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 April 2013

How to Choose a College Degree Program

It’s that time of the year again when young people fresh out of high school, if they haven’t done so already, really should be making their minds up about what degree programs to enrol in for college. Strange as it may sound, because schools do have their batteries of career guidance examinations and career development programs, but it is not unusual for young people already due to enrol in college to still remain clueless about the careers that they wish to carve for themselves.

This is not always the case, granted; and, indeed, there are those who make their minds up even when they are still in elementary school. That said, just as many don’t; and not that there is anything extraordinatry about this. In fact, neither is it uncommon for students already midway through college to change their minds about the programs that they are enrolled in.

I worked in a school for almost three decades and invariably came across many young people who found it a right proper dilemma trying to make their minds up about what college programs to pursue. My advice has always been remarkably simple:

26 April 2013

Juan de la Cruz Does Not Hold Back Punches

Samuel, the Haring Aswang, is wary that his nephew Omar the Hunter has been killed by the Taga-bantay and thus refuses to answer the call purportedly coming from Omar’s cell phone. Instead, he sends a text message, “Omar, ikaw ba ‘yan?”

At the other end, members of the Kapatiran excitedly bid Juan, who has Omar’s cell phone in his palm, to send back a reply. But Lolo Julian, wise old head on his shoulders that he has, warns everyone of a trap.

“Omar was blind,” he gently reminds everyone. In other words, how can he read a text message.

25 April 2013

Watch Iron Man 3 in 2D!

Iron Man used to be my third favourite cartoon hero behind Superman and Captain America in an era of crude stop-go animation, a far cry from the sophisticated computer generated cartoons of the present day. I was, naturally, quite happy when the character was brought to life in the big screen by way of contemporary movie technology.

I cannot say, though, that I have always been happy with Robert Downey Jr.’s somewhat – and this, some may argue, is putting it mildly – egotistical interpretation of the Tony Stark character, the man behind the iron suit.

That said, big fan of CGI and special effects that I have always been, the spectacular imagery of the first two Iron Man movies has persuaded me to tolerate the Stark egotism, something I do not recall from the original cartoon series that I used to watch.

23 April 2013

Mang Erning and the LSFC Jeepney

Many of DLSL’s more recent varsity players – and football players, to be more precise – take so many privileges for granted and do not have a clue that things were not always like they are these days. In the present, teams get two sets of uniforms for free, travel to matches in airconditioned vans, get food allowances for match days and – in the college – even get full athletic grants.

These are fairly recent privileges; and certainly the school could not afford any of these as recently as just over a decade ago. For instance, when I first started coaching in the early eighties, athletes had to pay for half of the price of their playing uniforms. If my players wanted jackets, everyone knew that they all had to dish out the cash for these.

When we first joined the RIFA in 1987, in fact I had to collect the registration fee from my players themselves. The fees for the match officials were supposed to be shouldered by the two schools playing and were paid at the end of every match. I had to make collections every game just to be able to pay our share of the officials’ fees.

21 April 2013

What’s with the Palamig Made in Lipa?


Frankly, I do not have the foggiest! But I do the story no justice by saying this right from the off; so let me take you back in time so that this declaration starts to get a semblance of sense.

Before shakes and other fastfood cooling drinks became fashionable, there was the palamig. To the uppity, this was for all intents and purposes chilled sugared water with a bit of banana or some other flavour to taste and bits of gelatin and tapioca for something chewy to go with the drink.

It was not uncommon for somebody enterprising in the neighbourhood to set up a table in front of the veranda to sell the cooling drink especially during the hot summer months.

20 April 2013

The Gripping Story of the Chase for the Boston Marathon Bombers

Forget about your afternoon teleseryes. Yesterday’s drama in suburban Boston has got to be the most gripping television fare that I have watched in years! I was glued to CNN for hours yesterday afternoon wondering how the story would conclude.

I first got a whiff late in the morning of the unfolding story because of a post on Facebook by ABS-CBN. It was about an emergency announcement on the Massachussetts Institute of Technology web site warning students to stay away from one of the buildings because a cop had been shot.

My immediate reaction to the post was how in hell could ABS-CBN even be aware of something that was going on in a New England university campus. I turned on the TV and tuned in to CNN. The anchor wasn’t even aware of the MIT shooting; and it was not until another 5 minutes had elapsed before she first mentioned that, indeed, there was some shooting at the campus but that there were no details as yet.

19 April 2013

A Loose Concept of Time

There are just people who, shall we say, have a loose concept of time. One of my sisters, as things are, just happens to be one of those. In the old days, it was not uncommon for her to arrive an hour late for a get-together. And these were on her better days...

My other sister used to get so upset with her whenever she was kept waiting. I, on the other hand, had gotten so used to the tardiness that any arrangements I made with this sister I simply regarded the same way Einstein looked at time – with relativity.

In fact, I call my sister Ms. Reliability with the most scathing sarcasm. But because she is my sister, I am able to do so in a humourous way that despite the sarcasm, we are both able to laugh at it.

16 April 2013

Jason de Jong’s Phantom Yellow

That second yellow card shown to Global FC’s Jason de Jong in the United Football League clash tonight against Pasargad FC has got to be yet another embodiment in football terms of the cliché fact is stranger than fiction.

A Pasargad player burst forward from midfield to take a shot. De Jong slid to block it, turning his back to the ball as is the instinctive way players do to protect not only the face but also the bread basket and the family jewels.

De Jong’s arm was raised as he slid in, a purely reflex action part and parcel of the sliding movement. Of all things that the ball could hit, unfortunately – for de Jong, that is – the ball hit his arm.

14 April 2013

When the Soviet and Polish World Youth Cup Teams Came to Manila

Before it’s completely forgotten – by me, more than anyone else – let me write down this rather extraordinary event in Philippine football’s history. It had nothing to do with the Philippine national team.

It was October 1979. I was in college playing varsity football for DLSU. The second staging of the FIFA World Youth Cup had just concluded in Tokyo. Two of the teams that played in the semi-finals were due to visit Manila straight from the tournament for a two-match engagement against each other.

One was the USSR, who had in fact reached the final only to lose to the eventual champions Argentina. The other was fourth-placer Poland. The two engagements in Manila were ‘exhibition’ matches to help boost the game in this football backwater.

Dugong Buhay: The First Week

The afternoon teleserye Paraiso was starting to get really laboured as it wound down to its ending that I rather thought I was done watching afternoon seryes for the meantime. But of course, ABS-CBN was doing some hardcore promoting of the series’ replacement, a remake of the Carlo J. Caparas classic Dugong Buhay, which – after my customary googling of topics that I am not too familiar with – I discovered used to run as a comic strip on the tabloid People’s Tonight.

So, I took a peek when the new serye opened last Monday, the eighth of April. And stayed.

I never really counted People’s Tonight among my reading fare; and while I have a vague recollection of a movie by the same title having been made back in the eighties, I am certain that I did not watch it. I was seeing the serye’s teasers being run by ABS-CBN, liked the cuts that were included but more importantly saw that the story would be an examination of class conflict.

10 April 2013

The Courage not to Commit Suicide

I am tempted to blame the media for the sudden rash of teenage suicides. On the other hand, media has really just been doing what it exists to do. Besides. I chanced upon an interview on DZMM by Noli de Castro with a UP Psychology professor; and apparently the slew of incidents is not the epidemic that is starting to seem.

There have been studies on suicides in the country and findings seem to indicate that the summer months are when suicides are most likely to be reported. The professor was quick to clarify that data was more on the reporting of the suicides extracted from police and hospital records. Whether the reporting is representative of the number of actual occurences per season, this she did not clarify.

This bit of information is at least curious because it contrasts with statistics in temperate countries where incidences of suicide are highest during the wintry months.

07 April 2013

How Tall Are These Local Showbiz Personalities?

This is a fun post and nothing else; and whatever information that is seen here is not to be taken as fact. I was watching an episode of Juan de la Cruz last Friday with some friends and one commented that Coco Martin is actually ‘not very tall.’ This is the politically correct translation of the comment, which was made in Tagalog.

So, off to Google to find out more; and, indeed, Google conveniently lists Coco Martin (Rodel Nacianceno in real life) as 5’ 6”. Of course, if you’re shorter than that, then he is tall to you.

Truth be told, you can’t really tell by watching these actors in the movies or in television. The ‘research’ that I undertook is more out of curiosity than anything; and the information is not always reliable.

06 April 2013

Paraiso Concludes... Rather Abruptly...

Well there you have it! Precious Hearts Romances’ afternoon soap opera Paraiso concluded yesterday, the 5th of April. The ratings game for these afternoon soaps must really be cutthroat because, as with the previous afternoon series that I followed – Pintada – one sort of got the feeling that the series was abbreviated even if there were still so many more stories to tell.

Paraiso started as a little shipwreck romance the charm of which fed off the great onscreen chemistry between Jessy Mendiola and Matteo Guidicelli as Yani Alipio and Brennan Zarate-Galang, respectively.

From being flippant and humorous while the couple was still marooned in this remoted island somewhere, the series became progressively dark. Mendiola and Guidicelli responded; and in particular showed the range of their abilities by being as convincing in heavy drama as they were earlier in the lighthearted island moments.

04 April 2013

Of Grand Terminals and Bus Drivers

I was a bit early for the mall’s opening this morning, so I passed the time by inspecting the grand bus terminal that is currently under construction inside the grounds of SM City-Lipa. I was so impressed by what I saw that I felt impelled to take a picture.

I do not blame the guard on duty for accosting me for taking the picture. The mall gets all sorts of negative publicity often enough for incidents that mallgoers cause. The paranoia was understandable.

Besides, I had already taken the picture.

02 April 2013

Notes on a Night of Football at the Rizal Memorial

I do not recall ever having planned to go to the Rizal Memorial for an international football match when the most significant decision to make before leaving was whether to buy a raincoat or not. I did; and it seemed like a sensible decision to make after the previous Sunday’s extraordinary downpour which threatened to have the Cambodia game aborted.

Weather being contrary that it is, needless to say at the stadium it was hot and humid as Manila rather tends to get most summer evenings. The raincoat, thankfully, was the only regret of the day.

I would have preferred a seat up in the grandstand and, hopefully, a seat somewhere in the middle to be able to fully appreciate the ebb and flow of the game. The behind-the-goal seats that hardcore European fans prefer, that has simply never worked for me.