lowers the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or the ‘bad cholesterol’ in the body. The compound called ‘DNJ’ or deoxinojirimycin which can be found in its leaves is the one responsible for lowering the blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. It also improves the blood circulation in the nerves, so if you’re stressed out why not sip a cup of mulberry tea to brighten out your mood and prevent you from suffering a heart attack.

Both the fruit and the leaves of the mulberry are beneficial to the body as well as to the inner being. Scientific studies have shown the remarkable results for the patients with type-2 diabetes who incorporated mulberry teas in their diet. It’s also beneficial to people with hypertension. Furthermore, like other varieties of berry, it could make someone slim.

I can attest to its health benefits because I have been drinking mulberry tea for months already. Out of curiosity, I tested its taste and it was good. The tea is fragrant as well. Now, it’s part of my morning regimen usually after taking breakfast. To prepare such tea, I would just pick some fresh leaves in my garden and rinse them thoroughly with clean water then boil them as regular tea and voilà! … I have free tea! The good thing is that I don’t need to buy or order it elsewhere. My tiny garden provides it and I know it’s organic because I don’t use pesticides or (inorganic) chemical fertilizers in it. The tiny red or maroon produce is always a bonus since it only bears fruit occasionally. It so freakin’ delish with oatmeal, too!

My Mulberry tree along with other herbal plants

I confess my health has improved because apart from maintaining blood circulation, I noticed I became more mentally alert and energized. From what I read, mulberry also boosts brain function thus lowers the risk of developing dementia. Take note that you have to consult first your physician before taking any form of herbal teas or supplements especially if you’re diabetic and hypertensive. It might affect or contraindicate with your prescription medicines.

When it comes to propagation of mulberry, it’s as easy as falling of a log! You can make stem cuttings of it at least about 20 cm. or longer. You must remove all the leaves and stick it on a well draining soil. And after a few weeks, you would notice new side shoots emerging. It’s an indication that your propagation is a success. I’ve done a lot of cuttings already, it’s quite addicting really! I do not use rooting hormone, instead I dip it in cinnamon powder. It serves as a rooting agent.

Mulberry is a tree that can grow up to fifteen feet. You can either plant it on the ground for bigger leaves and fruit, or in a container to control its growth and produce, provided you feed it well with nice compost and organic fertilizers. When you plant it on the ground, chances are, you wouldn’t notice the fruit are eaten by birds before you even harvest them. The fruit is so delicate and can stain your clothes. The tree grows so fast and it’s hardy but doesn’t like too much sunlight. You should just cut back the tree or trim it to your desired height.

Finally, it is a wise investment for our health to feed our body with right nutrition and that includes preparing a well balanced diet with lots and lots of green veggies and fruit. Of course, exercise is not an excuse!  We all know that getting sick is pricey nowadays and even burn a hole in our pockets, so maintaining a habit such as drinking mulberry tea could make you live longer and healthier! It could save you from developing diabetes, stroke and even cancer as well as the expenses that go with it.

What are you waiting for… fancy cuppa?

Happy growing!

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7 Shades of Catriona Gray

The recently concluded Miss Universe 2018 which was held in Bangkok, Thailand has brought wonderful news to my fellow Filipinos as the newly crowned lady is from the Philippines. Her name is Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray. She’s a Filipino-Australian, born in Cairns, Queensland but decided to live in the Philippines and made a name for herself through modeling, singing, and hosting while supporting different charities. She later became a beauty titlist and represented the country both in Miss World (2016) and this year's edition of Miss Universe. She landed in top 5 but didn’t bag the Miss World crown even though she exemplified and has outstanding performances throughout the competition especially during the Q and A portion.

Earlier this year, she decided to join another national pageantry and was chosen to represent the country at the Miss Universe. Finally she took home the crown. But it involved a lot of preparation, hardwork, discipline and determination. She formed a glam team and collaborated with the most talented designers and trainers to improve her personality and to standout. But despite her best efforts and patriotism, she’s not spared by irrational criticism and bashing even from her fellow beauty titlists. So if you’re one of the haters or simply want to know a bit of her, here are some of the reasons why you would love our new Miss Universe.

  1. Beauty and Brains

Who would not love that angelic face? She knows how to take care of her body, in fact she has beauty tutorials on YouTube called cat’elle. In an interview, she said she was the one who did her make-up and hairstyling during the Miss Universe preliminary competition where coincidentally, she stood out both in the swimwear and evening gown competitions. Her slow-mo twirl went viral online that even Tyra Banks couldn’t help but gave her positive remarks. Well, other than that, she’s smart. Notice how she answers during the Q and A portion of the pageant and media interviews. From the way she speaks, you would know she has good breeding and was brought up quite well by her parents.

  1. Fierceness

Her valuable experiences of not winning the crown during the Miss World 2016 pageant perhaps taught her to re-invent herself, like a phoenix that was beaten yet eventually rose from the ashes and emerged as a true fighter armed with determination and optimism. Her self-confidence has improved tremendously from the way she walks on the stage.

  1. Angelic Voice

Her degree and passion for music has earned the respect and appreciation of the people. Through her talent, she’s able to host charitable concerts which provide financial aid for her advocacy. If you haven’t seen her music video, ‘We’re in this Together’, you can watch it here.

  1. Patriotism

Although she’s bi-racial, she remarkably made efforts to know the Philippine culture. In fact, she researched and visited different regions of the country. She mingled with ethnic groups and minorities and emulated how they live even for a moment. The outfits and accessories she wore during the pageant weeks were tailored and made with symbolic meanings of certain regions such as clutch bag which is made of rattan materials or a skirt which is a trademark of ethnic groups of Ifugao. Of course, who wouldn’t notice her earpiece which actually symbolizes the flag of my country, the sun’s rays and the three stars. Clearly, she’s a trendsetter and a patriot in her own unique ways.

Other than that, she’s the only (in my opinion) representative ever who was able to conceptualize her looks and incorporate Philippine culture in most of her outfits including the evening gowns both in the prelims and coronation night. Her ‘magma’ inspired red gown was truly iconic because it looked realistic especially when she strutted it with her signature #lavawalk

  1. Advocacy

Catriona has been active in supporting Young Focus Philippines, a charitable institution that provides free education to the less fortunate children living in a slump area in Tondo, Manila. The challenge is how would you see beauty if you are surrounded with filth and helplessness? For her, education would give those children a sense of hope and silver lining. If they are given the opportunity to enjoy life through proper education, they would end up better citizens in the future. The smiles in their faces would remind us to be truly grateful…

  1. Kindness and Genuineness

Some people think of her as fake. But I think she’s not. Her calmness and sincerity in dealing with negative feedback are worth emulating. The way she handled criticism made her more humble. You could sense her genuine actions in a way she speaks. She looks approachable, too. Aside from her talents and physical beauty, it was indeed her good traits and personality that earned the nod of the judges. Furthermore, her ‘Wow factor’ served as icing on the cake.

  1. Visionary

She was hands on while preparing for the national and international competitions. As what I mentioned earlier, she conceptualized some of the designs and accessories of her outfits. It’s no wonder all of her hardwork have finally paid off.

Catriona’s biggest achievement so far has made many people proud and grateful. It’s the best Christmas gift she has ever given to the Philippines and to the Filipinos around the world. With her new responsibilities, she will have the global platform and the opportunities to expand her advocacy and reach out to the less unfortunate people. She’ll also have the opportunity to raise our flag wherever she goes like a burning torch.

I couldn’t wait what would be the lyrics like for the song ‘Raise our Flag’! Her victory would serve as vindication to her haters and to people who didn’t believe in her as well as the unfavorable experience she had in Miss World pageant back in 2016.  Perhaps, it’s not her destiny to conquer the World but rather the whole Universe…

Please note that this blog is my simple appreciation to Catriona, for all of her efforts and love to her countrymen. I’m not a fashion expert or anything. The reasons I wrote here are my views and observations about her and her performances in the competition as well as through her video blogs and interviews.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Photos are courtesy of the Miss Universe organization and from her Facebook account.


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Tweet, Tweet, Boom!


Shush! Zoom!Beep, beep’. Meow! Buzz. Hum… Before you think I’m writing like crazy, kindly read on my blog. Are you familiar what a dog’s bark can sound like? How about the sound of an airplane hovering around the port or perhaps the rustle of the wind and trees? Have you guessed the topic already?

Tweet, tweet! Any idea? Swoosh… That’s fine. Those highlighted words above are sounds (and other examples such as screech, ‘woof, woof’, ‘honk’ and ‘oink, oink’) are called onomatopoeia. Ono what? It sounds like food! Oh no, not at all… In fact, Onomatopoeia is a Greek word which means ‘to make words using sounds’.

The BBC Learning English defines it as ‘the word that sounds like the thing it means’. It’s quite easy, isn’t it? There are always different sounds wherever we go and they are part of our lives whether we like them or not. Some are amusing to our ears whilst others are annoying. The next paragraphs are about some onomatopoeic words and their meanings which I gathered online as well as from what I heard in my surroundings.

When we’re stuck in traffic, we usually hear lots of ‘honks’ from different sides of the road. ‘Honk, honk’ are the sounds that cars, trucks and other vehicles make; whereas they ‘zoom’ to move so quickly or with a high speed. Vehicles also ‘rumble’ - a long deep sound. A ‘buzz’, on the other hand is a short sound that insects make particularly the flying ones such as bees and wasps. Then there’s ‘rustle’ of the wind and trees. When you’re in a forest or in a park full of plants and trees, you would easily hear those sounds. It’s quite relaxing!

In addition, ‘swoosh’ means to move quickly through air or water with a smooth or gentle sound (McMillan Dictionary). A ‘hum’ is a low continuous sound that appliances make like a fridge or an AC unit. Meanwhile, music can be blaring. A ‘blare’ is a loud unpleasant sound. Some youngsters listen or play the music very loud that radio component could almost explode he he.

Please take note that onomatopoeic words and its sounds vary depending on the language. They could have very different sounds since every country has its own distinct ways of interpreting them.

Grammar Note

Onomatopoeia is a figure of speech which words imitate the sounds they describe (English Literature Hub). Don’t get confused it with interjections. An interjection is a part of speech which means an expression of sudden surprise or emotion and it can stand alone as a sentence. Common interjections are ‘Ouch!’, ‘Hooray’ and ‘Yippy’.

Some onomatopoeic words could be used as interjections though. For example, ‘Boom! That was an outstanding performance.’ The interjection ‘Boom’ is used here for added compliment when someone is feeling surprised. Well technically, a boom is a sound when something explodes, right? But interjections could not be onomatopoeic. For example, ‘Ouch!’ means a sudden pain and there’s no sound it refers to other than an expression of being hurt. I hope you have understood the topic easily!

To further learn this lesson, here’s a short, funny video about onomatopoeia. Try not to dance with it! LOL…

What other onomatopoeic words can you add to this blog? Share them in the comment section below. Anyway, I’m still curious what does the fox say! Boom! Thank you for reading this blog.

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Sunflower Power (The First Bloom)

Sun… sun… sun… flower!  What’s with this plant that always brings smile to someone’s face whenever he or she sees it up close? Is it its bright color? Or is its petals? It seems exciting to grow one but I have contemplated because my garden is a bit shady. We all know it’s a ‘full sun’ kind of a plant, right?

Sunflowers also known as Helianthus, are heliotropics, they track the sunlight as much as they could therefore aid for their growth and maturity. From what I’ve experienced, if you place them in a shady spot, they became leggy and malnourished. Six to eight hours of full sun is a must for better growth and bloom. From the name itself, it’s no wonder they love the sun!

One lovely day, my cousin asked me if I would like some sunflower seedlings. My green fingers could not resist them even though I was reluctant at first and had no idea about their growing conditions. But since I love growing plants especially if they have to be sowed, I decided to give them a go. It was an opportunity to learn something new, too. Last July, I transferred some seedlings on the ground in an area that has a lot of sun exposure which happened to be outside of my garden.

For the past months, they’re growing nicely. It’s a bit tricky taking care of them because pests came out of nowhere attacking the leaves therefore leaving bite marks on the foliage. Although from what I read they’re insect-free, yet I still found some green worms and powdery mildew on its leaves. I tried to remove them as much as possible. Remarkably, they are taught and resilient. They kept on growing even sometimes there’s drought due to intense heat. I made sure they’re hydrated. Furthermore, I feed them with organic fertilizers occasionally.

My hard work finally paid off when I saw the first ever bloom. It’s indescribable! I’m amazed because I usually see it growing on YouTube and now I have it in my extended garden enjoying the sun. The other plants have started forming its flower buds too. I really can’t wait to see all of the blooms!

But what makes them so appealing to gardeners and plant lovers? For sure, when you look closely to the flower, you would be enthused by its beauty. Its florets are like thousands of happy and positive vibes waiting to lift up your mood especially during a tiring day. Everyone needs a dose of sunshine, right? So if you gaze upon the flower even though there’s no actual sunshine just gloomy weather, the sunflower would make you feel better. Make sure you do not stare on it for too long or you would end up cross-eyed! Kidding!

There’s something magical with this plant that even tiny bees and other beneficial insects go gaga with the flowers. The nectars are surely addictive for them. For the Native Americans, sunflower symbolizes courage. For me though, it’s like a goddess of positivity because it brings smile and excitement. Its convivial look is enticing. I always feel chuffed whenever I glimpse of it in my window. It’s breeze of sunshine in my view even if it’s already getting dark outside. Its leaves are like hands waving at me as the winds blow them…

I confess the sunflower plant is now one of my top fave plants. My next summer would not be complete without this mesmerizing gift of nature. For the meantime, I keep on enjoying and observing their growth habits while they last. They are annual plants so they would not come back next year. They eventually die. But hopefully, I would be able to collect its seeds when they are mature enough so I could sow them. I learned that their seeds contain antioxidants and beneficial to our health. They even use for salads and snacks, as well as for making sunflower oil.

Here’s a quote to live by…

'True friends are like bright sunflowers that never fade away, even over distance and time.'     

                                                                                                                  Marie Williams Johnstone


How about you? Have you experienced growing sunflower plants? What’s your confession?

For more information about growing and caring of sunflower plant, check out this link below.

Wishing you tons of sunflower power! Thank you for reading my blog!

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Have you been part of the furniture? Are you a sofa or a table? Peace! Oh before you react violently, read on to find out what I really mean…

I learned an English expression while listening on a podcast from the BBC. I was cleaning the dining table and I thought why not share it here on MyEnglishclub. It is called ‘part of the furniture’. It is an expression we use to describe someone or something that’s been in the same place for a very long time. You could think that he or she will be there forever (BBC Learning English).

Check out these examples;

  • Manu Ginobili has been playing for the Spurs team for more than 25 years. Many fans think he’s part of the furniture.
  • Villainelle has been working in the agency since 2000. It’s no doubt she’s part of the furniture.
  • The Soursop tree bears fruit every summer and it was planted a decade ago. The owner thought of it as part of the furniture.

So, did you get it? Easy peasy, right? Literally, if you’re really part of the furniture, what would you be and why? :P

Grammar Note

Furniture is an uncountable noun. Other common uncountable nouns are news, luggage, information, and advice. Since they are uncountable, we use ‘measure words’ or ‘quantifiers’ to count them. We can say ‘a piece of’, ‘pieces of’ or ‘some’ for furniture. For example, Robin brought some pieces of furniture from Italy and they looked expensive.

Check out this link for other uncountable nouns.

Thank you for reading this blog! Happy learning!


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My Not So New Hobby

I'm watching you!

Some of you might have already known that I love gardening. I consider this activity as one of my fun-tastic hobbies. When we get involved in growing plants and edibles, we discover new things that make gardening an endless yet fulfilling activity. Part of dealing with plants is to discover other living organisms that benefit or even destroy the garden especially when the infestation comes.

It is very important to know whether the alien in a garden is a friend or a foe. Since I’m not an expert in dealing with insects, I google some information about it and ask people who are more knowledgeable so I could combat the problem. Knowing some useful tips and tricks would save money and effort, thus there’s more time to enjoy the garden. There’s always so much to learn and I try my best to be motivated as much as possible. That’s why I would keep this hobby until the world ends… :P

This activity has led me to evolve to another hobby which is raising caterpillars. You’ve probably read some of my blogs about it months ago and you might even comment on them. So this hobby is not really something new but I consider it as my latest so far.

Since we’re talking about ‘raising’ something, I would like to give you a tidbit of the verb ‘to raise’. It has multiple meanings and it even functions as a noun. But I would not lecture you on all of its meaning. In fact, you can learn more about this word here. So the verb ‘raise’ as for my description of my hobby is to ‘keep a particular type of animal/insect or grow a particular crop’. (Macmillan Dictionary)

For example; I raised a butterfly for weeks and let it in the wild, but it was eaten by fire ants!

And here are some idioms about ‘raise’…

Raise a laugh or smile ~ to cause someone to laugh or smile

  • Nigel raised a laugh to the ladies when he passed by with pigeon poop on his shirt.

Raise someone’s spirit ~ to make one happier or carefree

  • The band Daughtry raised the veteran’s spirits by performing their hit songs.

Raise (one’s) hat ~ to congratulate or pay tribute to someone

  • The film critic raised his hat to Emilia Clarke who won a best actress award.

Do you know other idioms about raise? Don’t hesitate to share it here. I hope you learn something from this blog. Let’s raise our glasses for more success and happiness to our hobbies! Thank you for reading!

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The Living Jet

This piece of writing is a continuation of my previous blog about the Wee Alien. If you haven’t read the blog yet, here’s the link.

The wee alien that I have been keeping for awhile has decided to sleep. It changed its color from green to brown which made me more curious. Notice the web that he formed to protect him. Could this be a new spider mutation? The thingy alien kept on sleeping as if it’s dead. Someone recommended me to mist it to keep the moisture in the container but not too much. It moved a bit so I knew it’s not dead at all.  This is what it looked like while it’s in sleep mode.

At last after less than three weeks, the wee alien has finally emerged from its cocoon. The thingy that I thought to be a dragon was not a dragon nor a spider mutation but a species of a hawk moth! What?? How come it didn’t have wings like a hawk? Silly, silly me… I noticed its eyes are big which resemble of the mighty bird, though. Nevertheless, I named him… Rollo!

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t disappointed with the outcome of this experiment, rather I was grateful for the successful raising of this insect. When I saw him alive, crawling and trying to hang on to the side of the container, the nerdy inside me was screaming like a baboon ha ha. Another science/hobby project fulfilled… Indeed!

Rollo has this colorful skin, a combination of green and brown. Such earthly shades which I haven’t seen before. I usually see single colored ones active mostly at night. Aside from that, there are white round moths here which are used to protect the clothes from moulds and odors. Do you use some, too?

Anyway, something is peculiar with Rollo’s look. When I placed him on my palm, I could imagine a wee jet. It would have been an awesometastic feeling to have such superpowers if that was a real jet on our palms, right? And what if there are ant-sized aliens on that jet? Oh C’mon, Robbie. Cool your jets! Enough with the alien stuff, OK? It’s time to move forward already!

The phrase to ‘cool your jets’ means to simply ‘calm down’, to chillax. So whenever you feel stressed and agitated why don’t you visit a nearest garden in your place and enjoy the nature’s beauty. And since we’re talking about moth, there is an idiom called ‘like moth to a flame’ which relates to people who are heavily attracted to someone or something. For example;

  • Eve’s charm and beauty is like moth to a flame. Wherever she goes a lot of men couldn’t resist courting her.
  • The berserker is like a moth to a flame. He skillfully slaughtered his enemies without hesitation, making him one of the best warriors in Iceland.

I confess the excitement that I felt raising Rollo was priceless. I treated him as if he was my real pet. It was quite tempting to keep him, but he absolutely belongs to nature. So after letting him crawl on my fingers for a couple of minutes, he began shivering and flipping his wings a bit, same as the jet’s engine starting to warm up. Then he flew so fast like a speeding bullet, but he landed on the ground so I had to pick him up. I made sure the cat didn’t see him while I waited for him to fly again.

After one hundred years, I mean a couple of minutes :p, he’s perfectly flown yards away from me. ‘Fly like a jet, Rollo! Maybe it’s better for you to be a jet-setter. I hope Mother Nature will take care of you and protect you from predators and moth hater humans.’ Furthermore, may he live longer than usual and keep making my tiny garden prolific. I couldn’t wait for another interesting project, though. I wish it would be the one that I’m longing for …to raise a dragon!

Thank you for reading and being a part of this journey!




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Wee Alien

One fine morning, I was checking out my plants and found this caterpillar devouring my caladium plant. I was astonished! How could this thingy, a tiny creature has almost eaten all of the leaves and stems of my plant in the blink of an eye?! Could this be the end of the world? Have we been taken over by aliens? For that I would have to arm myself… Chillax, Robbie!

‘What the heck is wee?’, you might ask. For the love of the English language, let us define this word in an easy peasy way. The adjective ‘wee’ simply means something small or little. It is a Scottish word but it is also used by many English speakers around the globe. I’m sure you have heard this word somewhere. You could use it this way;

  • When I was wee, I used to sell plants for my school allowance. (This means when I was little or a child.)


  • Look at Roman, he was wee a couple of years ago and now he’s grown up as a six-footer man!

Take note though, its meaning is different if you use ‘wee’ in a phrase like ‘wee hours’ which basically mean the early hours after midnight. So for example;

  • Ubbe drank and partied until the wee hours not mindful about his school exam in the morning.

Sometimes, we hear it paired with a noun ‘bit’ as in ‘wee bit’. For example;

  • Olga would be a wee bit late in the conference because she has to attend the recital of her daughter. (This means that Olga would arrive a ‘little bit late’ in the conference.)
  • Lagertha was a wee bit hungry and decided to drop by in the nearest food chain in Scandinavia.

Have you understood this word already? I really hope so!

Going back to the alien in my garden, I kept it in a container so I could monitor its growth. I would like to observe it a little bit further. I also hope it is another species of butterfly. For the meantime, I’m feeding it with my caladium leaves. It is harsh to my plant but I’m quite sure it will bounce back sooner.

I confess, I do not have the faintest idea what would this become in the coming weeks. Would this morph into a winged creature and eat us? Oh, no… Let us wait and see. I have my axe ready just in case it attacks me, ha ha. Or perhaps I would become a superhero if it bit me.

What do you think? I would be delighted if you could share some information about this wee alien on the comment box below. Thank you for learning with me!

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May Episcia Be with You...

I confess I love Episcias! What the heck are those? Episcia is a variety of a trailing plant that is related to African violets. It is also called ‘flaming violets’ although it produces red, white or pink flowers. Don’t worry it will not burn you if you try to touch it. As a matter of fact, you will be amazed by its uniqueness when you include them in your plant collection. Its foliage is quite amusing as it looks like made of plastic. Yes personally, it is burning with beauty!

From what I have learned, Episcia plants have different varieties and cultivars. Even though they are native to South America, I have noticed they are also common here in the Philippines because they like tropical weather and high humidity. Its foliage is strikingly alluring, in fact it is a nice topic for conversation. Based on my observation though, its leaves can last for months and months as long as you plant them on a well-draining soil (with coconut coir or peat moss) and give them proper nourishment (i.e. regular fertilizers and worm castings). Hang them up in a place where they can receive morning sun. Take note, afternoon sun could be damaging to their foliage.

Moreover, Episcia plants can thrive indoors just make sure they receive bright indirect lights and filtered sunlight since they can thrive in shady spots. However, I would prefer to keep them outdoors so that they can get fresh air. Observe their growth wherever you place them, if they are thriving then you don’t have to worry too much. Be patient and their blooms will develop eventually.

Interestingly enough, Episcias send out shoots like crazy! They are called stolons which you can use to propagate and have new set of plants.  You can plant the stolons on the same pot about two to three inches away from the mother plant without cutting its stems. After a week or two, if you try to slightly pull them out, you would notice its resistance which means they have rooted well. You could also plant the stolons using another pot but for more successful growth, you should not cut its stems from the mother plant yet. Wait until they have grown a bit larger and have rooted well. This is another way of making more plants… Isn’t it exciting!

One of my favorite Episcia plants is the chocolate variety. Oh my goodness, it would have been an endless wow factor if the leaves are edible and tastier like real chocolates. A chocopiscia indeed… And have you noticed its flower? It is like she’s shouting, ‘Yo! What’s up? Take a look at me, but do not pinch me or I’ll bite you.’ :P

So if you are a plant enthusiast like me and you happen to see one of those episcia plants in the garden center, why don’t you purchase one and give her the TLC she needs. In the end, she could repay your gratitude and would lighten up your mood and spirit by simply showing her… spellbinding beauty! May Episcia be with you…

Thanks a lot for reading this blog and let's get our green fingers rolling!

For more information about growing this plant, you may check out this link. Happy growing!

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Are You a Cyberchondriac?

Are you the one who always checks out the Internet for medical advice for every symptom you have? Are you anxious why you have such symptoms only to find you’re not sick at all?  Then you might be a cyberchondriac! Cyber what???

Cyberchondriac is a combination of the word ‘cyber’ which is related to computers and the Internet (Macmillan Dictionary), and ‘hypochondriac’, a person who thinks he or she is sick but in reality he or she is well or does not have any serious illness. There are people who self-diagnose these days which often lead to mistreatment. Moreover, they worry too much which spoil their day.

Here’s a couple of example

1. Gren googled for hours searching for medical advice about his stomachache. Little did he know, he’s beginning to be a cyberchondriac. He has forgotten that he ate a lot of steaks and didn’t drink enough water. He’s just constipated!

2. Liz: “You’ve been glued to your computer for a long time, Von. What have you been reading about?”

    Von: “I’m looking for a solution for my headache. It’s killing me (Being over-reacting)!”

    Liz: “I think you have a headache because you spend too much time playing online games instead of getting enough sleep. You even forget to take your vitamins every day!  Stop being such a cyberchondriac.”

I hope you learned something about this term and not to worry too much about minor physical and mental discomfort. Stay healthy and live happily!

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Happy Valentine's Day!

How have you been? I wish this day and all of your days will be filled with laughter, kindness and wisdom. We’re living in the world which is full of injustice and discrimination. May you find strength to conquer all those misfortunes.

May your heart, mind and soul find true love and devotion. Should you feel lost and wary, remember there’s someone out there waiting and willing to guide you. It might be the person beside you or a stranger who often smiles at you. Perhaps an angel from above.

May you create everlasting memories with your loved ones, for joyous memories are priceless, unique and irreplaceable. May you find someone with a heart of gold and willing to go the extra mile for your happiness, dedication and sincerity.

Lastly, I wish you peace of mind and serenity. Make each day a Valentine’s day for life is quite short and uncertain. Live happily!


Enjoy my simple marble cupcakes but baked with love...♥♥♥

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Who You Gonna Call? … Stress Buster!

I confess I love gardening. I don’t have a lavish space as big as a park to manage. What I have is an itsy bitsy garden at home where most of my plants are in containers. It is true what other people say that ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’. It applies to gardening as well. It’s because if you’re a plant lover, you tend to find or search for facts to make your plants thrive and survive regardless of the space and location you have.

Gardening is not just a hobby. I experienced the benefits of it to my well being. It’s like an addiction in a good way where you can burn lots of calories through frequent walking, by simply tending and checking out the plants one by one to observe their growth and if whether they are bothered by pests. Should I say it’s a cheapest form of exercise? Who needs a gym to get fit anyway? Kidding! Furthermore, seeing the plants grow prolifically from seedling to a mature one makes us proud and gives us the sense of achievement. And when they bloom is like icing on a cake!

I can attest to other plant lovers that gardening is a stress reliever in fact, my stress buster. Why? Because it keeps our mind off from the proliferation of negative and fake news, the drama, and the hustle and bustle of tedious, everyday tasks. Moreover, this hobby balances our perspective in life as well as enhances endorphin, the happy hormone in our body, which makes us feel better just by touching the plants or mixing the soil with our bare hands. You might wear a pair of gloves if you have a sensitive skin, though. 

I learned that gardening is also a form of therapy for people with illnesses and has been practiced in nursing homes. It would be a bonus for us if we’re living healthily yet we enjoy gardening or growing our own food. It would give us the opportunity to live longer because of the satisfaction it provides. So if you have a chance to grow plants you love or even edibles, why hesitate? We are already living with lots of pollution around us and getting our home greener would be the first step towards a healthy lifestyle. Let’s make our world a better place to live in by incorporating plants in our home. Are you up for the challenge? What's your confession?

Thank you for reading my blog! Happy gardening! 

Do you have something to share about gardening and plants? Please write them down below.

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My Lucky 8 Blogs (So Far)

Hello, my fellow bloggers! Time flies quite quickly, isn’t it? It’s almost 2018 and what a nice way to have some sort of a recap about the blogs that I published all these years! This idea is actually from our very own fun, fearless catwoman… Mary. In case you haven’t read her blog already, you may check out the link below.

It’s a little bit tough to choose only 5 out of my 110 blogs (Sorry, Mary!). I have decided to pick 8 blogs that I’m proud of to share with you, not to brag about them but to give such emphasis because they are written from the heart and prepared outstandingly based on personal experiences, emotions, and creativity. Furthermore, they are the blogs which I was given the opportunity to use what I learned over the years about the rules of writing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, etc).

So without further ado, here are my top eight freakin’ blogs for you to enjoy reading!

8. Inhale, Exhale

This is my story about the Minions. It is a 3-part blog focusing the adventures of my favorite wee creatures. Unfortunately, I haven’t thought the finale part yet (shame on me ha ha). It should have the grand ending though…

7. National Day on Writing

This is a blog about the idea of reviving the letter writing habit. It’s quite a challenge to make it really successful especially we’re in the age of email and social media. But nothing compares to the feeling of receiving a hand written letter from someone we know and admire. Even if we have handwriting like a chicken scratch, it’s the thought and effort that really count.

6. Traditional Dishes

Are you a foodie? This was my first ever writing challenge in which I encouraged EC members to share their traditional dishes. It’s no doubt food is one of the best topics to blog about because obviously, most of us love to eat. Knowing different cuisines regardless of the members’ race has taught me to appreciate their traditions and beliefs and how food represents the identity of their countries. I hope if you learn something new to cook, you wouldn’t bite off more than you can chew.  :P

5. #Gardening Goals

Nature is very close to my heart and having some parts of them in my very tiny home brought so much positivity and joy to my inner being. It’s one of my lifelines that I’ve decided to make it as a writing challenge last year. I was really impressed to see the gardens of our fellow learners. I’ve felt like I was diving in the field of sunflowers and roses. What can I say? It’s an awe-inspiring feeling. I never knew before that herbs and medicinal plants can make you high with optimism way better than coke… which is full of crap he he…

4. Confessions of a Bake-a-holic

Baking – a very satisfying passion of mine. This hobby taught me the real definition of patience. Moreover, there’s always a feeling of fulfillment whenever I bake something for the loved ones. It’s a challenging task but it makes me an eager beaver. This is a passion which I can be a chef in my own right he he… Do you love baking, too? Share your baking prowess to us!

3. #Grateful

I have always been thankful for all the wonderful things (as well as the unpleasant ones) happened here on MyEC and in real life. In this blog, I explained my reasons why I was grateful and inspired to be an English learner.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." Oprah Winfrey

2. I Am a Phoenix

This is one of my favorite blogs ever! It speaks for itself! I learned how to use my frustrations and setbacks to elevate my blogging style and creativity. More importantly, I became braver and confident. I rarely write a monologue and I think this is more challenging than just writing a plain blog.

1. Keep Fluttering

I have chosen this blog as my best, well-written piece of work so far primarily because I successfully documented something. In this blog, I was able to combine my love for science, my personal experiences and some facts. Even though the blog was informal and not error free, I made sure to present it using the rules of blogging.

I strongly believe in the importance of proof-reading, formatting, and the proper use and spacing of photos, as well as the correct spelling and choice of words/diction, punctuation, capitalization and grammar. If we at least take the effort to present a blog in a worth reading way, it would mean we know how to respect our readers. Also, it’s one way of showing our improvement as a learner.

Finally, there’s a hidden positive message behind the blog. I hope you could figure that out after you finish reading it.

Being a blogger is when we know how to respect other writers' ideas, works and photos. In other words, we should not be plagiarizers. Thank you very much for patiently reading my blogs! Happy blogging!

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The Drag Queen’s Mask

He’s the epitome of a responsible son, making ends meet doing multiple jobs like a hard-working bull in order to provide food on the table. Every single night, his last duty is to impress the audience with his funny antics and creative acting skills.

Yes, every single night he carries a huge bag full of colorful costumes, props and make-ups. Always in hurry to prepare for the show, he put his crimson red lipstick and mascara on which every real woman would die for to wear. He wears his blonde wig which people think like he’s born with it. He takes the time to perfectly fit it like a pro. Every single strand must be placed nicely to get the perfect angle, any minute the show will start and he should be prepared. He’s not nervous though because he’s in the business since time immemorial.

He put his silver gown on, matching with red fluffy cloak as if he’s dress up to the nines. Having memorized the script already for that night on the way to the bar, he then muttered his spiels like he’s auditioning for an unforgettable role in a film. He’s not an actor. But in fact he’s played multiple characters in real life. This time is different because he’s going to be the queen. He looked strikingly opulent in his dress. He then wore the golden crown which made him more elegant as if he’s a royal blood.

Alas, the show has started. He appeared on the stage completely different. The mask has transformed him into a regal lady armed with determination, wit and confidence. The audience couldn’t help with admiration. It’s because the queen has gone bananas over her looks. She kept drinking pint of pint of finest wine while she acted in front of the audience as a wasted femme fatale. She loved the idea of making fun of herself while conversing to other actors. She figuratively choked everyone with her charisma. The great thing is that he impressed most of the patrons. In other words, he nailed it! He delivered his lines and slew them with ease, way better than starlet wannabes. If Charles Dickens had seen his acting, he would have been felt proud of him. He would have laughed endlessly.

The laughter inside the bar was astonishing… But beneath every laughter, smile and cheers, there’s tears hiding in his mask. The reality of him, working very hard and tirelessly is not enough to augment the crisis he’s going through. His mother is getting weaker and weaker because of a terrible illness. The medicines aren’t enough to suffice and treat her now. The medical bills are getting higher day by day. He’s battling not to get depressed every time he thinks of her. His beloved mother could leave him at any moment. What would happen to him and his younger siblings? He’s the only bread winner in the family. His father left them years ago and married another woman. The ‘what ifs’ in his head are endless…

The show has finished. It’s two in the morning. He removed his mask unveiling his true face. He wiped down his tears secretly and told himself… ‘I’m gonna be OK’. A new day has come and there’s another opportunity to smile again…

If you’re going to dress up like a drag queen (or king), who would you imitate and why?

Thank you for reading!

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