…’and in order to render greater honor to our captain( Magellan), they ( natives of the islands) took him into their homes and showed him all their goods, cloves, cinnamon ( sic), pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, gold and everything that they had’. This excerpt is from the journal of Antonio Pigafetta “ The voyage of Magellan” circa 1552 translated by P, S, Paige in 1969.
William Scull, in his book,” The History and Conquest of the Philippines” published in 1989. States; “ Timber not only exists in almost exhaustless quantity, but in unprecedented diversity, embracing sixty varieties of the most valuable woods, several of which are so hard that they cannot be cut with ordinary saws, some so heavy they sink in water, and two or three so durable as to afford ground for the claim that they outlast iron and steel when place and ground or underwater.”
“Here also are pepper, cinnamon, wax and gums of various sorts, cloveas, tea and vanilla while all tropical fruits, such us coconuts, bananas, lemons, limes, orange of several varieties, pineapples, citrons, bread fruits, custard apples, paw paws, and mangroves flourish and most of them grow wild, though of course, they are not equal to the cultivated fruit, There are seems to be no limit to which tropical fruits and farm products can be cultivated”.
For the reader who has the joy to live in the Philippines, who can simply get herbs from the fresh market or from the lush vegetation in their surroundings, this herb garden can be planted, in urban or rural areas, depending on the size of the lot, around the perimeter of the dirty kitchen.
For those of us who live in the temperate zone, these herbs can be planted in a solar room or on the windowsill of the kitchen. When an herb plant has grown to a size where the stalks are brown and old, it is best to cut these, tie the branches together and hang them upside down in a cool area like a cellar or a storeroom. When the leaves are dried and still green in color, snip them from the branches and place these in clean brown paper bags to dry completely. Place these dried leaves in clean labeled jars to be stored in the spice rack.
In the Philippines simply let the plants grow, prune them ( and use for the cooking) and enjoy the herbs all year round. That is the joy of living in the tropics.
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