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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28 November 2013

2013 Ala Eh Festival (Batangas City) Schedule

The 6th Annual Ala Eh Festival, organised by the Province of Batangas, is to be hosted by Batangas City from 1-8 December 2013. Although the annual festival officially kicks off on the first day of next month, activities connected to the celebrations were held as early as the 15th of November.

The week long festival carries the theme “May Sasaya Pa Ga?” Translated into English, the theme means “Is There Anything Merrier?”

For the benefit of those planning to attend the festivities, here is the collated schedule obtained from the web site of the City of Batangas:

27 November 2013

How to Install Windows 8.1 on an HP Laptop

The travails that Microsoft and its programmers can sometimes make those of us who use the Windows operating system undergo! Do you own an HP laptop, tried to upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1 and then found yourself staring in panic at the log on screen which refuses to accept the password that you know in your heart was the CORRECT password?

There is salvation; albeit, in typical Microsoft fashion, after a lot of effort and accompanying annoyance. Swearwords, too!

Posts in forums across the Internet show that the problem is not unique to yours. It happens to many owners of HP laptops. There is an incompatibility of the Windows 8.1 upgrade with HP’s Protect Tools Security Manager. I have seen one lame recommendation that told one HP owner to consult with the manufacturer.

20 November 2013

PDAF Was Always Functionally Anomalous

Well there you have it! Now that the Supreme Court has finally spoken on the Priority Assistance Development Fund, a.k.a. the much-maligned PDAF or the even more maligned ‘pork barrel,’ the anomaly has finally been made ‘official.’ Unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has branded the PDAF; past, present and – let us all hope – for good.

In so doing, the Supreme Court has made unlawful a practice that has always been functionally anomalous. The allocation and disbursement of funds has always been a function of the executive branch; i.e. through its various agencies.

To simplify, let us liken government to a household where the father is the breadwinner who lays down the rules but at the end of each payday turns over his entire salary to the wife for the management of the household.

19 November 2013

FIFA World Cup 2014 List of Qualified Countries

With the qualifying stages for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil now having concluded, here are the 32 countries who have made it to the finals.  Four of the countries are from Asia, five from Africa, four from North and Central America with the Caribbean, six from South America and thirteen from Europe, for a total of thirty-two countries.  Brazil, as hosts, are the only country who were exempted from the qualifying stages.




Côte d'Ivoire







Korea Republic



Bosnia and Herzegovina









Russian Federation




Costa Rica



United States of America



Brazil (Host Country)





1. Country flags from
2. World Cup logo from

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16 November 2013

Yolanda: Changing the Worst-Case Scenario

Just like most everyone else, I have been reading a whole assortment of literature that predictably came out in the aftermath of Super-Typhoon Haiyan, a.k.a. Yolanda in the Philippines. I have seen the praises, the rants, the counter-rants; even the petty Korina Sanchez-v-Anderson Cooper spat.

Not being on the ground and having been primarily dependent on media reports on what has been happening on-site, I have chosen to reserve judgment on the matter of the government’s response efforts.

I have wracked my brain for ways by which the scale of the tragedy that unfolded before our very eyes right from the day Yolanda crossed the archipelago might have been avoided. I have found none. Nature, when it throws a fit, invariably wins.

Short of evacuating everyone along the super-typhoon’s path, which was logistically impossible, anyway, the result always was going to be that devastation in terms of loss of lives and infrastructures would be massive.

12 November 2013

Azkals v UAE: Master and Apprentice

Set aside FIFA Rankings for the moment and look at the big picture. It will be hypocritical to say that there has not been satisfaction to be had from being the top team in Southeast Asia – or, at least, on paper – but the bragging rights apart, there has been for sometime little more to be learned from within the neighbourhood.

Winning Peace Cups was useful for match fitness and preserving camaraderie among our current set of internationals; but if the intention always was to fly the coop as is the destiny of all who harbour ambitions, then the only way forward has always been to look beyond the region.

So on to the Al Nahyan Stadium in Al Wahda and an arguably long-overdue engagement for the Philippine Azkals with one of the continent’s elites, the United Arab Emirates – former Asian representative to the World Cup and current 7th-ranked team in the continent.

09 November 2013

Notes on Super-typhoon Yolanda

Because I am a hobbyist weather-watcher, I was aware of Yolanda forming in the South Pacific earlier than most people. Typhoon2K was predicting it to be a significant howler even when it was still in infancy as a low pressure area.

When it was reported that PAGASA was due to name the system Yolanda once it entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, I was horrified! I still carry memories of roofs being torn from off houses in the Air Force base where we lived when I was a small boy by another Super-typhoon which crossed the country back in 1970.

The name of that super-typhoon? Yoling.

PAGASA retires the names of really destructive typhoons; and I sincerely felt that the agency could have done better than the name Yolanda. Yoling is retired, of course; but everyone knows it to be a local nickname for what else but Yolanda. This is just me being superstitious.