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 November 2011

Totoy Jiao: Batangueño Azkal Before Azkals Became Famous

His name is Jeremias Jiao. That is what his birth certificate says. The only way that I would call him by his given name, though, was if my own name was Abraham or Moses. Because it is not, I asked him for his nickname. At home, he told me, he was called Totoy.

28 November 2011

Fernando Air Base: Revisiting Childhood

Why is it that revisiting an old haunt always gives one the feeling that one has just stepped off a time machine? This was exactly how it felt last week as I walked the streets of the Base for the first time in several years.

Time, in a way, is like air. It is just there. You do not really see it as it flows through. Most of the time, you hardly even notice its passing; and especially if you are kept in something of a trance by life itself, with all the expectations and the responsibilities that it burdens most of us when we become adults.

25 November 2011

Taal Bistro: the Maliputo Alone Is Worth the Trip

Perhaps, the term bistro is a tad misleading. In the original French context, a bistro is a modest and unassuming dining place tucked away in a cosy little nook somewhere. A place that can seat 200 is neither modest nor unassuming, I daresay. Who knows? Maybe it started that way and just grew over the years to what it is today.

24 November 2011

1986: Random Recollections

Memory regrettably becomes hazy after 25 years. When Dinah called me up the other day asking for some features about the High School Class of 1986 in this blog, I immediately said yes. I did warn her, though, that recollecting things after all these years will not be a simple matter.

San Nicolas: View of Taal Lake With a Different Perspective

Ruins of the old St. Martin de Tours church in San Nicolas.

Because I have lived in Batangas practically all my life, I had always known that there was a place somewhere in the province that went by the name of San Nicolas. I just did not know where it was.

22 November 2011

Down Memory Lane at the Grand Dame That Is Taal

There is nothing more unkind to history than time itself. What history strives to preserve, time eventually wears away and replaces. It is when time is in the process of eroding something that man painstakingly built and history struggles to preserve that it is at its most cruel; for time takes no prisoners.

21 November 2011

Ereneo’s Café: A Gem of a Find

How was I to know that there exists a gem of a restaurant just 10 minutes drive from where I live and at most a half-hour from the city proper on a good day? The name of the restaurant is Ereneo’s Café. While former colleagues had apparently been there before, if any of them had seen fit to invite me, I probably had to be at the football field.

20 November 2011

How ROTC Got Me Into the Football Team

I was born into and raised in a military family. Dad was an officer in the Air Force; and yes, if he had his way, I or either of my two brothers would have ended up in the military as well.

In all honesty, although he might have dropped a word or two, he was probably less insistent with me than my older brother. He was always aware that I had an aversion to Math; and this he knew from experience was what I would have encountered a lot of had I shown any inclination.

19 November 2011

How the Raised Fist for the Alma Mater Song Started in Lipa

I was the one who brought the tradition to Lipa of beating the air with the fist during the singing of the alma mater song. No, I did not invent the tradition; and, yes, I do not even know how it originated or what it is supposed to mean.

18 November 2011

DLSL in the Eighties: Where Have the Years Gone?

The DLSL façade in the eighties.

If you were a senior in a school year sometime in the eighties, then you know the routine. If you were getting off a bus or jeepney from the west, then you waited till Mr. Pete Cuenca, who was probably directing traffic, flagged passing vehicles to a stop so that you might cross the highway over to the other side.

17 November 2011

How to Watch A Movie

Back in 1974 – and I was still a high school senior – I remember having decided against good sense to ask my frugal Mom for a few pesos so I could watch this blockbuster movie called “Magnum Force.” The movie starred a young Clint Eastwood in the role of the by-now legendary Dirty Harry. It was released in 1973; but this was Lipa, and Hollywood movies took time to arrive.

16 November 2011

The Arroyos, de Lima and a Potential Governmental Crisis

I have no interest whatsoever in former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s health predicament in the light of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s defiance of the Supreme Court ruling granting a Temporary Restraining Order on the implementation of the Hold Departure Order. From all indications, there is nothing immediately life threatening about the former President’s current state of health.

15 November 2011

Insights After the Azkals U-23 SEA Games Loss to Brunei

“I want to thank my teammates for their hard work. You know I will die for my country.” Thus tweeted Jason de Jong, who inherited the captain’s armband after Matthew Hartmann’s unceremonious departure, after last night’s numbing 1-2 loss to Brunei in the 2011 SEA Games football tournament.

I Thought the Pacquiao Win Over Marquez Was Fair

My haircut was just coming to an end when both my barber and I broke into wide grins as an old gentleman at the far end of the barbershop started loudly telling his own barber how people he was watching the bout with were largely dissatisfied with the way the Pacquiao-Marquez fight last Sunday turned out.

13 November 2011

Breakfast Classics: Ménage à trois with the Sinangag and Itlog

The age-old marriage between sinangag (fried rice) and pritong itlog (egg fried sunny side up) has always been, to my mind, the proverbial made-in-Heaven. In the old days, when there was nothing else inside the fridge, the two would suffice for breakfast; albeit, generously splattered with ketchup.

Azkals v Myanmar: Promise in a Losing Effort

There were, after last week’s shock loss of the Philippine Under-23 football team to Timor Leste in the 2011 SEA Games, some really over the top reactions by fans and pundits alike over the Internet. I wonder what the reactions will be after tonight’s deflating 0-5 loss to Myanmar, which eliminates whatever remote possibilities might have been lingering of our progressing to the semi-finals.

11 November 2011

Number 11 Beloya Wins Game for Azkals vs Laos on 11-11-11

What is is about the Philippine Under-23 football team that makes it something of a diesel engine; and that it does not seem to want to get started until late in a match? For the second straight game, the team played with purpose and urgency only as the minutes ticked away towards the final whistle.

10 November 2011

The Tikbalang Up the Acacia Tree!

by Francis Villapando

This story happened in 1991 inside the school grounds, just before our high school graduation.

I was a CAT officer then; and it was the student officers’ corps’ tradition to hold an overnight “training” or binyag to initiate upcoming CAT officers. During this overnight “training” we kind of did some weird stuff to our junior officers so that they would remember us for years to come.

09 November 2011

Seeing the PacMan Up Close

The sort of attention that the Pambansang Kamao can draw these days is nothing sort of amazing. Just on the news a while back, there was a huge crowd to welcome the PacMan as he and his entourage arrived in Vegas on board a special bus.

08 November 2011

Remembering Brother Greg

There was something surreal, the day the late Brother Gregory Refuerzo was laid to rest, about his coffin resting for prolonged moments in the middle of the square under bright sunlight for the simple reason that his coffin was too long to fit inside the concrete tomb that was prepared for him. Running repairs were made which, were it not for the severity of the occasion, almost looked comical if just for the reason that the funeral ritual could not be completed.

07 November 2011

What Losing to Timor Leste Tells Us

Philippine national football team coach Michael Weiss, in a pre-recorded interview aired just before kickoff late this afternoon, was careful to point out that the current U-23 playing in the SEA Games in Jakarta is still a work in progress. On the basis of the almost meek surrender to Timor Leste in the team’s second match of the tournament, I do not think that there is much in the way of options for all of us except to take his word as fact.

06 November 2011

Ian Araneta in an Air Force Jersey

Among the small luxuries that we who follow the beautiful game in this country can now enjoy is the chance to lounge on a lazy weekend afternoon and actually watch live local football matches on television. There was a double-header last Saturday; but it was the first match – between the Philippine Air Force and Manhur FC – that I was particularly interested in.

05 November 2011

Troubleshooting When a Computer System Goes Haywire

And you wonder why computer systems break down... Leave them alone and computers won’t even come to life – unless there is a pesky poltergeist in the room. But I am getting ahead of myself again...

03 November 2011

The Streets of Lipa City

The first thing that somebody who has not been to Lipa City for the longest time will notice is that the streets have become so congested. Alas, there is always a price to pay for progress; and vehicular traffic is always one of these. The road layout has not really changed; and it is impossible to get lost if one was born and raised in the city.

What Would You Do If Jesus Christ Played for Vietnam?

“What would you do if Jesus Christ came to Merseyside?” This was a sign that was posted outside a Liverpool church back in the sixties when Bill Shankly was still in charge and still only just starting to build the legend of what would later be one of the world’s most celebrated football clubs.

02 November 2011

Tikbalang Stories and Modernity

There was, the other week, this offbeat story in the local news about three boys who went missing for a few days then were mysteriously found somewhere miles away from home. Finally reunited with their families, the boys told the news crew how they went into the woods, lost their bearings and just wandered aimlessly till they did not know where they were anymore.

The PHL Under-23 Football Team for the SEAGames

The SEA Games football competition kicks off tomorrow with the opening game between the Philippines and Vietnam. As the luck of the draw would have it, the Philippines has been bracketed with what is now being referred to as the “Group of Hope.” Also in the group with the two countries are Timor Leste, Myanmar, Laos and Brunei.