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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27 March 2013

An Azkal Legend Written Against Turkmenistan

And so, with Turkmenistan’s scalp finally claimed, one more story has been added to a lengthening list of tales that will one day be legends. Little boys’ eyes will glisten with awe as parents tell them of these hardy men who fought so valiantly for flag and country so that Philippine football might soar into heights heretofore unexplored.

In a story rich in plots and subplots, in the end it came down to two players, two moments and, ultimately, two chances. Both were golden and both were taken. One was missed; the other decisive.

Turkmenistan arrived in Manila with the pedigree of bridesmaid’s finishes in the two previous editions of the Challenge Cup; and made no secret of its desire to become the bride at the third time of asking.

25 March 2013

Quietly Optimistic Against Turkmenistan

I am never one to count the chickens; but after having watched both the Philippines and Turkmenistan square up against the Cambodians, I rather fancy our team’s chances of reaching the Challenge Cup tournament proper in the Maldives.

The statistics say that the Philippines have scored one more goal than the Turkmen; and this, if you saw the latter play against Cambodia, is the anomaly. Against Turkmenistan, the Cambodians laid out the welcome mat; and that their opponents scored seven should never have been the talking point.

What should have been was that the Turkmen should have scored so much more than the seven that they actually did. I have seen young girls defend with more conviction than the Cambodians did; and so the Turkmen’s profligacy, for me, is a source of optimism.

24 March 2013

Azkals Beat Cambodia 8-Nil as Onus Switches to Turkmenistan

One would imagine, after the floodlights bizarrely went dead with just a minute of first half stoppage time remaining, that the brilliance of Stephan Schröck and Phil Younghusband would have been sufficient to illuminate the Rizal Memorial. The ensuing interruption threatened but ultimately could not overshadow a glowing performance not only by the two Filipinos but also the rest of their teammates.

Schröck was at his effervescent best, the fact that he was deployed in the unfamiliar role at the left flank notwithstanding. He taunted the Cambodians with his quickness of feet and thought; and if there was a game played called Guess the Bündesliga player, even the short on wits would have guessed without much effort.

Younghusband, on the other hand, shone in a manner with which he had not done for sometime; and having an intelligent and mobile striking partner in the debuting Javier Patiňo was enough to rejuvenate the Philippines’ top goalscorer.

21 March 2013

For Kris? Or For James?

To think, when Pnoy had a go at TV Patrol anchor Noli de Castro during the news program’s 25th anniversary gala last year, that I firmly took de Castro’s side against the President. After having sat through Ted Failon’s brain-numbing interview with the Aquino sisters last night so that Kris could air her side against accusations hurled against her by former husband James Yap, ironically I am finally beginning to see why the President occasionally lets go against the media.

To see what I mean, go visit the CNN web site; or if you have little taste for world news, then even just the Philippine Daily Inquirer or the Manila Bulletin online. What will immediately strike you is the overflow of content that either site has for readers.

In other words, there are so many things going on around the world and even just in our corner of it. Why then, pray tell, did we have to sit through half an hour of primetime just so Kris and company could tell everyone that James was lying?

19 March 2013

Yes, I Saw Michael Jackson Perform Live!

No fibbing! I really have! But to be perfectly honest, this was before Michael Jackson became the Michael Jackson.

Younger readers will, of course, be more familiar with the androgynous white-skinned figure of the great MJ – which I never liked, by the way, for the simple reason that it was not really him.

The Michael Jackson that I saw was this skinny long-legged teenager who wore a fluffy afro on his head just like all African-Americans did in the seventies. And his skin was still dark.

17 March 2013

Not Worth a Teenage Suicide

The recent suicide of University of the Philippines-Manila student Kristel Tejada after being advised to take a leave of absence for non-payment of dues offers real food for thought for educators around the country. Whoever the school administrator was who forced the young freshman to take the LOA, I am sure, must be having sleepless nights; and I would not want to be in his or her shoes.

I have had many similar cases referred to me by the finance office during my tenure in executive management. It goes without saying that upper management will not really know an aweful lot about individual students’ payment records.

Thus, whatever decisions had to be made regarding students who were having problems settling dues were always also based upon information that the finance people themselves fed back to my office.

13 March 2013

Half a Football Field at DLSU

First, it was honey I shrank the football field. Then many, many years later in the David Copperfield era, it was as though the master of illusion himself played the trick of his life and made the football field disappear altogether.

But I get ahead of the story...

When I was a college freshman back in 1975, DLSU still had a decent-sized football field. The goal at the western end of the field, as a matter of fact, was located almost at the edge of the walkway that people used to get from the gym to the college cafeteria.

12 March 2013

Be Careful with Your Next ATM Withdrawal!

This is really getting serious! Although most banks’ automatic teller machines will have some warning about covering your fingers when you input your pin number when you are making a withdrawal, who has really taken that warning seriously?

So, alright! Maybe the guy behind you is snooping to see what numbers you will be punching. But what can he really do even if he sees?

And big feller like me, I make sure that I cover the entire machine whenever I make withdrawals. So what can snoopy really do? And especially if I have the ATM safely in my wallet, anyway.

10 March 2013

The Salty Filipino Diet and the Hypertensive Cook

There was one news clip in an episode of TV Patrol last week that reminded me of something that I had not thought of for the longest time. But more about this later.

The news clip was about the World Health Organisation expressing alarm at the growing number of hypertensive people in the Philippines. What was alarming, the report said, was that the malaise has started to afflict even young people.

The problem, it was explained, has always been the Filipino preference for salty foods. This bit of fact, however, falls under the category tell-me-something-I-don’t-already-know.

07 March 2013

DLSU’s Last Year in the NCAA

Now that the UAAP is the commercial success and celebrated sporting organisation that it has become, it makes one feel not just a tad foolish to recall that there were those of us who rather felt that leaving the NCAA was not unlike the end of the world.

It was schoolyear 1980-81. It was the last year on earth for the semester at DLSU-Manila. Albeit we did not know about it at the start of the schoolyear, it was also to be the final year for the university as a member of the NCAA.

Although my year of entry into the university was 1975, despite a year’s LOA and underloading for love of the beautiful game, I was also finally graduating. This has nothing to do with the story but just my way of thanking the Lord for sparing me from the trimester and allowing me to play in the NCAA in the final season.

06 March 2013

Are Baraco and Batangas Coffee the Same?



I just spent the morning with Omar Mercado, a former student whose family owns Café de Lipa. I did not meet up with him to talk coffee; but when you are with a coffee man, you inevitably end up talking about coffee. In all fairness, it was because I was the one who raised all the coffee questions.

The one question that I really wanted answered may sound strange knowing as all who frequent this site do that I was Batangas born and bred. I asked Omar if Batangas coffee and baraco are one and the same.

That may sound like the father of all stupid questions; but in fact, as Omar’s subsequent answer showed, it was anything but. In fact, Batangas coffee and baraco are not the same.

DLSU Lady Spikers Efficient in Conquest of Ateneo

How the Ateneo Lady Eagles must wish that today was Groundhog Day, so that the finals match that they ultimately failed to win would simply rewind itself and start all over again. But today was not Groundhog Day; and at the end of three humbling sets, the Lady Eagles had to face up to the irrevocable fact that there would be no tomorrow.

That was because their nemesis and great rivals, the Lady Spikers of De La Salle University, claimed the day and the championship for the third year running. The final score in a jam-packed MOA Arena was 25-23, 25-20 and 25-16.

The volleyball, perhaps, never rose to the heights that it did in the second round encounter between the rivals at the same venue last month. In that game, DLSU played with the poise and swagger of a true champion, like royalty haughtily disposing of the challenge posed by a pretender to the throne.

02 March 2013

Focus the Name of the Game for Lady Spikers and Eagles

God Bless Ateneo... if the DLSU Lady Spikers play well in Game 2 of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Final this coming Wednesday. Because the Lady Spikers were crap in the first two sets today, just did enough to eke out wins in the next two sets and then methodically picked up the points in the abbreviated fifth set as the Lady Eagles imploded.

The score was 20-25, 17-26, 25-22, 25-22 and 15-6.

The way the Lady Spikers played in the first two sets was what all my players know I mockingly call perdegana. You know, that variant of the game of checkers for which the objective is to lose your pieces in order to win.