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 October 2012

Stallions’ Rout Leaves Air Force With Plenty to Think About

There are few things in sport quite as sad to see as the sight of a proven champion falling right at the first hurdle. That was exactly what happened to the Philippine Air Force Football Club last night after it was comprehensively beaten by Stallion Penson FC in a United Football League Group D clash at the University of Makati football stadium.

With the embarrassing 1-5 loss, Air Force surrendered the UFL Cup that they won in glorious fashion less than a year ago after a scintillating victory over the favoured Loyola Meralco Sparks at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

29 October 2012

Cremation and Catholic Hang-ups

Those among the readers who are Catholics will agree with me that catechetical teachings in childhood can continue to be cumbersome on a person’s conscience even after one has undergone this phase called growing up. Especially the sort taught back in the sixties when I was a kid or even earlier, there was just too much talk of fire and brimstone that one invariably grew up living in fear of going astray and meeting the horned beast.

Even when one eventually underwent higher education, which provided myriad new ideas many of which challenged these very same catechetical teachings, one did not completely outgrow what one was taught in childhood; and many of these became something like hang-ups.

28 October 2012

How to Get a Passport at DFA-Lipa

This page contains information about how to obtain a passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Regional Consular Office at Robinson's Place, Lipa City, Batangas.  Before proceeding, please take a moment to read this announcement that was posted outside the consular office.  Kindly note that this web site is NOT in any way connected with the DFA and this article is posted as a public service.  The information contained herein MAY CHANGE over time, so kindly consider the date of this posting which may be seen near the top of this article.  Finally, the author does not have the time to respond to all questions or clarifications; but you may post yours anyway and hope that others who have undergone the application will take time to reply.

AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 Primer: Azkals Video Interviews

This post contains a compilation of videos from the official 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup YouTube channel that feature interviews with Philippine national football team members Phil and James Younghusband, Stephan Schröck, Chieffy Caligdong, Angel Guirado as well as of national team coach Michael Weiss.  The compilation is made for the convenience of fans of the Azkals, who kick off the 2012 campaign with a match against hosts Thailand on 24 November 2012 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.

For the first time, the Philippines are participating in the tournament having been seeded straight into the group stages after the country’s semi-final finish in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.  An initial 35-man squad has already been called up by the national team’s management, to be pruned down just before the actual tournament is about to begin.

27 October 2012

2012 AFF Suzuki Cup Primer

There is less than a month to go before Vietnam and Myanmar kick off the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, to be quickly followed by the much-awaited encounter between the hosts and 2010 semi-finalists the Philippines. From the qualifying stages, Mynanmar and Laos have emerged to join the six seeded countries. Malaysia, which defeated Indonesia for the title in a two-legged final in 2010, are co-hosting the group stages with Thailand.

If FIFA Rankings are to be the basis, then Thailand has to be one of the hot favourites despite the country’s relative inactivity in the international football scene. Aside from this and the fact that the Thais are hosting one of the groups, the country shares with Singapore the distinction of having won the Asean Championship the most number of times with three wins since the tournament’s inception in 1996.

26 October 2012

Why There Is No Dash in De La Salle Lipa

DLSU - Manila or, informally, La Salle - Taft. DLSU - Dasmariñas, or Dasma as everyone says it for convenience. De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, or De La Salle - Zobel as most everyone says. La Salle Academy in Iligan is just La Salle - Iligan to many; and USLS is still sometimes called La Salle - Bacolod.

Noticed the common denominator yet? Yes, the dash ( - ). Since the schools of the Christian Brothers are all over the country, it was just convenient to say or write La Salle and then indicate the campus by attaching the name of the place where it is located. Preceded by the dash, of course.

Ofel and Floods in Lipa

So ok! Tropical storm Ofel, internationally named Son-Tinh, did not really pack a lot in terms of a punch and had – when it crossed just to the south of the island of Mindoro yesterday – something like maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the centre and gusts of up to 100 kph. Technically, it was not even a typhoon and was – in weatherman parlance – only a severe tropical storm.

But Mindoro is close enough in nautical terms to Batangas; and Ofel had a middle-sized rain circulation of about 500 kilometres. That was why yesterday afternoon until night-time, it rained and rained and rained. It was by no means hard rain; and we have all seen worse. It was just incessant, pattering on the roof like forever!

24 October 2012

Cramming in College; Who Hasn't?

Last Sunday, after playing football I was enjoying a post-luncheon discussion with a group of my former players. One was a med school student who – he himself said – is using the semestral break to catch up on some much-needed sleep.

“Is it not strange,” I asked him, “that medical research has proven that sleep regenerates the brain so that it can function better; yet university curricula continue to be so burdensome that many students inevitably feel that they have to go sleepless in order to study?”

23 October 2012

Up Close with Giovanni Manguiat Jr., M.D. Part IV

<-- Continued from
On Travel
Travel has mostly been to the US and Southeast Asia. My favorite places are: 1) Singapore for its discipline, orderliness, cleanliness and the way it incorporates greenness with its cosmopolitan infrastructure. 2) San Francisco – great weather, dreamy, romantic charm and I truly left my heart there! 3) Charlottesville – so many indelible beautiful memories of my UVa stint! My International Centre living experiences have taught me lessons on understanding and respecting the many cultural differences and religious beliefs of many nations and that one should always act diplomatically – meaning be painfully sensitive if need be to the many different mindsets, quirks, idiosyncrasies and personalities that you get to encounter and to never generalise and to assume certain things about certain people. I always try to find the good and the positive in people and am trying not to be hastily judgmental.

On Being Giovi
For me, the greatest personal achievement has to be getting the best education possible because, consequently, it is the foundation of anything that can be achievable professionally. This was what my late father ingrained in us. What’s amazing about it is unlike all other material acquisitions that He can take away from you at the snap of a finger, education can never be stolen from you.

22 October 2012

That Overpass that You Don’t Use: Why It was Built

That much-maligned pedestrian overpass in front of De La Salle Lipa which so many people are reluctant to use just happens to be something that the school actually asked for. The request for its construction was made partially as a consequence of the death of one of the school's football players back in January of 1991.  The boy's name was Ariel Carbonilla, youngest of three Carbonilla brothers who played varsity football for DLSL.

The boy was run over and killed by a BLTBCo bus right in front of what was then the school’s main gate fronting the entrance to Villa Lourdes Subdivision. The incident was traumatic for the entire school, enough at any rate for the administration at the time to approach a local citizen who had connections with the Ramos government to have the request expeditiously approved and executed.

21 October 2012

St. Pedro Calungsod and the Sainthood Process

All Catholics grow up being taught about holy men and women who devoted their lives in service of God and came to be known and revered as saints. Images of them adorn churches as well as Catholic households; and the faithful not only venerate them but also pray to them to intercede on their behalf so that God may grant their requests.

The canonisation today, the 21st of October, of Saint Pedro Calungsod offers all of us the perfect opportunity to understand sainthood and the process that is undertaken by the Church for a person to be declared a saint.

19 October 2012

Up Close with Giovanni Manguiat Jr., M.D. Part III

<-- Continued from
On His Career as a Doctor
I am currently part of the Active Staff and am a stockholder of the Mary Mediatrix Medical Center as a Consultant-Anatomic Pathologist in the Histopathology Division of the Pathology Department of the Hospital. My basic responsibility as Anatomic Pathologist is to gross examine surgical and other tissue specimens, make tissue sections and read these cases in the form of glass slides with tissue sections.

In the process of doing so, we look at biopsies and diseased tissues and determine if there’s cancer or any other form of malignancy; or any other form of disease like tuberculous infections. In frozen sections, the surgeon sends to us fresh tissue samples (e.g. a breast lump) to determine if he has to remove the whole breast (Modified Radical Mastectomy) if it is malignant; or if taking out the lump is enough if the tumour is benign or non-malignant.

The AFF Suzuki Cup: From 2010 to 2012

With the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup just around the corner, I cannot help but reflect on how different things have become in less than two years. The football landscape, to put things plain and simply, has changed almost beyond recognition.

Back in 2010, I followed the national team’s performance in the Suzuki Cup’s qualifying round by way of whatever two- or three-paragraph reports that I could find posted over the Internet. I watched highlights of the matches against Timor Leste, Cambodia and Laos on YouTube.

18 October 2012

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is Great Entertainment

It is no secret that the Philippines is fast becoming a hub – if it is not already so – for computer graphics animators. That is why I went to see “Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles” to see if all the supposed expertise is finding its way into the movie industry.

I am not a fan of the horror genre; and, in fact, I am mystified that people think that being scared out of their wits is a form of entertainment. Tiktik, however, is not horror at all. I would place it more in the category of comedy-action.

16 October 2012

Azkals Bridge Gap Despite Kuwait Loss

On the brighter side, we do not want our boys heading off to Bangkok feeling too cocky, now do we; and we may yet have to thank Kuwait for keeping our feet on the ground almost on the eve of the very same tournament that spawned the current football revolution in the country.

Talk before the match of avenging last year’s losses to the same country over two legs of a World Cup tie was probably uncalled for. Thirty-five places, after all, separate the two countries in the latest FIFA men’s ranking table.

15 October 2012

Up Close with Giovanni Manguiat Jr., M.D. Part II

<-- Continued from
On Taking Up Pathology
I learned to love Pathology during my rotation as a clerk in our clinical elective. Course faculty coordinator Dr Felix Marcelo, who was also my UP Pathology professor during second year, was very instrumental in opening my eyes and awakening my passion for this lesser known, not so glamorous and low profile but no less important specialty.

Prior to this, I had my sights set on Internal Medicine or Surgery. I chose Pathology because it cuts across all the other specialties. That is why the pathologist is the doctor’s doctor, the ‘lamplight’ of all other specialties whose doctors are dependent on us to enlighten them so to speak and ‘lift the veil’ on all the mysteries and questions that they have regarding their patients.

Up Close with Giovanni Manguiat Jr., M.D. Part I

I will deviate from the usual format for the MyStudents series by presenting the story of Dr. Giovanni Manguiat, Jr. of the high school class of 1986 in something of a Q&A. Giovanni is himself an editor of a medical journal and responded to my questions so eloquently that I felt that I would do him an injustice by filtering out all the fascinating itty-bits of information that he so generously disclosed for this site.

Readers who have the patience and stamina will find his quite a fascinating and compelling story.

14 October 2012

Taken Too (2): A Review

Those among you who have yet to see the Liam Neeson starrer ‘Taken 2’ better be forewarned. Watch this movie first before digging into your DVD collection for the original movie, ‘Taken.’

I watched the sequel not really sure if I’d seen the first one. As the movie started to play, bits and pieces of the story started to sound familiar; albeit, four years is a long time and I have probably seen hundreds of movies since the original Taken was released back in 2008.

12 October 2012

Valuable Insight After Azkals' Goalless Draw With Bahrain

Few goalless draws will ever be as fascinating or as symbolic as the one last night in Manama between the Philippines and Bahrain. The regret of it all is that it was a friendly instead of a two-legged play-off for the World Cup.

The Philippines, despite a three match streak en route to winning the Peace Cup, was supposed to be the upstart that flew across the continent to learn from a team that, in 2006 and 2010, just missed the World Cup after narrowly losing intercontinental play-offs against Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand.

Batangas City's Anti-Social Behaviour Ordinance

There was an interesting discussion in the regional news earlier this afternoon about an Anti-Social Behaviour Ordinance that is soon to be enforced by Batangas City. According to a city councillor who was interviewed live during the news show, the ordinance was published yesterday and should be enforceable in fifteen days.

Some of the provisions of the ordinance are what one can categorize as ‘about time.’ Others, however, fall under the category ‘I dunno.’ Since Lipa followed Batangas City’s plastic ban, if at all the local council decides to think up something similar, I hope it does so with caution.

09 October 2012

The Federal Republic of the Philippines?

Now that an agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been forged to establish the Bangsamoro, the question now shifts to the method with which the ‘political entity,’ as PNoy refers to the Bangsamoro, is to be established. As I stated in a previous article, my gut feel is that it will take a constitutional amendment to make this possible because the concessions to be made to the Bangsamoro as they have been initially made public do not fall in line with the country’s unitary form of government.

Romanticism in the UFL Cup?

Not that I am whining, because for the UFL to be on primetime is a treat already for any football fan in this country. However, the televised match last night between Kaya FC and Diliman Victory Liner was as dour and dreadful as football matches can get; and so undeserving of primetime. Channel-hopping was an easy decision to make because the replay of the El Classico was in another station. So was the evening news.

Kaya was certainly not to blame; and, indeed, the onus was always on them to take the game to Diliman. The former’s 1-nil victory was as deceptive as a football scoreline can get; and in fairness to Kaya, they tried to make a game of it.

Justin Bieber: When the Girls Stop Screaming

I watched “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” last night on HBO. Jesus! I still can’t believe that I actually did, fan of head-banging rock music that I am. I mean, those who know my taste for music know that I usually go for the Bon Jovi-Def Leppard type.

I can’t say that watching that documentary made me a fan; but I have to admit that I was fascinated enough to see it through to the end. I mean, who makes a biography of a teenager? Normally these are made for distinguished people who have lived full lives and are just about getting ready to get inside the box. A teenager?

08 October 2012

How Did the Anti-Cybercrime Law Get Out of Congress?

When I was in management, I strictly observed a simple personal and professional rule: I never affixed my signature to anything that I did not fully understand. Being a corporate signatory meant that I along with another colleague were the end of the line for usually an Accounting procedure.

This procedure usually culminated in disbursement; and the assumption was that, since the paper trail included stops at several desks up the corporate ladder, any document or check that reached my level had been carefully scrutinised for weaknesses, errors or inconsistencies with policies.

07 October 2012

Aquino Government, MILF Agree on Bangsamoro

I cannot say that I agree all the time with the Aquino government; but the announcement by the President earlier today in a speech that government has forged an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the creation of what will be known as the Bangsamoro is something that I not only agree with but wholeheartedly applaud. This has been a long time coming! For all the pettiness that this government sometimes can be guilty of, this agreement can be counted among the feathers in its cap because of the clarity of its vision.

I can still recall hearing the unmistakable roar of the C-130 Hercules planes as they flew low ever so often behind my house on their way to land at Fernando Air Base at the height of the insurgency during the Martial Law years. It was whispered quietly among Air Force families that the planes were laden with sealed coffins of fallen soldiers from the ongoing war in Mindanao.

05 October 2012

OJ Porteria and the Future of Philippine Football

Jose Elmer “OJ” Porteria is the name of the fresh-faced Fil-American teenager who at the tender age of 17 has already earned his place among the Azkals. Discovered during tryouts held in the United States by senior team members, Porteria was born to Filipino parents and played football – or soccer, as the game is preferentially called in that side of the Pacific – for Falls Church high school, the United States Soccer Development Academy and the academy team of Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United.

Azkal fandom first got a first real look at Porteria during the country’s less than convincing performance at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games held in Jakarta. Hastily assembled and short of authentic defenders, the Under-23 team eked out a sensational win over Laos courtesy of a late Joshua Beloya brace but lost all its other matches.

02 October 2012

UFL: The First Night

Global FC looked frightening. They had quality in every position and more on the bench ready to be called in. Although the Guirado brothers have moved on, the club has acquired the services of Jeffrey Christiaens and Matthew Uy, both of whom starred in the national team’s victory in the Philippine Football Peace Cup just three days earlier. Global was patient and classy, capable of getting behind the ball in numbers or play fluent passing moves in the opponents’ half.


Global might have won over Pasargad, 3-1; but the best goal of the game – and the night as well, since there were two fixtures scheduled – belonged to Pasargad. Masood Shadideh’s technique for the overhead kick was excellent training video stuff. The ball was the perfect height, crisp and left Global’s goalkeeper Sadia Roland with absolutely no chance. That goal would not have been out of place in a World Cup.

01 October 2012

Understanding Total Football

The term “total football” has got to be among the most misused terms in the sporting world through the years. In fact, the term is even something of a misnomer. Were it up to the person who developed the playing style – the Dutch tactical genius Rinus Michels – the more appropriate term should have been “pressing football.”

The term total football was something that mediamen coined to describe the playing style popularised by the successful Ajax Amsterdam sides of the early seventies and which Michels likewise used with the Dutch national team that finished runners-up in consecutive World Cups also in the seventies.

Politics Simplified for Citizen Voters

The evening news was inevitably filled with reports on the filing of Certificates of Candidacies by political wannabes to formally usher in the coming election season, if for no other reason than the voting public finally gets to know who runs and who does not in next year’s elections. In other words, citizens if they care to may begin to examine those who will be running for public offices to ascertain who, in their respective opinions, deserve to be voted into public offices.

This is a good time, therefore, to educate anybody who cares – be he a citizen voter or a candidate, given the tendency in this nation of every Tom, Dick and Harry to run for public office – about the intricacies of this thing called politics.