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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21 December 2015

Pia Wurtzbach is 3rd Filipina Ms. Universe; and Steve Harvey’s Colossal Mix-up


To err is human, yes… But for Steve Harvey to erroneously announce Colombia as the 2015 Ms. Universe is arguably the mother of all fuck-ups. Excuse the French.

18 December 2015

EDSA-ish Traffic Hell Comes to Lipa City

Traffic was so bad that walking seemed like the most sensible thing to do.

I could have stayed after college in Metro Manila for better personal economic gains. That I returned to Lipa for much humbler remunerations than I could have expected in the Big City was partly because I hated two things about the place: the climate and the seemingly perpetual state of gridlocked traffic on the roads.

09 December 2015

Sudden Unintended Acceleration, Computer Bugs and Car Hacking

Image credit:  http://www.autodeal.com.ph.

These past few weeks, the evening news has been bombarding us nightly with incident after incident of Sudden Unintended Acceleration or SUA by the unfortunate Mitsubishi Montero. To neutrals like me, the most annoying aspect of these reports will likely be the doggedness of Mitsubishi spokespersons in insisting that there is nothing wrong with the product even as the sheer number of reported incidents appears to indicate that something is indeed terribly wrong.

07 December 2015

X-Factor Australia Winner Cyrus Villanueva More Than Just A Singer


Although I followed young Marlisa Punzalan’s progress in last season’s X-Factor Australia – by way of YouTube, where else? – I was only vaguely aware that a young Filipino-Aussie singer was doing just as well in this season’s edition of the same show.

03 December 2015

The Pemberton-Laude Case: Understanding Murder and Homicide

From the Facebook accounts of Joseph Scott Pemberton and the late Jennifer Laude.

Earlier this week, in the news, we have all witnessed coverage of the conclusion to the case filed against US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton regarding the killing of the transgender Filipino Jennifer Laude. The family of the deceased, we were told, was jubilant in that Pemberton was found guilty of homicide; but was nonetheless disappointed that he was not found guilty of murder instead.

01 December 2015

My Sister, the Aldub Fan


My sister, the eldest in the family, became eligible for twenty per cent discount across the board just last May. If you get my drift. She is a self-confessed diehard of this GMA-7 television phenomenon called the Aldub.

29 November 2015

A Look at DLSU’s Poaching of Letran’s Championship Coach Aldin Ayo

Image credit:  ABS-CBN Sports.

An online news report published by the Manila Bulletin late last week alleged that a Father Clarence Marquez, President and Rector of Colegio San Juan de Letran in Manila, has sent De La Salle University President Brother Raymundo Suplido a letter complaining about the university’s recruitment of the NCAA-winning Knights’ coach Aldin Ayo.

26 November 2015

Filipinos Disapprove China, Approve US; Confidence Rising in Military, Declining in National Government

Image credit:  Photius.com.

Not surprisingly because of recent disputes in the West Philippine Sea between China and the Philippines, two thirds of Filipinos disapprove of China’s leadership according to a Gallup Poll conducted in May 2015, the results of which were released just two days ago.

22 November 2015

Funeral Companies and the Economics of Dying

These days, funeral companies offer much more than the usual services.

There are two types of death scenarios that every family has to deal with; and this is one of those things that nobody ever gets an exemption from. First is sudden death such as from an accident or a violent crime. In this scenario, shock and acceptance are the immediate family’s main challenges, particularly if the deceased is young and otherwise has no reason to move onto the other side.

16 November 2015

Aside from Like, Now You Can Love, Yay, Haha, Wow, Be Sad and Angry at Facebook Posts

Facebook's new interactions.

Users of the social networking site Facebook can now express more feelings towards posts made by people and pages beyond the by-now tiresome ‘Like’ button.

12 November 2015

Despite Azkals Home Blip Against Yemen, WC Campaign Still a Success

Image captured from video on The AFC Cup channel on YouTube.

Ultimately, what last night’s chastening 1-nil loss by the Philippine Azkals at home to bottom-of-the-table Yemen does is to reiterate the very essence of football and of any sport, for that matter. That is, that if you do not take your chances, you do not win.

11 November 2015

2015 Ala Eh Festival in Sto. Tomas, Batangas Schedule


The 7th annual Ala Eh Festival of the Batangas Provincial Government is being hosted by the Municipality of Sto. Tomas for the first time on 1-8 December 2015. The week-long festivities include a wide variety of activities, the schedule of which is provided below as a public service to anyone interested in attending the festivities. The schedule below is condensed from that available at the official web site of the Municipality of Sto. Tomas.

10 November 2015

The Politics of Regional and National Athletic Meets

In the past, selecting players to go to the STRAA and the Palarong Pambansa was a headache for coaches.

In a way, I was fortunate in that for most of the more than two decades that I brought high school football teams to what was then known as the Southern Tagalog Regional Athletic Association (STRAA), I was left pretty much alone in deciding who the players were that I brought along with me.

05 November 2015

Never Google, Says NBA Player of His Surname

Image credit:  Slamonline.com.

And on the lighter side, those of you who are basketball fans and of the NBA in particular will likely have heard of this 6’ 7” French-born shooting guard by the name of Evan Mehdi Fournier.

03 November 2015

The Laglag Bala Scam: the Alternate Story

Image credit:  Rappler.com.

I am just as mortified as everyone else at the level to which some of our fellow citizens will descend to earn a few bucks in what the media has labelled the “laglag-bala” or bullet drop scam. The airport is supposed to be a place for fond farewells, where citizens leaving will already be dreaming of when they will be coming back home and where foreign visitors start to think of what they will say of the Philippines when they arrive in their respective countries.

29 October 2015

The Marcoses, the Elections and Being Judged by History

How History will judge Ferdinand Marcos is not something anyone in the present can say.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., now a declared Vice-Presidential Candidate, was a guest of the late night news show Bandilâ the other night; and inevitably, the line of questions fired at him had a lot to do with his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Senior, and the Martial Law years.

27 October 2015

The DLSL-San Beda College Football Connection

Many of the DLSL boys continue to join reunion tournaments at SBC to this day. Image credit: Marco Magnaye.

One of the things that I will be proud of for as long as I live is the fact that a good percentage of the boys that I coached in my high school football teams went on and continued to play varsity football in college after they graduated from DLSL. This may sound trivial, but those who know that Lipa City is not even to this day a football community will understand why I consider this an achievement.

23 October 2015

The Lasallian Rosary and Its Sixth Decade

Image from TJ Burdick, Author, Blogger, Educator.

Although I spent a considerable amount of my life with the De La Salle Christian Brothers, it was not until I was in middle age and already in upper administration of a Lasallian school that I learned that there was, indeed, such a thing as a Lasallian rosary and that it has a sixth decade.

21 October 2015

Primetime Delight of FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano

Image captured from Ang Probinsiyano trailer on YouTube.

As a little boy, I used to be a fan of those black and white FPJ, Erap Estrada or Tony Ferrer horseback riding adobo western movies that they showed in the afternoons when my Mom would have preferred that we took naps, instead. Of course, I didn’t; and these movies were quintessential to stories we role-played in baril-barilan games in the yard.

19 October 2015

Earthquake: Int 5 Batangas City; at Least Int 4 Lipa and Why PHIVOLCS Should Never be Down

Image credit:  PHIVOLCS

Here is the report on the 4 April 2017 Tingloy earthquake:  Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake, Aftershocks Hit Tingloy in Batangas

I was sprawled across the sofa watching television when I felt the initial almost barely perceptible shudder. As happens prior to an earthquake striking, one wonders if the sofa rocking ever so slightly is caused by a palpitation or a container truck passing outside.

15 October 2015

Crackpot Candidates Illustrate Fundamental Flaw in Democracy


And so, daily in the evening news this past week, as happens each time Certificates of Candidacies are due at the Commission on Elections prior to election year, we were all shown the usual plethora of crackpot nuisance candidates to either be amused or mortified at.

14 October 2015

Staying Positive after the Azkals’ Loss to Bahrain

All images in this page captured from video on the AFC Cup YouTube channel.

The only way to perhaps get a sense of perspective on the Philippine Azkals’ largely insipid performance in Manama last night against Bahrain in a World Cup qualifying match is to imagine an entire squad of players reprising Steve Martin’s character in the 1987 classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

12 October 2015

Kilig in English: Describing Aldub, Kathniel, Jadine and a Pee Shiver

Image captured from Pangako sa 'Yo trailer on YouTube.

The Tagalog word ‘kilig’ has got to be among the most overused these days in the entertainment industry, or at least in the contemporary sense as a way to describe the response to the numerous love teams that local audiences simply devour with gusto.

08 October 2015

Philippine Azkals’ Draw Against DPR Korea: Stabilising the Ship Quickly

It was crucial to steady the ship after the heavy defeat at home to Uzbekistan.

Do not anyone point out that I did not actually get to watch the game, else my instant retort will be who did? That nation north of the 38th parallel chose to be medieval by not providing televised coverage; and probably for no other reason than simply to annoy all of us.

03 October 2015

2015 FIBA Asia: A Final China Could not Allow Gilas to Win

Terrence Romeo:  the joy, passion and artistry of Philippine basketball.

Imagine, just imagine, if Jayson Castro had shot as sweetly as he did against Japan. Or that Ranidel de Ocampo and Dondon Hontiveros brought their shooting hands to the game. Or that Terrence Romeo had penetrated as pluckily as he did in the earlier matches.

30 September 2015

Behaviour Not Fit for Movie Houses

Image captured from the original Heneral Luna trailer on YouTube.

If there is a movie that intrigues me enough to make me want to actually go to the movie houses here in Lipa, I always make it a point to go see the day’s first showing. First of all, I get to choose the houses’ best seats. More than this, the majority of moviegoers prefer to go later in the day. Thus, there are less people to get annoyed with.

28 September 2015

Heneral Luna, Epy Quizon’s Mabini and Teaching History

Image captured from Heneral Luna official trailer on YouTube.

I finally got to watch the much talked about Jerrold Tarog film “Heneral Luna.” Those who have not seen the movie yet, it is definitely worth the bother. It is a hundred-fold better than your stereotypically formulaic Filipino movie; albeit I do not personally think it will be capable of winning an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The battlefield scenes loudly cry out for ‘budget’ and ‘CGI;’ and while the primary actors delivered strong performances, the same cannot be said of the supporting cast. The American actors, in particular, looked like they were plucked from off the streets and gave performances that screamed ‘workshop.’

Heneral Luna is nonetheless far from being your cliché-ic historical fiction. It has elements of drama, action and gore to elicit powerful emotions; but lightens these up with whimsical irreverence at times to draw laughter.

Above all, it delivers a powerful message. That the Filipino’s greatest enemy is himself holds true more than a century after the war during which the movie is set touches a raw nerve in the contemporary Filipino.

I have no desire to turn this into a full movie review; so at this point, I turn everyone’s attention to Epy Quizon and his portrayal of Apolinario Mabini in the movie. Quizon gave a strong enough performance in the movie but he also looked a tad too mestizo on screen.

I would have preferred a Malay-looking actor if just to be true to the images of Mabini that we all gawked at in our high school history books.

But outside of the film, social media went gaga over a post that Quizon was supposed to have made about some college students asking him why he was seated for the duration of the movie.

If I was as historically challenged as those alleged college students and did not know that Mabini had lost use of his legs due to polio, I would not have noticed anything remarkable about Quizon being seated all the time.

First of all, Quizon’s character was arguably peripheral to the story; and second, I do not recall any scenes that made Quizon being seated seem out of place. In hindsight, perhaps a scene or two showing him being carried on a hammock would have been so much more useful to the historically challenged.

At any rate, all the attention that Quizon’s post received must have given the movie a new lease on life as it was close to being pulled off movie houses around the country but has since passed the PHP 100 million mark.

There was a whiff of hypocrisy to the way social media feasted on the alleged college students who raised the question about Mabini being seated. If indeed this happened, then yes, the students probably deserved the ridicule.

On the other hand, I taught History for nineteen years and I am the one not surprised. History is just not for everybody; and particularly so in the modern day when careers are built on a student’s strength in Mathematics, Science and English.

History is the cumbersome subject that by its nature requires plenty of reading and memorisation, things that are often beyond all but the most diligent of students. Convincing students of its relevance to the present is any History teacher’s most challenging task.

Creating national identity, of course, is why History is relevant. Most students will probably understand this principle easily enough; but it will nonetheless probably not make them exert the same effort in the subject as they will in what are generally regarded as the ‘major subjects.’

Thus, History is often relegated to the status of a subject one has to take because it is a course requirement; unless, of course, one is dead set on pursuing a degree in the social sciences. At least in the school where I used to teach, career preferences were often in favour of those in the Sciences rather than the Liberal Arts, of which History is a part.

What this creates is a ‘History lang’ mentality. Many History teachers will probably agree with me what a royal pain it is to have to explain to parents why their children failed in the subject; and precisely so because of this mentality even among parents.

I end with a word to those who feasted on the memes and other posts that ridiculed the alleged students who asked why Mabini was seated for the duration of the film Heneral Luna: I hope you did not snore through your History subjects while in school.

History is innately rich and wonderful to explore; but probably not because one has to pass a three-unit course but more because it gives everyone a crystal clear picture of who one really is. The present, after all, is what History creates.

Heneral Luna, the film, cannot be more explicit about this. More than a century later, we are still a bickering disunited people; and if the film touches a nerve, it is because it tells all of us the obvious: we, the Filipino people, need to get our act together.


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25 September 2015

Virtual Street View Tour of Lipa City

Morada St. leading to the city proper.

What on earth, you might say, was I thinking doing a virtual tour of Lipa City when I effing live here? Well curiosity, they do say; killed the cat; and it is if nothing else a powerful motivator.

21 September 2015

Street View Technology in the Philippines: How It was Done, Pros and Cons

Screen capture from: https://www.instantstreetview.com/.

Although Google Street View was first introduced as a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth as far back as 2007, it likely permeated Filipino consciousness only over the last two days ironically with not just a little help from one of Google’s deadliest competitors, the social networking site Facebook.

16 September 2015

Aldub v Pastillas Girl in the Battle for Network Ratings

The two giant networks use the stories of Yaya Dub (left) and the Pastillas Girl for ratings.

Before anything else, I will be upfront and say that I am a Showtimer rather than an Eat Bulagâ-er, a condition forced upon me because for the longest time my GMA-7 cable feed was unwatchable. It works fine now; but I am also a creature of habit and will not suddenly watch Eat Bulagâ just because it does.

15 September 2015

Cody, the Black Labrador who Saved my Brother-in-Law’s Life

Cody, the black Labrador who saved my brother-in-law's life.

My sister and her family had just moved to a new home, and I was curious to see what it looked like. I had also promised to cook a meal for my niece Apples after she saw a picture of my mashed potatoes that I posted on Instagram.

10 September 2015

Getting a Full House During an Azkals Game at the Philippine Stadium

The Philippine Sports Stadium early n the evening:  a glorious sight.

While the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan is not exactly in the same league as the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, it is nonetheless a work of art as far as I am concerned. The INC, for all its recent troubles, has really done Philippine football a great service.

08 September 2015

Diary of a Failed Uzbek World Cup Qualifying Conquest



First, the Concerns

To say that I was excited about making the intergalactic trip from Batangas to Bulacan to watch the Philippine Azkals play against Uzbekistan is a massive understatement. That this is at all remarkable is because at my age and after a lifetime in football, I can often be extremely blasé in my attitude towards the game.

05 September 2015

Should You say ‘A Historic’ or ‘An Historic’?


For a Filipino, this really should not even be a relevant question; and especially so before the age of cable television. But then cable television did come along, and with it beamed live into our living rooms international news networks like CNN and the BBC.

04 September 2015

Philippine Azkals Cruise to Friendly Win over Maldives

Image captured from video at The AFC Hub YouTube Channel.

Such is football that the fortunes of two countries which contested a five-goal thriller in the semi-finals of what used to be the AFC Challenge Cup can contrast dramatically just one year after the fact.

31 August 2015

From Coño to Konyo: How a Swearword Defines a Social Class


I was amused if still slightly taken aback to hear Vice Ganda use the word ‘coño’ a few months back while in the middle of a live segment of the popular noontime show ‘It’s Showtime!’ To be fair, in context there was nothing vulgar or sexual in the usage; and the word he probably had in mind was more the contemporary Tagalog slang ‘konyo.’

27 August 2015

Unable to Dispense Cash; but Charged for Use of the ATM

Image credit:  Hoi An Food Tour.

Before anyone gets any ideas, this article is not to whine about a measly 14 pesos. Albeit, add a peso more and you get to and from a destination if at minimum fair.

But I get ahead of the story…

26 August 2015

Filipinos and the Sir, Ma’am Culture when Dealing with Westerners

Image credit:  San Jose Mercury News.

Sunday night, and over pizza, burgers and beer a group of us was enjoying after football socials at this local joint. As rather tends to be after an afternoon’s workout, talk was mostly mundane; but the intellectual levels shot up a notch after the topic swung to that of working with westerners, particularly the whites.

24 August 2015

Once, Eagles Soared Above Lipa

The Philippine Eagle.  Image credit:  The Path Adventures by Johan Bergman.

The recent killing of the Philippine eagle Pamana has once again brought into the nation’s consciousness the travails of trying to conserve even one of the nation’s certifiable icons. It is said that there are less than 250 Philippine eagles alive, which makes the species among the world’s most critically endangered.

16 August 2015

The Food Invasion of Lipa City

Burger King, one of the recent arrivals, cheekily built right across McDonald's.

Years back, if one felt the pangs of hunger, one followed the aroma wafting around the household back to the kitchen to discover whatever delicious recipe mother was cooking. If it was close to meal time, perhaps she had a pot of sinaing na tulingan simmering until the fish was almost tender enough to melt inside one’s mouth.

13 August 2015

It’s Showtime Lives Dangerously with Kuya Kim’s Bawdy Tongue Twister

Capture from video on Iwantv.

Producers of the noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ seem to have a fetish for being summoned by the MTRCB. As if the show had not been called to the office of the regulatory board often enough in the past for airing ‘inappropriate’ material, last Thursday it lived dangerously again by way of a seemingly innocuous but nonetheless totally bawdy tongue twister used by Kuya Kim in the ‘Ansabe’ segment.

11 August 2015

Schools and the Value of a Robust Sports Program

Image credit:  De La Salle Lipa.

One of the varsity players in the school where I used to work is now employed by another school also in this province; and one of the things he frequently likes to let off steam about is the utter lack of a sports culture in the school where he is now employed.

08 August 2015

Ryan Rems Sarita Rocks and Rolls to Funny One Title; But It was Probably Close

Image captured from video on http://www.iwantv.com.ph/

You would think from the persona that Ryan Rems Sarita often projects on the stage of the ABS-CBN noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ that he is not capable of emotions as you and I are. But he is, particularly after running away with the title of the show’s first-ever Funny One and earning a check worth one million pesos for doing so.

02 August 2015

Resolving the Sto. Niño Parochial School v Krisel Mallari Row

Image captured from YouTube video.

I am sure that most of you will to varying degrees be familiar with the case of this high school salutatorian by the name of Krisel Mallari who was restrained by officials from criticising her school, the Sto. Niño Parochial School, while she was delivering the salutatory remarks during the commencement exercises last summer.

31 July 2015

Mar Roxas Needs to Leave Out the MMK Stuff to Become President

Image from http://www.mb.com.ph/.

So after months of the moro-moro that is Philippine politics, President Benigno Aquino III finally gave his endorsement yesterday for the Presidential elections of 2016 to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas. As everyone expected him to anyway, if I might add, despite the smokescreen of behind closed doors interviews with other presidentiables.

30 July 2015

Management Essay: Three Mistakes Human Resource Should Avoid When Recruiting

Image from http://road.issn.org/.

GIVE AN APPLICANT FALSE HOPES

One of my former players was being pirated from the company which currently employs him by a subsidiary of one of the country’s largest corporations. After the obligatory tests and preliminary interviews which he was led to believe were mere formalities, he was scheduled to meet with the company’s president for a final and decisive interview.

25 July 2015

Benedict Inciong Wins Round for Lipa City in the Voice Kids

Image capture from video on Iwantv.

I will admit from the off that I am not a fan of The Voice Kids. I only saw tidbits while channel hopping last season and that is how it has also been this season. While I am not a singer, I do have sharp ears and few things annoy them more than notes sung out of tune. Perhaps, the reason why I did not really watch the show was because I did not expect kids to have as much control over their voices as older singers.

23 July 2015

The One Dream Scam and the Science of Gullibility


The City of Lipa here in Batangas rarely makes the national news, but earlier this week it was the opening item of the evening edition of TV Patrol for all the wrong reasons – a billion peso get rich quickly networking scam by an SEC-registered corporation called One Dream.

20 July 2015

Ryan Rems Sarita's Winning Jokes on Showtimes' Funny One Segment

Image from Ryan Rem Sarita's Facebook page.

The emerging Novaliches-based comedic talent Ryan Rems Sarita hits the “It’s Showtime!” stage again later today in the talent search segment called “Funny One.” In anticipation of this, here is a collection of jokes from his winning performances earlier this month for the benefit of those like me who have become quite enamored with his different kind of comedy as well as for those who are in school or at work who regrettably do not get to watch him live. It goes without saying that many of these jokes will not be half as funny as when Sarita himself delivers them with his antics, facial expressions and near-perfect timing.

[Note: The contents of this post were personally transcribed by the owner of this site from Ryan Rem Sarita's public performances on It's Showtime with the help of videos from Iwantv.]

19 July 2015

Blades, Studs and Football Players’ ACL Injuries

Image from http://www.powerfootwear.com

One of my former players has been unfortunate enough to have suffered two ACL injuries, the second one as recent as last May. The first time was six or seven years ago during an Alaska Cup match at the lush fields of the Alabang Country Club.