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 May 2012

The Alter-Ego That Is Big Utol

Since I got started watching PBB, the show has become something of a pre-bedtime ritual. It can be thematically mundane enough to be the perfect non-activity to get anyone yawning.

Not last night, however. Definitely not with Big Utol in charge of the microphone. Kuya is, of course, taking a wee bit of a vacation and has typically left his alter-ego in charge.

30 May 2012

Yes, Football Is Alive in Tanauan

For most of the last three decades, if you wanted to find football in the province of Batangas, you had to go to Lipa. That is where the Christian Brothers set up a school; and in this country, where the Christian Brothers have set up a school, there is also bound to be a football field.

In the last decade or so, probably because of immigrants to the town rather than the natives themselves, Nasugbu has also started to carve a name for itself as far the game is concerned. Granted, there were pockets of initiatives here and there all around the province; but by and large interest in football as a sport has been sustained down the years mostly in Lipa.

29 May 2012

Concluding Thoughts on the Corona Trial and Verdict

Well, there you have it. The Impeachment Court has passed its verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona; so that is really the cue for the rest of us to get on with our lives. In the end, the 20-3 vote to convict was emphatic; and probably reflected, anyway, the overriding sentiment outside the walls of the Philippine Senate.

For the same reason that I always say that a decision by the Supreme Court is incontestable if for no other reason than that any argument has to end somewhere, then this decision by the Impeachment Court has to be seen as the end of the matter.

28 May 2012

CJ Corona Verdict: How the Senators Voted

Almost half a year of a sometimes intriguing, sometimes fascinating and sometimes downright monotonous impeachment trial ended this afternoon with the Philippine Senate voting to impeach or acquit Chief Justice Renato Corona of charges filed against him in the House of Representatives last December.

It had been generally believed as the impeachment trial went along that the impeachment vote would subsequently come down to a crucial vote on Article II, which focused on his alleged failure to accurately disclose his assets, liabilities and net worth in the SALN.

27 May 2012

All Because of the Word ‘Scarce’

I used to have a player whose bansag – a derogatory nickname – within the team was tutâ (a puppy). And so one afternoon at the football field, probably more in jest than anything, I was supposed to have told him, “You don’t have a personality! You have a dogsinality!”

In all honesty, I had completely forgotten all about this incident. It was a classmate of this player who happened to work very closely with me all of two decades later who reminded me about it.

25 May 2012

CJ Corona’s Waiver: Too Little Too Late or a Brilliant Ploy?

It is so easy to brand CJ Corona’s act of finally submitting his waiver this afternoon – having ditched his precondition – to the Presiding Judge and granting the Impeachment Court access to his dollar accounts as too little too late. I, for one, certainly did.

Think of all the trouble that could have been spared – for one, a lengthy caucus to decide whether to abide by or disregard a TRO preventing the opening of said accounts – had Corona produced the goods when there was such a big to-do about these.

24 May 2012

A Football Player with Magic He Did Not Want

In one of the high school teams that I used to coach, we used to have in the late nineties this player who possessed magical powers that he neither asked for nor particularly wanted. We shall call him by the name Merlin – wink – obviously after the legendary sorcerer and obviously not his real name.

In those days, the school used to own a rickety old bus that once belonged to the fleet of the BLTBCo; but the proud warrior’s finest days were long since gone. It was in this bus that we frequently travelled to matches.

23 May 2012

Phillip Phillips: Season 11 American Idol

Well there you have it! Season 11 of American Idol has officially ended. Phillip Phillips has defeated the great brown hope that is Jessica Sanchez to win the much-coveted title of American Idol. So we all look forward to the next season and the next Filipino-American singer to rally behind.

American Idol itself has released the statistics: a record 132.3 million votes came in during a 4-hour voting period immediately after the final performance show. Now, we have all seen those how-to jpegs on Facebook encouraging all Pinoys wherever in the world they might be to vote for the darling of the moment.

22 May 2012

Thoughts on CJ Corona’s ‘Walkout’ from the Impeachment Court

My immediate thoughts as Chief Justice Renato Corona excused himself yesterday from the impeachment court and got up to leave with alacrity was that he sounded a lot like the head of a co-equal branch of government saying what was the equivalent of “I’m done with all of you, now I take my leave, ta-ta, thank you very much!”

And off he sped to everyone’s consternation; yes, even his own defence counsels. Lead counsel Cuevas’ demeanour, for once, was simply priceless! Excusing his client’s actions before the court and without bothering to turn off the microphone pleading with somebody in the defence panel ‘habulin mo’ (run after him) was almost comical.

Going Gaga Over Lady Gaga

First of all, I was not a Lady Gaga fan. Was. Past tense. Now I am fast becoming one all because of the big fuss in the media about her alleged satanic affiliation and all the other accusations that I personally think have been overboard and yet again underscore our fondness as a people for the sensational and the inessential.

Before the big fuss, the only mp3 I had of her songs was “Edge of Glory.” I saw her perform the song last season on American Idol and liked the beat enough to go find myself an mp3.

21 May 2012

The White Lady of the Tamarind Tree

There used to be, just to the west of where I live, this frighteningly tall tamarind tree that in the dark of the night seemed the perfect place to find a tikbalang perched on one of the branches puffing on its large cigar. But no, bulong-bulungan in the neighbourhood was that it was a white lady that had taken residence, instead; and that once in a while, if it took her fancy, the lady would show herself to those foolhardy enough to walk past the tree in the dead of the night.

Years passed; and one day the tamarind tree was taken down and a gas station was built on the piece of land on which it once stood. That, or so I thought, was the last not only of the tamarind tree but also of the white lady stories.

20 May 2012

Nabatî, a Purely Pinoy Phenomenon?



I know. I am an educated man and I probably should not believe in these things. But whenever I utter a remark on the apparent state of somebody’s physical health – particularly if it seems on the good side – I have to stifle this almost instinctive urge to lick a finger and daub a bit of saliva on the person’s skin. With people I know quite well, I actually do.

Nabatî. I don’t even quite know how to translate the word into English. The root word batî when translated means to greet. Nabatî directly translated means ‘greeted,’ but used as an adjective to describe a condition. The context is also quite different from greeted used as a verb in the past tense; in which case the correct word is binatî.

16 May 2012

Online Storm Against Pacquiao His Own Doing

For all his millions, the fact of the matter is that Manny Pacquiao, the people’s champ, remains remarkably simple – nay, naïve even. Naïve enough, at any rate, to be unable to control his lips from spouting words on issues of no direct or indirect consequence to his life, his boxing career or his constituencies in his home province of Saranggani.

Somebody please advise him – and quick – that he is very much an international public figure; and that the Visayan-accented words that slip from his lips in rapid-fire fashion are always bound to be quoted or misquoted by those who make a living from doing so.

15 May 2012

Once Upon a Time in Lipa

I get so amused these days whenever I go to the malls for my groceries and see families posing in front of the Jollibee. You know, that oversized sculpted red and yellow bee that sells chicken joy instead of honey. Yes, I and other citizens of this city have become so blasé about malls.

Once upon a time, we must have looked exactly as bright-eyed on the occasions that we went to the big city to gawk at the large buildings and eat at the airconditioned fastfood joints.

14 May 2012

Hostile Witness at the Impeachment Court

And not being a lawyer, I was quite, quite mystified by the heated exchange of words between the lead counsels of both the prosecution and the defence of the Justice Corona Impeachment Court yesterday over the declaration of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales as a hostile witness.

For once, I could not quite keep up with the debate. It was all highly technical and apparently revolved around the rules of evidence.

13 May 2012

How Do You Build a Football Club in Lipa?

Last Saturday, I was practically ‘abducted’ by a former player who had been pestering me to suit up for a football team that will compete in a tournament for MILFs. That’s an acronym for Mature Individuals (who) Love Football, you dirty-minded-person you! Or O-40… for Over-40…

This may seem strange to those who know me; but the truth of the matter is that I did not want to go. First of all, there was a UFL top-of-the-table clash scheduled on AKTV. Then again, I have not played in almost a year.

11 May 2012

NAIA Guards Pay for Tulfo Brawl

Well, of course, the security guards on duty at the NAIA during the Tulfo-Santiago bust-up are in the limelight again; and for all the wrong reasons, as if I needed to say. A few of them got themselves suspended for a week for apparently not having done their duties well.

By not doing their duties well, we all refer back to the YouTube video in which we saw one or two of the guards successfully holding Tulfo down; while the rest were unable to deter Santiago from clasping the older man by the neck so that this guy in pink could pommel his face with punches.

10 May 2012

The Java Man Would Not Have Minded

‘Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ Those were the words of a rock ballad sung by an obscure eighties rock band called ‘Cinderella.’ All the lyrics say, albeit with profound truism, is that we all rather tend to take the things – or people – that are with us so for granted until they go away.

So, alright! Maybe this is way too philosophical even for me, especially as all I want to say is that I had to go without water and power for a mere nine hours today.

08 May 2012

Thoughts on the Tulfo Brawl at the NAIA


I must admit, although I do not condone violence, that I was totally fascinated watching on Youtube the unscheduled Tulfo-v-Santiago (and company) fight card at the NAIA. Pinoys that we are, somebody quickly made a post-event graphic, called it the ‘Thrilla at the NAIA’ and happily shared it on Facebook for everyone to enjoy.

Whoever took the video should either congratulate himself for having the presence of mind to take it or grovel in shame for not lifting a finger to help stop the brawl. Albeit, there were enough security personnel trying; and not that there would have been a point in trying to stop people hell-bent on injuring each other, anyway.

07 May 2012

Brazilian Footballer in Batangas

Our Brazilian guest student-cum-player.

The City of Lipa is not exactly the most cosmopolitan of places. Thus, in three decades of coaching a high school football team along with about a decade of also mentoring a college team, the lads that I worked with were mostly homegrown Batangueños.

This could be problematical because, contrary to what some people say, size does matter as well in football. It goes without saying that majority of the lads that I worked with were, kung sa manok, Tagalog.

05 May 2012

Skipped Training; Hiding from Sir


Naturally, if anyone skipped training over the three decades that I was coaching a high school football team, he was more or less obligated to think up a creative excuse or risk being told not to bore me with something somebody had used before. I was never the sort one could sell a dummy to, anyway.

Probably the all-time most inventive – not to mention ludicrous – was this excuse: nag-alagâ ng batâ; nadulas sa ihî ng batâ; injured. Go figure!

What if the Chickens Cannot Talk? The Early Years of the DLSL High School Career Exposure Program

Back in the early nineties when I was still working in the Discipline Office of the high school, Marcia Guevarra of the Guidance Office and I devised this program which we called Career Exposure.

The concept was remarkably simple. To help the graduating seniors choose their college programs, we thought that it would be a good idea to take them out for them to see their prospective careers in action in the workplace.

03 May 2012

PBB Unlimited v Teen Edition

It is not easy to make something of PBB Teen Edition; but it is fun to watch. Watching PBB, whatever the edition, is not unlike watching fish through the glass of an aquarium. As everyone knows, watching fish swim round and round inside the confines of an aquarium can not only be fascinating but downright hypnotic.

With the Teen Edition, I do not enjoy the benefit of the 24/7 broadcast. Thus, I do not – or at least, as yet – enjoy the same sort of affinity that I somehow felt for the likes of Slater, Pamu, Biggel, Paco and everyone else in the Unlimited Edition.

01 May 2012

Concluding the Saga of the Strange Cuenca Fires

Just to conclude the saga of the strange spontaneous combustions that suddenly made the little sitio of Mambog in Cuenca, Batangas so famous, TV Patrol Southern Tagalog reported this afternoon that Mang Joe’s orasyons seem to be working. For those who do not know who Mang Joe is, click here or wait till you read the whole story. I will have another link to his story at the bottom.

At any rate, according to the TV Patrol news crew which returned to the sitio today, the spontaneous burnings have subsided enough to enable residents to enjoy a semblance of normalcy.