Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 25, Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Tagaytay Highlands

Visiting Philippines can be an enthralling experience. Located on the Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is home to one of the richest bio-diversities in the world in over 7000 tropical islands. Located only about 50km away from the capital Manila is the city of Tagaytay. The city, with a cool and invigorating climate, overlooks Taal Lake and provides some quite iconic views.

Located in the middle of Taal Lake is the infamous Taal Volcano. Taal Volcano is regarded as a Complex Volcano and is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines and part of the 'Pacific ring of fire'. The Taal Lake basin was first declared a national park, the 'Taal Volcano National Park', on 22 July, 1967, covering 62,292 hectares. It has since remained a protected area. Viewed from Tagaytay Ridge, Taal Volcano and Lake presents one of the most picturesque and attractive views in the Philippines.

I along with my family were honorary guests of the then Bangladeshi Ambassador of Philippines, Ikhtiar Chowdhury. Apart from the royal treatment we received, the most prized gift we received was a visit to Tagaytay City and to the exclusive members-only-permitted Tagaytay Highlands. With the Ambassador himself accompanying us we started towards Tagaytay early in the morning. In about an hour and a half we reached the Highlands Entry. On our way we had several glimpses of the Taal Lake and the neighbouring valley. Filipinos are generally friendly people and stopping anywhere on the road for refreshments can be quite welcoming. Upon entering the Highlands there are various places to begin with.

Our first stop was the highest point or as it is locally known, the Peak Point. From the Peak Point all that one sees is heavenly and amazing. The view goes as far as beyond the City of Manila and into the Manila Bay. Considering much closer landmarks geographically are the ever-present Taal Lake and the looming glare of Taal Volcano in its epicenter. On the other side is the picture perfect Highland Golf course. The magnificent view cannot really be expressed by words.

After a breathtaking glance, some snacks and drinks are available at the Peak Point. But it is best not to miss out on the other facilities of the Highlands. Going a little downhill into the zone, the Midlands can be regarded as a good choice. There are a few restaurants to choose from there. Most have a view of the Taal Lake. The Midlands is also home to various types of cottages, villas and cabins. These can be great resting spots for those who like to spend more time with nature. For those who like instant room service there is the Highlands Inn. The zone is also home to swimming and spa facilities along with a play zone for kids. The famous Golf Course also starts in this zone. Amongst the mountainous valley this is a one-of-a-kind golf course. There is also a Cable Car ride available within the Highlands Territory.

A view of the Taal Lake and Volcano along with the valley can be an experience of a lifetime. So, in case anyone is planning to visit the Philippines soon, don't miss out on Tagaytay. A day's time and some enthusiasm might be all that you need to experience a bit of marvellous beauty that lies within our planet Earth. Tagaytay can be a great example of why we should protect nature.

By TamimSujat
Photo: TamimSujat


H is for Holiday Hymn

By Munize Manzur

Ah! The Anonymity of airports! That joyful place where there are too many people rushing around with nary a known face to impose on you. Don't fret about the long lines. Let your mind take flight even before you have taken off. Bask blissfully in between borders of what was and what is to come. Tell your soul to Cringe no more. You may have a long journey ahead or tricky connections but one thing is for sure: the Drudgery of daily life, dreadful deadlines, drowsing routines, drowning trivialities… all of that has Ended as of now.

Forget the musts, oughts and shoulds. Garner Hope Instead! The hope of making new friends or the hope of a good sale. There are endless possibilities for Jaywalking through an entire day of unscheduled stops and aimless, shameless 'touristing'.

Kiss your niggling worries goodbye. If you make a mistake, who's to know? If you do something silly, no one will raise an eyebrow and spread gossip about how you've 'really lost perspective'. Let your Mind mull over New languages, new tastes, new Opportunities. Ponder upon Quaint mannerisms of strangers in crowded cafes as you have your third cup of latte.

Do not Restrain the urge to Smile just because you want to, just because you can, just because you are you, just because. It takes one extra muscle to smile than it does to frown. A 'genuine' smile takes 12 muscles; whereas it takes 11 muscles to frown. Given the extra muscle used, if you bestow smiles generously, you'll be expending more energy. If you expend more energy, you can ingest more calories…ergo; you can indulge in more food!

So, go ahead and tantalise your Tastebuds. Tease them. Test them. Take them for a spin. Treat them to an uncommon blend of spices. Whether visiting a new place or returning to the all-too-familiar favourite vacation spot, it's always a pleasure to experiment with food. And the best part of holidays? You can have breakfast food at midnight or dessert at noon before lunch.

Make each holiday Unique by stepping away from your usual pathways and Valiantly learn something new. Nowadays hotels and local tours provide an interesting array of adult classes. You can take an arts and crafts Workshop or hone up on your culinary skills for a few hours.

A holiday is like a treasure map. Except that there is no X to mark the spot for that chest of gold. Do only what you want to do and not what you have to do. Explore your surroundings. Discover a new side to You or touch base with the side that you had forgotten about. If all this sounds way too exhausting for you, then forget this article. Close your eyes and simply indulge in the guilt-free pleasure of catching up on some ZZZZZs!


When in doubt about what to wear, 'go nude'!

By Sadia moyeen Beautician,
La Belle, 13/A /2 Kemal Ataturk Avenue , ( 3rd/ 4th fl ) Gulshan -2

Uh huh! I knew this would get your attention. And now that I have, let me tell you about the latest trends in makeup and hair. And at some point I will justify the heading of my article too.

Red is the colour of the season; deep, blood red. Non-defined eyes teamed with full red lips, matte or glossy, take your pick. A pale eye shadow, perhaps something pearly or even a complete absence of colour, with a neat application of liner and a generous amount of mascara, would be super dramatic yet classy. Think Marilyn Monroe and you'll get the picture! Or Audrey Hepburn perhaps.

Mac has awesome shades of red. Diva, Lady Danger and Chilli to name a few. So get out there and grab them on your next visit abroad or if you are lucky you might find them at Priyo or Almas right here in Dhaka.

The only issue now is that red is a difficult colour to carry off and not everyone is capable of getting away with it. There is a fine line between looking chic and looking cheap with red, so watch out. Hallelujah if it suits you! If it doesn't ...well ...whoever said you HAVE to follow trends? Wear what suits you.

Nude shades are acceptable for all seasons; they are subtle, soft and suit our skin tones. We like to use dramatic eye makeup in Dhaka and nude shades go well with elaborate eyes. So when unsure about the colour of your lips, play it safe and use nude natural shades.

Base shades, almost colourless but with shine and gloss are very much in vogue, lightest shades of coral, pink, pearl and peach go well with Asian skin. Extra eye lashes add length and body to your natural lashes. Place them directly on the natural lash line neatly making sure both eyes match before applying eyeliner. Mismatched lashes will result in wonky eyes so be careful.

Finally try the new-age gel liners that come in a pot, they are matt, waterproof, black as sin and oh so easy to use. Clinique, Bobbi Brown, and Inglot are the best ones on the market.

Straight hair can be said goodbye to, waves and curls are in. Bring out the rollers and tongs and put away the iron. Grow your hair, long tresses are very desirable. If you can't grow it, don't despair. Options of hair extensions, hair pieces, wigs, etc. of excellent quality are freely available.

Messy, wayward hair is very popular. So much so that even hairstyles, buns, etc. are very casually put together. Not sprayed stiff with each hair perfectly placed. Twisted hairstyles are super popular since Queen Rania of Jordan was seen sporting them on a few occasions.

Less is more but now I'm getting tired of saying that. In Dhaka things are over the top, least of all the makeup and hair.

One cannot be dressing the same way for a lunch or tea as we do for dinner. Summer colours and fabrics are different. Fashion and trends are important but comfort and weather go hand in hand.

Deep colours and heavy fabrics during our humid summer will surely melt you and your makeup in no time. Mixed fabrics will not let the deodorants do their job either. So beware and learn.




By Nazia Farzin Shafiq

Good morning readers. Today, we are going to learn about a unique project that can be done by people of all ages. It is about creating a silhouette. Since it may not be a very commonly used word for some of you, let me share the dictionary meaning:

“A silhouette is the image of a person, an object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject. The interior of a silhouette is basically featureless, and the whole is typically presented on a light background, usually white, or none at all.”

Creating a silhouette is an easy and unique way to preserve the sweet face of your child. If you have all the essentials in hand, you can finish the project in less than an hour.

You need one picture of your child, exact-o-knife, glue stick, one white card stock and one black card stock and a photo frame. You will also need you computer and your printer.

First, I took one side-picture of my daughter. What you want is for your child to be looking straight with a normal, un-posed expression. Getting a good picture was the hardest part for me.

Next, copy and paste your pictures into a Word document. I then held my photo frame up in front of the computer, adjusting the sizes of the pictures, until they looked right.

Print the pictures. I just used regular printer paper, but card stock is even better. Now, slowly and carefully cut out the profile picture. Every little detail is very important. This cut out will become your stencil. (Save it for future projects!)

I used black card stock for the silhouette but you could use so many different kinds of paper. Slowly and very carefully trace the picture onto the paper. Next, very carefully cut it out using the knife. Look back at the original picture as you go to make sure that all of the details are just right. (Scan these pictures onto your computer and you can use them again).

A sheet of newspaper makes a fun background. To make it more personal, I decided to make a newspaper-looking background using her full name. For this step, I simply typed out (copy and pasted) her name over and over in a Word document, filling the page. Use scissors to cut and adjust the background paper so that it fits into the photo frame.

Next, use glue to attach the silhouette on the background sheet. As a finishing touch, I added a little ribbon in my daughter's ponytail to the outside of the frame.

You can make this out of a single person's photo or even a family photo. The options are endless. With silhouettes, you can make special cards and gifts for Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentines Day, and invitations.

If you have further questions, please email me at lifestyleds@yahoo.com.


About rose gardening

This Mothers' Day my brother presented our mother with a bunch of red roses and I presented her with a few well-versed lines of appreciation on her Facebook wall. She 'liked' my post, virtually and in reality and dumped my brother's roses in a jar where it stood for a day to perish and to be replaced the very next day.

It seems that the preferred method of expressing feelings have evolved or maybe the higher publicity inherent in my 'gift' made my mother feel more special among her friends. Whatever the case maybe, I won this round against my brother (Hallelujah!).

But let us not get carried away. Facebook has been here for a decade or so while roses have established its significance as a mode of positive expression for many years -- 30,000 to be precise! And hence it would be foolish to assume that we, the twenty-first century humans, have grown weary of the magnificence of roses. After all, the saying goes that babies and flowers can cheer the most forlorn of hearts and roses happen to be the best at doing just that.

Would it then not be nice to have these 'cheering instruments' surround you at all times rather than just on special days? Would it not be nice to have your own rose garden to retire to when life seems dark and devoid of colours? You might think that roses -- known to be temperamental -- would be troublesome to grow but a little literacy on tending to them will save you lots of failed attempts and reward you with the fragrance and beauty exclusive to roses.

Rose gardening has had a lot of research done about it. The literature available is huge in quantity and rich in details but the fast moving world of today requires fast fixes.

The first step of the whole project is, of course, planting the rose plant. You have two choices here, planting a potted rose plant or a bare root one. For the beginners, the former is the wiser choice since all you need to do is provide the plant a good drink of water prior to pushing it into a loosely covered hole.

You can obtain such potted rose plants from any nursery around the country with more choices available in the winter seasons, which is when the plant grows best in our climate. Starting with the local rose species is also advisable since these are sturdier and less expensive, compensating for any mishap in your initial trial period.

In selecting the place to plant the roses, remember the mantra 'Sun, Shelter, Space'. Your rose plant should be able to receive six hours of sunlight daily, have shelter from wind and adequate space to grow and allow easy access for maintenance purposes.

The loose soil stated above is necessary to prevent water-logging which is a sure way of killing a rose plant. Roses have a potentially long life and given a well-chosen site, should flourish for many years, even generations.

Tending to your rose also has a three-word mantra 'Water, Mulch, Prune'. You will need to deep-water your newly planted plants daily until it is established, after which deep-water it twice a week to keep it moisturised.

Remember to always apply the water directly to the base of the plant and avoid overhead watering. Watering roses in the early morning is a good idea since that allows any excess water on the leaves and blooms to evaporate quickly. As said before, rose plants do not like to swim.

Next you will need to weed under the rose bushes. Doing this after rainfall or thorough watering will make it much easier to pull out the whole weed plant. To make your task easier mulch, mulch, mulch! Your roses will be happiest if you remember to mulch since weeds will occur less often.

Finally you will need to prune your plant regularly. Pruning of the rose sucker, known popularly in our nation as the 'jongla dala', is vital. This stem appears prior to blooming and can be identified from its seven leaves instead of the usual five leaves to a stem. If it is allowed to grow, the plant will fail to flower!

Also prune the tip after each flowering season to allow the same branch to flower again within a short while. Attempt a clean cut and remember to seal the pruning cuts to prevent disease and worm infestation. Roses happen to be an attraction for many, often undesirable, living things.

Such attraction makes your rose plant susceptible to fungal diseases as well as insect infestation. Roses are as delicate as the sentiments they portray and hence require generous amounts of fertilisers and pesticides. A useful trick is to grow garlic and cinnamon in your rose garden which helps keep away unwanted pests and acts as a natural fungicide respectively.

As a general rule, apply fertiliser after each flush of blooms with one-third cow dung added to two-thirds soil. You can also use TSP and potash, which are readily available from any nursery. Check your plant regularly for black spots and powdering on the leaves which signals disease.

These beginners' tips apply for whichever type of rose you want to grow. In choosing a rose type you would usually require a trade-off between size, colour and scent. The larger, multi-coloured foreign varieties are usually devoid of smell while the local, smaller and fragrant varieties occur in only basic red, yellow and white.

Thanks to the horticulture evolution in our nation, however, your choices have increased manifold. Now you can obtain big roses such as 'tajmahal', 'lincoln' or 'purnima' as well as the smaller 'hazari' or fragrant 'merenda', all cultivated locally. The colour choice has also evolved allowing the additional yellow, pink and even black!

Roses are forever red -- that colour which personifies passion, love, dedication, joy and so many such positive and intense emotions. It is true that growing them demand a certain amount of attention but you don't have to be a slave to your roses. Given regular care, your rose garden can grow beautifully and add colour to your life for many years.

By Raisaa Tashnova


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