As we all agree, the pandemic really changed our lives since it hit the world during the last quarter of 2019. It may have been hard for most of us, but on the brighter side, it brought us back to the confines of our homes. Being stuck at home, we all sorted to all forms of hobbies, craft, and business endeavors. Sure, you may have already heard of terrariums and the magnificent world inside it. In 2020, as most of us in the local terrarium scene, we may consider it the dawn of the age of terrariums. With the creation of a local group Terrarium Philippines (by HowToMakeTerrarium.com formerly Terraplantae), the local artists and hobbyists gathered and showcased their jaw-dropping creations. And together with this, one of our Ilocano artists from Claveria, Cagayan introduced to us for the first time the Taraki Mossariums by Micro Worlds.
Joining the emergence of the terrariums as the next frontier in the local enclosure universe is Donald P. Fariñas, or “Choi” to many, started posting online his unique idea and design for terrariums for his terrarium brand: Micro Worlds the–The Taraki Style, which can be compared to the Japanese concepts such as: Iwagumi, Wabi Kusa, Kusamono, etc. Choi is an Electronics and Communications Engineering graduate who , though lady luck’s intervention, now works as a Day Trader and on the side, also helps on the family business of rice farming.
As Choi narrates, his motivation sprung when he started catching the attention of both local and international audience for his terrarium designs he posted on Facebook. According to him, being a beginner at that time, this kind of attention is relatively new to him. Seeing the response to his posts on is mossariums, he decided to create his own brand and started to include watermarks to his photos to mark his creations which gave birth to Micro Worlds (Facebook Page). The initial intent was only for it to be a personal blog. He initially came up with “The Micro World of Big Moss” which later on evolved to “The Big Moss” and finally, “Micro Worlds”.
As defined by Choi, the Taraki-Style Mossarium is a combination of his hobbies: a) the art of bonsai and penjing, b) rock collecting, c) his love for mosses, and d) creating mossariums.
Taraki-Style by principle is composed of two parts: “Mundo” or the Micro World – the landscape of rocks and driftwoods (hardscape), moss (flora), and springtails (fauna); and “Kahon” for the enclosure. The “mundo” is independent from the “kahon” because even if you take out the “mundo” it can still function independently and its ecosystem is still considered intact. The primary purpose of the “kahon” in this concept is merely for protection and to conserve the moisture, rather than an anchor as opposed to the traditional terrarium principle.
To Choi, this idea came from his initial hobby of doing mossariums. While the common practice of doing mossariums include a false bottom, planting media, and rocks and driftwoods as hardscapes, Choi got rid of the planting media for his designs. Instead, he made use of rocks as the focus and moss as an accessory contrary to the common practice of rocks as accessories and moss as the focus. He also mentioned that with this design, you don’t have to plan for he landscape because the rocks will already provide it for you, naturally. You only have to add the moss in the strategic places to mimic the natural set-up and to provide aesthetics and design. Driftwoods is also optional, only if it compliments the design and the ratio to the entire piece. His first masterpiece for the Taraki-Style was “A Giant’s Tooth” which is reminiscent of the floating islands in the film Avatar. The design was made with the “mundo” suspended inside a tall cylinder glass, which gives an illusion of a floating island. This was the first Taraki-Style Mossarium.
For the meantime, Micro Worlds is a content and hobby page. Hopefully, some time soon, it can turn into a hybrid of a content, a hobby, and a business page.
If the terrarium hobby caught your attention, do not hesitate. After less than thirty minutes of research, make your First terrarium. You will be an expert in your Second. Your Third will be an inspiration from your Second. I guarantee you that your Fourth will not be your last. Zero to low cost, zero to low maintenance, piece of nature, what more can you ask for a hobby?
Aside from his love of terrariums and nitpicking on the different designs on the internet, Choi enjoys his time with his family in Claveria, Cagayan (which is to towns away from Ilocos Norte if you are coming from the South). Born and raised by a retired high school teacher and a midwife-turned-business woman. He also takes inspiration from his wife Sheene, who is a fellow OFW from Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and his two kids: Aaliyah Kyle and Aadam Kareem. These are his influences on his designs and love for his craft of creating terrariums—the Taraki way.