Monthly Archives: June 2010

Zentraveler discovers grape-like seaweed called Lato!

The green seaweed (Caulerpa lentillifera), commonly known as “lato”, has grape-like structure that is robust, crispy, watery, and slimy. It is a good source of iron, iodine, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Some people call lato sea grapes and the locals all know its a healthy food item to include on the menu.

My companion Perla has served this delicious salad with grilled fish and it is wonderful tasting. She uses a pair of scissors cuts the seaweed into small branches and washes the lato in fresh water…. then she makes a salad dressing of apple cider vinegar, tomato and onion, a dash of salt and pepper, and places the mixture into a bowl. You simply dip the seaweed into the bowl and have a green gourmet salad fit for a King or a Queen. In fact it tastes so good you cannot quit eating the seaweed delicacy. It is best eaten when it is fresh and green and brought directly from the fish market. You must eat it right away as it will wilt if you put it into a refrigerator or keep it to long.

I am a big hit at the local wetmarrket since the girls who sell lato give me twice or three times the amount that I order and all for 5 pesos….plus the elderly looking lady running the lato stand says: “oh you like lato— not many foreigners do, but you know its great for longevity”…and she laughs out-loud.

So there you have food nuts, herbalists, seafood fanatics, longevity freaks, and people who just want a delicious healthy salad… when in the Philippines search out a fresh seafood market and purchase lato FOR A DELICIOUS TREAT FROM THE SEA.

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

QUOTE: We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are. ~Adelle Davis

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Seaweed baths are the rage in Ireland! You simply lay in your tub covered with seaweed and watch the toxins leave your body! Ching, ching, ching for mega-bucks I might add! If it was good enough for all my hardy ancestors, it’s good enough for me. And with the ocean right outside my house, I can even concoct my own briny spa. All I’ll need is a wheelbarrow and a pitchfork to collect a load of seaweed at low tide, lug it back to my house and dump in my own bath. Viola – a souped-up, detoxed bod, for free.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: The Sea! Without the sea-no seaweed!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Want to live like Moses two hundred years plus then eat more Lato seaweed its good for you!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


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Zentraveler explores less is more!

Less is More

We should be able to hold in our hand all of our possessions. If you have more than that maybe its time to do a deep cleanse and get rid of all of those unnecessary possessions. I shipped several boxes to my brother living in Washington DC. area and gave away all sorts of things like a mac computer to my valued friend …the rest I gave to church groups and goodwill like collection stores. Good riddens I muttered as the clutter started to leave.

I left the country with three complete sets of light-weight clothing packed into one travel bag and a medium size back-pack. I added a g10 cannon digital camera as my one luxury item! A great feeling of freedom flows in and you feel lighter and are definitely not burdened down to become a caretaker of all your stuff. Can you imagine how much more time you would have if you did not need to hassle with cable tv, electric and gas bills, replacing your aging electronics and kitchen appliances, cleaning your chimney, mowing your vain yard, replacing gutters, fixing everything in sight … if your garage was a direct showcase of Builders Square or Walmart.

My carbon footprint shrank to a mere blimp on the earth compared to even Al Gore’s electric bill ( who I really admire).

They did a study on the ten happiest people on this earth and not one of them was even a millionaire, billionaire or had wealth as a priority. I spent five hours talking to a man who lived in a six by ten house made of driftwood from the sea. And he burst out and declared “of course I am happy I have a good place to sleep, I have my yams that I planted all around the house, I have several chickens, one hog and all the fish and fresh seafood I can eat.” He had a beautiful Costa Rican flag hanging off the coconut tree in front of his house and built a small platform where he told me he simply sat for hours watching the world go by.

Of course each person has to decide what is important and essential for their lifestyle. But if you really think about it…. is our house and lifestyle with all of that stuff a burden or would you like to clean house and concentrate more on what is important to you. Food for thought!

QUOTE: When we are young we lost our health to gain wealth. When we are old we lost our wealth to gain back our health. Why not chose healthy lifestyle and skip the unnecessary yo yo curve.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Multi-tasking can actually lower your IQ! A monk is certainly not lazy! They awake at five am and work all day completing tasks. However, they don’t run around like a chicken with their head cut-off trying to do everything in the universe in one day! They keep life simple and take enormous pride in their work…and dedicate most of their life to serving other people.


ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Enough is a feast! –Buddhist proverb

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler travels to Puerto Princesca, Palawan, Philippines!

Puerto Princesca

Folklore claims that the name Puerto Princesa pertained to a Princess–like maiden who is said to roam around Puerto Princesca at certain nights of the year. Puerto Princesca certainly lives up to its name and is a city of contrasts exploding with rare tropical flowers, excellent restaurants, city tours within thirty minutes of the city, and a natural history museum depicting the culture and history of the people.

tropical flowers

wild and wonderful

Palawan is blessed with 1780 islands and islets most of which have irregular coastlines that make excellent harbors. Palawan is surrounded by a coral shelf that abounds with varied and colorful marine life, hence the island province has been declared a nature sanctuary. The province boasts of extraordinary scenic wonders like El Nido, Underground River, Tabon Caves and Honda Bay Islands and is considered the last frontier.

Always dreaming of visiting the South Seas we took a flight from Cebu to Puerto Princesca, Palawan and used Puerto Princesca as our jumping off point for exploring Palawan. Upon arriving at the modern airport we immediately contracted a motorized tricycle to take us to hotel Casa Linda…. Located only ten minutes from the airport. If you like peace and quiet, an eco-lodge experience, a friendly staff, and walking distance to fine restaurants Casa Linda makes the ideal travel headquarters while in Puerto Princesca.

After checking in to our hotel we hired our tricycle driver as a tour guide for Puerto Princesca.Our first destination took us to the butterfly garden about twenty minutes outside of Puerto Princesca. It is well worth spending time in the garden and watching the different butterflies at their different life stages… plus they have a collection of butterflies and their history. It is best to go early in the morning as the hot sun makes them dormant in the afternoon.

We then proceeded to the Irawan Crocodile Farm where we witnessed one of the largest crocodiles on record……about five meters long from tip of snout to the tail or sixteen and one half feet. It is mounted in the museum and you can hardly believe your eyes at the crocodiles enormous size. We then walked through several holding tanks of different sized live crocodiles. One small child was handed a live crocodile and the crowd quickly grabbed their cameras to capture the moment.

Palawans largest crocodile

On our exit from the crocodile farm we saw a rather large ostrich strolling around the grounds and Perla my companion asked: “if it was a large chicken?” I laughed and said: “indeed a really big chicken and you should see the size of the egg. After that we proceeded to Bakers Hill which has an abundance of tropical plants, several restaurants, and great walking paths… complete with golden pheasants, peacocks, and a golden Buddha. Bakers Hill grounds are covered with everything from rare cactuses to exploding bougainvilleas next to the golden striped tiger statue.

Bakers Hill is a great place to spend many hours just enjoying the sights and also to have lunch or dinner. They have several theme statues including: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and is great attraction for the entire family. You can spend endless hours just hanging out at the different benches and rest spots looking at rare tropical plants and live specimen birds. You feel as if you are living in a large Japanese garden. Pebble and natural paths wind around throughout the complex and there are so may photo opportunities…. you definitely will want to bring your camera.


That night we walked from our hotel to Kalui Restaurant. As you entered the restaurant you deposited your shoes and walked on your bare feet over natural wood floors. The restaurant was decorated in natural woods, bamboos and local art. We ordered the set seafood plate for two… which included: grilled tuna, steamed fish in coconut milk, large prawns, vegetable dish, and a huge fruit salad for desert. The food was great, the atmosphere unbelievable ….complete with outside garden with flame torch lights. As restaurants go —it doesn’t get much better than this. So if you are planning to go to Puerto Princesca make it a point to eat at the kalui Restaurant …its an experience you will never forget.

Klaui Restaurant

That night we relaxed in our honeymoon suite which we gladly paid a few pesos extra for. It was the last room available and we felt very fortunate to get the room. Staying at Casa Linda hotel is a great way to meet other fellow travelers and you can arrange all sort of tours from the hotel itself including: going directly to the underground river system, taking several city tours, or head out to Honda Bay and do some island hopping, snorkeling or diving.

On our return trip we were staying at Kims Hot Springs near Honda Bay and Perla phoned our tricycle driver and asked if he could pick us up… since it was rather close to Puerto Princesca. He arrived at nine am and took us to a local nursery where we photographed exotic plants and then headed back to Bakers Hill where we had lunch and enjoyed the tropical plants and ambiance of the natural setting.

Palawan Museum Artifacts

We headed into Puerto Princesca and toured the Palawan Museum which has two floors of amazing history and artifacts from Palawan. It is an excellent museum and certainly worth a visit to learn about Palawans history and culture of the people.

We then proceeded to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, a Spanish expedition proclaimed The Immaculate Conception of Mary as the patroness of Puerto Princesca in 1872. That same year the first mass was celebrated here. We took several photos of the cathedral inside and out and took a few minutes to reflect on the cathedrals unique architecture and history. Several meters from the cathedral we walked across to the historic Plaza Cuartel park, with its large trees and several shrines. The park has quite a checkered past and our guide pointed out this used to be the military headquarters for Puerto Princesca.

From there we went to the new Puerto Princesca city’s Baywalk which included:a huge peacock statue, colorful modernistic fish logos and a great place to take photos and walk as far as the eye could see. You could purchase beautiful pearls at a stand for bargain prices and pick up a local snack of fish and rice at one of the stalls nearby or just sit on the seawall overlooking the port and watch the world go by.

While we at the cathedral we saw at least four people picking up garbage and raved at how clean Puerto Princesca City was. Our tricycle driver told us: “yea we were voted the cleanest city in the Philippines and our mayor is dead serious about enforcing people who throw garbage. The fine for littering is 200 pesos…since many people can’t afford 200 pesos, they must clean the streets to work off their debt…now that’s a plan that works.

We spent our last night in Puerto Princesca at the D’ Lucky Garden Hotel very close to the airport and we ended our trip by having a very fine fish dinner underneath the stars in their patio restaurant. Before turning in Perla and I raised our glasses and toasted to a great vacation and vowed to return to Palawan some day soon.

D'Lucky Garden Hotel

The following morning we boarded the Air Pacific jet and returned to Cebu City.
As the jet took off we both looked back and said like the famous general MacArthur: “We shall return!!

So if you would like to travel like a Princess surrounded by unimaginable natural scenery and tropical plants… why not book yourself into Puerto Princesca city and kick off the vacation of a lifetime.

QUOTE:“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Firefly watching is a new attraction in Palawan that only started in October 2008. This is a boat-tour through a portion of the Iwahig River strewn with mangrove trees and other indigenous trees. On a calm (wind-less) and moon-less night, you’ll be treated to several “Christmas Trees” where the fireflies provide the lights on the branches of mangrove trees. The tour guide provides background info on the plants along the river as well as information about the specie of fireflies found in the Iwahig River. Firefly communities are becoming rare because they only thrive in areas with clean unpolluted air. Recommended for nature lovers, a must-do at least once! Needless to say, the tour starts after sunset, the darker the night the better visibility. The schedule is a good add-on to your day-trips (underground river, hunda bay, city tour) since you get enough time to rest(and shower) in your Puerto Princessa hotel before the firefly watching tour. off the beaten path…trip advisor

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Travel time… ..its like accumulated sick leave or vacation time…if you don’t use it you lose it.!
ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Set a good example when you travel! Don’t be a complainer and expect things are like they are in your country…after all the reason we travel is to learn history, learn culture, learn new foods and seek adventure.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

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