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 June 2013

Brazil Dominant in 3-nil Confed Cup Win Over Spain

A goal poked in by Fred only in the second minute probably set the tone for this uncharacteristic rout of the World Champions; but the simple truth of the matter is that Spain never really showed up to make a game of the final.

Further goals by Neymar just before halftime and Fred’s second just two minutes into the second half underscored Brazil’s superiority on the night when Sergio Ramos even contrived to miss a penalty in the 54th minute.

When Gerard Piqué was shown a straight red for a foul on Neymar in the 68th minute, it was game, set and match for the hosts with still a quarter of the match to go.

29 June 2013

Mitoy Yonting of the Voice No Stranger to Showbiz

And to be fair, nothing about the rules says that competitors have to be undiscovered amateurs. But yes, Michael a.k.a. ‘Mitoy’ Yonting did set The Voice of the Philippines’ alight last night in the show’s fifth edition. Literally!

It was a lazy kind of show with most competitors choosing lazy songs; and the coaches seemed particularly choosy on the night. Mitoy was the final singer; and did he boost the energy levels!

The choice of a Didith Reyes song – ‘Bakit Ako Mahihiya’ – I initially thought was plain and simply horrifying. Especially since a pot-bellied 43-year old man had taken the stage.

Gorio: Who Got the Storm Track Right?

I will be the first to say that this is past the stage of being a matter of life and death; if at all it ever was, because tropical storm ‘Gorio’ – international code name ‘Rumbia’ – was not even strong enough to warrant a ‘typhoon’ categorisation.

It is a matter of curiosity that PAGASA’s tracking of Gorio did not seem to agree with those of several international weather stations; and not least because several government agencies are dependent on what PAGASA had to say on the matter.

The last update I read at the PAGASA web site last night before going to sleep was an 11 o’clock statement that said that Gorio was 40 kilometres northeast of Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro. This, in nautical terms, is right in the neighbourhood.

27 June 2013

The Presence Outside the Priest’s Room

This picture was taken during the very same retreat of this article.
Faculty and staff retreats and recollections are part and parcel of life in a Catholic school. Frequently, these are held during the summer break just before the start of classes, when there are still no students to worry about.

The retreats are pretty standard to Catholic schools and are often held off-campus to enable everyone to detach, at least for a couple of days, from the mundane life in school. It also allows some bonding time for members of the faculty and staff.

This one held at the Capuchin Retreat Centre up in Tagaytay in the latter part of the nineties was really quite routine. Inspirational talks, personal reflection, sharing, prayer. Pretty much off-the-shelf retreat stuff that we could all even be blasé about.

26 June 2013

When Sir Cris Stopped a ‘Fight’

Teaching may not be the most financially rewarding of professions, but those who have taught will tell you that life in a school is nothing if not always interesting. As opposed to a desk job in some fancy corporation somewhere, working in a school brings something different everyday.

Apart from working with young people, which is the fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon failed to discover, there is humour day in and day out.

Take this anecdote that I am about to tell. It does not involve me and neither do I have first hand knowledge of it.

25 June 2013

U-23 Azkals Must Be Allowed to Go to the SEAGames

The current story of concern making the rounds of social media these days relevant to the development of football in this country is that the U-23 national team, which has already been formed and is currently undergoing training, may not even be allowed to participate in the Southeast Asian Games for which it was formed.

I am not privy to the behind-the-scenes and neither do I have all the details. What I know of the matter comes from reports made by other sports writers.

In a nutshell, however, it appears that the team’s participation is being jeopardised because a task force that will select the national delegation that will head to Myanmar later in the year is intent on choosing only those with medal potentials.

22 June 2013

Batangueña Lee Grane Lights Up Voice of the Philippines

It’s early days yet, but in only its second weekend of competition, the Voice of the Philippines might already have unearthed a potential winner in Lee Grane of Batangas City. That statement is, of course, made with inspired regional bias.

The show was becoming increasingly remarkable for its insanely prolonged commercial breaks, but Lee Grane’s angst-filled rendition of Freddie Aguilar’s ‘Anak,’ followed by Sarah McLaughlin’s ‘In the Arms of an Angel’ were the night’s orgasmic performances.

But maybe that was not even fair because only she got extended airtime which may yet be crucial later in the competition. In fact, the name ‘Lee Grane’ immediately trended on Twitter, such was the impact she made.

18 June 2013

The Rabagos and My Career

I cannot begin to imagine what my career would ultimately have turned out to be but for the Rabagos – Pablito and Elsie – and a confluence of events. But I get ahead of the story.

Pablito Rabago was my fourth year high school World History teacher and one of the certifiable legends of the school during its formative years. He was also my Homeroom Adviser when I was in my senior year at what we then called ‘La Salle ng Lipa.’

I will not be plastic and claim that Mr. Rabago had anything to do with my choice of a Social Science major in college. Truth be told, all I wanted was to play football; and my East Asian Studies major seemed a fair enough choice to get me through college while playing varsity football at the same time.

17 June 2013

So Lea Salonga Has Haters Because of The Voice

So now Lea Salonga has haters just because of the way she behaved in The Voice of the Philippines? This was one of the items on tonight’s primetime edition of TV Patrol. Hyper, was how somebody interviewed described her. On the verge of being OA.

And this was on Salonga’s Twitter account: “Haters gonna hate, and that's fine and good. But don't tag me. It's like taking a dump then asking me to look at it. Rude.”

Ooohhh!!! Feisty!

But seriously... Hyper? I thought she was just being enthusiastic. OA? Please!!! Sarah G did a Laida Magtalas onstage.

15 June 2013

Where the Younghusbands Can Learn to Speak Tagalog

This morning, I was watching a YouTube video of a GMA-7 Unang Chika interview with Phil and James Younghusband regarding the post-match controversy surrounding the recent Philippine Azkals international friendly at the Mong Kok Stadium in Hong Kong.

After the interviewer introduced the brothers, Phil gracefully greeted the viewing audience, “Magandang umaga pô!” James did likewise.

The surprised interviewer remarked, “So your Tagalog is getting better!”

“Getting better,” Phil agreed. “Gumagaling.”

14 June 2013

‘Behaved’ Vice Ganda Reluctant to Return Audience Rudeness

I was never really into noontime shows; but recently, I have acquired the habit of watching ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime. Not the entire show, the latter part of which can be fetid at best. Just the Sine Mo ‘To segment at the start which is filled with hastily thought-up ad libs and can be very hilarious.

Those who watch the show know that the writers cook up a spoof of some current event or even another show and members of the audience are invited to participate. They willingly do, not just because of a moment in the limelight but also for the generous prize money that the director can award them for their efforts.

Last Wednesday’s show was odd to say the least. Most of the time, it is Vice Ganda who makes fun not only of his co-hosts but also of the willing participants from the audience. This time around, the shoe was on the other foot.

13 June 2013

Man of Steel: a Major Upgrade

No, Man of Steel is not an expensive remake of the 1978 blockbuster movie titled Superman which starred Christopher Reeve. Neither is it anything like the more recent Superman movies that promised so much but ultimately delivered far less than what was anticipated. Man of Steel, to put things plain and simply, is a must-see.

Of course, the movie will not win critical acclaim for a carefully thought out storyline or for intricacies in its plot. But it will have its audience holding its breath mesmerised by the fight scenes, awed by its visual composition and, when it ends, begging for more.

Of course, there are parallels to the original 1978 classic here and there. The movie begins at Krypton, a doomed planet where Jor-El and his wife find a way to send their newborn son Kal-El to Earth in a capsule and into safety.

10 June 2013

Taal Longganisa: Among Batangas’ Best Kept Secrets

What I would do to satisfy a craving for food! Like take a 50-minute trip one way to the historic municipality of Taal for its famed longganisa and tapa, quickly pay the vendor and be back on the road for the return trip to hopefully have enough time to cook the longganisa for lunch.

To be honest, it has been a six-month long craving – or thereabouts. I was just being my old procrastinating self. But having recently gone to Baguio with what was practically a spur-of-the-moment trip, suddenly a much shorter trip to Taal did not seem to be such a whim.

For those not from these parts, longganisang Taal is probably among the province of Batangas’ best kept secrets. The taste is primarily garlic-based with black pepper and vinegar along with salt and sugar to balance things out.

09 June 2013

What’s With the Tie, Mr. Torrecampo?

Indeed, what’s with it? I have never liked wearing anything that wraps tightly around my neck. And a tie is just about as restrictive not only in a physical sense but also in a metaphorical one.

But in the late eighties, when Norma Blanco became the first lay principal of the high school where I taught Social Science, there was a sudden shift from the laid back and fairly liberal philosophy that the teaching staff all got used to under the former principal Br. Jaime Dalumpines FSC.

This time, the emphasis was on conformity. We were being asked to either wear a uniform or stick to a strict dress code. This had less to do with Blanco herself but with memoranda being issued by the Department of Education.

05 June 2013

Player Ratings PHL v Hong Kong

Disclaimer: These ratings are how I personally saw how each individual Azkal played against Hong Kong in the friendly international at the Mong Kok Stadium last night. The scale is from 1 to 10. Others would, naturally, have seen things differently. If anyone cares to, just write in your own ratings using the comments box at the bottom of this page.

9 – Neil Etheridge. Man of the Match performance from the Fulham FC shot-stopper. Would have been a 10 but for a relatively peaceful first half and a couple of clearances that went awry. The wet and slippery conditions, admittedly, were as much to blame. Yet another awesome penalty save and kept Hong Kong out with brilliant goalkeeping in added time. Hong Kong were probably glad to see the last of him.

7 – Carli de Murga. Hard to slag de Murga when he is at rightback because his languid style is probably better suited in the middle of the park dictating play. Besides, de Murga is one of those players who always tries ever so hard. In the first half was rounded on a few occasions; and had the opponents had more quality the Philippines would have been duly punished. His lack of pace became less of an issue once he slotted in at central defence after injury to Robert Gier.

04 June 2013

Etheridge Stands Tall as Azkals Nip Hong Kong, 1-Nil

To the average spectator at the Mong Kok and on national television here in the Philippines, the fear probably was that Neil Etheridge, returning to the starting line-up against Hong Kong in an international friendly last night after having sat out the Challenge Cup qualifiers, would decide in the first half to seek entertainment at nearby Disneyland.

The Philippines in no way were giving a commanding performance; and truth be told, many of the Azkals were in off-season mode. In fact, it was the hosts who were bossing possession, at times making the visitors chase shadows.

Without, it has to be said, doing an awful lot with the inflationary possession statistics. In fact, Etheridge could have sneaked away for a photo shoot with Mickey Mouse without his absence being felt the way the match was going.

03 June 2013

Lt. Bibo and How Airplanes Hang in the Air

I used to have a high school player who is now a pilot in the Air Force. We will hide his identity behind the pseudonym Lt. Totoy Bibo. Wink. Albeit, as far as my more recent players are concerned, the alias will be just about as effective as hiding behind clear glass.

At any rate, over the weekend, Bibo joined us for Sunday football. As rather tends to be the case whenever he is around, after lunch chit-chat with the boys had a lot to do with not only life in the Air Force but flying planes in particular.

“There is this point just after a plane takes-off,” I told our cosy little group of football jocks, “that scares me the most.” And I proceeded for the benefit of the younger ones who have not flown before to explain this moment after take-off when the engines seem to go dead.

D’ Intensity Breakers, Roel Manlangit and PGT Voting

Pilipinas Got Singers. This was the text string that trended overnight on the social media site Twitter following young Roel Manlangit’s victory in the Season 4 final of the competition Pilipinas Got Talent. The boy brought home the two million prize money and probably earned himself a lucrative recording contract as well.

The implication, as if one needs to explain, is that followers of the show have become rather tired of seeing singers dominate all four seasons of the competition. The unstated question, naturally, is did those who have become exasperated bother to vote at all.

At the end of the day, the competition is not set to award the most talented but to bring income to the television and telecommunications networks.

02 June 2013

Baguio is not Cold but Still Cool

So well! I am the sort who can find amusement in just about the most mundane of things. And in a six-hour derriere-numbing trip from Cubao to Baguio, I could not help but smirk at these citizens of the Big City who excitedly put on their sweaters as the Victory Liner started the climb up Marcos Highway into the mountains.

In anticipation of the cold, I suppose; or in reaction to the drop in temperature inside the airconditioned bus as the air outside it started to cool while the bus rose up the mountains. Lipa-born and raised that I am, I can be incredibly blasé about the cold. So hence, I looked at the sweaters almost with contempt.

Because I was in a thin sleeveless blue shirt and enjoying the cold inside the bus. After all, we were driving to Baguio, not Greenland!