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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29 September 2013

Why It Was Always Mitoy Yonting for the Voice

Going into the finale of the Voice of the Philippines, it was obviously less about the singing and more about the loyalties that each of the finalists built up over weeks of trying to survive the show. Thus, I did not bother to take notes about the performances over the finals weekend; albeit, listening to four instead of more performers, I was convinced by Saturday’s individual performances that it is Klarisse de Guzman who has the most pleasing tone and arguably the best technique of the four.

Saturday morning, I tried to conduct over Facebook a pre-survey to try and determine the amount of support that each of the singers had accumulated among the sampling of my social networking connections. Unfortunately, not enough participated to enable me to see a definitive trend.

Still, for whatever it was worth, the little survey showed Klarisse de Guzman to be the clear favourite among the few respondents to the survey. Janice Javier came in second, followed by Mitoy Yonting and Myk Perez. While the sampling was random, the lack of numbers indicated that the survey could not be taken too seriously; and, indeed, it was always going to be Yonting’s title.

In Megan Young, Finally, a Filipina Miss World

Beauty pageants have become dime-a-dozen in recent years that, except for the really big ones, we who live in the modern era have become somewhat blasé about these in general. The Miss Universe has always been the holy grail of beauty pageants, arguably the most coveted of all. This we have won twice.

Then, there is the Miss International which we have won four times. These days, there is the Miss Earth, the Miss Asia, the Miss Supranational, the Miss This and Miss That. The sheer ubiquity of these pageants has seemingly diluted the significance of each.

But wait; there is the Miss World, supposedly one of the ‘big’ pageants. Those of my generation still probably harbour a grudge or two against this pageant because of what happened in 1973.

24 September 2013

Comparing Jollibee Prices, PHL and the United States

There was an item on TV Patrol last week documenting the opening of a Jollibee store in Houston, Texas. My brother and his family live in a suburb just outside Houston; so I was curious to know if he had been to the place. The TV Patrol item showed that, but of course, opening day was characterised by long queues of expatriate Pinoys in Houston. As it always is when Jollibee opens shop for the first time in a city or municipality, even here in the Philippines.

No, my brother told me; he had not gone yet. But my sister-in-law has; and she had to my good fortune brought home a brochure with Jollibee’s offerings in Houston. I had been curious for the longest time about how different pricing is for Jollibee stores here in the Philippines and the United States; and this article presents the comparative pricing.

Those among you reading this who are Philippine-side will probably be feeling pretty pleased with yourselves because, by and large, the local prices appear incredibly cheap across the board in comparison to the Houston store’s pricing. The economics involved, it has to be pointed out, are also different.

22 September 2013

The Voice PHL Finalists Completed!

And so it was that the finalist from each of the four teams of the Voice of the Philippines was selected by the coaches and the voting public in an emotional semi-final last night: Mitoy Yonting, Myk Perez, Klarisse de Guzman and Janice Javier.

Bidding the competition goodbye were Radha, Paolo Onesa, Morisette Amon and Thor Dulay. At this point of the competition, though, there are no real losers anymore; and even the outgoing contestants would have already won not only public attention and adulation but, more importantly, recording contracts.

To the coaches, what can I say but… Bravo!!! Finalists Yonting and Javier had stood out right from the Blind Auditions; but everyone else barring Radha sounded raw and not worth a second look.

19 September 2013

Roland Samaniego: Gentleman Organic Farmer

One of the great contradictions of these wonderful islands of ours is that, while the soil is rich and the climate perfect for agriculture, many citizens who live off the land actually do so to get out of it. The average thinking, it has to be said, equates farming with hard work but meagre returns.

Hence, young people of this country are conditioned to aspire for a blue or white collar job somewhere or to become professionals. A desk job is almost universally more appealing that getting one’s hands dirty in a farm. To a certain extent, this is why our economy has an excess of these workers; and then we have to export them to work elsewhere as OFW’s.

There are those, however, for whom the opposite is true. Meet Roland Samaniego, a DLSU-Manila Computer Science graduate in an era when the IT industry was just starting to take off and was in abject need of professionals. But for a few years in the industry, however, Roland has never really become fully immersed in it or his profession.

16 September 2013

The Voice Heading for a Radha-Javier Heavyweight Showdown

It has come to that point in The Voice of the Philippines when all the contestants have grown so much that many of the singers are barely recognisable from the nervous middling performers who went through the Blind Auditions just a few weeks back. All the coaches have earned pats on the back.

Some came to the Blind Auditions already seasoned performers: Mitoy Yonting, Radha and Janice Javier. Others were middling singers who looked and sounded like they would go no further than the first hurdle.

Kim Mainit, I thought, was one of these: a young man with a high-pitched voice who I thought Lea Salonga turned around for, I believed, only for novelty value. But Salonga is nothing if not thorough and enthusiastic; and weeks later, the young man they call Kimpoy has indeed become hot property.

10 September 2013

Did Billy Crawford Let Slip About Vice-Ganda’s BF?

It has been common knowledge for a while that comedian Vice-Ganda has a basketball player for a boyfriend, and especially after this particular episode of GGV when he took a call from the mystery man while in the middle of taping. The call was aired instead of being edited off. There is every possibility that it was scripted; but, at any rate, it started the tongues wagging.

Entertainment gossip sites quickly narrowed the field down to RR Garcia and Terence Romeo of the FEU Tamaraws. Vice had been seen watching games of the Tamaraws in the UAAP.

It cannot be Romeo who has a girlfriend, some sites say. Thus, it has to be Garcia, they also say.

09 September 2013

A Good Time to Be a Green Archer

Did I not say the last time I wrote about the De La Salle Green Archers that the current team is good enough to actually win the Season 76 seniors basketball championship of the UAAP? And that fearless forecast, mind, was delivered in the aftermath of two numbing losses against the FEU Tamaraws and the UE Red Warriors in the first round.

Especially against the Tamaraws, the Archers were in the zone for three of the four quarters. Then, the entire team just caved in, almost as though in fear of taking a step up to the summit.

But what a difference a couple of months can make!

08 September 2013

Batangueñas Bid The Voice Goodbye

It was always bound to happen, given that so many have already been culled from The Voice of the Philippines, that competition would come to that stage when there would be little to choose from between competitors. As it was last night in the third live show of the competition, when I would not have wanted to be sitting on the chair of any of the four coaches.

It was only Lea Salonga’s decision that I more or less disagreed with; although I thought Sarah G could have gone either way. Which means that I also more or less agreed with’s and Bamboo’s decision to go for Thor Dulay and Paolo Onesa, respectively.

At the expense, regrettably, of the two Batangueñas that provincial pride dictated I rah-rahed for, Penelope Matanguihan and Lee Grane.

07 September 2013

Lipa City in the Dark

The 6th of September in the year 2013. Nothing pretty much out of the ordinary until about 3:20 in the afternoon. I was watching the concluding episode of ‘My Little Juan’ when the power went dead. I was actually taking a peek at Facebook when the power conked out, so what made me aware of it was the UPS chirping.

There was an ongoing thunderstorm. Thus, my immediate thought was that times have become really strange. In the old days, lightning was followed by thunder. These days, by power outage. In other words, not the first time this happened in recent memory.

Other times, though, power is restored after a few minutes. This time, the minutes turned to agonising hours. So, I tried calling Batelec to find out what was wrong and for how long the outage would last. Each time, all I got was the annoying busy signal.

03 September 2013

The Mysterious Call Center Identity Thief

And so it was that yesterday, my postponed get-together with my older sister finally pushed through in Alabang. Most of the talk was family, as I only meet up with her only once in a while. But my sister also works in a call centre; and whenever I meet up with her, I invariably end up asking her about...

Well, I pray the day never comes when I actually come face to face with one, but I do have a life-long fascination with things that go bump in the night. And call centres, up all night as they tend to be and located as they are mostly in large halls, seem to play host to a lot of these...

Regular readers might have browsed through two previous stories in this site that I picked up from my sister about these. But the one that she told me yesterday was nothing if not weird to a different level. This one does not just go bump in the night.

02 September 2013

Penelope Matanguihan Through to Next Stage as Mitoy Yonting Brings Audience to Its Feet

Off-stage, when she does these little interviews that the producers insert as introduction to performances in the Voice of the Philippines, young Penelope Matanguihan still projects this rustic innocence that is so unaffected and which one hopes she will never shed.

Onstage last night in the second weekend of live performances, doing John Legend’s ‘Ordinary People,’ she momentarily set aside the refreshing candor of her youth and put on the mask of a sophisticated woman with a big song.

The result, as Lea Salong herself put it, was perfection. Not a note out of place, singing with the precision of a diamond artisan and possessing the calm confidence of a seasoned professional. The song choice, it has to be said, was also a perfect match for her voice, which has this almost ethereal not-of-this-world quality.