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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28 June 2010

Athletes and How Superstitious They Can Be

I do not know if there is an athlete in the world who is not superstitious. In sport, it is not normal not to have superstition. In many ways, sport is not unlike gambling. In most cases, there can only be two results to a game. That is why those in sport – as in gambling – find all sorts of objects which they perceive to be sources of luck or find omens even in the most mundane of occurrences.

27 June 2010

The Irrationality of Phobias

Sometimes, one is just scared of something and does not even know why. One just says one has a phobia.

A phobia is an irrational and sometimes inexplicable fear of something. That fear may be the consequence of a previous encounter with the source of fear – such as when a person got bitten by an animal – but it can also be there for no apparent reason whatsoever.

26 June 2010

The Coffeemaker Sales Man: When It Doesn't Pay to be too Chatty

The manner with which I broke the beaker of my coffeemaker last Saturday was remarkably similar to the one with which I broke the first. Having just awakened and still walking about groggily like a zombie in the kitchen, I mechanically pulled the beaker from the heater and clumsily let it slip from my fingers – and into the floor.

25 June 2010

Spook Stories: Sometimes There is a Logical Explanation

Those of you who have been to the Dallas area of the Base know that many of the houses in that section of the military property are – or were; I haven’t been there for sometime – wooden American style homesteads. That was because, Dad used to explain, the initial houses in the area were Dallas prefabricated huts.

24 June 2010

To Pee Or Not To Pee: The Dilemma Women Face during Long Trips

It was 1992, and a colleague and I went on a summer trip to the Bicol Region. We were doing the trip for the first time and did not really know that we needed to make reservations first to get seats in one of those classy air-conditioned buses that plied the Manila-Naga route. Because we were already in Manila and we were also expected in Naga, we had no recourse but to travel “ordinary.”

23 June 2010

If They Were Pinoy

I was watching the Argentina versus South Korea World Cup game live the other night when I was amused to hear the commentator refer to one of the Argentinian midfielders as Mario Bolatti. Inang… What can I say? I just thought to myself, mabuti hindî ka Pinoy

22 June 2010

The Things Mothers Brought Home from the Market

Long before the big fuss about McDo and Jollibee, mothers brought home an unimaginable variety of foodstuffs from the palengke to keep the litter quiet while they prepared lunch.

21 June 2010

Old Tagalog Spoken in Agrarian Batangas

Time was when my Mom, if she was feeling particularly lazy and did not want to make the 10-minute trip uptown to the Lipa City Public Market, could always count on the nanays who peddled their vegetables along the streets of Fernando Air Base.  The nanays were these remarkably friendly old women who walked from house to house calling out loud to their sukîs what they had brought for the day.

20 June 2010

Satan's Hotel?

Although people who know me well likewise know I have a distinct preference for melodic hard rock – like those played by hair bands of the eighties and early nineties – I actually listened to a wider range of music when I was in my teens. Like many people my age, I grew up – of course – listening to Beatles music over the radio.

19 June 2010

The Old Tiger Still Has Some Juice: the Batangueño Jeepney Driver Seemed Anxious to Meet the Creator

“Mama, bayad daw pô!” [Sir, here is the lady’s fare.]
“Ilan dine sa baynte?” [For how many passengers is this twenty?]
“Isa pô!” [One only, Sir!]
“Dal’wa?” [Two?]
“Isa pô!” [One only, Sir!]
“Ahh… Dal’wa!” [Ahh… Two!]

Understanding the Concept of Statehood

When I was in college – before I tried out for and was taken in by the football team – a visiting Danish boys’ team played an exhibition match against the school’s varsity selection. I did not find it extraordinary that a group of adolescent boys were being pitted against a full college team. The adolescents were, after all, Europeans. Not only did they match the college team for physique; they were equal also in terms of football playing skills.

17 June 2010

The British Monarchy and the Principle of No Interregnum

First of all, make sure that you have read the title correctly. The word is interregnum, not interruptus. This is going to be a short read on political systems and not at all about how families are – to put things euphemistically – planned.

16 June 2010

Things I Cannot Eat, Otherwise... I Die

There was a show in school this afternoon, and one of my former players text-ed me to ask if he could watch. “Of course,” I replied. But first, he text-ed again, he had to buy isaw

My reply was monosyllabic and direct to the point: “Yuk!”

15 June 2010

The Hot Water in Los Baños: Least Welcome after a Football Match

On any normal hot summer day, the first gush of water off a faucet or showerhead tends to be a little warmer than normal, even in the absence of a water heater. Then the colder water starts to pour out from deep inside the piping system. This is perfect for cooling down, especially after a particularly hot and humid summer day.

14 June 2010

Experiences That Gave Me a Firm Belief in Angels

“Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide...” So went a prayer we were made to recite in an elementary school run by nuns.

13 June 2010

Funny Batangueño Words

Tyron, one of the freshmen of the high school team, was celebrating his birthday today. His mom Eliza, one of my former students and now proprietress of a flourishing catering service, thought the best way for the kid to celebrate was with his teammates.

12 June 2010

The World Cup

1974 was the year when I first became aware that there was such a thing as a football World Cup. I was in my junior year in high school and had played for the varsity team since the year before. I knew a lot less about football in those days, and accumulating knowledge was going to be a difficult journey in this basketball-crazy country!

10 June 2010

When a Thunderstorm Shortened a Bon Jovi Manila Concert to Just 8 Songs

Flash back to the nineties, which when I come to think about is not really too far back. In those days, how often did a chart-topping, world-famous hard rock band touch down on these beautiful islands when they were still at the prime of their careers? Tokyo, well, that’s a given for any world tour organizer. Hong Kong, maybe; ditto Singapore.

09 June 2010

Promoting Gary Valenciano Concerts at the SENTRUM

About a decade or so ago, when I worked in a small unit of the school called External Services, we would occasionally be asked to handle school-promoted concerts, the proceeds of which would then be set aside for the benefit of scholarships and other school projects. Each time Brother Rafael Donato – that was how we used to affectionately refer to our boss – seemed to be carrying that concert itch, I would always be overwhelmed by the sort of dread one feels when one is far from excited about the task at hand but also has very little in the way of choices.

08 June 2010

You Could Always Tell Who the Freshmen Were

I was walking out to Rob, having left the school via the side gate, when I immediately saw a long procession of students at the street corner with the exact same idea I had. So, I put the afterburners on standby, paced my gait so that I arrived at the street corner just when the last student had passed, then resignedly fell in line with the procession.

07 June 2010

Buried "Standing Up": Reminiscing about the Libingan ng mga Bayani and American Cemetery

Back in the old days, when we still had our trusty and bulky Oldsmobile, Dad and Mom would get everyone in, fill ‘er up at the military gas station and we would go off on fabulous family joy rides to wherever whims dictated. More often than not, we ended up in Manila, three-hour ride it might have been the long way in those days.

06 June 2010

A Weekend in Bangkok: Similarities and Differences Between Thais and Filipinos

In geographic terms, a region is a broad expanse of land where the terrain, climate as well as the flora that can be found on it look and feel similar anywhere within that expanse of land. This definition may even be loosely extended to encompass cultural considerations such as the homogeneity of the people, their languages, religions and other traditions that may be observed in that land.

04 June 2010

The Fateful DLSL Puerto Galera Biology Trip of 1973

I have only ever been to Puerto Galera but once in my entire life, and this was long before it evolved as a commercial destination for tourists and weekend beach-goers. The year was 1973. I was in my junior year in high school and we were required to join a field trip to the town for our Biology class. To investigate, we were told, the marine ecosystems in the lagoons that the town would later become world-famous for.

03 June 2010

The Advantages of Using Peripheral Vision both Physically and Metaphorically

Unless there is something physically wrong with a person’s pair of eyes, his or her peripheral vision is – essentially – just about the same as everyone else’s. Yet we do refer to some people – especially in athletics – as having excellent peripheral vision. By inference, we deduce that there are those who do not.

Vision is, in its purest biological sense, the ability of these organs we call the eyes to detect forms before it that are essentially masses of atoms, whether these masses of atom are trees, human beings, edifices or other objects.

01 June 2010

No Fiesta is Complete without the Menudo

I have a bit of dilemma: I so love menudo, but I am fussy about where I get the menudo that I eat. Alright! So they do serve menudo often enough at the cafeteria. If I care to, I can also always get it as well at Pangga’s, this turo-turo style fastfood joint where I often eat before going home.