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 January 2017

Iris Mittenaere, Maxine Medina and Other Random Thoughts on Miss Universe 2017

Image credit:  Miss Universe official channel on YouTube.

Vive Le France!

So there! A month or so of Ms. Universe fever in the country has finally come to an end with the crowning of Iris Mittenaere as Miss Universe 2017. This was something of a mild surprise – at least, to me – because she wasn’t exactly among the candidates who set social media ablaze prior to coronation day. On the other hand, we were all only gawking from afar and the judges must have seen a lot more than we were ever allowed through the Internet.

27 January 2017

Pedro Manlapit, the Lipa-Born Batangueño Instrumental in Fil-Americans’ Search for Labor Justice in Hawaii and California

Pedro Manlapit (left) lived to uplift Filipino sugarcane workers in Hawaii.  Image credit:  Asian American His/Herstory Blog and Fil-Am Experiences 1930-1945,

Understandably, in the present day, mention the name Pedro Manlapit, even in his hometown of Lipa in the Province of Batangas, and you will likely draw a blank. This Filipino, however, occupies a place not just in Philippine but also in American labor history. His activities have been studied not just by writers of history but also by academicians interested in the development of labor in the United States, particularly the former American territory and now state of Hawaii.

20 January 2017

Phivolcs Hazard Maps Show At-Risk Places for a Taal Volcano Worst-Case Scenario Eruption

Taal Volcano continues to be a danger despite its relative quiet in the last four decades.

Taal Volcano has been relatively inactive for so long now that it is often seen as an innocuous tourist destination. Although its last significant eruption was as far back as 1977, it is anything but innocuous. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recognizes that Taal Volcano, while relatively quiet for four decades now, is still capable of terrain defining eruptions such as the one in 1754.

18 January 2017

Philippine Climate Change and the Decreasing Cold in Lipa City

Uptown Lipa City. Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.

Anyone who is Lipa City born and raised, especially in the latter half of the twentieth century, knows as a matter of course that January – and sometimes on through February – has always tended to be colder than the holiday season in December. Particularly before the turn of the millennium, this is the time when brisk winds from Siberia bring down temperatures not just in Lipa but elsewhere in the country.

13 January 2017

In the Late 90s, a Multisector Dialogue with Batelec Began with This

The dialogue with Batelec was held at the Yellow Conference Room of DLSL.  I am not sure if the image above was of  the actual dialogue because it was so long ago and I do not remember how our guests looked like.

Before anything else, this ironic story is true. There are a few at De La Salle Lipa who will remember things as I tell them. For the benefit of any millennials who may stumble upon this article, however, allow me to go as far back as the early nineties to lay down the background to this story.

09 January 2017

World War II Vintage Bombs Found at DLSL and Elsewhere in Batangas

Image credit:  Hindustan Times.

It has been all but forgotten now, but when the late De La Salle Lipa President Br. Rafael Donato began implementing his comprehensive campus development project in the latter half of 1995, unexpected discoveries were made buried underneath the ground. The SENTRUM, the multi-purpose gymnasium visible from the highway, was well on its way to completion late in 1995 when a bulldozer started digging up earth right next to it so that the foundations for what would become the administration building, later named the Jose. W. Diokno Building, could be laid.

06 January 2017

Dimaculangan, Dimaunahan, et. al.: the Self-Describing Meanings of the Dima- Surnames in Batangas

In 1849, partly to ensure the accuracy of the collection of tributes from the Indios or Filipino natives, the Spanish Governor-General Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa issued a decree requiring the natives to take surnames for official purposes. For this purpose, the Catálogo Alfabético de Apellidos (Catalogue of Alphabetized Surnames) was published from which families could take surnames that they wished to adopt.1

04 January 2017

Recollections of Nasugbu in the Sixties – the Simple Life in Batangas

Colorized photo of my mother (2nd from left) and aunt (2nd from right) taken in front of our ancestral home in Nasugbu.

While Lipa City, back in the mid- to late-sixties when I was a young boy, was still by and large agrarian in nature, there were still many mundane amenities that we enjoyed and took for granted that those elsewhere in the Province of Batangas simply did not have. This I knew because, ever so often, my family would make the three- to four-hour trip to visit my maternal relatives in the town of Nasugbu in western Batangas.

01 January 2017

Is Santo Tomas to Become Batangas’ Fourth City? Revisiting Ralph Recto’s Senate Bill 3025

Along Maharlika Highway, Santo Tomas, Batangas. Image credit:  Google Street View.

Santo Tomas is Batangas’ northernmost municipality, the province’s gateway to Laguna and, subsequently, Metro Manila. Before the construction of the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) and the Alabang-Calamba-Sto. Tomas Expressway (ACTEX), a road trip from the south of Batangas to Metro Manila involved a laborious crawl along old roads through Malvar, Tanauan and Santo Tomas and then onto Makiling in Laguna before one could gain access to the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX).