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?

Share |

31 July 2010

Sundot-Saging or Banana-cue, an Understated Filipino Invention

I have this shameless affection for the humble “sundot-saging,” risk of diabetes notwithstanding. Just imagine the saba banana, a native of the Philippines, stacked with sugar and carbohydrates as it already is, deep-fried in unhealthy cooking oil as the street vendor at the corner can afford, and then lavishly coated with spoonful upon spoonful of caramelized brown sugar.

Fare Rituals You See Ever so Often in Batangas

A man boards a jeepney and goes all the way to the end of the seat just behind the driver. He looks around at all the other passengers and immediately recognizes a friend.

The fare ritual instantly begins.

29 July 2010

Catching Swallows

I was out on the field late this afternoon watching the boys doing speed training when drops of water fell on my head in quick succession. My instinct was, of course, to look up and inspect the skies. It was hardly surprising that the clouds were dark and angry because it had already rained earlier, as a matter of fact.

28 July 2010

Footbuko in Agricultural Country

Strange as it may sound to those who know me personally, but my introduction to the game of football was not quite what one might have come to expect. We were in Grade 5, and one morning our Physical Education teacher got tired of the horrendous calisthenics we did everyday and asked one of my classmates to go fetch a volleyball. Then, he announced, “We will be playing a game called rugby.”

26 July 2010

Chef's Table

In school, there is this thing that we call the Chef’s Table. This is the venue for the budding chefs of our Lipa Culinary Arts Institution – which we shall henceforth refer to as simply LICA – to periodically display whatever culinary skills they have acquired whilst going through the 18-month program.

25 July 2010

Accidental Tourists

The year was 1988; we had won the STRAA in Calapan City with plenty to spare; and, therefore, had qualified for the national games – otherwise known as the Palarong Pambansa. That year, the games were to be held in Cagayan de Oro City.

23 July 2010


Erick and I were relaxing during a brief mid-afternoon break outside of Star Mart earlier today when, seemingly from out of nowhere, a street urchin joined us at our table. The child could not have been more than 8 or 9, wore a filthy black shirt that was torn in several places and had dark greasy skin that looked like it had not seen the side of a bar of soap in several weeks.

22 July 2010

The Brother Lolo’s Sister Madre Friends

My introduction to the city of Davao was a little less than what I had hoped it would be. This was in the late nineties; we were attending a Catholic educators’ convention; and, needless to say, I was really excited about traveling to the city for the first time in my life.

21 July 2010


While in Bohol with a few of my colleagues last summer, on each of the two nights we were at the beach resort where we were billeted, we would almost inevitably end up at the restaurant jamming with the live band that serenaded diners at night. The band was excellent, and we were all of the opinion that if they were anywhere near the capital, they would have made quite a name for themselves.

20 July 2010

The Brother Lolo of DLSL

The late Brother Rafael Donato with members of his President's Council at the Diokno Board Room.

Once, in Cebu with a group of fellow administrators attending a Catholic educators’ convention, we encountered a university president who we knew at the ground level near the reception desk of the hotel where we were billeted. “Have you seen the administrators from my university?” the President asked us, sounding more than just a bit irritated.

We had not.

19 July 2010


I had lunch at the cafeteria at midday today; and for lack of choices, I settled on the pork adobo and the ginisang ampalaya. The adobo, well… Lamang bituka… It’s not at all the way I would do my adobo, which I like dry and on the salty side. I suppose it makes sense to do adobo with sabaw if one is running a cafeteria; that way you spend less time cooking and – therefore – less gasul.

17 July 2010

Trips to the Market With Mom

Every other Saturday when I was a young kid, my Mom would take me along on a sortie to the Batangas City market where the fish – or so she liked to say – was always freshly caught.

We would board one of those creaking wooden United Lines buses, with their hard wooden seats laid across the bus – a door at the end of each row of seats – and the conductor gymnastically hanging out from the bus as he went about ticketing the passengers. I am certain younger readers, who have grown up in the era of luxurious air-conditioned buses, will be struggling to visualize this.

16 July 2010

Eddie, Larry Et. Al.: A Case of Batangueño Pronunciation

Back when I was a small kid going home with my family to my mother’s home town of Nasugbu, we had a relative who everyone simply referred to as Ka Osiang. She had two sons whom she used to holler at as Jee-reh and Poo-leh.

15 July 2010


Perhaps that televised meeting of President Noynoy with the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council meeting yesterday erred a bit on the showbiz side. To be perfectly fair to Noynoy, the media made a meal of his smiling rebuke of PAGASA.

14 July 2010


I was awakened in the middle of the night by what sounded like something just fell on the roof. Rousing from deep slumber, I suddenly realized that the wind was also whistling slightly. I thought to myself, Basyang…

That would be Tropical System 03W, internationally named “Conson” and – because PAGASA likes to give funny little Pinoy nicknames – locally called “Basyang.” From its name alone, we can infer that it was the third significant tropical disturbance to develop in the Western Pacific.

13 July 2010

UFC: the Fun Football Training Can Bring

And because it is December and darkness falls as early as a quarter till six, it has become prudent to call the lads in early from scrimmage to continue the afternoon’s workout lapping around the field for the remaining quarter of an hour…

For Lack of a Better Word

I needed to get a few things from the supermarket today, so off I went to Rob at half past nine. The crowd waiting in front of the mall’s gate was much thicker than usual, a stark reminder – if one needed any – that Christmas is just around the corner.

12 July 2010

Puppy, Bravo and Junior

Bravo was the mongrel son of Puppy and this white askal bitch who used to be such a fixture on campus back when Lolo Brother – I use the term with much affection – was the President of this school. Puppy – now that would be as stark a contradiction as there ever was as far as dog names went. So he was – indeed – a little puppy when he first came to live with the Brothers. But he did grow to become this huge cumbersome dog as pure-bred German Shepherds rather tend to do; and he continued to be called Puppy.

11 July 2010


Many of you have seen my status on Facebook paying my respects to a former colleague who passed away last week. When I relayed the sad news by text message to a former colleague who now works in Baguio, her reply was, “Nagparamdam siya sa akin...”

08 July 2010


There is this little guy in the kanto just outside the school who just hangs there each and every day, sometimes wrapping his arms around a lamp post and just standing there watching the world pass him by. Some days he is clean and can pass for just an ordinary kanto boy; other days, he is tubal, with unkempt hair and soiled clothes.

07 July 2010

Lotsa Lovin’

After Dad retired from the Air Force at the start of the seventies, we acquired property outside of the Base and Dad became a gentleman farmer. It was perfect for his temperament; even in the Base, he would tend to his gardens and the few animals we were allowed to keep in the grounds behind our residence after office hours.

05 July 2010

One Tough Litel Gel

I had just met with the Marketing people, and was on my way out of my office to get water from the dispenser when my secretary Von called to me, “Sir, Ms. Wena fell down the stairs, but according to Sir Eugene, she is alright.”

About to be Whacked by Brother's Paddle, but Saved by the Bottle

The next time you see a saintly-looking Brother in his immaculate all-whites, take it from me; once upon a time some of them were anything but – saintly, that is!

You have to understand, I have been with the Brothers practically all my life. I first entered the school in 1969 as a bright-eyed probably snotty Grade 5 student – in those days, pre-elementary to Grade 4 was – as per agreement with the Brothers – with the nuns of Our Lady of the Rosary Academy.

04 July 2010

Don’t Count Out Uruguay

Great! The German kids rolled all over Argentina in a totally unexpected 4-nil win. Some of the football was lovely to watch, too. Neat, one-touch passes, particularly in the first quarter of an hour; and certainly as theywere buoyed by Thomas Müller’s second minute opening goal.

03 July 2010


My Mom, whose middle name if I did not know any better should have been “Conservatism,” was the ultimate master in making do with whatever Dad made. I am not complaining. My Dad’s Air Force salary and subsequent pension enabled us to live comfortably – but ours was a family for which luxury was not affordable.

Among the things Mom always took pride in was the fact that she never had to run to anybody for anything – and apart from the GSIS mortgage for the homestead, there was nothing in the way of utang.

01 July 2010

Dear Noynoy

I am not your admirer; neither was I an admirer of your mother’s Presidency. But I am a proud Filipino; and if for that alone, I watched your inauguration on television yesterday. I know, to you, I am a nobody who does not have a face. But I am a citizen; for that alone I am entitled to write to you and say that you have six years to make me admire you!

In fairness, you started winning me over by arriving early at the venue. I so hate tardiness because it is unprofessional and inconsiderate. Because of that, plus 5 ka na agad sa akin.