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 October 2014

1st Educators’ Power Conference to be Held in Tanauan

The first Educators’ Power Conference is to be held in the city of Tanauan on the 14 November 2014 at the airconditioned Tanauan City Gymnasium. The conference is being organized by District 3820 of the Rotary Club International.

The conference will carry the theme “Tribute to Teachers: the Key to Literacy.” It is being held with the aim of fostering camaraderie and goodwill in the academic world and motivating delegates through contemporary issues relevant to education.

Furthermore, the conference aims to launch the project dictionary for public school children as well Search for Inspiring Educators of the 21st Century.

30 October 2014

Pancake House Opens Shop in Lipa City

Pancake House, one of the largest and most famous food chains in the Philippines, has finally come to Lipa. It officially opens its doors to the public tomorrow, the 31st of October 2014 as early as 7:00 in the morning.

Today the, the Lipa restaurant was blessed by a local priest and a dry-run for tomorrow’s opening was held. I had the good fortune to have been invited to attend by Lou Javier, the company’s Marketing Officer. Naturally, I was more than happy to attend.

I was introduced to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Bernadette Lee; and we had a most educational chat. That is, educational from my point of view.

28 October 2014

Memories of Participating in the STRAA

In three decades of coaching high school football teams, I amassed a fairly big cache of memories both pleasant and unpleasant while with my teams. Some of the most bizarre occurred in this annual meet called the Southern Tagalog Regional Athletic Association or what everyone simply referred to as the STRAA.

My first experience of this regional event was early in 1983. The STRAA was to be hosted by the city of Lucena in Quezon.

All athletes and coaches from DLSL were told that assembly would be at the DLSL lobby and that the local Division Office would send a bus to fetch us. The bus arrived more than an hour late; and when it did, it was already filled with Division Office personnel who were tagging along as part of the delegation. When I say filled, there were already people standing along the aisle of the bus.

26 October 2014

The Voice Philippines Returns with Two 4-Seat Turners

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The Voice of the Philippines, which I followed with such devotion last year, returned to primetime last night with two four-seat turners. One of these, 35-year old reggae singer Kokoi Baldo from Bacolod, I am already officially naming as my personal favourite.

Yes, on Day 1 of the singing contest; but that is until somebody from Batangas comes along, in which case ethnic loyalty instantly kicks in. For the moment, however, I find myself captivated by this somewhat eccentric Ilonggo who now calls the jewel of an island Boracay home.

Dreadlocked and unshaven, Baldo can easily be mistaken on the streets as a taong grasa. He even had the utter gall and cheek to take the stage barefoot, the first to my memory to actually do so on the Voice of the Philippines.

24 October 2014

Examining the STC-Cebu Bikini Case Supreme Court Decision

Having once been in Education, I had more than just a passing interest in a Supreme Court decision that was given decent coverage by the evening news yesterday. For the benefit of readers who had not previously heard or had forgotten about the incident, in 2012 the St. Theresa’s College of Cebu barred several high school seniors from attending the commencement exercises.

According to reports, the students had posted pictures of themselves on Facebook which the school subsequently deemed as lewd, obscene or immoral. The students were subsequently prevented by security guards from entering the campus to attend the commencement exercises.

If I understand things correctly from news reports, the students were allowed to graduate but just not allowed to attend the commencement exercises. If this was the case, then the school’s decision was, in fact, a win-win situation for the school and the students. Perhaps, then, the better option for the students – and their parents – would have been to cut down on their losses, accept the school’s decision and move on from there.

18 October 2014

How Lipa’s Ajay Cabrera Created Confusion about the Word Magtatatak on Showtime

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Told you, didn’t I, that this feisty young man named Ajay Cabrera from Lipa City would stand out despite a potentially disastrous breakdown during the semi-finals of this ‘It’s Showtime’ segment called ‘Gandang Lalake.’

And while the title as the first Showtime Gandang Lalake ultimately went to Bulacan’s Nikko Seagal Natividad, Ajay did not do too bad finishing third with a hundred grand take-home prize to boot, now did he?

Because Ross Dimaculangan, the former DLSL working student, also made it to the Top 15 from a large group of 58 semi-finalists, we here in Lipa cannot really complain about the way our boys represented us on national television; albeit in a silly little male pageant that had been crying for a make-over.

17 October 2014

The Aswang in Batangas Scare

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“Hala ka may aswang!” I overheard a neighbour admonish her toddler this morning.

A smirk came almost involuntarily to my lips. That was as time-tested an admonition if ever there was one. I use to hear that an awful lot when I was small; and indeed Social Science books explained that the aswang was a mythical creature that was invented by parents of yore to coax children to go to sleep.

Or was it? Because to this day, people are as likely to scare each other with aswang tales as our ancestors did long before the age of electronic entertainment.

16 October 2014

DLSL Alumnus Ross Dimaculangan Inspires Working Students on It’s Showtime

Whereas Ajay Cabrera, the other contest from Lipa who made it to the semi-finals of the Gandang Lalake segment of ‘It’s Showtime,’ lost control of his emotions during the Q&A, there were no such problems for DLSL alumnus Ross Dimaculangan today.

Ross is older than Ajay, of course; but I think the difference between the ways the two young gentlemen handled the pressure of the semis had less to do with age and was more a matter of personality and disposition.

Even in the eliminations, Ross won the nod of the judges I believe less because of good looks – although he has plenty – and more because of his apparent intellect and a naturally calm demeanour. There are many better looking than Ross among the semi-finalists; but few come close in terms of self-assuredness.

12 October 2014

Hartmann Show as Azkals Put Papua New Guinea to the Sword

So yes, maybe Papua New Guinea as opponents for an international friendly against the Philippine Azkals do not fall under the category fashionable. But Germany were in Poland, England in Estonia and Spain in Luxembourg.


If we are all being honest, the Malaysian FA agreeing to an international friendly and then cancelling just when the match was about to be played is the sort filed inside the folder ‘for planning workshop.’

That an opponent willing and able was found, booked and shipped in, all inside one week, one must commend the Philippine Football Federation for its logistical savvy.

11 October 2014

Some Frequently Mispronounced English Words

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“I am English. I do not have an accent.” This is supposed to be a humorous swipe at Americans by Brits. Not that there is one standard way of speaking the Queen’s Language even in the isles where the language spawned.

Of course, we Filipinos do have our own way of speaking this adopted language, brought to these shores by our former colonial masters, the Americans.

Not all sounds in the complicated English language were present in the national language Filipino; although linguistic experts have since made adjustments to include these foreign sounds into our alphabet.

10 October 2014

World Cup Winner Leads German Legends in Exhibition Match at the Rizal Memorial

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A team of retired former German professional football players, led by World Cup winner Guido Buchwald, will play a team of former Philippines international players in an exhibition match on 18 October at the Rizal Memorial stadium. Kick-off is at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Also with the German legends are Dieter Eilts and Fredi Bobic, who were in the 1996 Germany team that defeated the Czech Republic to win the European Championship.

Only three players of the initial 12-man line-up sent to this writer by Ake Pastoral of the PFF were uncapped internationally during the respective professional careers.

07 October 2014

Why are there no Taxis in Batangas?

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When I was young, there were two things that were sure to turn the heads of little boys and girls and make them hurry after these as though the Pied Piper himself had arrived.

The first was the sight of anybody with white skin, just for the sheer joy of being able to call out “Hey Joe!” Joe would be the American G.I., the saviour of the little brown men from the Japanese way back in WWII.

06 October 2014

Magtatatak from Lipa Breaks Down on Showtime; but Vice Ganda Saves his Day

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Well, there is this old cliché about washing dirty linen in public; but young Ajay Cabrera, the magtatatak (shirt printer) from Lipa City who dared to insist on national television the Batangueño pronunciation of his trade, was too emotionally charged to care.

This was in today’s episode of the noontime variety show ‘It’s Showtime,’ during the semi-finals of the segment ‘Gandang Lalake.’ I am not particularly fond of this segment, which to my mind sometimes borders on epic fail.

The idea of a male pageant with a career twist, I suppose, carries a bit of novelty. That said, some of the contestants came so poorly prepared during the eliminations that we all had to suffer a plethora of bad singers and equally bad dancers on national television.