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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31 March 2012

Jan Slater Young’s Big PBB Prize

I did not start watching PBB until this season, so I had no idea how much of a following it has. Big! Really big! I mean, from the size of that late night crowd at the Quirino Grandstand for the Big Night, you would have thought that the Pope himself had arrived for a Catholic convention.

You also have to admire – or deplore – the way ABS-CBN stretched a nothing subject into a two-and-a-half-hour special. I mean, what was there to the show but the announcement of the big winner? But this we all had to wait for after N2 x 2Z number of commercials and a song-and-dance number here and there all the way to midnight!

James Yap

What an extraordinary game this one was that just finished in the First Division of the UFL. The Loyola Meralco Sparks were cruising to an apparent 3-1 victory over the Philippine Air Force Phoenix. Don’t all coaches preach, after all, not to stop playing after the final whistle has blown?

The Sparks should have listened. In added time, the never-side-die Airmen clawed themselves out from the grave to score in quick succession and level the score at 3-all. That was how the match ended.

30 March 2012

The Convenience of the Word K’wan


Just this evening on the news, a government official – or something – being interviewed by a reporter was being particularly cryptic with his reply, “Hindî mapatakbo ang kwan dahil sa k’wan…” So there you have it! Such esteemed eloquence on national television at that. Oh by the way, I am being sarcastic…

But to get back to the magic word, k’wan, does it even have a meaning? The closest English translation that I can think of is whachamacallit, which is not even legitimate English but an abbreviated version of ‘what you might call it.’

29 March 2012

The Gracious Telephone Operators of Yore

This is just the weirdest thing. I was just watching a documentary on the invention and evolution of the telephone when I suddenly recalled our house’s phone number when we still lived inside Fernando Air Base: 3292. We moved out of the Base late in 1971. As anyone reading this can imagine, I had not thought of that number in decades!

“Hello, Torrecampo’s residence!” Even as small kids, we were taught to answer politely. It was simply part of the protocol expected of military households.

28 March 2012

Slater Young’s Shot at PBB Glory

Well, both literally and figuratively… After the quick vote held Tuesday night to determine who would be evicted last night – which ultimately turned out to be Divine Maitland-Smith – Slater is now in the Top 4 and will be part of the grand night to be held this Saturday at the Quirino Grandstand. What’s more, Slater must have been bracing himself for the worst after what had been a rather traumatic past couple of days. Instead of being evicted, he won almost 50% of all the votes sent in.

Not that the eviction votes are anything but fickle. Just a few days back, Slater languished at 5th and barely survived the cut which ultimately saw Alvin Patrimonio’s daughter Tin evicted. In that vote, Divine sat at a lofty second.

Yeah Right It’s Summer!

What can I say except that this is so weird? Officially, the calendar says that it is the 29th of March. Indeed, no less than PAGASA had declared just the other week that summer had officially started. Summer. Yeah right!

A quick check of the satellite pictures shows this monstrous swathe of grey clouds that cuts across the country all the way across the Pacific. For those who are not into weather, a cold front is a mass of cold air typically emanating from the northeast or at least from the vantage point of the country.

27 March 2012

You and Your Body Clock


First of all, be forewarned not to take anything you read from this point onwards as gospel truth. This is a summation of one of the numerous and excellent BBC documentaries that one can view in HD at that on YouTube. The subject here is that of the body clock. Suffice it to say that it helped me to understand so many things that I previously did not do so and not a few of the items that I discovered surprised me.

Here are some interesting bits of information about the body clock:

23 March 2012

What Do Batangueños Know About Bisayâ?


…and so, nagpapaantok, I tuned in to PBB’s live version late last night. And a lot of good it did me…

The three remaining females in Kuya’s house were whiling the time away telling each other stories while eating what appeared to be nuts from off a plastic pouch.

Now Divine Maitland-Smith, reported on the PBB web site as from Cebu but of Filipino-British parentage, said something about the nuts’ balat that I did not quite catch.

22 March 2012

Tips for Job-hunting Graduating College Students

It is late March. Apart from the increasingly hot days and the start of summer vacation for many young people, it is also the season for graduation in schools all over the country. For the younger students, graduation is merely a stepping stone into a higher level of education. However, for many college graduates around the country, graduation opens a whole new dimension: that of the world of work. Here, I compile ten points that may be of help to all graduating college students:

21 March 2012

Poor Atty. Diaz, Now Germ-Free

That will be Atty. Eulalio C. Diaz III, Administrator at the Land Registration Authority or LRA. In the past couple of days, he was the subject of really intense ‘soaping’ by Senator Judges during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. So much so, in fact, that I can declare without fear of contradiction the he is now completely germ-free and is as sterile as an operating room.

20 March 2012

Education and the Pressure to Excel in School

The things people will say when they get their moments in the limelight. Take this basic education teacher who was interviewed by a news crew as part of an item on the soon-to-be-introduced K-12 program of the Department of Education. Doing her darnedest to sound like the right proper expert, the teacher went on: “It is up to the peyrents to support their children. Ip da peyrents will not support their children, kahit may K-12 ka pa walang mangyayari!”

19 March 2012

Azkals Nip Palestine to win Third in AFC Challenge Cup

It is claimed in certain quarters that there is only limited value in having a third place play-off in a tournament. Indeed, it is argued, if such a match can at all showcase anything, it will only be the disappointment of two teams that both failed to reach the final. Yet, history has shown time and again that third place play-off matches often become the source of the most entertaining football.

17 March 2012

Nice Wide Highways in Lipa City, But…

I derive tremendous pleasure these days from a ride uptown to Lipa City now that the government’s widening project westward to where the road forks towards Batangas City and Lemery is nearing completion. If by roads alone, the erstwhile quiet and agrarian city of Lipa is making a belated entry into the 21st century.

16 March 2012

Azkals vs Turkmenistan: the Morning After

It is the morning after. A seat in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup turned out, after all, to be a bridge too far. All that was needed for the Philippines was to hang on to the single goal lead for a mere eleven minutes. It is said, though, that it only takes a second to score a goal; and in the ensuing eleven minutes, Turkmenistan contrived to score twice to wreck Filipino dreams of glory.

Azkals Lose Heartbreak Semis vs Turkmenistan

Eleven minutes from glory. So near and yet so far. These were probably the thoughts going though the minds of an entire nation as the Philippines surrendered a slim 1-nil lead to Turkmenistan in the final eleven minutes of a thoroughly engrossing match. With the defeat, the Philippines thus failed to make its first international final in modern history.

13 March 2012

Azkals Come from Behind vs Tajikistan, Make Challenge Cup Semis

There are always heroes and there are villains; and it was no different as the Philippines played Tajikistan for a place in the semi-finals of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. First, for the villains; although, on second thoughts, let me correct myself and reduce that to the singular – villain. That Tajikistan took the lead at all in first half added time is highly debatable.

11 March 2012

Younghusband Brace vs India Revives Azkals’ Hope for Semis

You would not have known just by watching the flow of the game which team was the former AFC Challenge Cup Champion and which was the upstart playing in the final stages of the competition for the first time ever. Indeed, apart from winning the same competition in 2008, India also participated in the final stages of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar and is also the reigning South Asian Football Federation champion.

09 March 2012

No Dream Result for Azkals vs DPR Korea

DPR Korea 2 Philippines 0. This was how the scoreboard read at the end of 90 minutes in the Philippines’ debut match at the final stage of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. The significance lays not at all in the result; but rather in the simple fact that the Philippines was on the same pitch as the North Koreans in the first place. Almost two years ago, some of these very same North Koreans were in South Africa making Brazil work hard for its money in a World Cup encounter.

08 March 2012

Jessica Sanchez for the Win!

Then again, if she doesn’t, you can always come back in a few months’ time and boo me. I just hope that I did not just give her the kiss of death. Last season, I was Pia Toscano’s chief rah-rah boy and look where she ended: bundled out of the competition with so many rounds still to go, J-Lo’s stunned look notwithstanding. American Idol, after all, is a voter’s competition.

06 March 2012

Taylor Kitsch, David Letterman and the Wrong Country

True, Customs’ Ruffy Biazon has every right to feel upset about the Canadian-born actor Taylor Kitsch’s absent-minded narration on American late night national television about being hustled upon arrival at some airport. Take note, though, that at no point in his interview with talk show host David Letterman did Kitsch ever mention the Philippines.

04 March 2012

PBB’s Pamu and How the Batangueña Shows Affection

Imagine this scene one night inside the girls’ room of Big Brother’s House: the girls had just turned in, sheets draped over their bodies, eyes closed and apparently trying to get some much-needed shuteye from all the rigours of living inside Kuya’s house. Then suddenly, the sheet draped all the way over the head of the girl at the far end of the room started to shake. As it turned out, the girl underneath the bed sheet had started to giggle. Shortly, she pulled down the bed sheet to just under her chin.

01 March 2012

Dismissals that Rocked the 1996 La Salle FC Team

The La Salle FC Class of 1996 had the potential to go all the way; but for bizarre events that occurred outside of the field. The art of building a team is not unlike putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Just when I had painstakingly prepared players as one would to exactly fit the puzzle and complete the picture, two players were dismissed from the school for disciplinary reasons.