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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31 August 2010

Wading Through Flood Waters

We who live in Lipa have so many things that we just take so for granted, not least of which is the fact that we have a very pleasant climate practically the whole year round. The city is – give or take a few mounds of earth – about a thousand feet above sea level. We never get as hot and humid as Metro Manila or Batangas City just 15 minutes away by STAR toll way; neither do we get as cold as Baguio nor Tagaytay.

30 August 2010

Time the UAAP and the NCAA came together as One League

I was able to enjoy a rare Monday afternoon siesta – it is a holiday in these shores – and woke up in time to catch a live televised encounter between Letran and Arellano University in the NCAA. Never mind the basketball; the bleachers were empty.

Who’s to Blame? The Mystery of a Missing Coin During a Jeepney Ride Home

“Mamâ, Transville po!” said chubby lady as she handed over a hundred-peso bill.

I paid chubby lady no more attention until, about a kilometer from where she was about to get off, she called out to the driver, “Mamâ, sukli ko pô sa one hundred, Transville lang pô!”

28 August 2010

Of Flags and Forensics

Perhaps, in the light of the international uproar that has been caused by the hostage-taking by former policeman Rolando Mendoza earlier in the week, having a flag sent to be draped around Mendoza’s coffin strayed on the side of poor taste. The flag, a news report at the Inquirer web site stated this morning, was sent to the family by the Mayor of Tanauan. The same report stated that the Mayor herself had denied ever sending the flag; understandably so, particularly after the Chinese had sent in a protest over diplomatic channels.

27 August 2010

Life Is A Book

To those who ponder the meaning of life – ponder no more! Life is a book…

There are those for whom the story of the book will always be simple – like that of a seed, which knows it has no recourse but to grow into a plant and bear flowers that will color the field.

26 August 2010

Give 'Em A Break!

It is so easy to go along with the fad and make fun of the cops who bungled the hostage operation earlier this week. Sugod. Wait. Atras. Takbo. That is just one of the inventive meanings that people have coined to stand for the acronym SWAT in the wake of the botched internationally televised operation, all of them humorous and without a doubt derogatory.

Kinalubit… Find Me an English Translation…

In a jeepney on my way home earlier this evening, I just realized that there is no direct English translation for kinalbit or, in Batangueño lingo, kinalubit

Now, this profound realization was, of course, brought on by one of those things one can only experience whilst in a jeepney ride home. Customarily, we Filipinos look sideward when seated inside a jeepney, one way to politely avoid the eyes of the person(s) in front of us.

24 August 2010

Funny Batangueño Words 2

Last night, I sent out an S.O.S. to my Facebook network for help with the “E” page of my Salitang Batangas Project. Ironically, except for the expletive “eh,” for which all of us in Batangueño-land are irreversibly stereo-cast, I had nothing else on the page.

A Crying Shame

Its a crying shame; that is all I can say about yesterday’s hostage drama.

It’s a crying shame that the drama was started by someone who was once a policeman and ended by other policemen. Could they not have settled this apparent in-the-force squabble amongst themselves instead of allowing it to grow totally out of proportion and to be feasted upon by those who devour scandals as these are served to them on a silver platter by some quarters of the media?

23 August 2010

The Hitchhiker who Gets on at the Zigzag in Cuenca Batangas

There was this one time in the late seventies when I was still in college when the parting words of the conductor of the BLTBCo bus that I took on the way home one weekend was, “Nakilala mo kami tuloy…” No, it did not get to the point that I formally introduced myself to the driver and the conductor. But because I was the only passenger left, and I had positioned myself right behind the driver, it was inevitable that I got involved in their conversation.

21 August 2010

5 Pesos for Guilt for Shunning away from a Mendicant

Going through what I have come to refer to simply as my “nicotine walk” at midday – and this is basically just walking outside the campus to get the required dosage – I chanced upon this old lady who my brand of righteousness dictates I walk past by every time I encounter her along the sidewalks. It goes without saying that we are not necessarily strangers.

20 August 2010

Balut Contest

When my Dad was still in the Air Force, he was very much what you could call an officer and a gentleman. He was known for his principles of justice and fairness; and was also known around the service as one who knew how to take care of the simple people who worked with him. As such, Dad was well-respected and developed healthy and lasting relationships with not only his fellow officers, but also with enlisted personnel and casuals who came into the Base on a day-to-day basis.

18 August 2010

Uhm... Hawot... Your Neighbors All Know You're Frying It!

Last night, I felt my previous status had become passé, so I dutifully answered Facebook’s query “What’s on your mind?” with “Hawot, pritong itlog at sinangag.”

I was, actually, thinking of what to have for breakfast this morning. Saturday, at the supermarket, I actually gave the hawot more than just a bit of thought. The plastic packs that hung from the racks, if I’m being honest, did not look too inviting.

Miscellaneous Tales about Mosquitoes, Including how to catch one without Swatting it

I shall conjecture here that, on rainy days, since mosquitoes have such itty-bitty teeny-weeny little flimsy wings, they become too wet to fly. So they go on vacation.

So logic dictates that when the sun goes out and the flimsy wings dry out, the mosquitoes, like the fearsome Japanese Zeroes of World War II, go into attack mode. That can be troublesome when one attempts to undress in the middle of a freshly mown football field.

The Saddest Story: When a Pregnant Woman Meets her Husband's Pregnant Mistress

We used to have a lavandera who would come in every once in a while to do the family’s laundry. She was this dark, skinny Ilongga who had somehow found her way to the province to eventually become one of its citizens. She spoke with an unmistakably Ilonggo accent that was nevertheless tainted already by the local punto.

17 August 2010

Ula-or, Ura-ol and all the Colorful Words Batangueños Use

It is no secret that I have opened a site specifically dedicated to the documentation of words that – at the very least – appear like they are used, if not exclusively, then more frequently in the Province of Batangas. The site is, as if you need to ask, called The Salitang Batangas Project.

14 August 2010

Text Language and Its Impact on Modern Day-to-Day Communications

A totally different language has evolved since cellular phone companies first introduced what is now known as text messaging – or simply, text-ing. For starters, there are no spelling rules.

13 August 2010

&#@*24%!!! Swearword

I suppose, even before everything else, the moral to this story really ought to be that one should never swear.

Except, I just happen to be Batangueño born and bred; and sometimes, swearing seems just about as natural as breathing. Just to illustrate the point, I was in a jeepney a couple of weeks back and of the group of rambunctious young men who were already seated when I boarded, one said the P-word every now and again. Each time, ah-ah, lagutok na.

12 August 2010

Taglish: What Works and What Doesn't

Just now on World Patrol, an indignant Nursing student savored her moment under the spotlight and bitched about Malacañang’s late suspension of classes at all levels in Metro Manila this morning.

11 August 2010

Bring Me Chicken Anytime!

Back when I was in college, my Mom had a moment of inspiration and had a portion of the backyard fenced off so we could grow bibe.

Because I had vast experience in the care of animals as the family’s piggery and poultry boy, it was but natural that I would have a hand in the growing of the bibe.

10 August 2010

The Teaching of Grammar and why English Proficiency among Filipinos seems to have Declined

Yesterday, my former boss forwarded to me a string of e-mails from one of his e-groups. The discussion was spicy enough to grace the opinion section of any of the national circulation newspapers. However, I was equally interested in how each contributor to the string wrote in flawless grammar.

09 August 2010

Security Guards Deserve Respect

I made a late afternoon sortie to the mall where what was a relatively short queue of mall-goers was being slowed down by – of all people – the security guard on duty at the front gate. The guard must have been a newbie because I did not think I had seen his face before.

08 August 2010

Number 2: the Major Problem my Teams Faced whenever We Travelled

In the old days, playing competitive football at Division level was never a big to-do. The Division Meet would always be played towards the end of the year. Frequently, there were just our next-door neighbors to play against; on some seasons, the high school inside the Base put up a team as well.

07 August 2010

Telling the Departed to go to the White Light

Like most everyone else today, I had the television on from early in the morning to mid-afternoon following the funeral ceremonies for the late former President. No, I was not stuck in front of the screen all that time; I had an ear cocked to what was being said by the commentators and went about as I normally do when I do not have to go to work.

05 August 2010

The Penis Transplant Story

I used to have a professor in college who could only be best described as irreverent. He was a professor of a General Education subject when I was a freshman; and I had the good fortune to get him again when I was already taking up major subjects.

Loose Vowel Movement


Because the college lads are busy with their midterms, there is time this week to work more comprehensively with the youngsters in the high school team. Today, I gave the lads a patient step-by-step introduction to the fine art of finishing.

Sardinella Tawilis, Nowhere Else on Earth but Taal Lake

Indeed, that is the scientific name of this tiny freshwater fish than can be found in no other place on God’s Earth except our very own, beauteous Taal Lake. Alternatively, the fish is called the Freshwater Sardinella – and not that anybody here in the province even remotely cares. We just say tawilís. Note the accented “í” with which Balarila dictates we pronounce the word mabilis, the accent on the -lís.

04 August 2010

The Ubiquitous Pancit

Somebody posted a picture on Facebook the other day of a plateful of pancit bihon, and I had been pining ever since. The picture was so clear it was as if the plate was right there on my desk instead of shown on the LCD monitor. Today, at lunch, I chanced upon freshly cooked pancit among the offerings at the cafeteria; and I thought I would finally satisfy my craving. I did.

03 August 2010

Month of May Blues

Hmmm… that was quick…

There’s a tuklungan several houses down the road, and it seems like the proceedings have ended. Good!

Pedestrian Lanes: They are Next to Useless in the Philippines

Quick! Answer me this question: Why do roads have pedestrian lanes?

If your answer is so people can safely cross the roads, then give yourself a pat on the back. You are smarter than a fifth grader!

02 August 2010

The Best Chocolate in the World

Forget about all those expensive North American or European brands your balikbayan kamag-anaks brought you when they came home last Christmas! The best chocolate brand in the whole wide world is… ChocNut!!!

01 August 2010

The Best Under-acting Talents in Philippine Cinema

The other night, I was channel-hopping when the clarity and lighting of the Pinoy movie showing on Cinema One caught my attention. Used as I had been to local films that were poorly-lit and with scratches showing on the screen – not to mention spoken language na hindi sabay sa galaw ng labî – I just do the sensible and stay away from them.