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 December 2010

The Reunion

I just came from the General Homecoming of the alumni association, hosted this year by the High School Class of 1985. As was to be expected, attendance was not as big as the organizers would have wanted. I mean, up until earlier this month, I did not know that Monday instead of today was going to be the holiday. That is a real pity because the reason the homecoming was permanently set on the 30th of December was that this had always been – until this year – a national holiday.

29 December 2010

Words That Gnaw at You

It’s not as though I’m running out of things to write about. It is just that, when something gnaws at you, one of the best ways to get this something out of your system is to simply write about it.

I learned a couple of new Tagalog words today, and I will not even jump to the conclusion that the words are native to the province. No, it was not my ignorance of these words before today that gnawed at me; instead, it was hearing the words from a Filipino-Austrian who has lived the better part of the last decade in Vienna and is back in the country for a short holiday.

28 December 2010

Indonesia and Malaysia, Roles Reversed

While at our football festival the other day, a few of the lads mentioned to me that they were surprised by the ease with which Malaysia swept aside Indonesia in the AFF Suzuki Cup Finals first leg match held in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday. I was quick to say that I was not.

The 2nd LSFC Cup

LSFC, as if you did not already know, stands for La Salle Football Club. That may sound a bit pompous because although the boys and I – at one point and I do not even recall exactly when – tried to get ourselves organized into a real club, we never actually got around to doing so. Yet we – I and everyone who has trained under me – just think of ourselves as LSFC. It is as simple as that.

26 December 2010

Shabu-Shabu and A Long Ride Home…

Because tomorrow, our American guest Brother Brendan leaves for Manila, we treated him out to dinner tonight at a Korean restaurant called Shabu-Shabu.

“What does the name mean?” I asked the waitress who greeted us. “Cook past, eat past,” was her reply.

25 December 2010

What Say Calisto About Parked Jumbo?

I was so engrossed with something else last Saturday that I totally forgot that the Vietnamese were trying to overhaul a 0-2 deficit to the Malaysians in the second leg of the two nations’ AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final in Hanoi. Yesterday, though, I finally caught the replay.

22 December 2010

Media and the Beautiful Game

My mind has been so hopelessly programmed to bring a smirk to my lips at the sound of a Fil-American trying to enunciate in the ultimately phonetically-challenging enunciations of the Tagalog dialect that it has almost totally failed to recognize the extent of the Filipino Diaspora; and that, yes, there will be Fil-other nationalities all over the world who will be dealing with the exact same challenge.

20 December 2010

McMenemy: Not A False Dawn in Philippine Football?

Please nobody accuse me that I have turned this into a football blog. After almost half a century of not having anything of note to cheer about where the exploits of our national team are concerned, suddenly I just went through an unbelievable joyride of a fortnight. It is merely a human foible to milk every drop out of one’s personal euphoria.

19 December 2010

Philippines: It Does Not End Tonight; It Begins!

Enough said about the so-called Fil-Foreigners in the Philippine National Football Team. The crowning glory of the Indonesian national team is a player whose name is Christian Gonzales. If he is Indonesian, then I am Tom Cruise. He has an Indonesian wife, though. Will some gorgeous Filipina marry Cesc Fabregas or Steven Gerrard, please!

18 December 2010

Two Filipino Issues With the Game of Football

The two most common issues I have heard among Filipino non-football fans over the course of my life are, and not necessarily in the order I present them: first, it takes an eternity to score a goal; and, second, they cannot understand the offside rule.

17 December 2010

Quiet Indonesians! It’s the Lupang Hinirang!

The thing that distressed me the most last night about the Philippines versus Indonesia AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final was not the sight of Neil Etheridge flapping at the cross that led to the only goal of the match. All credit to the lad – he dusted himself off after the howler and simply got on with things, even catching a couple of crosses with textbook simplicity.

16 December 2010

Indonesia Has Not Won This Yet!

First of all Philippines, despite 90 minutes of football being played, as the Star Sports commentators liked to say with irritating frequency, it is only half-time. There is still a second leg to be played.

Lest your heads start to drop – and I refer to you, the fans – but for that Neil Etheridge’s howler that led to Gonzales’s goal, the Indonesians did not really create anything of note. If I belonged to the Indonesian camp, I would be a tad worried; even if the second leg is to be played at the same venue.

14 December 2010

Vizconde Case Verdict: The Truth Can Set Everyone Free

I am by no means a regular viewer of TV Patrol, but this evening I was totally held enrapt by the news program’s emotionally confusing coverage of the acquittal of Hubert Webb and company, incarcerated for the last 15 years – and four months, Webb’s father Freddie pointed out – for having been found guilty of murder in the infamous Vizconde massacre case of 1991.

13 December 2010

One Indian Christmas

There used to be, earlier this decade in the school that I work for, an Indian college student who was under the care of the Brothers. His name was Kishore. He was tall, handsome and dark-skinned, as people from the South of India – he explained to me one day – rather tend to be.

11 December 2010

Jakarta Is Not Necessarily A Disadvantage

Jose Mari Martinez, ousted president of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) but whose presidency was upheld by FIFA on the basis of a technicality, has got to be the most maligned personality in Philippine football circles during the past week. This was on the claims that, first – for all its recent successes – the national squad had not received a penny as one would have expected from the federation; and, second, as president, he meekly accepted the ASEAN Football Federation’s ruling that we do not have – in this country – a football stadium that qualifies to host an event as prestigious as the Suzuki Cup’s semi-finals.

08 December 2010

In McMenemy We Trust!

Although the scoreboard at the end of the 90 minutes flashed Philippines 0 Myanmar 0, the more accurate score should have been Woodwork 3 Philippines 0. For those of you who are only just starting to discover the beautiful game, the term “woodwork” refers to the frame of the goal, a throwback to a long-gone era when goals were made of wood. But let me digress no more because this is about last night’s match and the fact that – pinch me! – despite the stalemate, we are for the first time in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup!

07 December 2010

Batangueño Humor in a Lomi House in Pangao, Lipa City

I am incredibly elated that yesterday’s post about the Philippine National Football team’s victory over Vietnam in the ongoing AFF Suzuki Cup really made the rounds of cyberspace in the last 24 hours. As I write this, the story is just a few hits short of 500, the fastest pace for any of the stories I have written in this blog. There was some help from TV Patrol, which ran a piece on the team during its primetime show last night; but by and large the story was helped by people – mostly football aficionados, I suppose – who shared it on Facebook.

06 December 2010

Vietnam and Calisto: Go Lie Dazed Somewhere!

It appears that Vietnam’s Portuguese-born national football coach, Henrique Calisto, was not too enamored with the way the Philippines carved out a historic 2-nil victory over his side – incidentally the defending champion – in the 2010 edition of the ASEAN Football Confederation’s Suzuki Cup currently being played in Hanoi.

03 December 2010

There Is Always Humor!

Humor is something I will appreciate anytime, anywhere…

There was space for just four more passengers in the jeepney I rode on my way home this evening, but there were five factory workers – all female – at the kanto where the driver stopped to pick up passengers.

28 November 2010

When I Start Thinking It’s Christmas

PAGASA has been talking about the northeasterlies for a few weeks now; except that, as far as I was concerned, they seemed to have gotten lost in the streets of Novaliches and never got here. In fairness, the layang-layangs have been here for a couple of months now; and as sure as I live and breathe, their arrival has always been the sign that the winds have changed.

27 November 2010

Original or SM?

I bought a couple of original DVD’s from a shop at Rob yesterday: Precinct 13, starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne; and Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, starring Ewan McGregor.

If you know me, than you guessed it! I rummaged through the “on sale” rack. Each cost me 250.

Made By Men… Made By God

Early this evening, right after training, Bierhoff and I agreed to go to Rob to get something to eat. He went off to log out of the biometric system, and for a while I was alone by the covered walk parallel to the Food Palace.

26 November 2010

Wearing My Blues

Because it’s summer vacation and there’s really nothing much to really dress up for, I take the opportunity to wear my blues more often.

Were it not for convention, I would wear them the whole year round. I mean, in the eighties, I used to enter classrooms wearing a pair of denims and a shirt – my favorite attire, the style I’m most comfortable with – until a silly memo came out from somewhere saying that teachers should not be dressing so casually.

Coaching Tension: When Coaches are More Tense than Players

Isa na lang point kukunin natin!!! Walang tensyonnnnn!!!! [There’s just one more point to get!!! No tension!!!]

Thus screamed the Adamson Lady Falcons’ coach at her players while they walked towards her for a time-out at set point of a university volleyball play-off five-setter.

25 November 2010

Regional Delicacies

The College of International Hospitality and Tourism Management has this delightful habit of organizing these colorful little events; and I always get invited. Whenever I can, I make it a point to cross the road at the very least for a look-see.

Today, they had this affair held in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the school’s tertiary education department. There were simple ceremonies held at the lobby of the laboratory hotel early in the morning to kick off the event. I had a meeting, so I was unable to attend the ceremonies.

24 November 2010

The Biggest Little City in the World

Whatever in hell that means!

A decade ago, during a visit to the Bay Area in California with a colleague, one of the alumni we met sort of floated this invitation to join him and his family on a weekend trip to Vegas. Vegas! The mere thought of the bright lights made my glands ooze with hormones!

23 November 2010

Less Jurassic!

This being Tuesday, I did not scrimmage with the boys during training late in the afternoon. Just as well; it rained as though by clockwork as training was about to start. It would have been bad for my new Mizuno boots, which I had grudgingly purchased the other week for lack of choices. The boots’ fine leather is gentle to the feet; but amphibious the boots are not. Rain will not be kind to the pair.

22 November 2010

Burn the Bra in the Filipino Context

I was on my way home just after having dinner at Rob when my attention was caught at the jeepney station by a conductor calling out to passengers. I normally do not pay the jeepney conductors – or the ever-present barkers – any attention. But this one had long hair tied in a ponytail and wore a skirt…

21 November 2010

Born to Nurse

There is something so reassuring about having a nurse – albeit a student nurse – traveling with the team each weekend for our league matches. Daren, skipper of the college team, is also a junior Nursing student.

17 November 2010

A Different Dimension

Earlier this evening, I arrived home and was opening the gate leading to the short driveway in front of my house when I happened to look up at the eastern skies. Tell tale green, yellow and red lights were arching almost directly above my neighbor’s roof, the sound the lights were making hardly audible because of the din created by vehicles passing by on the road just in front of my house.

15 November 2010

The Confession

I traveled Saturday with the high school boys for the annual Alaska Cup; and the fact that we made it all the way to the semi-finals meant that we were at the Alabang Country Club until late in the afternoon.

It is always a tricky affair, this Alaska Cup. Because there are so many teams from all over the country involved, only the top team from each of the six groups is guaranteed passage into the knockout quarterfinals. If a team loses or even draws one of its group matches, its chances of progressing into the next stage are significantly diminished.

12 November 2010

Tilapias Nibbling

I was in a top administration conference-cum-get-together last Friday in this public resort in Pansol. Just informal discussions, really, and most of these were in the pool.

The perfect place for most of the discussions was the corner of the pool, where hot spring water was pumped in through vents in the wall. Make no mistake; the water was hot! In fact, since there was a drizzle practically all day long, there were moments when that corner of the pool was steaming.

11 November 2010

The Things I Tell The Boys

Many boys who trained under me will attest to the fact that I am not exactly the easiest person to get along with, particularly when things are not going right on that football field. I can be extremely difficult to please; and – like many coaches – I sometimes have my own colorful way of getting across a message.

10 November 2010

The Irony of the Old Batangueño Ililipad sa Makulot Threat

That mountain that rises from the municipality of Cuenca to overlook in all its magnificence the Taal Lake is known these days as a fabulous destination for weekend and holiday mountain trekkers. The name of the mountain, as everyone knows, is Maculot.

08 November 2010

Party Spikes

The Brits refer to them as football boots. Those pointed things under the boots that help give the player traction, these are called more like cleats or studs. This being the Philippines, there are those who do occasionally refer to them as spiked shoes – and we football players instinctively know that these are the sort who probably cannot tell a football from a beach ball.

05 November 2010

Batangas-Speak: Discovering New Words in the Batangas Dialect

The danger when you say something that I previously have not heard before and I’m around is that there is every possibility you will end up that very same night in Facebook. “You will,” I therefore promised my secretary Von-dot, “be on Facebook tonight.”

And I like to think that I am a man of my word…

03 November 2010

Brushes with Death

For somebody who has always had issues with anything associated with death, my brushes with it have always been up close and personal. In 1992, when my mother was approaching the end of her time in this dimension, we had her confined at the old Magsino Hospital uptown in Lipa City and feared this was where it would end.

It didn’t.

29 October 2010

The Missing 34s

I decided on a whim to treat myself to a pair of pants just before going home. So off I went to the department store at Rob to scout the different brands.

I’m a self-confessed cheapskate. The psychological resistance level for a pair of pants that I seldom allow myself to breach – else I go home filled with self-recriminations – is 800 pesos.

28 October 2010

Life Without A Cell Phone…

…was not too long ago… I mean, I spent almost four-fifths of my life without it, initially saw it merely as a cute toy for the uppity and did not own one until just about everyone I knew had his or her own…

So why was I so upset last night when my cell phone broke down?

A Philippine Team of Homegrown Talents?

There used to be – in British football circles in the eighties – this anecdote told over and over about a player for Ireland in one of the country’s international matches saying to the teammate standing next to him pre-match while the national anthems were being played, “Blimey, mate! That’s an inspiring anthem they (the opposing country) have!”

26 October 2010

An Aversion to Needles

There is simply no way in hell that I will ever end up a heroin addict – and not that I ever considered being one – for the simple reason that I have always had an aversion to needles. It is an aversion that I am still slowly overcoming but have carried since I was a child.

25 October 2010


For the second straight evening, Henry, Michael, Bierhoff and I went for a cheap fast food meal at Pangga’s inside Rob after training. I kind of know the fast food joint’s daily fare from my frequent sorties, so I knew the sautéed string beans were not among the normal offerings.

So I asked for some…

23 October 2010

Wales? Where Is That?

I wanted to know the name of this young high school freshman who has been with the team for only a few days.

“Ian pô!” was the polite response. Eye-an was how he pronounced his name.

22 October 2010

Covering the Fenders

So…!!! It happened again…!!!

Just in front of the elementary school in Tambô, a teenage girl got on the jeepney I was in on my way to work this morning. She had a tiny pink t-shirt on, one with shiny beads sewn in front and a low round neckline. The shirt barely reached down to cover her navel.

21 October 2010

An Artist and a Football Player

Allen came to see me yesterday. Well, not exactly off the plane after a 20-hour flight from Vienna but… close enough…

He’s like that, this former player of mine. He’s never one to feel embarrassed about letting you know that your friendship is valued.

19 October 2010

Juan Will Bring Out the Best in Us!

Weather pundits have been saying since April or May that the El Niño – the warming of the waters of the Eastern Pacific that has been found to disrupt weather patterns the world over – has faded and was expected to be replaced by its opposite, the Ñiña. I am but a self-confessed strictly amateur weather aficionado, but reading between the lines, my conclusion was that the pundits were trying to insinuate that the rainy season would be rainier than usual.

18 October 2010

Gotta Goto

A couple of weeks back, I went uptown to the cooperative because my bill for electricity was due for payment. I was thinking to myself that I would have lunch at the gotohan since I would be in the neighborhood, anyway. In the end, I decided I did not want to go by myself, so I made do with a quarter-pounder sandwich and ate instead at the office when I got back from the cooperative.

17 October 2010

Jaywalking and Pedestrian Lanes

There was a big to-do the other week when, out of the blue, the city started implementing a new jaywalking policy in front of the school’s main gate. Being Pinoys – and Batangueños, for that matter – there were those who respectfully crossed the road just a few paces from where traffic management personnel could accost them; and those who did so daringly in front of them, anyway.

15 October 2010

Rendezvous with Ondoy

I had lunch at the cafeteria today with a couple of colleagues from Human Resource. I learned from the two that one of their officemates – somebody I used to work closely with – is in Cebu attending a personnel managers’ convention and won’t be back until tomorrow.

After lunch, I sent this other colleague a private joke of a text message: “You will be met tomorrow at the airport by somebody named Ondoy!”

13 October 2010

Philippine Presidents who Visited De La Salle Lipa

One of the perks of working with external relations – as I did during the years of Brother Rafael Donato as President of De La Salle Lipa – was that I and my crew would, occasionally, find ourselves hosting visiting celebrities and dignitaries.