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 2013

Soho Joke Forces Vice-Ganda Rethink

So... I was somewhere in the middle of Pangasinan traveling to Baguio when the conductor turned the television on and tuned in to ‘It’s Showtime!’ I was close enough to the front to be interested. Besides, I do watch the opening segment ‘Sine Mo ‘To’ which, if not just a bit pedestrian, can also be quite, quite hilarious. It has its moments.

The surprise of the day was, instead of the noontime show’s cast going straight into its daily high-energy interaction with the audience, Vice Ganda instead taking centre stage to begin a soliloquy on what else but the recent rash of criticisms he had been receiving mostly on social media.

For those not in the know, a fortnight after Vice’s successful concert at the Araneta Coliseum, articles started to be shared on social media about an alleged foul joke delivered during the concert about a rival network’s news anchor as well as an alleged in-bad-taste joke about rape.

26 May 2013

When Football Becomes a Humbling Experience

I worked for almost three decades coaching high school boys; but these were mostly middle-class kids who could afford to buy their own pairs of football boots. In the first place, I required it. Training the boys from scratch was challenging enough in itself without the added burden of having to deal with injuries brought on by kids slipping on the grassy surface.

So, alright! Maybe there were those who wore football boots straight from the operating room. That is, boots plastered all around because the leather or the stitches had become torn from sheer frequency of use.

But at least they had boots.

20 May 2013

Vice-Ganda’s Hilarious Nancy Binay About-Face

That has got to be the most hilarious post-election reaction yet, so sleekly done by none other but Vice-Ganda. This was on last Tuesday’s edition of the noontime show ‘It’s Showtime.’ Results of the previous day’s local and senatorial elections were by no means conclusive yet; but the early trend showed everyone’s favourite senator-elect Nancy Binay – joke – among the frontrunners.

And as everyone knows, Vice-Ganda made a very public statement about a week or so before the polls that was potentially damaging to Binay’s campaign efforts. Something that Binay gracefully and sportingly shrugged off, confident that she was for whatever reason of her chances.

So on to the day after and Binay’s strong early performance, which must have been a shock to Vice as it was to most everyone else who did not give Binay a chance. Those who went to social media to campaign in some way or the other against Binay were at most probably annoyed to see her doing so well in the early results.

16 May 2013

Hard to Find a Good Man to Ask Directions From

Eugene, who I used to work with before I decided to live the life of a professional bum, is at the tail end of a 19-day holiday from Jeddah and picked me up from my place yesterday for our occasional have-gas-will-travel sorties into somewhere totally unplanned for.

So, we had lunch at Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, caught up on what each of us has been up to lately, took the obligatory touristy pictures of the resort and then went on our way.

Leaving the front gate of the Balai, the way home was to the right. But Eugene turned left, instead.

That only meant that the joy ride was not about to end just yet. Since the obvious destination was up the mountain into Tagaytay, I suggested this jigsaw puzzle museum as a probable destination.

Jigsaw Puzzles and Guinness World Records (A Pictorial Blog)

Some things just leave you speechless. For instance, 1,028 jigsaw puzzles. No, we’re not even talking about your idiot-friendly off-the-shelf jigsaws which even the intellectually challenged can complete while chewing butong pakwan.

How about a jigsaw with 32,000 pieces which when completed can adorn an entire wall as a work of art? Or 4D jigsaws of famous cities and their landmarks? Frankly, I didn’t even know they made those.

Well, you can see all of these at the Puzzle Mansion, something of a theme-park-cum-resort-cum-museum owned by Georgina Gil-Lacuna, who was recently awarded a Guinness World Record Certificate for having completed the most number of jigsaw puzzles in the entire world.

14 May 2013

Elections 2013: Hardware Upgrade Needed!

If you were one of those who woke up this morning – the 14th of May and, therefore, the day after the elections – and anxiously tried to log onto the COMELEC web site to see how your favourite Senatorial, Party List and LGU candidates fared in the national and local elections, chances are that your browser yielded a time out error message.

You probably refreshed your browser, luckily got a page or two; but each time the page either failed to load completely or took an eternity to do so. Or timed out again.

This was morning, mind; and, therefore, that time of the day when Internet traffic wasn’t so congested. The timeout, needless to say, could not have been caused by your own Internet service.

09 May 2013

Fergie’s Retirement Won’t Weaken United

Although how I wish, lifelong Liverpool fan that I am. And yes, I got caught by surprise; but then, so was everyone else. It wasn’t even a case of Fergie going, going, gone. It was just gone. As is the modern way, the announcement was first made by the club on Twitter. And since everyone is following everyone else on the social network, pretty soon it was on CNN.

And that was when the entire world fell on the Republic of Mancunia. How they must be celebrating in pubs all over Merseyside, that I can only imagine. With a smirk.

It’s a tricky one, this, for the Mancs. Fergie was at the helm for so long and was a larger-than-life character that there is every possibility that there will be a problem with the turnover. Go ask AVB.

08 May 2013

A Lasallian Standing Ovation for the Bedans

Although I seldom ever was a willing basketball participant, the rest of my family was into basketball and I understand and can even appreciate the game. In fact, in college, I was a habitué of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

I went to watch the Green Archers, naturally; albeit, in all honesty, I probably went more for the fun in the bleachers rather than the basketball. Then again, so did most everyone else.

I started watching the Archers while still a freshman in college. It was not a good year to be in green, however. The Lim Em Beng era had already concluded and a Steve Watson-led Ateneo was preponderant over the rest of the NCAA.

07 May 2013

Swimming Pool with Bridge

My home city of Lipa is also home to a base of the Philippine Air Force. The place is called Fernando Air Base, named after a Filipino hero who dared to go into aerial combat against the fearsome Japanese Mitsubishi Zeroes in his antiquated Air Corps fighter plane at the onset of WWII in the country.

The base is where I grew up. This is where the Air Force teaches new recruits or student officers how to fly. During my time, the base was called the 100th Training Wing. In the late eighties, the wing was dissolved and taking its place was the Air Education Training Command or what personnel now call the AETC.

Those who live in Lipa, therefore, are so used to seeing these light aircraft going round and round in circles above the city most especially during the training seasons. When I was a small boy, the main training craft of the Air Force were the unbelievably noisy T-28 and T-34, both of which were subsequently phased out.

06 May 2013

Put an Idiot in a Position of Influence

I have come to the point in my life when conversation when I sit down with the boys who once played football for me has evolved beyond girls, sex and Counter Strike. Many of the boys who played for me have done well with their lives; and this is something that gives me great satisfaction. When I do get together with these boys, we still reminisce the old days; but we also go into mature conversations about, say, career and management.

I also take great satisfaction from talking to my boys as peers; especially when the topic is their careers and the workplace. Sometimes, and not that I mind, I take on the role of management consultant. For free, of course; and often during lunch after a brisk game of football.

Yesterday, for instance, one my boys opened up about an incident at the service company branch where he works in a supervisorial capacity. The head of operations, he told me, arrived one busy weekend from the head office for what was apparently a spot inspection.

02 May 2013

Bayern München or Borussia Dortmund for the Champions League?

How many teams, pray tell, can go to the Camp Nou and come away with a comprehensive victory over the hosts, in the UEFA Champions’ League semi-finals, no less? The tie, it may be argued, has been won at the Allianz Arena in Bayern München last week. Indeed, the 4-nil cushion that the Bavarians built at their own stadium always seemed, for the Catalans, a more insurmountable peak to conquer than Everest.

But the 3-nil victory to complete 7-nil aggregate rout over one of the Europe’s most celebrated club sides is nothing if not phenomenal. The mystique that has surrounded Barcelona since the Pep Guardiola years was blown into nanobits and reduced to the status of myth. Now, fewer European sides will arrive at the Camp Nou cowering in fear.

Barça, it may be argued, were beset with misfortune at that point in the season when fortune is needed most. Messi played at the Allianz and did a passable impersonation of the Invisible Man. At the Camp Nou, hamstrung as he was, he was not even called in for a cameo.