Thursday, December 31, 2009








Blue skies and pleasant sunny days for everyone! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not a Coelogyne but an Epigeneium

I've been told that the "Coelogyne-like" orchid which I referred to in my previous post is actually an Epigeneium. Which species I don't know, I guess without flowers it is hard to tell. Here are some more photos of this plant:

Click here for a larger photo and close up of the seed pods.

Anyone have a clue which species it may be, do drop a line (via comments section or email). Thank you!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some photos from today’s jungle trek 09.12.26

Saw some interesting things today. Another fun jungle walk. I was at this place also last week. We had intended to explore the Sarawak-Kalimantan border and thought we had reached a point close to it but when I brought along my GPS today, it became clear we were still far from the border. In fact, the mountain range which we thought formed the border is still quite a ways from the actual border. That mountain range is on the Sarawak side!

I have so many photos from last week’s treks and today’s (plus another outing tomorrow) that I really do not know how to start writing about them or what categories I should use. Perhaps I’ll break them apart into orchids, palms, etc. Anyway, for now, here are some photos from today (09.12.26):

Photographing a small ground orchid, Nephelapyllum pulchrum.

Nephelaphyllum pulchrum. We found this at about 50 or 60 m elevation (the highest we got to according to my GPS was about 197 meters above sea level). So clearly this species isn’t just found above 300 m or 500 m asl.

Neuwiedia boornensis. White flowers, medium sized plant. There’s another different species in the area too with yellow flowers which is more commonly seen.

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The white flowers of Neuwiedia boornensis.

Neuwiedia veratrifolia. It was tres cool to find two different species of this unique genus growing here. They were some very healthy plants too!

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This I call the jelly fungus. Why? See next photo.

The fruiting structure is encased in a ball of jelly/slime before it emerges! This should go into my peculiar mushroom’s post a few weeks back!

Probably Salacca glabrescens or a related species. Locally known as buah salak (salak fruit). Also known as snake-skin fruit.

A colorful planarian or flat worm. It seemed to have been distressed or injured as there was a lot of slime and a bruised mid section.

When we got to the waterfall, the shoes went off, the flip flops came on and into the water I went. Well only my feet and legs anyway haha. It was really nice and relaxing. It had been raining so the water volume was higher than when we were last here a week ago.

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Too lazy to get up! I wanted to stay here longer but it was time to move on. A tiny little land leech actually got onto my foot fed itself into a squishy size. It was so small there wasn’t even an obvious wound that bled nonstop like normal leech bites. It must have gotten onto me some where along the trail. We were very glad to find no leeches here except for that one baby leech.

A small waterfall. I wish this was in my backyard!!!

While trekking through the jungle, I thought this tiny thing making its way up my socks was a leech (a micro leech! haha) as it moved exactly like one. It never got too far before being flicked off.

It turned out to be a tiny little caterpillar. Only found out when I zoomed into the pic on my computer. LOL


Last week I took nearly 300 photos. Today, I took over 400 photos and also saw a Coelogyne-like orchid but it had two spikes/inflorescences on one bulb! I’ve never seen any Coelogyne like that before! And finally saw flowering Claderia viridifolia! I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to see the flowers (especially in situ) forever! Last week, we only trekked to a point near a waterfall here. Today, we trekked much further and did about 6km on foot.

Maybe it *is* Coelogyne, I don’t really know as there were no flowers. But curious double spike/inflorescence! There were two seed pods on each.

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An assasin bug made out with a scorpion and this is their offspring. haha. Very interesting looking reduviid! I’ve never ever seen one like this before! Just tells you what kind of amazing species there are in the rainforests and how important it is to preserve the jungles and stop habitat destruction!

Well, I have a lot of photos to sort out! Will post and write about them as I get the time. I just don’t know how I should go about doing it, putting everything into one single photo heavy post will make the page too slow to load!

My photos from last week have been posted to Flickr, check them out! The link is at the top of the page, in the menu bar.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas calories!

I always end up eating too much during festive dinners. And New Year’s just round the corner! I’ve already succeeded in shedding 3 kilos, and am now just 2 kilos short of my ideal. Now I need to burn off all the piled on Christmas calories!

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This Chocolate cake, a gift, was way too good to resist and I really should! I need to lay off the sugar, especially processed sugar! See, I would never have bought it myself knowing I need reduce my sugar intake, but when someone gifts something like this… it’s just temptation after temptation. And I’m only human.

Being asian of mixed parentage, every year we have something different for our Christmas dinners (one year turkey and roasted meats, next a backyard barbeque, then a feast of asian cooking etc etc). And every year we have multiple family dinners as we celebrate so many festive occasions from Chinese New Year to the Harvest Festival to Christmas. Then there’s father’s day and mother’s day and several birthdays! It’s hard to stay at my ideal weight when we eat so much even with all the treks I do.

For Christmas eve this year, we intended to cook a mixed asian-western dishes but in the end, all plans were dropped in favor of a steamboat dinner. It has been half a decade since we last brought out this electric hotpot! Imagine that! LOL Steamboat or hotpot dinners are easiest, no sweating away frying or sautéing or roasting or what not. And definitely none of that messy cleaning up to do after! Just buy and clean/prepare whatever it is you want to throw into the hotpot.

Here’s a portion for one or two persons. Clockwise from top, prawns, sliced chicken meat, cauliflower, broccoli, mixed frozen stuff like egg tofu cakes, fish balls, meatballs, cocktail sausages etc. Black mushrooms in the center. Also popular, fresh crab, fish (fresh parrot fish meat is a good choice), all kinds of mushrooms (straw, button, abalone etc.), cuttlefish or squid (calamari) and whatever else suits your taste. The shrimp is best de-shelled and de-veined.

And don’t forget the green leafy vegetables, popular ones are sawi, sawi bunga, sayur kerinting, chinese kale (kailan), bok choy, and other leafy vegetables. Young baby corn are good too.

Pour in either plain water or chicken stock into the hotpot, bring to boil and throw everything in! Add a dash of salt and pepper and some quartered tomatoes for taste (tomatoes contain natural MSG). Bring to boil again and serve while hot. The broth will be extra extra delicious after a few rounds of dipping and boiling food in it!

And more sugar! Local fruits for dessert. Red and yellow rambutans and local honey oranges (very sweet and juicy!).

I’m going to have to go on extra treks before the holiday season is over and I won’t have as much time to go hiking. Hopefully the weather will be good the next two days so I can go exploring the jungles again, there’s also a beautiful curtain waterfall I’ve never been to which I can’t wait to visit. Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Have a beautiful Christmas and holiday to all my blog visitors! And, to my faithful readers, thank you so much for visiting my very modest blog even if I haven’t much content yet. Though I haven’t many readers, if even just one person visits often, that gives me enough motivation to continue to write here. So thank you once again, may you have a pleasant holiday season. Let’s all usher in 2010 with hope for a better year!!


Here are more December blooms from my species orchids before the year is out:


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Thrixspermum amplexicaule – one of the very first orchid species I came to know, it has great sentimental value though it is a common orchid (no commercial value) here.


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Dendrobium secundum – another relatively common wild orchid found growing in fruit orchards and rubber plantations. Common name, brush orchid. Also one of the first few that started my hobby.


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Liparis species. The inflorescence on this one unusually ends in enlarged bracts (or leaves?).


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One of my favorite Phalaenopsis bellina plants. I love the green on the flowers and hope to get a pod on this for flasking on the next bloom.


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Bulbophyllum dearei. My plants are doing very well and this was a surprise find, very happy to see it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coelogyne babies, a year later…

In January 2009 I took some photos of hundreds if not thousands of Coelogyne rochussenii (common name Necklace Orchid) seedlings germinating after I scattered the seeds there just a few weeks before. They grew slowly but steadily, the numbers thinning out naturally. It’s now December and some have developed little pseudobulbs and putting out new growths.


Technically, it should be 11 months later but that’s almost a year anyway. :D


Here are the latest photos (click for larger size):

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From tiny 1-2mm seedlings they have grown into small coelogyne plants with tiny p-bulbs. The larger ones are about 4cm long from base to leaf tip. There are other tiny new seedlings on this mount, I do not know what they are, could be Dendrobium crumenatum.


And here are photos taken in August, 09:


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Compare the above with photos from January 09 when the seedlings first germinated:

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In the right photo, that is a standard green twister wire for tying plants etc. so one gets an idea of just how small these seedlings are.


The tiny, crowded seedlings naturally thinned out over time, with the strongest and healthiest ones overtaking the weaker ones and eventually “snuffing” them out. Survival of the fittest.


I think they would have grown at a much faster rate had I watered them more frequently and gave them some orchid food, like a highly diluted growth fertilizer.


Coelogyne rochussenii seeds are the easiest to germinate among the coelogynes in my collection. I have never had this many baby plants from the other species such as C. asperata. Here’s hoping they grow well into nice healthy plants with many p-bulbs by next Christmas!



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Naughty Chiam, the orang utan

This is Chiam, a female orang utan at Matang Wildlife Centre, Kuching, Sarawak.

“I’m a supermodel, start clicking!”

She’s quite a supermodel, posing for us, pouting and pursing her lips, half closing her eyes while striking a pose. It was quite funny to watch her.

Lazily lying about, as we first saw her.

When we walked up to the viewing point, she was just laying atop the climbing structure lazily in the afternoon heat. After we took several photos of her like that, she sat up and studied us for a bit, fixing her eyes steadfastly on one of my friends and ignoring the rest of us. Haha that was funny and a bit freaky.


Then she climbed down, took a quick sip of water from a puddle, walked to the high perimeter wall where we were and plopped down on her back, assuming a very funny pose, legs in the air, feet grabbing her forearms and hands on her head. She just laid there like that for quite a while, making funny faces every now and then.

Playing dead?

At one point she covered her eyes with her hands but we could see her peeking at us still haha.

She recently gave birth to a healthy male baby orang too.

"Too sexy for my fur!"

When it was time to leave, we said goodbye to her and just as if she understood, she got up and went right back to her original position on top of the climbing structure. She even assumed the exact same pose like when we first saw her, laying lazily like nothing had happened! 

The look on her face is hilarious! LOL

There’s a story involving this supermodel orang utan, one that clearly loves the cameras. Some years back a lady tourist who visited the area encountered her along the trails. We do not know what really happened but the lady ended up needing stitches at the hospital after her encounter. The female orang utan had bitten her on her thigh and she later threatened to sue the center. This story was all over the local papers at the time. I don't know what happened after, perhaps they settled out of court and up went the big "caution" signs. One of the signs has an orang utan looking like Homer Simpson. ;D

Homer is an orang utan! Since the unfortunate incident, big, conspicuous signs have been erected warning visitors to enter at their own risk as well as what not to do when entering the trails and what to do when encountering a free roaming orang utan.

Look into her eyes, does she look like a tourist biter? ;)

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Quite a character!

It must have learned to recognize the sound of the word “bye” from many other visitors before because when we said goodbye to it and got ready to leave, it too got up and went back to its original position exactly like how we first saw it!

As usual, more photos at my Flickr site. Click here for the photoset “Orang Utans at MWC”.

About MWC, briefly
Many visitors to the MWC fail to realize that it is NOT a zoo, it has never been a zoo and never will be a zoo. This is a rehabilitation center, focused on reintroducing animals back into the wild once they have been rehabilitated. The animals here come from various parties, either confiscated or donated/brought here (such as by farmers who caught the animals destroying their crops etc.).

Therefore, visitors should not expect lots of animals in the cages or enclosures. In fact, the less animals seen in the enclosures the better for a place like this as it means they have been successfully rehab’ed and released back into the jungles (or that there are less problems with poaching now, therefore less confiscated animals). Unfortunately, some residents are no longer capable of fending for themselves in the wild and will live the rest of their lives here. One such example is Aman, a very old and large male orang utan who recently underwent cataract surgery.

The animal enclosures are just one part of the centre. MWC is actually part of Kubah National Park and there are many trails here and a beautiful river running through it. One can also trek to Kubah National Park and use the same entrance ticket at MWC.

I may post a separate blog entry about the MWC when I have time.
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