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 September 2011

Philippines 3 Hong Kong 3 in the Long Teng Cup

We have travelled such an unimaginable distance all within the course of twelve months that, at the end of a 3-all draw against Hong Kong in the opener of the 2011 Long Teng Cup, I could even afford to be blasé about the result. Time was when if our national football team scored against an opponent at all, it was the sort that the opponent gave us rather than something we intended.

Showtime! It’s Ezekiel Terrones!

We used to have, as if you did not know, this tradition in my teams of giving new players nicknames. There was, four years ago, this new player from an obscure little community on the outskirts of the city of Tanauan – the last place, you would think, where anyone would be interested in the beautiful game.

29 September 2011

Pedring, Quiel and God-awful Floods

Those of you who can, watch the news shows – if just to silently commiserate and, perhaps, say a silent prayer for those among our countrymen currently living in a watery hell on the aftermath of Typhoon Pedring. The scenes are surreal; and news crews have begun calling the inundated localities “waterworld.”

28 September 2011

Typhoon Pedring, Weather Change and the Filipino

Well, of all things… A typhoon that sneaks in right in the middle of the night: Pedring’s the name. Sounds a lot like the nickname of your favourite barber; not that of a howler capable of paralyzing a metropolis of millions.

27 September 2011


Back in the eighties when I worked at the Discipline Office of the high school, there was this one time when one of my fellow Discipline Officers had his otherwise peaceful morning disrupted by a case reported involving the loss of 500 pesos by one of the students under his year level. I recall this case to this day because I thought it was extraordinary for a high school student to have that much money in her possession for just a day in school.

22 September 2011

Crossing Over to the Mayayabang na Lasallistas

Strange as this may sound now, but once upon a long, long time ago, I actually dreaded crossing the Great Divide over to the green side. But let me digress a bit first to allow younger readers a foothold on what this will be all about.

21 September 2011

Martial Law Seen Through Time

Try as I will, I just cannot draw up any clear and definitive memories of my own personal circumstance when Ferdinand Edralin Marcos declared Martial Law in the country almost 39 years ago today. I can recall the widespread protests and rallies that preceded the declaration; not dissimilar to protests that occupy the attention of the media in the present day, just more severe.

By that time, we had already moved out of the Air Force base where I grew up. Still, I remember hearing from where we had moved the repeated wailings of the base’s sirens to signal a call to all service men assigned to the base that it had just assumed the highest level of military alert. It was as stark as a message could possibly get to all and sundry inside the base that there was something out of the ordinary afoot.

20 September 2011

Mindanao Sex Strike

Are we not the nation, after all, which invented People Power? Is there any nation in the whole wide world that is better than ours when it comes to finding innovative solutions to pesky problems?

18 September 2011

The Inspirational Rene Salazar

You just gotta understand… I just never was the Math person. The subject was way too abstract for me; and I much preferred language with its rules and structures. Pragmatic as I have always been even when I was young, no amount of inspiration could have swayed me into taking one of the engineering programs. That would be – in my case – something akin to academic suicide.

16 September 2011

Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome, a.k.a. Bangungot

I knew something was badly wrong the moment the planchadora walked past the gate. Her wrinkled leathery face looked sad and horribly weary. Her shoulders were hunched forward as though laden with an invisible load.

Lolong the Crocodile: Lolong-er or Lolong-est?

It is amazing how one oversized lizard can capture the whole world’s imagination. Do we not all jump and shriek unprintable words on the unfortunate occasion when one innocuous house lizard loses its grip on the ceiling and falls onto our bare neck or shoulder?

14 September 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 Through the Eyes of a Soccer Fan

I am loving the rugby. Even if, in all honesty, half the time I do not really know what I am watching. The other half I understand enough to appreciate the game. I am sure somebody has conveniently posted rules in some web site somewhere; but who really wants to read?

13 September 2011

Shamcey Supsup, Ms. Universe and That We-Wuz-Robbed Feeling

Oh well… The 37-year itch for a next Filipina Ms. Universe continues. It is now officially 38, as a matter of fact – and counting. Were it up to me – and assuming that I am capable of removing Filipino bias from my eyes – I would have chosen Angola and Philippines in any order. That Angola won it, I suppose, makes it less contentious as far as I am concerned.

12 September 2011

Gary Gardoce: Football Player, Cinematographer

Gary Gardoce (middle) with the football varsity team.  Picture taken in 1984.

Not that I was ever in the fortune telling industry, but sometimes I could tell from working with the boys who played under me day in and day out which of them would one day make something of themselves. It was in the way they expressed themselves; particularly in relation to the hard work that came part and parcel of the game.

10 September 2011

When Karma Comes to Visit

Last night, a former player was asking for cell phone numbers in our Facebook group because – he thought – the driver of the tricycle that took him home stole his own cell phone. “Maybe you dropped it,” I suggested, as always uncomfortable about a finger being pointed when there is no apparent proof.

06 September 2011

Super and Lando’s Grass Cutter

A former neighbour and a contemporary recently opened one of those suddenly fashionable Facebook dot-dot-dot groups and named it Laking FAB ka kung… For those not from hereabouts, FAB stands for Fernando Air Base, home of the Philippine Air Force’s 100th Training Wing.

Robinson’s Mall to Open in Calapan

First of all, this is not a paid advertisement. Although, if anyone from the company wishes to, who am I to say no? [Imagine Smiley Here!]

Now, why do I even know this?

05 September 2011

9/11 and the Face of America

11 September 2001. I was tuned in to CNN and lazily cooking a meal when the mundane news report was interrupted by the anchor’s voice saying that said there was breaking news coming in from New York City: a jetliner had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. My attention was immediately captivated; and I walked the short distance to the television set to turn the volume up louder.

02 September 2011

Bucking the Stereotype of Filipinos as Chameleons, These Batangueños in Vienna

The common stereotype of the Filipino immigrant is, like chameleons, to blend right into the background in their adopted countries.

In the nineties, there used to play under me this young boy who was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. He belongs to a Batangueño family that, at the time, decided that it was best for this boy along with his two brothers to return to and live in the homeland with their father. The boys’ mother, a nurse, stayed behind to continue working in Vienna.

Wrong Man Inside the Coffin

I do not believe that any other story has filled me with so much mixed emotions as this one I just saw on the prime time news. I was horrified; but there was also something about the way it was told that as much as I tried not to, it also made me want to laugh.