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 May 2014

Azkals Concede Challenge Cup to Palestine; But the Future is Bright

Sometimes, a freekick can be too close. Strike the ball hard and there will not be enough space for the ball to curl down into goal. Or, it can be too far. In this case, the goalkeeper has all the time in the world to deal with it.

But sometimes a freekick can be just the perfect distance from goal. The ball can be struck with enough force to make it rise above the wall and then curl down away from the goalkeeper’s reach.

As it happened last night in the final of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup between the Philippines and Palestine, the foul that Jason de Jong committed in the 57th minute was the perfect distance and position for Ashraf Alfawaghra to score the singular goal that won the championship for Palestine.

27 May 2014

Greatwich Strike Propels Azkals to Challenge Cup Final

How many of you, when Chris Greatwich tapped in from five yards in the 104th minute of a breathtaking AFC Challenge Cup semi-final against the host team Maldives at the National Stadium in Male, instinctively knew that it was game, set and match Philippines?

As a goal this was artless, just a case of Greatwich being at the right place at the right time; and certainly in stark contrast to the diving, contorting header with which he put Vietnam to the sword in that memorable AFF Suzuki Cup match in 2010.

Greatwich goals are few and far between; but when they come, they rather tend to make history and augur big things for Philippine football. This latest one was a mere tap in, but it propelled the Philippines to a final against Palestine and potentially a seat in the 2015 Asian Cup.

26 May 2014

The Witty PNP Hotline on Twitter

I first heard of the PNP Hotline account on Twitter via an online news article. The news article has boosted the account’s followers by roughly four thousand in a matter of days. I myself have followed this account and derive endless amusement just reading the tweets.

This is supposed to be an emergency hotline for reporting incidents that need police attention; but Pinoys being Pinoys, there are those who tweet nonsense to the account just for the sheer heck of it. It is these irrelevant tweets that can be so amusing; more so the trite but witty replies by the officer(s) maintaining the account.

Some of the tweets are below the belt, but the replies are always polite and try to use wit to offset the sarcasm directed, in general, at police officers across the country. When I have time, I spend minutes scrolling down the account's profile page and derive great entertainment reading the tweets.

24 May 2014

Azkals in Challenge Cup Semis After 2-Nil Win over Turkmenistan

So just when some of us had probably started to wonder if dear old Phillie Younghusband had been suffering from amnesia and had forgotten the route to goal, he pops one as though to gently remind us that he is, by far, still our top marksman.

Granted, the goal was not from open play; but the expertly curled freekick was as exquisite as they come, over the wall and down into the lower right corner of the goal away from the reach of the desperately diving Turkmenistan goalkeeper Farkhat Bazarov.

The freekick was won in the 48th minute by Patrick Reichelt, omitted from the starting line-up but sent on after injury to Ruben Doctora Jr. in the first half. Reichelt kept his nerve after being sent through by a pin-point pass from the back, and was fouled outside the box as he tried to find shooting space.

23 May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past, A Review

Don’t anyone get me wrong. I liked “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” At IMDB, however, I only gave it a 7 even if its overall average rating from more than 15K viewers was a lofty 8.9. That is as good as I have seen viewers rate a movie on IMDB.

Perhaps, it was because I watched the movie’s first showing yesterday through noontime; but the truth was that there were moments when my eyelids were involuntarily starting to droop. If I am being honest, previous X-Men movies were probably faster-paced than this one.

Yet, thematically, this one is more than just a movie version of a comic book story and arguably has more meat to it than previous X-Men movies. This one has more of a thinking element to it.

22 May 2014

Azkals Break Laos Hoodoo in AFC Challenge Cup

At the very least, the Laos hoodoo has been broken; albeit, the 2-nil scoreline was a fair enough indication of how laboured the victory was for a Philippine national football team trying to edge forward to a seat in the semi-finals of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.

Goals by Simone Rota and Patrick Reichelt in either half meant that the Philippines earned a first-ever full international win over Laos, the Azkals’ bogey team in Southeast Asia.

In truth, Laos were so poor that all the Philippine outfield players could have sat down with a cup of latte and watched the evening edition of TV Patrol for news back home and the Laotians still would not have troubled Roland Müller in the Philippine goal.

21 May 2014

Azkals the Better Team in Goalless Stalemate with Afghanistan

Pre-game, and among the main talking points about the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Group B encounter between the Philippines and reigning South Asian champions Afghanistan would have been the latter’s lofty position in the latest FIFA Men’s Ranking Table. Indeed, at 128, there is a menacing 12-point gap between the Afghans and the Filipinos, who are currently at 140.

Post-game, and the talking point would have shifted to the most obvious of questions: how in the world did they get there? After 90 minutes of a goalless stalemate which the Philippines could feel entitled to feel hard done by, there was no doubt whatsoever about which the better team was.

It was apparent even early in the match that the Philippines had the better individuals. The question of who was the better team took a little longer to resolve; and it was not until the final half an hour that the Filipinos started to get a firmer grasp of the game and clearer sights of the Afghan goal.

19 May 2014

Godzilla 2014: Yes It is Better than the 1998 Movie

The only reason that I went to see Godzilla v. 2014 was because of the scheduled 8-5 power outage yesterday; and with temperatures averaging the previous days at 37ºC and electric fans incapacitated for the day, a trip to mall was a matter of survival. In the end, I have to thank the outage for my having seen the movie.

I actually liked it.

The immediate concern of anyone old enough to have seen the 1998 Matthew Broderick top-billed movie of the same title would naturally be if the story of this 2014 version would be the same.

It is not, thankfully. The 2014 version is reasonably better.

17 May 2014

Notes on the PBB All In First Eviction Night

So Chevin Cecilio of Camarines Sur last night obtained the rather dubious distinction of being the first housemate to be evicted from the Big Brother House. The eviction came as something of a mild surprise.

Viewers of the show have always tended to express themselves on Twitter – and henceforth we shall refer to these as ‘Twitizens’ – so I rather suspected that teenager Loisa Andalio would be the one sent packing.

For some reason the same Twitizens had been roasting her on the social network the other week so that her BNN nomination – nomination by public texting – came as no surprise. I also thought that a lice infestation among female housemates that she inadvertently started would have done her no good whatsoever.

16 May 2014

Where Liverpool Really Lost the League Title

Liverpool could easily have won the 2013-14 season of the Barclay’s Premier League, even discounting the early season home loss the Southampton, the away loss to Hull City and the home draw with Aston Villa in mid-season. These were matches when the Reds were having bad days in the office; as indeed every team is entitled to these.

Most people will remember Gerrard’s slip leading to the disappointing 0-2 loss at home to Chelsea and the colossal collapse at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace as the turning points that handed the title to Manchester City; but these both came at a crucial stage in the season when the team was crumbling under the sort of pressure it had not previously encountered.

Instead, what ultimately cost Liverpool the title were performances earlier in the season when the pressure was still not as intense. I had always feared that it was asking too much of the team to put together a 14-game streak leading to the run in; and that the team would have been better served had the streak started two or three games later.

15 May 2014

PBB All In: the Conflict Batangueño Joshua Garcia Faces

As a Batangueño, I have more than just a passing interest in Pinoy Big Brother’s teenage housemate Joshua Garcia; and but of course. The boy is from Bauan, less than an hour from where I live. We Filipinos tend to be an ethnocentric lot; and the affinity that I feel for the boy stems from our being from the same province.

He is good advertisement for Batangas, mind; and not just for his movie-star good looks. During nomination night over the last weekend, I do not believe that any of the other housemates gave him points at all which would have endangered him for nomination and, subsequently, eviction from the Big Brother House.

He has been receiving good airtime the last few days; and mostly because Big Brother has seen fit to provide him with the opportunity to resolve some personal issues with his estranged mother.

13 May 2014

Vice Ganda Confirms Batangas Roots on Showtime

This is something that I have suspected for a while now; but there is hardly any literature on the Internet about the matter. Today, Vice Ganda himself confirmed his Batangas roots on Showtime courtesy of a little girl contestant of the Mini-Me segment of the show.

A few months back, in the Sine Mo ‘To segment of the same show, Vice was playing the role of a Batangueño. The punto (the accent) was without a doubt authentic.

Everyone from these parts will always be able to tell if somebody from Manila is just trying to mimic the punto. It never quite turns out right. We just know.

10 May 2014

Choosing a Hypothetical Azkals First Team for the Challenge Cup

Yesterday, when I first saw the Philippines’ official line-up for the 2014 AFC Challenge up courtesy of the inevitable Facebook link, my immediate reaction was that of satisfaction and quiet confidence.

Time was when an Azkals team would practically select itself on the basis of reputation alone. That is not the case anymore with the current Challenge Cup squad.

Thomas Dooley has been bold in his team selections for the recent friendly internationals. So thus, he has built for himself a squad that not only has depth but is also finely balanced in terms of youth, experience and options.

09 May 2014

2014 AFC Challenge Cup Primer

The final stage of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup begins on 19 May in the Indian Ocean republic of the Maldives and will culminate in the final to be played on 30 May. At stake is not only the title of Challenge Cup champion but also a seat in the 2015 Asian Cup hosted by Australia.

Eight qualified nations are initially divided into two groups where they will play each other for seats in the crossover semi-finals. The matches are to be played in the 13,000-capacity Galolhu National Stadium in the capital city of Malé as well as in the Hithadhoo Zone Stadium in Addu City.

Afghanistan arrive as the highest ranked nation as per the May 2014 FIFA Men’s Ranking Table. Laos and Myanmar, at the opposite end of the spectrum, are ranked lowest both at 173. The significance of the rankings will, in most probability, be sent flying out the window once competitions get underway.

06 May 2014

Why is the Sorbetes Called Dirty Ice Cream?

In my second Facebook account, I was asked by a Fil-American friend a simple question that I frankly and remarkably had no credible answer for: “Why is Filipino street-peddled ice cream called dirty ice cream?”

The friend crossed over to the other side of the Pacific about half a century ago; and thus the question, trite as it may sound, was perfectly legitimate.

Back in the day, we just said ‘sorbetes.’

If I am being honest, I did not really know the answer; and I still don’t. But after a quick scratch of the back of my head with a hooked pointer finger, I hastily invented a plausible enough sounding theorem.

03 May 2014

Public Warned About Climbing Mt. Maculot

Please note the date of this article's publication.  The warning may not be relevant anymore.

I am relaying information from the National Bureau of Investigation as a public service for the benefit of those who might have missed the evening news last Friday. This is with regards persons who may be planning hikes up Mt. Maculot in the Municipality of Cuenca here in Batangas.

The NBI is becoming more convinced that Victor Joel Ayson, the lone climber who was later found dead last year at the foot of the mountain was murdered instead of killed by a climbing accident.

In view of this, a spokesman for the bureau has warned prospective climbers not to go alone or to pitch camp and stay on the mountain overnight. A group of between four to six persons believed to be responsible for Ayson’s death is still loose and may be responsible for harming mountaineers to steal from them.

So What if Liverpool Were just 7th Last Season?

All the recent talk in the English media when Liverpool’s charge up the table made it plain to all and sundry that they are in contention for the title has been around one statistic that says that no club in the Premiership era has ever having gone from seventh to champions within the course of a mere season.

I’m officially confused.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is, perhaps, himself to blame. When he was – wisely, methinks – playing down the Reds’ title chances this season, he had cited the club’s seventh place finish in the Premier League last season in the context of that obscure little statistic.