San Nicolas and Santa Teresita: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Exploring forgotten stories about the barrios of San Nicolas and Santa Teresita.

Balandis: the Slanted Houses Along a Road in Cuenca/Alitagtag

Exploring this quaint area in Cuenca and Alitagtag where the houses are slanted away from the road.

Mataasnakahoy: Historical and Folkloric Trivia about some of Its Barrios

Revisiting obscure barrio histories of the barrios of the Municipality of Mataasnakahoy.

An Old Tourist Spot in Taal Called the Pansipit Fishery

A throwback to a by-gone era, when tourists around Luzon visited this resort in Taal and Lemery.

The Hitchhiker who Gets on at the Zigzag in Cuenca Batangas Lipa

A tall tale familiar to all who drive through this curving road in Cuenca. Is it really a tall tale, though?

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30 January 2011

Quality Shines Through


Personally, I do not like criticizing match officials. First of all, I believe it is undignified to do so. Second, just like you and I, they are just there to do a job. Most of the time, what they make from officiating is a pittance compared to what many of us do; and considering the sort of abuse they sometimes tend to get from players and coaches alike, one sort of wonders why they are there to begin with.

29 January 2011

Street Football

Was walking out from school when, on impulse, I decided to seek out Pao in the open courts. He wasn’t there, but I was surprised to find Allan and Cyrus having a kickabout all by their lonesome selves.

27 January 2011

The Transformation from Copra Factory to SENTRUM


In the summer of 1995, I and my boys had the option of holding our scrimmages inside this huge ugly structure that was located in the coconut grove just to the west of the field. Basically, it was just this roughly-paved wide something with a huge towering roof above it, intended to be covered courts for use by PE classes as well as basketball and volleyball training.

25 January 2011

Lomi and Gulay

[At the time this story was written in 2008, Flavors in China still maintained a restaurant at Robinson's Place here in Lipa. The restaurant used to offer a brand of lomi not quite like what most people from the city are used to; although I did develop a liking for it enough to write the ensuing story.]

Ms. Alice Rivera, With Respect

[I have been going through a barren patch lately as far as writing is concerned, so I have taken the opportunity to migrate some of my older Facebook Notes to Blogspot for those who have not seen these before. This is one of those stories, written after my sister and I visited the wake of my former teacher and colleague Ms. Alicia Rivera in 2008.]

23 January 2011

The Anxiety of the Home Crowd

The score was 15-19 when I arrived at the rickety old Br. Henry Virgil Gymnasium this afternoon. This was the Area Meet finals in Boys’ Volleyball between our team and our neighbors in blue. Our boys had little luck against the neighbors last season; and in fact had already lost a championship match earlier this season in a tournament in Manila.

20 January 2011

The Mythical Filipino Aswang and Other Stories



There was a time when the mere mention of this shadowy figure was all it took to subdue a hyperactive child or convince him to hit the sack at night. “Hala nand’yan na ang aswang!” The instinctive reaction was to dive onto the bed and drag the sheet over one’s head. Which child – pray tell – has ever spared a thought to consider if, at all, that the flimsy bed sheet offered any protection?

Have Gas; Will Travel


I have no pretensions whatsoever about being the spontaneous type; which makes today’s almost totally unplanned tour of three provinces all the more remarkable. A friend and I agreed it would be a good idea to take advantage of the Lipa City fiesta to go on a joyride somewhere. Tagaytay seemed like a good idea. That was as far as the plan went.

19 January 2011

Ohmigod! It’s A Man!

I was tired from training with the college team for three straight days, and just wanted to go home. I was first into the jeepney bound for Batangas at the station outside of Rob. In no time at all, other passengers came rushing to board.

17 January 2011

Astronomers Stirring Up Astrological Debate: Baloney!

I would like to make this very public announcement. I was born under the sign of Taurus; and whatever this recent big to-do has been about the supposed changing of the astrological birth chart, I have no intention whatsoever of relinquishing my Taurean affiliation.

16 January 2011

Shower

There was a most unfortunate and badly timed blackout almost this time last night. I say unfortunate because I had scrimmaged vigorously with the lads in the late afternoon and had yet to take a proper shower.

15 January 2011

That Garlicky Smell

Malou at the MCD knows that I’m absolutely crazy about longganisa and tapang Taal. So, the other day, she sent me a text message saying she was doing her annual marketing talk at the Our Lady of Caysasay Academy, and would I want her to get me some tapa?

12 January 2011

Art's Ghost: the Mysterious Face that Appeared in a School Picture


Art is alive and well. The ghost, well…

I first learned about the phenomenon from two colleagues while we were meeting in my office a couple of weeks back.

One NC Game and Aches and Bruises

I recently linked up again after almost three decades through FB with a couple of teammates from college: Tommy Mirasol and Chu Lazaro. Guess what…??? I have been exchanging those-were-the-days messages with both for the last few days.

Eagerly!!! It’s been – like – twenty-seven years only???!!!

11 January 2011

Duke: An Azkal Shepherd With a Strange Dog-sinality

When I was a teenage boy, our family used to own a mongrel named Duke. I honestly do not recall who gave the dog to us; or why he got to be called Duke. I have not thought about him for the longest time; but for some reason, I just did tonight.

He had the classic facial features of a German Shepherd: pointed ears, brown face and smudges of black roundabout the mouth. But his body was all wrong; it was small, slim and the unmistakable look of what used to be called Tagalog but these days, more fashionably the Azkal.

10 January 2011

A Weiss Choice Over McMenemy?

With less than a month to go of the Year of the Golden Tiger – a year of drastic changes – the large playful cat is apparently not through with the mischief. Less than a month has passed since the Philippine National Football Team’s only-in-our-wildest-dreams semi-final matches against Indonesia at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

07 January 2011

A Nasty Habit

[In yesterday’s post, I told the story of how, in January of 1991, one of my players was killed in a vehicular accident right in front of school. Regrettably, I lost another player in just 23 days. I gave up trying to understand the unfortunate events long ago. All I continue to do is to tell their stories to whoever is prepared to listen so that the boys are not forgotten.

06 January 2011

Football Is Life; and Life Is Hard

In the eighties, a family returned back to the Philippines after a stint living in the African nation of Liberia. This was the Carbonilla family, which subsequently made its home in Batangas City. Initially, three of the family’s boys went to the school where I still work. Coming from the African continent as they did, all boys – naturally – played football.

The eldest of the three played some inter-class football; but never got around to actually trying out for the school team. The younger two boys did play – and with distinction!

05 January 2011

He Did, She Did; He Does, She Does

Last month, I saw a public comment by my former boss on Facebook while he was waiting to fly home from Europe for the holidays about the number of men he saw walking about with plucked eyebrows. He is a year younger than I am so would more or less carry the same ideas in his head about what each gender does and does not do.

Sculpturing eyebrows aside – and indeed, to my generation, this was a strictly feminine exercise – there are many young people of the present who have cast away what used to be rather clear-cut gender lines.

04 January 2011

Sometimes Dad Knows Best


You have to understand how my Mom ruled the household: she was the archetypal Reina Emperatriz, capital letters intended. She was born under the stars of Virgo and – thus – was a hard-to-please perfectionist whose rule over the brood was characterized by order and regimentation.

I meant that description fondly, of course. Those who know me well will also quickly come to the conclusion that I am – thus – not unlike my Mom in my ways. Indeed, there is a truism to this; albeit, as I was growing up, our clashes of personality were inevitable and one for the parenting pamphlets.

03 January 2011

The Golden Goal


It was late January of 2004. The school year was winding down to a close. The cool winds had begun to give way to rising temperatures and humidity. The football field was starting to turn golden as the rains started to become scarcer.

We were also getting ready to play in the final of the Friendship and Solidarity Cup – otherwise known as FSC – a tournament organized by the school itself for college teams in the region. Our opponent in the championship game was the University of the Philippines at Los Baños or UPLB.

01 January 2011

Someone We Called Titi


Ryan, one of the extremely rare men in blue to break into the college team, had just resigned – or so he said – from a call center in Makati. In between jobs, he decided to come join scrimmage.

Now, in the football team, we have had this age-old tradition of giving players nicks, and not all of them very flattering.

Getting It Right in the Head


It is strange how getting things right in the head can make a world of a difference. Just a few months ago, any football game with Gregg between the sticks was always going to be a hit or miss affair.

He first came to play for me as a gangling high school sophomore who was taller than most of his teammates. Even then, the potential was obvious to anyone who cared to look.

A Cashier and Her Barcode Scanner

There was a good Friday evening crowd at the supermarket today when I went in to get a few things for the fridge. I always make a mental note of the things I intend to purchase, so I was in and out as always, resisting the urge to look this way and that at the shelves and just going to the sections that I already know by heart I can find the things that I need.

There were long queues at the cashiers’ tables; but typically, I found one near the entrance where there was only one customer having her purchases scanned. She had a cart with her, but the goods she bought were mostly sarî-sarî store stuff: sachets of soap, shampoo and toothpaste; canned meat and fish; even disposable shaving razors.