Homing Pigeon

sometimes nostalgia
is like 7,107 shrapnel in the head:
you tease them out,
one by one–
each piece
a geometric wonder:
you arrange them back,
to recreate the whole blast.

this is an interpretation of mark leidner’s tweet: exes fucking each other like shrapnel trying to rebecome a bomb.


Palawan: Indigenous People and Mining Corporations

Palawan is arguably the most beautiful island of the Philippines for its mountainous terrain, powder white sands, and endemic fauna and flora. Unlike the rest of the Philippine islands, Palawan broke off from the Asian plate and stayed isolated for tens of millions of years. Hence, Palawan’s endemic fauna are different from the rest of the Philippine islands.

This unique habitat however is under threat as mining corporations identified areas of the island as suitable for mining. This short video feature offers a glimpse of the threat of species and cultural endangerment happening on the island brought about by big mining corporations.

Four Stone Hearth #106 and Some

November Updates from Time Travelling.

1. Afarensis hosts a spectacular list of good blog posts for the Four Stone Hearth 106th edition. Head there and read some of the best anthropology-related posts in the blogging world by clicking this: Four Stone Hearth #106.

2. Jigger Geverola, who had been featured here in the Behind Prison Bars post, is set to be released from prison soon after the Philippine courts dismissed the charges of rebellion levelled against him. He spent the last six years in prison as a political detainee.

3. Human rights organizations are currently in Kananga, Leyte–where botanist Leonardo Co and two other people were killed–to conduct a fact-finding mission. Apparently, one of those who was killed with Co, Forest Ranger Sofronio “Poniong” Cortez, hails from my hometown, Baybay, Leyte. A post from the Visayas State University facebook page mentioned the following:

Forest Ranger Sofronio “Poniong” Cortez who died with Dr. Leonardo Co (known botanist from UP) while measuring a century old indigenous tree was a graduate of the Visayas State University (batch ’83 or ’84 of the Forest Ranger Course according to Dr. Ed Mangaoang, Poniong’s former teacher). He has been a forest ranger of the then Philippine National Oil Company (and now the Energy Development Corporation) and from informal talks among his friends he can be relied upon when it comes to indigenous tree species in the watershed areas within the geothermal sites of Tongonan. He was also a member of Gamma Lambda Epsilon (Falcons). His wake is now in his residence in Hikgop, Caridad, Baybay, Leyte. Our condolence!

Time Travelling is one with the Philippine nation in calling for justice. Quick links about the death of the three are provided here in our blog site.

4. November 23 was the death anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre. A personal friend of mine, Atty. Cynthia Oquendo, was killed in this election-related violence together with 57 other victims. Days after the incident happened, we wrote a blog entitled, On the Maguindanao Massacre, decrying the spate of murders of journalists and activists happening in the Philippines during the reign of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. For this, we light another candle for the victims, praying that justice will finally be served.

5. Time Travelling (bonvito) is one of the finalists for the Philippine Blog Awards (Visayas). Great news!

6. Finally, a lot of people here in Puerto Rico asked me if Filipinos celebrate Thanksgiving. So here’s a Facebook quote from Xiomara Demeterio Glindmeyer that will end all of these questions:

People have asked me if the Philippines celebrate Thanksgiving which is a ridiculous question. We never had Columbus come to our shores. We had Magellan and we greeted him by lopping his head off.

Quick Links: Updates on the Murder of Botanist Leonardo Co

The links here will be constantly updated.

News articles:

Summary of Findings of the Fact Finding Mission</a>

Justice For Leonard Co website

Justice for Leonard Co and His Companions!

Instructions to Contributors to the Leonardo L. Co Justice Fund

UP botanist not killed in crossfire: probe

Scientists: Army’s bullets killed top Filipino botanist Leonard Co

Leonard’s passion

Statement of the University Council of U.P. Diliman.

Miriam Defensor Santiago files resolution for a Senate investigation

Army says it was encounter, Left says it was a massacre

Icot says Kananga ambush incident an ‘isolated case’

A very bad week for Philippine science

They killed him like cowards

Slain botanist also worked in Cordillera

Deputy commander of 8th ID says sanctions would be meted to soldiers if found responsible on death of 3 civilians

Leyte sets up ‘safety protocol’

Statement: Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, Inc. calls for Justice for their late President Leonard Co

Candor hides grief over loss of admired botanist

Investigators set out to probe botanist’s death

Wife of slain forest guard seeks justice

But they still don’t know whose bullet killed botanist

Co probe mission off to Leyte

Citizen-based fact-finding mission off to probe botanist’s death

Cordillera NGOs mourn Co, salute him as ‘scientist of the people’

The irreplaceable ‘Sayang-tist’

Solons doubt botanist killed in crossfire, seek probe

9 firearms used in Kananga shooting turned over

UP forensic experts to autopsy slain botanist’s companions

De Lima orders probe of botanist’s death

Police probers point to ‘NPA presence’ in botanist’s death

No crossfire

Cordillera NGOs mourn Co, salute him as ‘scientist of the people’

Botanist’s case not isolated, says health group

No apologies offered for death of civilians

Leonard Co, son of UP, is home

Lopez group mourns slay of top botanist, 2 others

“Killing of the Philippines’ top botanist, Leonardo L. Co: another case of shoot first, ask questions later?” — KARAPATAN

Groups Say Impunity in Human Rights Violations Resulted in the Killing of Renowned Botanist

Kin of farmers killed with botanist demand impartial probe

Leonardo Co

Military knew Leonard Co was in the area – EDC

‘Slain UP botanist a rare species’

Agham calls for independent probe into Co’s killing

Who really killed leading botanist?

Slain botanist heard begging for mercy

‘Gunfire came from one direction’

Family doubts botanist killed in crossfire

Leyte ‘crossfire’ survivor: I did not hear exchange of gunfire

Rebels, military in blame game over killing of top botanist

‘Bullets did not come from soldiers,’ says AFP commander on crossfire casualties

NDF-EV condemns yet another 19th IB massacre claiming the lives of a distinguished scientist and his two assistants

Cayetano seeks independent probe into botanist’s death



Tribute to the slain botanist, Leonardo Co:

Tragic loss amid climate of impunity

A revolutionary tribute to a true people’s scientist-CPDF (NDF)

Biodiversity Heroes

Leonard, the ‘plant philanderer,’ lies among his treasures

The death of a scientist

In praise of good men

Thanks, Professor Co

Leonard Co (1953-2010), Filipino botanist

Work of Leonard Co on medicinal plants

In Memoriam: Leonardo L. Co (1953-2010),  by Jerry Gracio on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 1:36am

Leonard Co (1953-2010), Filipino botanist

Remembering Leonard Co

Leonard Co: Naming the plants, planting the seeds

Ang kahalagahan ng ginagawa ni Professor Leonardo Co

Leonard Co: Scientist for the People

UP’s plant-man extraordinaire

In memory of Dr. Daniel Lagunzad and Leonard Co

In Memoriam: Leonard Co (1953-2010)

A botanists’ legacy

Leonardo Co

Facebook Page: Leonardo L. Co: In Memoriam

R. leonardi is named after slain botanist

Rafflesia leonardi, also known as the ‘corpse’ or ‘meat’ flower, is named after the late Dr. Leonardo Co of Conservation International. This rare species was discovered in the coastal town of Lallo, Cagayan province in May 2008. Describing this species, Julie Barcelona et al wrote in an abstract:

Rafflesia leonardi is the eighth species of Rafflesia described from the Philippines and the fourth species from Luzon island. it most closely resembles R. lobata and R. manillana in perigone colour and wart ornamentations and in the wide aperture relative to diaphragm diameter. it is, however, different from both of these and other Philippine Rafflesia species in its flower size and disk that lacks or has rudimentary processes.

For more information on this species and the man, please click below:

Rafflesia leonardi

Rafflesia leonardi – honoring an unsung hero of Philippine Botany

Leonard Co (1953-2010), Filipino botanist

For the Facebook page of Dr. Leonard Co:

Leonard L. Co: In Memoriam

Justice for Botanist Leonardo Co!

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Top botanist killed in crossfire
By Elvie Roa, Joey A. Gabieta
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 03:36:00 11/17/2010

ORMOC CITY—One of the country’s top botanists and two of his companions were killed in a reported crossfire during an encounter between the military and communist rebels in a forested area in Kananga, Leyte, on Monday.

Leonardo L. Co, 56, a specialist in plant taxonomy and ethnobotany who was serving as biodiversity consultant of Lopez-owned Energy Development Corp. (EDC), was gathering specimen seedlings of endangered trees with a five-member team of civilians when he was shot, according to Manuel Paete, EDC resident manager.

Paete identified the other fatalities as Sofronio G. Cortez, a forest guard of EDC-Environmental Management Division, and Julius Borromeo, a member of the Tongonan Farmers Association (Tofa).

Insp. Jedol Camacho, Kananga police chief, said Army soldiers belonging to the 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) reported to the police that they had encountered unidentified armed men in Barangay Lim-ao in Kananga.

He would not say if the bullets that killed the three civilians came from the firearms used by soldiers. A police investigation was still ongoing, he said.

“It was a legitimate military operation. But we are very, very remorseful over what happened,” Lt. Col. Federico Tutaan, commanding officer of the 19th IB, said in a phone interview.

‘Too unfortunate’

Tutaan said his men were in the area to respond to a report of the EDC about the presence of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Upper Mahiao of Barangay Lim-ao.

“It was just too unfortunate that our men, the NPA members and the civilians were in the same place at the same time,” he said.

Co’s brother-in-law, Darwin Flores, said in a phone interview on Tuesday that the family would like to know what really happened.

“I understand that they were given clearance to proceed to the area,” said Flores, whose sister Glenda is married to Co.

He said he was informed that there was an existing security protocol between EDC and the local military.

“Definitely, we would like to know if there were lapses. And if there were lapses in the security protocol, those who were responsible should answer for it,” Flores said.

State of shock

Paete said Co’s two other companions, Policarpio Balute, a member of Tofa, and Roniño Gibe, a contractual forester with EDC’s corporate social responsibility department, survived the crossfire. Gibe, however, was in shock and was admitted to the hospital of the Ormoc Sugarcane Planters Association.

EDC had hired Co as a Binhi project consultant to conduct a study on tree biodiversity in the area and to collect seedling specimens of wild trees for replanting, Paete explained. Borromeo and Balute served as his guides.

According to its website, EDC is implementing the Binhi project, which focuses on prime endangered Philippine tree species, to bring back vanishing trees that are highly valued and those that are native to the country.

In an interview, Col. Allan Martin, deputy commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, said the soldiers who figured in the encounter were now “restricted” to their camp in Barangay Aguiting in Kananga. “There is now an investigation regarding that incident,” he said.

The soldiers, led by Lt. Ronald Ocheamar, figured in a 15-minute gun battle with seven armed men at about 12:15 p.m., Martin said.

First shot

During a press conference, Tutaan admitted that one of the soldiers fired the first shot because they were at a vantage point overlooking the area where they saw a man dressed in black jacket holding a long firearm.

Tutaan also refused to blame anybody for the deaths of the civilians. “I am not saying it was a lapse,” he said, noting that the area has thick forests and only patches were visible.

Tutaan said Co and his team were not visible to the soldiers.


Co, who was also the president of the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, served as a museum researcher at the University of the Philippines Institute of Biology (IB). He was the de facto curator of the Jose Vera Santos Herbarium, according to Dr. Perry Ong, IB director.

He was known in the Cordilleras for his work in helping communities systematize the knowledge of traditional healers about medicinal plants for their own primary health care.

Medicinal plants

As a staff member of the Community Health, Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Administrative Region (Chestcore) based in Baguio City since 1981, Co had helped list 122 medicinal plants in the region with their scientific and common names.

The list also included illustrations so anyone could identify the plant. Descriptions of the plant included habitat, distribution, parts utilized, indications, directions for use, dosage, and precautionary notes on toxicity and contraindications.

In 1989, Co published the book, “Common Medicinal Plants in the Cordillera Region: A Trainor’s Manual for Community-Based Health Programs,” in collaboration with Chestcore.

The book was primarily designed to help communities tap their traditional medicinal plants to treat some common diseases without relying too much on prescription drugs, which are not readily available.

He also authored “The Forest Trees of Palanan, Philippines: A Study in Population Ecology.”


Although a serious botanist, who always carried a bag in which to preserve plants he would collect anywhere he went, Co was also remembered for his humor.

A joke his former colleagues in Chestcore still remember was about how he defined plagiarism and research. Co had said: “If you copy from one source, that’s plagiarism. If you copy from many sources, that’s considered research, which can even pass off as a thesis or dissertation for some graduate degree.”

Flores disclosed that Co had told his wife that he would prefer to be cremated and have a brief wake.

Co’s body was expected to be brought to Funeraria Paz on Araneta Avenue in Quezon City Tuesday night. On Wednesday, it will be transferred to UP Diliman where a tribute will be held.

Flores said Co wanted to have some of his ashes scattered in Palanan and around a tree in UP Diliman, and the rest to remain with his family. With a report from Maurice Malanes, Inquirer Northern Luzon

Facebook Page:

Leonardo L Co: In Memoriam


Other News About the incident:

Slain botanist known for his work on medicinal plants

UP botanist, 2 others killed in military-NPA clash in Leyte

Primo, the Infant Tarsier

This is a video we took of an infant tarsier sometime in mid-2000 during our fieldwork in Corella, Bohol. Carlito Pizarras chanced on this infant whose mother was eaten by a stray cat (i.e., feral cats are the primary predators of tarsiers).

Only about a week old when he was found, Primo–the infant tarsier–was nursed back to health. Nong Lito later released the tarsier back to the forest sanctuary of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. (PTFI) after a few months.

Vodpod videos no longer available.