This is a photograph of an ampalaya (bitter melon or bitter gourd) vine grown organically by my newly found cousin, Pito Garcia. We’re second cousins actually and we connected through a website on geneology my maternal relatives have just discovered.  It’s the coolest thing to find relatives online and meet them for the first time in person.  If not for the internet, our paths may not have crossed for a long time.

His farm is located in a beautiful spot surrounded by gentle hills in the Zambales town of San Antonio.  It was a stormy day when Spouse and I went to visit.  You can probably tell by the dark clouds over the hills that more rains were on the way.  The rain and winds came in bursts, strong and surrprising…an amazing display of nature’s power and beauty.  I’m getting all poetic because it was a truly awesome experience.

Pito is currently  experimenting with organic farming. He’s been growing vegetables commercially for about three years now. Going organic is the next logical step. When you’ve lived the life of a farmer, enjoying the clean air, healthy lifestyle, and beautiful, beautiful surroundings that no man can build, going organic is the only way to go.

Watch out in the coming months, the unofficial cook might just turn into the unofficial farmer!

3 Replies to “Organic”

  1. Wow! I love ampalaya, my Mom always makes this dish for me. I really missed Philippines. Going organic is the best, I just wish that I live in the farm here in the USA but, I tried eating as much organic food as I can.

  2. Mita – How are you?

    I created a menu for a restaurant that my wife Paulina (now ex) and I were going to open on Cebu near the Shangri-La. Café Americana was going to have an American theme with American fare and an American style menu, bar, music and TV etc. Paulina was convinced that enough expatriates and well-travel Filipinos would constitute a loyal clientele. Café Americana was to be similar to “Landry’s” in Denver or “The Famous” in The Springs.

    I wonder if you would be interested in taking a look at my menu and recipes. I can be reached at I would be very interested in your thoughts.

    maraming salamat


    P.S. I was a cook in the US for 10 years and even had an opportunity to study the culinary arts in Switzerland (TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood); I became a computer scientist, yikes!
    P.S.S. Philly gave me your link……

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