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 July 2014

Local Entertainment Personalities, Age and Birthdates

So many people are directed by search engines towards Life So Mundane while searching for the age and birthdates of local entertainment personalities so I thought, what the heck, I might as well make their visits worth the time with this article.

Researching this took a few days, as you can all probably surmise, if straightforward enough. Google conveniently provides info boxes for some personalities; and where Google fails, Wikipedia steps in.

Doing the research turned out to be so much fun, especially when I came across personalities who were themselves teen stars in my youth but who are now the entertainment industry’s senior citizens. Some I thought had already passed on; and so I was pleasantly surprised that they are still quite active in the industry.

24 July 2014

Tsunami Hoax Death Shows How Jittery People are After Glenda

There was this item in the news earlier this week that, if only there was no death involved, I would have found almost comical. Text messages started circulating among village folks in San Juan, Batangas and Candelaria, Quezon Province about the supposed impending arrival of a tsunami.

The messages sent the folks into a state of frenzy, enough at any rate to send most scampering away into safety. There were those who were level-headed enough to ask one village councillor if there was any truth to the tsunami warning. The councillor asked somebody in city hall; who, in turn, replied that there had been no official warning.

The village folks scampered away, nonetheless.

Regrettably, one family packed everyone, including 64-year old grandmother Julieta Pañoso, onto a tricycle to make its escape. As the family drove away, the tricycle must have hit a rock or a hump on the road, causing Lola Julieta – who must have been seated behind the driver – to fall off and thump her head hard on the road.

22 July 2014

Typhoon Glenda’s Passage through Batangas Plotted on Google Earth

Forgive me for refusing to let the matter drop just yet as I am sure most of you really wish never to see Typhoon Glenda again. But seeing as I do every night on the news the damage that the typhoon left behind – even a week after it passed – I just had to know exactly where it passed.

This is really amateur investigative work. Procedurally, the investigation went like this. First, the DOST-PAGASA’s Facebook page where I scrolled down-down-down to the early morning of 15 July, when Glenda passed through us.

Second, it was a simple matter of plotting the coordinates of the eye as it traversed the provinces of Quezon and Batangas from 3:00 to 6:00 in the morning. The coordinates are summed up as:

18 July 2014

Why Typhoon Glenda was so Terrifying for Those in Batangas

A large part of a tree trunk rests on somebody's roof.

Those of us who live anywhere between Lipa and Sto. Tomas here in Batangas – give or take a few municipalities – will be a tad more appreciative if we are not already of the terror that must have engulfed those who had to sit out the passing of last November’s Super Typhoon Haiyan, a.k.a. Yolanda.

Typhoon Glenda, which passed by early in the morning of last Wednesday, has got to be among the most terrifying to have crossed these parts in recent memory.

Glenda – international code name Rammasun – stole into our neighbourhoods in the deep of the night, catching most of us probably off-guard. The previous night’s weather alerts pegged the typhoon as travelling at 19kph in the general direction of Metro Manila. It was, therefore, expected in the capital around midday.

Because, in nautical terms, the metropolis is just a stone’s throw away from where we live, it would have been reasonable for those of us who stayed up for the late night news programs to have expected Glenda’s winds to commence at least when there was daylight already of Wednesday.

14 July 2014

WC Diary 10: The Best Team Won; and Obrigado Brazil!

Ah yes… I should be doing punditry for a living! I got my World Cup semi-finals predictions correct; and although I was anxious for the entirety of this morning’s final – Philippine time, of course – I got the finals correct as well!

And the moral of the story for me is something that I honestly already knew from thirty years of coaching high school kids but somehow forgot because of the intensity of the occasion – that one should never slag off a player for a mistake while a game is going on because he can just as easily be the game-winner just moments later.

So thus, Mario Götze was my nominee for village idiot moments after he came on late in the game for the legendary Miroslav Klose. The Argentines uncharacteristically lost possession in the middle of the park, Götze latched on to the ball and had a run at goal.

10 July 2014

WC Diary 9: The Semis, from the Electrifying to the Dull

Germany defeated hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
So, it will be Argentina versus Germany in the 2014 World Cup final. Just like it was in 1986 and 1990. This one at the Maracana on Monday morning Philippine time will be something of a tiebreaker. The Argentines won the first one 3-2 at the Azteca Stadium in 1986 in Mexico City; then lost to an Andrea Brehme penalty four years later in Rome.

Those who read my previous World Cup Diary know that Argentina versus Germany was my fearless forecast for the final, primarily based on quarterfinal form. How this match-up came to be, that I did not see coming!

I suppose, after the massacre at Belo Horizonte yesterday – the Brazilians, but of course, call it the ‘shame of shames’ – it was probably asking too much of Argentina and the Netherlands to dish out more of the same in their own semi-final at the Arena de São Paulo this morning.

06 July 2014

WC Diary 8: Germany Looking the Part and a Word About Neymar’s Injury

Four quarterfinal matches, just five goals scored and only one of these did not come from set pieces. This would be Gonzalo Higuain’s 8th minute goal for Argentina against Belgium, shot with alacrity on the swivel from a propitious ricochet. It was Higuain’s first of the World Cup, shot more in hope than anything but with such quickness that Thibaut Courtois in the Belgian goal did not even have time to react.

That momentary bit of opportunism from the Argentine was enough to propel his country to a delectable semi-final against the Netherlands. Of all the remaining teams in the World Cup, Argentina is the one that seems to be doing enough just to win.

For all their possession, the Belgians lacked guile in the attacking third and did not really put the Argentine goal under real threat until late in the game. They looked good but raw; and we can all probably expect more from them in Russia four years from now.

02 July 2014

WC Diary 7: One Day America Will Win the World Cup

Ah, so. The Americans have finally discovered what we who have played the beautiful game have known all along. That if you watch a game beyond simply waiting for one team to score, football can grip you and hold on tight. And it is football, by the way, the only variant among many that call themselves by the same name that is primarily played with the feet; and use of the hand is actually penalised. This is just me, but I still get annoyed when somebody calls the game soccer.

An article I found through Twitter said that, among other nationalities represented in the World Cup, the USA were most everyone’s second team. Ditto people like us Filipinos who are not even represented; albeit the colonial roots are probably still well-entrenched and difficult to completely outgrow.

Not hard to see why everyone else likes the Americans. Their consular officers apart, the Americans are naturally a flamboyant and gregarious people. At the World Cup, fans of other teams have enjoyed the company of American supporters, who have flown into the World Cup in their thousands.