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 2014

Watching the Batangueños in Pinoy Big Brother


Pinoy Big Brother is back; and naturally with not just a bit of controversy. Subtitled ‘All In,’ the fifth edition of the popular reality show throws together teens, adults and celebrities in something of a personality stew that producers say has never been done before.

Rigged, is what people have been quick to brand the show after the housemates were first allowed into Kuya’s house last Sunday night. The hash tag #pbballinscripted immediately trended overnight on Twitter.

What was the point, some asked, of holding nationwide auditions when most of the housemates on the face of things seemed to have been selected on the basis of good looks or connections? Indeed, this year’s group is probably the most handsome collection of young men and women to have been allowed into Kuya’s house.

28 April 2014

Liverpool Still Controls Destiny Despite Chelsea Loss

Naturally, I am annoyed that Liverpool lost 0-2 to Chelsea yesterday at Anfield in a match when a victory would have inched the Merseysiders closer to their first league title in 24 years and nudged the title out of the visitors’ reach. Instead, Chelsea’s title charged was rekindled; albeit it was Manchester City with their game in hand that many say benefited most.

I am more annoyed, however, by the failure of tactics on the part of Brendan Rodgers as well as the failure to see the bigger picture. Rodgers was scathing in his criticism of the way the Londoners played. Two buses parked, he said.

Indeed, there were moments early in the game when Chelsea had as many as nine men packed inside the penalty box. More annoying was the blatant time-wasting that the Chelsea players were allowed.

27 April 2014

Azkals Rue Missed Chances in 4th Straight Draw with Malaysia

There must be a condition that the football gods had written into a celestial program governing Philippines versus Malaysia internationals that reads: must end in a draw. That the condition is absolute was evident again last night as the two nations played to a fourth consecutive deadlock in a FIFA international friendly played at the Cebu City Sports Centre.

A late, mystifying and totally erroneous penalty awarded by the Indonesian referee to Malaysia for a handball committed by Philippines captain Anton del Rosario outside the box must be another condition intended to provide excitement and a twist of irony; but nonetheless was governed by the primary condition of ‘must end in a draw.’

Up stepped Safee Sali for a totally undeserved penalty; and Patrick Deyto, whose handling and decision-making in his third international were impeccable, duly complied with the obligatory save to preserve the scoreless stalemate.

26 April 2014

The Less de Lima Talks about the Vhong Navarro Case…

DoJ Secretary Leila de Lima is probably one person we all wish we see less of; and mostly for her own good. She is a fine woman, to be fair; intelligent, eloquent and works hard.

She does seem to love the news cameras; and on more than a few occasions, I had felt that specific cases her department was handling would have been better served had she not talked about these publicly.

The ongoing Vhong Navarro saga is one of these. In a recent news report, de Lima revealed that one of the seven persons accused of criminal charges in the Navarro case had applied to become a state witness.

24 April 2014

An Era When Money Was Actually Worth Something

It is becoming a recurring theme of late. I go to the supermarket with a small eco-bag, with every intent of purchasing just the very things that I need. Invariably, I end up buying things I had not really planned for. Not expensive things; just everyday things that I pick up more as a whim from off the shelves.

When I get to the cashier, I inevitably end up wondering how it came to be that I would be paying so much for a small bag that I had not even filled with groceries. Money, that commodity we spend so much of our lives earning, has come to mean so little these days.

Sometimes, I get flashbacks of the sixties when I was a little boy growing up. Money was worth so much more; albeit, earnings or incomes were inversely lower proportionally as well.

23 April 2014

Mommy Dionisia and What the Middle Finger Means

There was an animated but humorous discussion the other night on this DZMM showbiz talk show about Mommy Dionisia’s use of the middle finger to point at the ring while she prayed the rosary during Manny’s recent title bout against Bradley.

Social media, and not for the first time, went into a frenzy about Mommy D’s antics. There were those who accused her of using sorcery so that Manny could defeat Bradley.

Others squirmed because Mommy D’s eccentricities, something Filipinos have learned to tolerate, suddenly had an international audience.

22 April 2014

Why I Cannot Make Myself Watch Dyesebel

Sometimes, after the evening news, I channel-hop to see if there is anything on the telly that is worth staying on the couch for. When I am feeling particularly lazy, I wait for a few minutes before reaching out for the remote – and this means taking a peek at ABS-CBN’s primetime series ‘Dyesebel’ to see what the fuss is all about.

Don’t anyone get me wrong. Dyesebel does well in the ratings; or so the network itself says. But while I saw its predecessors ‘Juan dela Cruz’ and ‘Honesto’ through, I knew even when the network was showing the ‘Dyesebel’ teasers that I would be saying ‘pass’ to this one.

For one, the story carries no novelty whatsoever as far as I am concerned. I am old enough to remember the original Mars Ravelo comic booklets that one paid 25 centavos to rent from the sari-sarî store.

15 April 2014

Things Footballers Suffer (for Love of the Game)

No football player, it is said, is ever one hundred per cent fit once the season gets underway. Barring the really serious injuries like fractures and ACL tears, there is always a knock here or a knock there that football players often just choose to ignore or are forced to by circumstances.

Football players essentially just learn to play through the pain even without the benefit of the magic spray. What happens is that an active player’s pain tolerance increases. This then allows him to basically ignore what may ultimately be unbearable to ordinary people.

This article is a collection of itty-bitty little things that football players just learn to live through as part and parcel of the game.

11 April 2014

Dooley’s Azkals Take Shape in 3-Nil Win Over Nepal

At one end of the spectrum, there are those matches such as against Azerbaijan when national pride has to be sacrificed in exchange for advanced lessons in the international game of football. The results of these matches may not be pretty to look at; but these are nonetheless essential for teams with ambition to climb the ladder of international football.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are also those matches that are arranged not only to build up confidence but also to keep sharp with playing patterns and introduce new players. The FIFA international friendly between the Philippines and Nepal, therefore, could not have come at a more appropriate time.

Newly-appointed coach Thomas Dooley was onto his third game at the helm, his team still winless and yet to score. Moreover, FIFA rankings released the day before saw the Philippines at 143, a 13-point drop from its previous position.

08 April 2014

Explaining Mel Gibson’s Pained Face at the End of the Movie Braveheart


Those of you who have seen the 1995 Hollywood historical fiction blockbuster ‘Braveheart,’ starring Mel Gibson as the legendary Scottish patriot William Wallace, will remember all too well Gibson’s pained contorted face while he was receiving punishment for high treason as the movie drew to a close.

Because what was shown in this scene was Gibson waist upwards with his chest exposed, it was left pretty much to the viewing audience to interpret what was actually being done to the character Wallace.

Gibson, who himself also directed the film, probably opted for caution in not being more explicit. Gibson’s facial contortions probably did not even do justice to the pain that the patriot Wallace was being dealt, as indeed this part of the punishment was perhaps too graphic to project onto a movie screen.

07 April 2014

Domeng is Weird Not Because It is an April Storm

Those who live in the Philippines know that April is when you normally plan for a vacation to escape the summer heat. Bright sunshine, cloudless skies and temperatures in the mid-thirties Celsius are more characteristic of the April than having weather disturbances in the neighbourhood.

An announcement from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that a tropical disturbance that recently spawned in the Western Pacific was heading for the country, therefore, raised not just a few eyebrows.

Tropical Depression ‘Domeng’ – international code name ‘Peipah’ – entered the so-called Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Sunday afternoon as an off-season storm.

03 April 2014

A Little Secret about Taking Penalty Kicks

Now that I am no longer officially affiliated with any football teams, I do not mind sharing a few trade secrets with anyone interested. Here is one about taking penalty kicks.

This insight came to me during my college years playing varsity football. Some training days, I would stay behind with some teammates practicing our penalty kicks.

When there were no goalkeepers, I would volunteer to go into goal. I was officially a winger, but I had been keeping goal in training sessions even back when I was in high school.

01 April 2014

Vice Ganda’s Toilet Dilemma

Those who watched the birthday episode of Gandang Gabi Vice last Sunday (30 March 2014) would have gotten to know the comedic superstar Vice Ganda more to the level of the personal during an interview with showbiz sisters Toni and Alex Gonzaga.

For a change, roles were reversed and the sisters were the ones asking the questions that fans apparently sent in.

One of these was down to the level of trivial but still allowed the audience to gain a valuable insight on the life of the transgender superstar; and that for all his wealth and fame, there are still prices to pay.