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 March 2014

Watching a Fire Near the Lipa City Market

I was short on cash when I went uptown this morning, so I was aghast to discover that the ATMs of my bank in two branches were all offline. Desperate, I knocked on the glass door of the second branch and security guard was good enough to tell me what the matter was.

“There’s a fire near the market, Sir!” he told me.

Well, that explained it! Power was cut in the city proper as a precautionary move. With what little cash I had, I walked on to the market to get the things I went uptown for.

I scanned the skies for the tell-tale black smoke. There was none. Of course, when I neared the frontage of the market, I immediately knew where the fire was – to the left of the market. I could not see smoke; and neither could I see fire.

26 March 2014

The 2015 Asian Cup Draw and the Azkals’ Incentive to Qualify

It does seem a tad forbidding, does it not, if the Philippines do win the Challenge Cup and thus qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia? Not to count the chickens, but the Group D slot reserved for the Challenge Cup winners does, indeed, appear not just a bit on the side of unnerving.

Japan. Jordan. Iraq.

On the other hand, a quick scan of the other three groups immediately shows that any of these may also well be the proverbial fire from off the pan. After all, the qualified countries, when you come to think about it, are the continent’s elite; or, at least, in footballing terms.

But what is the big fuss about? If we do win the Challenge Cup, then we will be arriving Down Undah as rank outsiders, anyway. What is there to lose? On the contrary, there is everything to gain.

25 March 2014

Passenger Comfort in Batangas Bus Travel (Or Lack of It)

The SLEX accident last Monday involving a Southern Carrier bus once again highlighted the pitiable state of public transportation in this country. This is one industry that has long been crying for regulation not only in terms of fare pricing but, more importantly, in terms of quality and customer service.

The industry is totally market-driven; and the market, sad to say, is a tolerant one partly because of the absence of options but also partly because many do not really care beyond getting from Point A to Point B.

In other words, passengers will hop onto a bus, its rickety condition notwithstanding, because they need to get somewhere; and options are, especially during rush hours, rather limited. One would think that a government that thinks of its citizens as its assets would try to ensure that these assets are not placed in jeopardy.

23 March 2014

EPL Top Four Remaining Fixtures

The 2013-14 season of the English Premier League heads into the homestretch with the top four teams all well-poised to claim the championship come the end of the season in May. This has been, from start to finish, one of the closest EPL seasons ever.

As of this writing, Chelsea are in pole position with 69 points from 31 games along with the comforting knowledge that most teams top of the table by the first of March had gone on to win the championship.

Liverpool are breathing down Chelsea’s neck, four points behind with a game in hand. Moreover, Liverpool entertain not only Chelsea but another top four contender in Manchester City at Anfield, where the Merseyside club had lost only once this season and had won all but two of their EPL matches.

20 March 2014

Getting Clarified on the LA Tenorio Familial Connection

Image credit:  http://www.interaksyon.com .
Visiting the wake of an uncle in Nasugbu last Monday, I found myself in the company of a cousin who is the first-degree uncle of the Gilas Pilipinas and Giñebra basketball player LA Tenorio. We apparently met once before when LA was still with a PBL club and there was an engagement at the SENTRUM, the arena my office managed at De La Salle Lipa.

That was so long ago and there were a few of them relatives from Nasugbu who had come to watch the game. Thus, apart from LA’s mother Lumeng, who had gone to my office to meet me, I had no recollection of everyone else.

When my first-degree cousin – a son of the deceased – introduced LA’s uncle at the wake, I drew quite an awkward blank. He was quite chatty, though; and they do say that blood runs thicker than water. Before long, the initial awkwardness was gone, since we had common things to talk about.

18 March 2014

Coach Tai’s Meditating Ateneo Girls

Now that the excitement has died down after that titanic battle between archrivals La Salle and Ateneo in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, let us take a look at a seeming oddity that Ateneo’s Coach Tai introduced in the finals.

Once in a while, we could catch camera pans of the Ateneo bench with the players eyes closed as they did something that we all assumed was meditation. The commentators themselves pointed this out as so.

My immediate reaction to seeing the row of Ateneo girls with their eyes closed was, “You have got to be kidding me!” That said, I immediately recognised it as yet another ploy by the wily Thai coach, something that sent a message to the La Salle bench that said, “I know something you don’t!”

17 March 2014

The Abandoned Church’s Hidden Treasures

It never ceases to amaze me what sort of gossip one can pick up during a wake, especially from relatives one never really knows one has. Today, I went to the wake of an uncle – which was unfortunate – but the gossip was nonetheless quite precious.

From a cousin I learned this little story which I will leave you, the reader, to judge.

There is in this little corner of Batangas an abandoned church that I had heard of before but had not really seen. The church used to be the town’s main place of worship.

15 March 2014

In Hindsight, A Title the Lady Spikers Really Could Not Win

Whether you are from La Salle or Ateneo, you are probably looking forward to having a pint of lager; albeit, for totally different reasons. Being from the Green Side myself, the one question that I cannot shake from my mind is what the cuff happened?

This was supposed to be the celebrated 4-peat; and, surely, Ateneo could not overturn a seemingly overwhelming thrice-to-beat advantage?

But they did! I am bitterly disappointed; but, as a sportsman, I cannot help but admire the journey that the Lady Eagles took to win their first-ever UAAP women’s volleyball championship.

As to the what the cuff happened, let us just say that my being disappointed does not at all mean that I am also all that surprised. In fact, having watched the entire season, I could sense that something like this could happen and wrote about it. [Read the article here.]

13 March 2014

Why I Think Cadet Cudia Did Not Lie


Being as it is that I was raised in a military family and that many of my connections likewise have military backgrounds, I had naturally seen the numerous posts on social media about the recent disciplinary case that Cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia of the Philippine Military Academy had to face.

Despite my military upbringing, I have always been a civilian at heart. That said, because of my upbringing, I do have a fairly good grasp of the quirks that those in uniform carry with them. This is something that I am candid enough to say is one of the reasons why I have chosen a civilian rather than a military life.

I do have the highest respect for the military establishment and that is the reason why I had been a silent observer from the time the Cudia case broke into the national consciousness. The military has its ways.

11 March 2014

La Salle v Ateneo in UAAP Volleyball: A Matter of Formats

This afternoon, the DLSU Lady Archers play the Ateneo Lady Eagles in Game 3 of the UAAP women’s volleyball final. By the time most chance upon this article, either the Lady Archers will have won their fourth consecutive title or the Lady Eagles will have survived to try one last time to wrest the title away from Taft.

The format, to say the least, has been confusing. For sweeping the two-round eliminations consisting of 14 games in all against all other member universities, the Lady Archers were supposedly rewarded with a straightforward thrice-to-beat seat in the finals.

Ateneo, third after the eliminations, initially disposed of Adamson University then the heavily favoured National University Lady Bulldogs in two scintillating matches to reach the finals.

10 March 2014

A Look at Football’s Inverted Winger

One of my pet peeves in the modern game of football these days is the so-called inverted winger. Football, in a way, is not unlike fashion in that trends are established by way of innovations being copied. The inverted winger is one of these.

For the benefit of those not so familiar with the technical and tactical sides of football, the winger is the attacking player who plays wide, i.e. close to the sidelines to offer the team what in football terms is called width.

In the old days, wingers were told to get some lime onto their boots, a colourful way of saying that they should play as close to the line as possible.

07 March 2014

La Salle and Ateneo: Crossing into the Light


You have got to be not from this galaxy to NOT know that there is this thing called the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry. So, alright! The rivalry has deteriorated these days to the level when it has become even embarrassingly polite.

I mean, if you had watched last Wednesday’s UAAP women’s volleyball finals, then you would have seen people wearing various shades of green and blue sitting right next to each other enjoying the game.

Like members of an extended family enjoying a picnic.

Suffice it to say that the rivalry was not always so convivial. Time was when one could get a Vhong Navarro for wearing the wrong colour shirt in the wrong colour place.

05 March 2014

Azkals Loss to Azerbaijan No Disgrace

It could not have been more obvious to new Philippines coach Thomas Dooley what needs to be done to take his team to the next level after last night’s 1-nil surrender to Azerbaijan in a FIFA friendly in Dubai. That is, play opponents of the same calibre more.

For most of the first half, the Filipinos played as though totally in awe of being on the same pitch as a European team, and one that had earned draws against Russia and Belgium in recent UEFA qualifying.

Having the more technical players and precise in their approach, the Azerbaijanis for most of the first half had the Filipinos chasing shadows. Whatever crumbs of possession the latter were allowed were quickly snuffed out as the Filipinos themselves, still unable to settle down, misplaced passes or failed to control them with alarming regularity.

03 March 2014

Ellen DeGeneres’ Innovative Game-Changing Oscars Hosting Style

Big fan of the movies that I have always been, I used to also love watching the Academy Awards. Until work and the Internet subsequently broke the habit of watching it annually.

Live telecasts on weekday work days made the Oscars impossible to watch. And because the Internet made the results available almost as soon as they were announced, this rather rendered watching the primetime replays pointless.

In other words, I had not seen the Oscars live lately. Until yesterday. Social media was so abuzz with it that I was tempted to take a peek. And stayed. Ellen DeGeneres was sensational!

01 March 2014

Malaysia v Philippine Azkals: Thomas Dooley Debuts with a Goalless Stalemate

The start of the Dooley Era, one article described last night’s FIFA international friendly between the Philippines and Malaysia. A good thing the name of the game was football; because the way the Malaysians were shooting into the night air in Selayang, if the game was rugby the Dooley Era would have gotten off entirely on the wrong foot.

So thus, the two countries played to their third consecutive neighbourly draw. Suffice it to say, however, that there was nothing neighbourly whatsoever about the way either team approached the game; and that seven yellow cards were brandished meant that it was not your typical jaded friendly.

The porousness at the back for the Philippines would have been a cause for concern for the former United States captain and defensive midfielder; albeit, the opponents were Malaysia.