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 October 2013

Previously Untold Stories About DLSL’s St. La Salle Building


Graduates of De La Salle Lipa from the late nineties to the present naturally know that there is this four-story building right next to the J.P. Laurel National Highway that is called the St. La Salle Building. What few, if at all, know are the stories about the building that I am about to tell.

First of all, it was not always there. The building was erected over land where what we used to call the 100-Wing stood. In fact, when I was a senior student in high school back in school year 1974-75, our homeroom was at the far end of the building near what is now called the Lorenzo Ruiz Road.

Our room was called R-105. In those days, the seniors were assigned the colour red. The blue that was still used till my last year in the school was not introduced until the mid-eighties by then-Principal Br. Jaime Dalumpines.

30 October 2013

A Look at Thor: The Dark World

Don’t anyone get me wrong. As a snotty little boy growing up glued to one of those large by-now antiquated black-and-white television sets, Mighty Thor and Captain America were my favourite characters in the stop-go Jurassic animation style of the classic Marvel Superheroes.

But Thor the first movie never really worked for me; and I guess Thor 2 (The Dark World), now that I have seen it, hasn’t either.

My problem with the first movie was mostly with its almost lazy pacing and the way with which the sinister Loki hogged the story too much. In this era of sophisticated computer-generated effects, I also felt that the movie’s effects were rather lame in comparison to many of the other major productions.

21 October 2013

Grieving for Bohol

You have got to be made of stone not to feel a pinch in your heart every night as the primetime news programs air the seemingly endless stories emanating each day from the areas hardest hit by last week’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

That was why I felt it almost a civic duty to make a donation yesterday through a local bank to a TV network’s relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake. Not a lot because I do not have a lot to spare to begin with; but in context, the amount of a donation does not matter.

What matters is for all of us to care.

The teller was chatty and as she processed my deposit, she kept telling me how she could not thank the good Lord enough how seemingly insulated we are here in Batangas from the natural calamities that have visited other parts of the country lately.

15 October 2013

Schröck Show Shreds Pakistan as Azkals Retain Peace Cup

Winless going into the concluding match of the 2013 Peace Cup, the Philippine Azkals needed a spark of inspiration against Pakistan to stand any chance of holding onto the trophy that they won in convincing fashion last year at the Rizal Memorial.

Nothing but a victory would have been of any worth to the Azkals after the Pakistanis had scored early against Chinese-Taipei last Sunday then closed shop in the endgame to preserve the win. A draw would have sent the Peace Cup to South Asia.

The inspiration came in the form of a striking partnership that paired Fil-Germans Stephan Schröck and Patrick Reichelt, a bit of innovation by Michael Weiss that, perhaps, could have come sooner to spare the Azkals the ignominy of losing to Chinese-Taipei.

14 October 2013

Juno Sauler: Inside the Minds of the Green Archers

The bow and arrow are among the most ancient of human inventions: a tool for hunting prey; a weapon for slaying foes. Mastery of its use has always required long hours of painstaking practice until the archer becomes one with his bow and arrow.

As a sport, archery is not unlike golf in that it is less about opponents and more about the self. The laws of Physics rule the sport: force, velocity, inertia and direction. To conquer these, technique and skill are of the utmost importance.

Technique and skill, however, are attributes of the body; and to attain these to the level where the archer becomes one with the bow and arrow requires freeing the mind of its thoughts and fears so that, ultimately, there is nothing in else in the moment but the target.

*****

Flash back to the UAAP Season 76 opening men’s basketball game for the DLSU Green Archers, ironically a fumbling and error-strewn overtime loss to the UST Growling Tigers, the very same team that they defeated in an intensely emotional and decisive Game 3 of the season’s championship series last Saturday.

13 October 2013

The DotA Van

Marvin, Gabe. George and Alex (not their real names, but naturally) are four typical high school seniors. That is, too smart for their own good!

And so, intramurals week was drawing to a close, none of the four was involved in any of the remaining games and each was being eaten alive by the scourge of all teenagers: boredom.

As is wont to happen when a group of bored teenagers come together, one is always bound to have a brainstorm; and that the brainstorm will be a good one is not always the case.

“Why don’t we,” the one with the sudden inspiration suddenly asked the others, “leave the campus to play DotA?”

12 October 2013

Azkals v Chinese-Taipei: Better in Bacolod Than in the Maldives

It was annoying, to say the least, to see the only piece of silverware that this country owns start to slip out of our grasp right at our first attempt at defending it. Yes, Chinese-Taipei, 34 places lower in the last FIFA Men’s Ranking Table, paid the rankings no attention in fashioning out an opening day grand heist in the 2013 Peace Cup currently being held in Bacolod.

But then again, football is a funny old game; and reputations more illustrious than ours have been torn to shreds before all within the course of 90 minutes. In hindsight, some games just cannot be won; and for the Philippine Azkals yesterday at the Panaad, the one against Chinese-Taipei was one of those.

Chinese-Taipei’s opening goal in the 13th minute, it has to be said, looked glaringly offside. That Li Mao was allowed to slip a badly laid-out trap, however, was just plain lazy defending. There was still work for the Chinese striker to do, but controversy aside, the way he chipped Neil Etheridge for the opening goal was quite exquisite.

03 October 2013

Juan dela Cruz Ends October 25

…or, at least, that was what I heard while channel hopping late last night from Papa Ahwel Paz and Ogie Diaz, anchors of the DZMM teleradyo program Mismo. That explained a lot!

First of all, the writers went to great lengths to build up a feud between Juan and Agustin. Just when I was starting to really get annoyed with Agustin, they killed him. Not only that, he was suddenly contrite and asking for Juan’s forgiveness. Baloney!

I thought Lolo Jules was also going to be killed in the same fight that saw off Agustin; and the way Juan wailed upon seeing him wounded, I thought it was a certainty that Eddie Garcia was needed at another teleserye.

02 October 2013

Encouraging Signs from Green Archers Despite Game 1 Loss

No disrespect to National University, but I preferred the Bulldogs to the Growling Tigers as opponents for the Green Archers in the finals of the UAAP’s Season 76 Senior Basketball Tournament.

The Bulldogs might have played with the swagger of champions-elect in the elimination rounds, even in that heartbreaking loss to the Green Archers; but the finals were always going to be a mental as much as a physical battle for whoever got there.

In this regard, the Bulldogs, lacking in UAAP basketball history as they were, probably would have struggled more than the Tigers. In football terms, before Manchester United and Chelsea got onto that lofty perch as Premiership champions, both clubs had to go through seasons of ‘almost’ being there before actually taking that final step onto the summit.

Shooting FoodPrints with Sandy Daza

Sandy Daza tries the lomi at Panciteria Lipa.
So ok! The obvious question is what in the world was I even doing with renowned chef and restaurateur Sandy Daza. I had been seeing teasers of his new show on the Lifestyle Channel called ‘FoodPrints.’ I cannot say that I knew an awful lot about Sandy, but he is the son of the late Nora Daza, whose column ran in a local paper, like, forever!

As it happened, the show’s producer Jennie Celdran – wife of ANC personality David Celdran – happened to be a friend of my former colleague Ningning Doble. Ningning was part of the staff of my friend and former colleague Cora Abansi, and in fact I went to see the two ladies in Baguio only last June.

Jennie had asked Ningning for an initial contact for the show’s impending Batangas Province shoot; and the latter promptly referred her to me because I also maintain another site called Food Batangas. I was quite happy to be of help.