Friday, September 26

Monday, September 22

a most unusual birthday present

Last Friday evening, at the birdfest evaluation meeting, Lydia gave me a belated birthday present.

At first I thought she was giving me a cutting of an ivory plant, but the real present was 2 caterpillars happily munching away at the leaves!

Pretty, yellow-black-and-white (almost pale blue) caterpillars! 

In fact one of them was getting ready to metamorphose (is that the word?) into a chrysalis, its mouthparts were glued to the vein of one leaf, and it was hanging on, its small body curled up.

Lydia took them from her very own butterfly-friendly garden in the middle of busy San Juan.  With care and luck, they will turn into beautiful orange butterflies, Philippine cousins of the popular monarch butterflies of the Americas.

It's funny how the caterpillars caught everyone's attention, especially when Sean shouted "nagpalit na sya!" and the meeting was brought to a halt as everyone admired the shiny green chrysalis that the curled up caterpillar turned into. The perfect natural history lesson.
Thanks Lydia for a most unusual birthday present.  I'm so happy you thought of me as someone who would enjoy watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.  I'm excited to report that both of them are now in the process of change (as i said to Adri, a good lesson in apoptosis and molecular development!), a yellow chrysalis and a younger green chrysalis with a line of black and gold flecks.

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata...

Monday, September 15

back to reality...

last week i was looking at this in the peace and quiet (and rain) of sabang

then it was back to the city for a few days filled with the (always energetic) birdfest

and this morning I'm back to this:


Monday, September 1

to lariam or not to lariam

i've been to puerto princesa 3 times before and i've never taken any malarial prophylaxis.
however, its been quite the talk lately, probably because its such a large group going and paranoia is high.

and i keep remembering, how, when mike had told me news of arnel mallari's passing (from malaria), i instantly recalled standing in the middle of the iwahig/balsahan trail, in the middle of a bamboo thicket, i (with arnel, adri and tere), was swarmed by hundreds of mosquitoes who didn't seem familiar with OFF lotion and what it was supposed to do.

nicky had recommended lariam (mefloquine hcl, roche), and i really didn't pay much attention to his directions.  today, doc chito emailed everyone a list of what they could take, including lariam, which should be taken 1 to 2 weeks BEFORE departure and 4 weeks AFTER arriving back in manila.

oops.  i'm leaving saturday.

to top it off, i googled lariam and found pretty disturbing info. apparently it can have really harsh side effects:
mefloquine may cause psychiatric symptoms in a number of patients ranging from anxiety, paranoisam and depression to hallucinations and psychotic behavior.  on occasions, these symptoms have been reported to continue long after mefloquine has been stopped.  rare cases of suicidal ideation and suicide have been reported though no relationship to drug administration has been confirmed.  (product insert)

uh oh. wow. it was linked to the suicide of american soldiers who came from afghanistan. and... there was even a law & order svu episode bsed on those events!
very interesting. google can turn up such paranoia-inducing information (literally).

well, if i start acting psychotic in class, you'll know which prophylactic i took.