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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26 February 2014

A Primer: Philippine Azkals v Azerbaijan

Never mind the scheduled FIFA international friendly between the Philippine Azkals and our Southeast Asian neighbours Malaysia this Saturday, which in a way is a bedding in for new coach Thomas Dooley and a chance to get a peek at new and fringe players. Regional bragging rights apart, that match will probably offer us little more than what we already know about either team.

It is the next international friendly about Azerbaijan in Dubai that tickles the imagination as it opens a whole new realm of possibilities for Philippine football. It is stock knowledge to all and sundry that the Azkals are as yet too lightweight to take on Europe’s elite as some of our Asian neighbours now do on a regular basis.

Azerbaijan, nonetheless, plays in UEFA; and this match makes a statement of both ambition and intent. The team, admittedly, is considered among Europe’s footballing minnows.

25 February 2014

Prophesies, Pangasinan and Morgellons Disease

I am not amused at all by the YouTube video currently going viral on social networks about a news item that apparently aired in last night’s edition of the ABS-CBN late night news program Bandilâ. The video was about two cases of a mysterious disease that has afflicted a man and a woman in the province of Pangasinan.

The disease is characterised by scales and painful sores on the skin from head to toes. Claire, one of the victims, had been to specialists in Pangasinan, Baguio and Manila; but none of the doctors she had seen could offer a definitive opinion as to what the disease is.

One said it was leprosy. The other said it was a mere skin allergy. Because doctors that Claire had been to could not detect what the disease is or offer a viable cure, her family had even taken her to see a village medicine man.

20 February 2014

The Barn Swallow ‘Infestation’ in Batangas City

The other evening, TV Patrol aired on its national edition an item on the huge flocks of barn swallows that have become quite the phenomenon in Batangas City. The flocks, in their thousands, attract curious onlookers because of their sheer volume; but they have also been an infestation of sorts because their presence is not necessarily welcome.

The barn swallows are quite the sight to behold when they perch in neat rows along electrical wires to settle down for the night. On the other hand, they bomb pedestrians and vehicles with you know what.

The bird droppings, in fact are so voluminous that local government has felt impelled to regularly send in teams to wash and disinfect the roads. The birds are protected; and while they can be a nuisance, they are by and large also tolerated by locals.

16 February 2014

Sir, What is Pagerper?

And just when I begin to feel that I have come to a point in life when I have seen and heard it all, I get a reminder that – uhm – I really haven’t.

Kirk – obviously not his real name – is Fil-American born and raised in LA to Batangueño parents. He has lived in Batangas for – methinks – more than half a decade now.

Now a college junior, he went to high school in a local private academy. He still speaks English with the accent of a native North American; but can speak Tagalog with the thick and unmistakable accent of one Batangas born and raised.

Segue to futsal yesterday with my club, composed of players who I myself coached when they were in high school.

15 February 2014

DLSU Lady Archers Book Finals Seat; but Big Thanks to NU Lady Bulldogs

In the first set of yesterday’s titanic UAAP women’s volleyball Season 76 battle between the DLSU Lady Archers and the NU Lady Bulldogs at the coliseum, in a game played before the season’s first mammoth crowd, it would have been impossible to tell who were the 3-time defending champions on a hot 29-game streak and the crown pretenders anxious to write history.

The scoreline does not lie; and the 25-14 first set win by the Lady Bulldogs over an out-of-sorts Lady Archers was as comprehensive as the scoreline indicated. It had been coming, too.

Credit must always be given where credit is due; and, indeed, the Lady Bulldogs stepped on the playing court for the first set with all their big guns blazing. Between them, Dindin Santiago and Myla Pablo engineered a stunning 11-2 run that overcame an early lead by the Lady Archers, who ended the set shell-shocked and groping for answers.

11 February 2014

The Ever Youthful Kabesang Sales

I was walking towards the main gate of a local mall yesterday to get some groceries when who do I see walking to the parking lot but Kabesang Sales, erstwhile of the DLSL Pilipino Department and one of the school’s certifiable Ginangs.

“Kabesa!” I greeted her. “Huy!!!” was her instinctive reply, surprised at having been accosted.

But I am probably the only one on God’s earth who still continues to call her Kabesa; and the moment she realised that it was I who was holding on to her arm, she burst into a spontaneous smile.

She was with old classmates from The Mabini Academy, she told me; and they were meeting to plan for a reunion.

08 February 2014

The Economics of the Teleserye

I have loved television since I was a toddler, when I would stay glued in front of the boob tube for hours on end watching my favourite animated shows. Growing up as a teenager, we were spoiled for riches in terms of programming diversity, particularly at prime time.

Prime time is television jargon for that block of scheduling or time slots when there is the most number of expected viewers. This block is also when television networks expect to make the most revenues from advertising because of the wider audience reach.

In the Philippines, prime time begins immediately after the evening news and is loosely pegged at 8:00 to 11:00. The first hour of prime time, in particular, is when members of the family will have concluded dinner and will be ready to laze in front of the television set before attending to some chores like homework and then get ready for bed.

04 February 2014

Mother Lily’s Advice When I Almost Quit Football in 1991

Who was it who said that the best actors were not in the Oscars? Instead, they are in the teaching profession. No disrespect to the latter. What that statement was trying to imply was that teachers, due to the nature to the profession, often have to cloak their real personalities and their deepest feelings.

Same goes for coaching, especially at the basic education level. The job is not for the immature because essentially, as a support system between coach and player, the relationship is very much one-way.

It can be draining at the physical, intellectual and even the emotional levels. It is not for the weak of personality or for the selfish.

01 February 2014

Vice Ganda Ad Lib Makes Denise Laurel Trend on Twitter

For a while yesterday afternoon, the character string ‘Denise Laurel’ was among the top trends on Twitter. For the benefit of those who have yet to venture into the social media site, Twitter lists the ten most mentioned strings of characters at a given period of time. These are called trends.

Denise Laurel, the actress who stars in the early evening series ‘Annaliza,’ herself owns a Twitter account with more than 800 thousand followers. Had she seen the trend, she must have been not only surprised but also utterly clueless as to why her name was trending.

After all, at the time she had not done or was involved in anything that would have even merited the trend.

The culprit, as those who watched the finals of ‘That’s My Tomboy’ on ‘It’s Showtime’ know, was none other than Vice Ganda. The comedian has more than 3.5 million followers on Twitter; and causes topics to trend not only locally but worldwide from time to time.