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 January 2014

New Azkals Coach Thomas Dooley: The Right Choice

The day news broke in football circles that Michael Weiss, erstwhile coach of the Philippine National Football team – a.k.a. the Azkals – was relieved of his duties, footballdom in this corner of the Pacific was abuzz with the most obvious of questions.

Who would take his place?

And the Philippine Football Federation, as is the way things are done in football, was remarkably tight-lipped about the issue. Several candidates were being considered, was all that the federation was prepared to say.

So followers of the national team, fed with mere orts from the dinner table, had no recourse but to engage in what in Britain is called the ‘silly season.’ Speculation, of course, is one of those that make football such a lovely game to follow.

28 January 2014

The Fishbone and the Magical Hand of the Suhî

Enjoying your breakfast of fried eggs, fried rice and hawot when, all of a sudden, you feel something stuck down your throat? Chances are that the pointed end of a teeny-weeny bit of hawot bone lodged itself in your throat and is causing your discomfort.

In the old days and a worst-case scenario of you having to go to the doctor to have the bone tweezed out, well you did not – repeat, NOT – tell the doctor that it was a piece of hawot bone the he would have to extricate from your throat.

You lifted your nose and sniffed in a brisk dose of air as was the proper way of the snob; and told the doctor that the bone belonged to at least a bit of galunggong or tulingan. Biyâ if you wanted to push your luck.

27 January 2014

More Questions on the Ongoing Vhong Navarro Saga

Kabayan Noli de Castro, in last night’s edition of TV Patrol, verbalised a question that I had been carrying inside my head since an article courtesy of GMA News online broke over social media. The article, written in Tagalog, made public a blotter report about Vhong Navarro’s alleged attempted rape of the lady who everyone now knows to be a Deniece Cornejo.

Given the condition of Navarro – and his swollen, black and blue face has been splattered all over social media since Friday night – why did none of the cops who were on duty to receive the supposed citizens’ arrest interrogate the men who brought him in? Are cops so jaded these days that they do not find it in themselves to be inquisitive anymore?

Alright, so one of the receiving cops spoke to TV Patrol and publicly stated that he initially did not recognise Navarro because of his swollen face. Even then, would his curiosity not have been stimulated had it been one of the countless street urchins who are brought in for petty crimes every night?

24 January 2014

Showtime Cast Professionalism in Aftermath of Vhong Navarro Beating

Regular viewers of the ABS-CBN noontime variety show ‘It’s Showtime’ must have been taken aback by last night’s TV Patrol item on the savage mauling of co-host Vhong Navarro in a private condo unit at the Fort in Taguig on the night of the 22nd, Wednesday.

Photographs after the mauling have been released by ABS-CBN News online, illustrating the abuse that Navarro took from a still undisclosed group of assailants. An official statement released by Navarro’s manager, Chito Roño, said that the Showtime co-host was invited by a female friend to the condo unit.

The reasons for the assault are still unclear but that money was being extorted from the actor. Navarro, according to a discussion in a DZMM talk show, was severely traumatised by the incident and is unable to speak as yet.

22 January 2014

The Grammatical Anomaly of ‘Taken Cared of’

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There, I heard it again; on national television, no less! In the primetime series ‘Honesto,’ the secretary of Governor Hugo Layer referred to the impending engagement party for Diego and Marie as ‘taken cared of.’

19 January 2014

Styles and Preferences in Preparing a Bowl of Lomi

Sunday football was over; it was late afternoon with the temperature having dropped below 20°C. There are few things in these parts that make more sense or come naturally in cold weather than to seek a steaming bowl of lomi – Lipa style, of course.

That will mean a staple of thick noodles, bits of meat, thin slices of liver, kikiam and meatballs; plus various little accoutrements, in a manner of speaking, that each lomi haus adds in for variety and to keep an edge over competitors.

These do not include, of course, vegetables of any specie. Transients may find these perfectly acceptable served with the lo mien of some fancy mall Chinese restaurant. Locals, however, will give any lomi haus that includes vegetables the kiss of death.

17 January 2014

Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol: Honest but not Obnoxious

What a breath of fresh air Harry Connick Jr. is on American Idol’s 13th season! I watched the auditions of the new season for the first time last night and was immediately impressed by Connick.

Being a first timer, he is perhaps a tad choosy; but that’s fine. It’s the sort of honesty that has been missing since Simon Cowell left the show. Connick offers the show the same sort fo suave and debonair charm that Cowell once gave, but without the Brit’s obnoxious sarcasm.

If anything, Connick can even be more forthright than Cowell ever was. Reacting to the antics of one of the crackpots who typically audition to get some airtime, Connick told the offender straight to the point: “You disrespected the show’s process!”

15 January 2014

Somebody Please Give the DLSU Lady Spikers a Real Game!

In the world of unequal citizens that is Season 76 of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, there seems to be three classes of participants at the end of the first round of competition.

At the bottom of the pseudo-caste system are the University of the East (0-7) and the University of the Philippines (1-6). The two teams can never be faulted for lack of trying; but try is just about all they seem to be capable of.

At the end of the day, neither team has the necessary pedigree or confidence to become anything but the teams that prop up the rest of the league.

A notch above these two is a group of 5 teams who, when they play each other, always make life hard for pundits trying to predict the outcome of the games. Bottom of this class – surprise, surprise – are the UST Tigresses (2-5), arguably the season’s certifiable hard-luck story.

14 January 2014

Girl, Boy, Baklâ, Tomboy: Crap Story but Vice was Sensational

So yes, this has the makings of an epilogue because most everyone has seen the movie and this piece is of no use whatsoever as a review. And that’s the whole point; now that the movie has grossed over 400M, I did not want to be the one who missed out.

As Vice himself has repeatedly said, this is not a cerebral film and I totally agree. The storyline has as many holes as a fisherman’s net so that one gets the feeling that it was stitched together around a collection of punchlines instead of the other way around.

That said, the punchlines were good! I do not remember having watched a movie and totally forgave the idiocy of the plot.

12 January 2014

Emily Babasa, Rosel Sumcad and the Fearsome DLSL Volleyball Reputation

It came to be, in the late nineties and in the decade after the turn of the millennium, that private schools in the Metro Manila and CALABARZON volleyball leagues that De La Salle Lipa participated in loathed the very sight of the elementary and secondary teams in the emerald green and white uniforms.

When the school’s four teams – elementary and secondary boys and girls – lined up for the opening ceremonies, this already served a warning to all concerned that they were probably participating to make up the numbers. Indeed, there were those even in the organisational meetings of the school sports directors who already resigned themselves to the inevitable – that it was going to be yet another DLSL season.

There were seasons, in fact, when DLSL swept all divisions; and if the school came away with only two of the four titles, it was already seen as something of a disappointment. There was friendly ‘competition’ between the school’s four teams; and the winning culture, in a manner speaking, could even be attributed to the fear of being the team that missed out when everyone else won.

09 January 2014

The Kuya Kim, Vice Ganda Age Jokes on Showtime

Regular viewers of the ABS-CBN noontime show “It’s Showtime!” will be very familiar with the repartee between the hosts regarding age. Unfortunately, Kuya Kim Atienza, the oldest among the hosts, is frequently at the receiving end.

In fact, any mention of age or something historic or nostalgic is often taken as the cue for the other hosts to begin teasing Kuya Kim. Not only that, sometimes an excerpt from the Itchyworms song ‘Ayokong Tumandâ’ is played for better effect.

Kuya Kim, it has to be said, is a good sport; albeit, once and a while, one senses that he is a hair away from losing his temper.

07 January 2014

The Teacher with the Most God-awful Surname

Before anything else, I swear that this story really happened instead of something I cooked up to draw a few laughs.


However, the story within the story, that one I cannot quite vouch for. Read on and decide for yourselves.

The story happened back in schoolyear 1985-86, when I was the Homeroom Adviser of a class of seniors. To ensure order in the homeroom, I made it a point to hang out in the classroom after lunch everyday.

This was when the students finished up on school work needed in the afternoon or, if it was a light day, just spent the time gossiping or having fun. In a class of high school seniors, things could easily get out of hand.

06 January 2014

The Moral of a Cheating Story

First of all, if there are kids reading this, I would like to make it clear that I do not condone cheating during exams. It is not only dishonest but ultimately counterproductive.

During my life as a student, I always preferred to rely on my intellectual capacity than on a crumpled piece of paper that was otherwise called the codigo. However, I was not a saint.

There were extremely rare circumstances when I would – uhm – allow myself to be persuaded by circumstances that taking along a codigo was not such a bad idea at all.

As it happened when I was still in college, we were still required to take 12 units of Spanish. This was universally regarded as a petiks course; and it was no surprise whatsoever that it would soon be removed from the curriculum.

03 January 2014

Happy New Year on Skype

New Year’s Day.

Ring.. Ring…

Hello!!! I looked at the screen of my Windows 8 Skype app and could see nothing but a generic avatar staring back at me. I could hear the voice at the other end; but there was no video.

The subject was late fifties. I say no more as I promised that, if I wrote about the incident at all, it would be something of a blind item.

“Mabuti pala ako ang tumawag sa iyo!” the voice at the other end said. I had called earlier but could not get the call through.