From Nuffnang

Friday, March 21, 2014

Macarthur Palm

There is an ornamental plant that is ubiquitous in many areas in Luzon, but I did not know what its name was. I then heard from older folks that its name is "Macarthur," leading me to assume that the commonplace palm was labeled as such in honor of the famous American general who said the famous line, "... I shall return." This ornamental palm is being planted by the Metro Manila Development Authority on large pots along its footbridges.

Macarthur palm, ornamental plants, Macarthur, palm
Image Credit: Cainta Plant Nursery

It turns out that Macarthur (Ptychosperma macarthurii) is originally found in isolated occurrences in the Northern Territory and Queensland in Australia, and New Guinea. The palm was introduced to the Philippines in the 1900s. It was named for Sir William Macarthur (1800-1882). He was was one of the most active and influential horticulturists in Australia in the mid-to-late 19th century.

Macarthur palm, ornamental plants, William Macarthur
William Macarthur (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

My presumption about the plant and Douglas MacArthur have been incorrect, but there is still a connection can be made. In 1942, the general said the line "I came out of Bataan and I shall return." during a speech in Terowie, South Australia. Everyone knows that two years later, he fulfilled this promise in the shores of Palo, Leyte.

Macarthur palm, ornamental plants, Douglas MacArthur, Leyte
Douglas MacArthur's landing in Leyte, 1944 (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Because of these associations, I now see the Macarthur plant in a new light. It may not be related to General Douglas but it made me remind of a historical event that started the end of the Second World War and glorified victorious returns in all sorts of battlefields.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jose Rizal's First Novel: "Noli Me Tangere"

Noli Me Tangere (Latin , "Touch Me Not") is a novel written by Dr. Jose Rizal during the colonization of the country by Spain to expose the abuses of the friars and the government on which they wield a heavy influence. One hundred and twenty seven years later, it can be noted that this problem about the supposed separation of Church and State is still one pf the most pressing issues in our country today.

Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal

Originally written in Spanish, the novel's title refers to John 20:17 in the New Testament of the Bible. When Mary Magdalene tried to touch the newly-risen Jesus, He said "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father."


Noli Me Tangere, along with its sequel El Filibusterismo, is now a required reading material for high school students throughout the archipelago. One of the most popular translations was made by Domingo D. De Guzman, Francisco Laksamana and Maria Odulio De Guzman. The front cover of this version is shown above.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Boy Bawang Chichacorn

KSK Products' Boy Bawang Chichacorn is a brand of chichacorn that the company claims to have a "soft crunch with stronger taste of garlic." A delicacy in the Ilocos Region, chichacorn refers to corn kernels that are deep-fried in vegetable oil until crunchy. Salt and sauteed garlic are then added for flavor. The company says that Boy Bawang Chichacorn is intriguingly delicious. It adds that one can enjoy the weekend watching favorite TV show while munching into a pouch of this snack. I beg to differ since I eat this product at any time and day of the week I choose.

snacks, Boy Bawang, Boy Bawang Chichacorn, chichacorn
100-gram pouch of Boy Bawang Chichacorn
snacks, Boy Bawang, Boy Bawang Chichacorn, chichacorn
Back of packaging

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fidel V. Ramos: The President Who Undertook the Most Number of State Visits

Former President Fidel V. Ramos, who celebrates his eighty-sixth birthday today, made 24 state visits during his six-year term from 1992 to 1998. It was the highest number of such category of foreign trips among all Philippine chief executives.

According to the official gazette of the Philippine government, the state visit  is the highest form of diplomatic interaction between the Republic and foreign nations, so it demonstrates the highest form of diplomatic ceremony. It includes full arrival honors and a state luncheon or state dinner that is held in honor of the visiting head of state. The state visit is undertaken at the invitation of the host country.

Fidel Ramos, state visits, Presidents, Philippine foreign relations
President Ramos at the Pentagon (Image Credit: U.S. Department of Defense)
In comparison, the official visit is undertaken by the head of government at the invitation of the head of a foreign government or of a foreign high-ranking government official. A state luncheon or state dinner is not required in official visits. Working visits, which concentrate on topical agendas, do not require an invitation from the host country. Working meetings are conducted and media availability may be provided.

Shortly after Ramos' election in 1992, Ramos traveled to Brunei Darussalam (October 4 to 6) and to Thailand (December 17 to 20), both on official capacity. Following is a list of the ensuing state visits undertaken by the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines:

January 27 to 30 - Malaysia
February 11 to 13 - Singapore
March 9 to 13 - Japan
April 25 to May 1 - People’s Republic of China
April 25 to May 1 - Hong Kong
May 23 to 26 - Republic of Korea
September 20 to 24 - Indonesia

August 6 to 8 - Brunei Darussalam

March 6 to 8 - Amsterdam
March 16 to 18 - New Zealand
March 18 to 23 - Australia 

Note: Ramos attended three summits in 1996: ASEM Meeting in Thailand (February 29 to March 3), Nihon Keizai Shimbun's International Conference in Japan (May 16 to 17) and ASEAN Leader's Informal Meeting in Indonesia (November 27 to December 2). He made an official visit to Brunei Darussalam on August 18 to 19. 

March 2 to 5 - India
March 5 to 7 - Bangladesh
March 7 to 9 - Pakistan
March 9 to 10 - Qatar
March 10 to 11 - Bahrain
June 21 to 22 - Oman
June 22 to 24 - Greece
September 13 to 15 - Kuwait
September 15 to 17 - Czech Republic
October 15 to 17 - Myanmar
October 17 to 18 - Lao People's Democratic Republic
November 26 to 27 - USA
November 27 to 30 - Canada

Ramos' last foreign trip as President happened from April 7 to 10, 1998, when he went to the United States in an official capacity.

SOURCE: Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

Monday, March 17, 2014

Battle of the Mermaids on Primetime TV: "Kambal Sirena" vs. "Dyesebel"

Philippine primetime television will see the "Battle of the Mermaids" starting tonight as the leading networks, GMA Network and ABS-CBN, offer programs that feature the mythical creature: Kambal Sirena (Tagalog, "Twin Mermaid) and Dyesebel. Both programs can be seen from Monday to Friday.

The sirena or mermaid is a staple of Philippine folklore and popular culture. Similar with other cultures, the sirena is commonly portrayed as a beautiful woman with the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish. Aside from having long and flowing hair, the breasts of the sirena are typically covered by a pair of large seashells.

GMA Network seems to have gained a headway by commencing the broadcast of its Kambal Sirena exactly a week ago. Kambal Sirena features Louise delos Reyes in a dual title role. Support is provided by Aljur Abrenica, Mike Tan and Angelika dela Cruz.

Kambal Sirena is about twins named Alona and Perlas. One of them is born with gills behind her ears and the other with a mermaid's tail. (Note: Alona is presumably derived from alon, the Tagalog word for "wave"; perlas is Tagalog for "pearls). The twins' mother moved along with them to an isolated island due to worries that neighbors might be surprised by their strange features. Circumstances eventually led the twins to live separately.

Kambal Sirena, television programs, GMA, GMA Network, Louise delos Reyes
Image Credit: GMA Network

On the other hand, ABS-CBN is going to present Dyesebel starting March 17. This fantasy drama series is based on a graphic novel by Mars Ravelo, whose other works have been licensed to the network. Anne Curtis will play the title role. An ensemble cast led by Gerald Anderson and Sam Milby.

Dyesebel, Mars Ravelo, television programs, ABS-CBN, Anne Curtis
Image Credit:

The story of Dyesebel is about a young mermaid that discovers the world above the ocean and gets involved in a love triangle. It has a long history in film and television starting with a 1953 movie having Edna Luna role. Vilma Santos, Alma Moreno, Alice Dixson, and Charlene Gonzalez followed suit in playing the role of the well-known mermaid in movies in 1973, 1978, 1990 and 1996.

Interestingly, Marian Rivera played the character in the 2008 TV series of the same name on GMA Network. Anne Curtis played the role of the eponymous  goddess who can transform into a mermaid, a harpy or a centaur in the 2008 ABS-CBN series Dyosa. 


Other notable Philippine TV programs about mermaids include ABS-CBN's Marina starring Claudine Barretto in 2004. GMA Network matched it in the same year with Marinara starring the comedienne Rufa Mae Quinto. In 2011, ABS-CBN aired Mutya which launched child actress Mutya Orquia in the title role.

The sirena is also commonly associated with gays in Philippine popular culture. In light of Filipinos' love for spoofs and spin-offs, an enterprising producer can adapt Kambal Sirena into a series or a movie titled Kambal Siyoke. (Siyoke is a slang term for a homosexual man.).

It is off-topic but now that spoofs have been raised in the discussion, why not remake the U.S. TV series Breaking Bad into either Breaking Bading or Beking Bad (Bading and beki are other common slang terms for a homosexual man).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Yoyoy Villame's Famous Song About Magellan

493 years ago today, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan sees what is now called Samar Island after leaving the Landrones on the Pacific Ocean. Magellan was sailing westward looking for the Moluccas.

In the 1970s , Roman "Yoyoy" Villame immortalized this historic event through the novelty song Magellan. Villame mentioned that Magellan landed in Limasawa. In reality, Magellan took 12 more days to reach the said island.

Creative licenses might have been observed in the songwriting at the expense of historical accuracy but it's nice to know that once upon a time Filipino artists had a sense of history. Following is the music video featuring Villame. The lyrics are also provided.

Video Credit: YouTube / Roy Ramos

On March 16, 1521
When Philippines was discovered by Magellan
They were sailing day and night across the big ocean
Until they saw a small Limasawa Island

Magellan landed in Limasawa at noon
The people met him very welcome on the shore
They did not understand the speaking they have done
Because Kastila gid at Waray-Waray man

When Magellan landed in Cebu City
Rajah Humabon met him, they were very happy
All people were baptized and built the church of Christ
And that's the beginning of our Catholic life

When Magellan visited in Mactan
To christianize them everyone
But Lapu-Lapu met him on the shore
And drive Magellan to go back home

Then Magellan got so mad
Ordered his men to camouflage
'Mactan island we could not grab
'Cause Lapu Lapu is very hard'

Then the battle began at dawn
Bolos and spears versus guns and cannons
When Magellan was hit on his neck
He stumble down and cried and cried

Oh, mother mother I am sick
Call the doctor very quick
Doctor, doctor shall I die?
Tell my mama do not cry
Tell my mama do not cry
Tell my mama do not cry

That's the end of Magellan
In the island of Mactan long time ago
Ladies and gentlemen

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (March 15 to 21)

Mar. 15, 1565: Bohol chieftain Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi did the sandugo blood compact in the Visayan island. The act was done to establish their friendship and begin amicable relations between the two parties. It is celebrated and commemorated annually through the Sandugo Festival in Bohol.

Mar. 15, 1818: Revolutionary general Mariano Alvarez (d. August 25, 1924) is born in the town of Noveleta in Cavite province. Alvarez was known as the president of the Magdiwang faction of the anti-Spanish secret society Katipunan. In 1981, the Carmona Resettlement Project in Cavite was incorporated as the municipality of General Mariano Alvarez in his honor.

Mar. 15, 1941: The Philippine Airlines takes its maiden flight between Manila (from Nielson Field) to Baguio City with a Beechcraft Model 18. This milestone made the Philippine's flag carrier the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name.

Mar. 16, 1521: After leaving the Landrones (presently known as Mariana Islands), Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan sees what is now called Samar Island. Magellan was sailing westward looking for the Moluccas. 

Mar. 16, 1960: Araneta Coliseum, considered the biggest coliseum in Asia during its time, is inaugurated. The facility, commonly known as "The Big Dome," was named after its owner J. Amado Araneta. It opened with a boxing match between Gabriel "Flash" Elorde and Harold Gomes for the World Junior Lightweight. Elorde's win was witnessed by more than 33,000 spectators. The cost of general admission then was 80 centavos and reserve section was five pesos. 

Mar. 17, 1957: Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay (b. August 31, 1907) was killed when the presidential plane, Mt. Pinatubo, crashed into Mt. Manunggal in Cebu.  Magsaysay was the first Philippine president to die while in office.

Mar. 18, 1928: Fidel Valdez Ramos, the first post-EDSA Revolution President of the Philippines, is born in the town of Lingayen in Pangasinan province. Ramos ran in the 1992 presidential elections under a coalition of Partido Lakas Tao (Tagalog: "People Power Party") and the National Union of Christian Democrats. 

Mar. 18, 1968: The Jabidah commando was said to be massacred in Corregidor island. The alleged massacre resulted from the failed "Operation Merdeka", a plot to destabilize Sabah. The plot was intended to capitalize on the instability by either intervening in the island on the pretext of protecting Filipinos living there, or by "the residents themselves deciding to secede from Malaysia."

Mar. 19, 1723: Josefa Gabriela Silang (d. September 29, 1763), the first Filipino woman to lead a revolt during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, was born in the town of Santa in the province of Ilocos Sur.

Following the assassination of her husband Diego, Gabriela continued the revolt Diego started against Spanish authorities. The masses who admired Gabriela named her "Generala" due to her policy of harassment against the enemy. The women's advocacy organization GABRIELA (short for General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action) was named after her. 

Mar. 20, 1942: General Douglas MacArthur says the famous line "I came out of Bataan and I shall return." while conducting a speech in Terowie, South Australia. MacArthur was the commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East when the Philippine Commonwealth was in exile in Australia. The exiling followed the Japanese Imperial Army's invasion of the Philippines. Two years later, on October 20, 1944, MacArthur in the shores of Palo, Leyte. 

Mar. 21, 1947: The Joint United States Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) was established as a result of the military cooperation agreement with American advisers placed in all branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. JUSMAG played a crucial role in suppressing the Hukbalahap Rebellion, a Communist insurgency that lasted from 1946 to 1954, against the Philippine government.

SOURCES:  The Kahimyang Project and Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

Friday, March 14, 2014

Remembering Rico Yan: His First Three Movies

The late matinee idol Rico Yan would have turned 39 years old today. Many fans liked Yan because of what they say his boy-next-door looks. Yan's advocacy of education also added to his popularity. He was one of the few film and television actors who earned a college degree first before entering show business.

Image Credit:

Yan's career was at its peak when cut short by his death from acute pancreatitis on Good Friday of 2002 at the young age of 27. Close to 10,000 people attended Yan's funeral attesting to the extent of how much fans adored him. Who knows? If not for this tragedy, he might be still thriving in the entertainment industry. His first three movies, all released by Star Cinema in 1996, are remembered here.

Rico Yan was introduced in the Radio Romance, Star Cinema's Valentine offering for 1996. At that time "Radio Romance" was also the branding of DWRR-FM, the Manila radio station of ABS-CBN. The movie was directed by Jose Javier Reyes while the theme song was performed by Jose Mari Chan. Other members of the cast include Sharmaine Arnaiz, John Estrada, Robin Da Roza, Paolo Abrera and Gelli De Belen.

Incidentally, Radio Romance was also the first movie that featured the love team that pairs him with Claudine Barretto. (Yan's last movie, Got 2 Believe, was also the final movie of his screen tandem with Barretto.)

Rico Yan, Radio Romance, Claudine Barretto, Star Cinema

Fifteen days later, on February 29, the second movie that features Yan opened in theaters. Ama, Ina, Anak (Tagalog: "Father, Mother, Child"). This drama movie was topbilled by Maricel Soriano and Edu Manzano, under the direction of Jose Javier Reyes. Yan plays a supporting role opposite Jolina Magdangal. Other cast members of Ama, Ina, Anak include Boots Anson Roa, Jackie Lou Blanco, Cherry Pie Picache, Teresa Loyzaga and Angelica Panganiban.

Ama Ina Anak, Maricel Soriano, Edu Manzano, Star Cinema, Rico Yan

Yan and Barretto supported Sharon Cuneta in Madrasta (Tagalog: "Stepmother") which opened in theaters on August 14 that year. Madrasta was Cuneta's first movie outside Viva Films, her home studio. It was directed by Olivia M. Lamasan. Aside from Yan and Barretto, the cast also includes Camille Prats, Patrick Garcia, Nida Blanca, Christopher De Leon and Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Madrasta, Sharon Cuneta, Star Cinema, Rico Yan

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Ever-Present Good Morning Towel

"Good Morning" is not only a phrase you say to other people at the start of the day. In Filipinos' daily lives, "Good Morning" also refers to a brand of towel that can be used in any type of activity imaginable by people from all walks of life. Suprisingly, this towel is not locally-made; it came from China.

The typical Good Morning towel is made from cotton, rectangular in shape and measures about twelve centimeters by sixty centimeters. There are thin blue stripes on the long sides. The ends feature the words "Good Morning," a logo having the number "98" (this number varies) underneath it and a set of Chinese characters. I do not know the meaning of this characters, but presumably it is "Good Morning" in Chinese.

Good Morning towel, towel, tuwalya, bimpo

As long as I can remember, Good Morning towel is part of my daily routine. Laborers also use the Good Morning towel to wipe off their sweat during a day's hard work. Some tie it around their heads, so the towel can be considered as a a badge of proletarian pride. Even in movies, policemen in action can be commonly seen that way. The Good Morning towel can also be used in the kitchen if napkins are not available.

The towel reminds us of a long tradition of Filipino-Chinese cultural ties, a link that dates to centuries before our country got its name. It could be wishful thinking, but who knows, this humble towel can be a diplomatic catalyst. In light of the territorial dispute involving the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea), citizens from the neighboring countries should work for peace, peace that is as white as a this towel. It would be the a worry-free time the Filipino and Chinese people will happily say "Good morning" to each other.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Philippine Almanac Called "Dimasalang"

The Dimasalang: Kalendariong Tagalog (Tagalog, "Untouchable: Tagalog Calendar") is a Philippine almanac that has been continuously published since 1897. Formerly called La Sonrisa (Spanish, "The Smile"), Dimasalang is originally written by Don Honorio Lopez. It contains forecasts based on the Western zodiac and folk religion. Aside from featuring dates of high tides and low tides, Dimasalang also provides dates of festivals related to fishing and farming.

almanacs, Dimasalang: Kalendariong Tagalog, Dimasalang, La Sonrisa, Honorio Lopez
2014 edition of Dimasalang: Kalendariong Tagalog

The book, however, does not provide information on when it was renamed from La Sonrisa to Dimasalang. It might have been a tribute to emergent national Jose Rizal, who used that word as a pseudonym. The image of Rizal image also appears in the book's cover. It is surrounded by the images of Jose Burgos, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio. The diphthong "ng" in Dimasalang is written as "g" with a tilde above it. Considering that the book was written during the Spanish period, Spanish-language speakers nasalized the "g" instead of pronouncing "ng."

You may ask who Honorio Lopez was. According to the almanac's title page, Lopez was a "Technical Assistant" to the Philippine President. He was the commanding general of the Legion de Veteranos de la Revolucion from 1896 to 1899 and a colonel of the Philippine Army during the War for Independence in 1899. Lopez also served as councilor in the City of Manila in 1916.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Philippine National Anthem

Every Filipino must know that their National Anthem is entitled Lupang Hinirang (Tagalog, "Chosen Land"). According to Section 36 of Republic Act No. 8491, Lupang Hinirang shall have the following lyrics.

Bayang Magiliw
Perlas ng Silanganan
Alab ng puso
Sa Dibdib mo’y buhay.

Lupang Hinirang,
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Sa manlulupig
Di ka pasisiil

Sa dagat at bundok,
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
May dilag ang tula

At awit sa paglayang minamahal.
Ang kislap ng watawat mo'y
Tagumpay na nagniningning;

Ang bituin at araw niya,
Kailan pa ma'y 'di magdidilim

Lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati't pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo;
Aming ligaya na 'pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo.


The music of Lupang Hinirang was composed in 1898 by Julian Felipe. The lyrics were adapted from the Spanish poem Filipinas, written by in 1899 by Jose Palma in 1899. It did not have lyrics when it was adopted as the anthem of the revolutionary First Philippine Republic led by President Emilio Aguinaldo. and subsequently played during the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898.

Tierra adorada,
hija del sol de Oriente,
su fuego ardiente
en ti latiendo está.

Tierra de amores,
del heroísmo cuna,
los invasores
no te hollarán jamás.

En tu azul cielo, en tus auras,
en tus montes y en tu mar
esplende y late el poema
de tu amada libertad.

Tu pabellón que en las lides
la victoria iluminó,
no verá nunca apagados
sus estrellas ni su sol.

Tierra de dichas, de sol y amores
en tu regazo dulce es vivir;
es una gloria para tus hijos,
cuando te ofenden, por ti morir.

The American colonial government banned the song from being played until 1919, when the Flag Law was repealed.The musical arrangement and composition by Felipe was officially adopted as as the Philippine National Anthem upon approval of Commonwealth Act No. 382 on September 5, 1938. The English lyrics are as follows:

Land of the morning
Child of the sun returning
With fervor burning
Thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,
Cradle of noble heroes,
Ne'er shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shores.

Ever within thy skies and through thy clouds
And o'er thy hills and sea
Do we behold the radiance, feel the throb
Of glorious liberty

Thy banner dear to all our hearts
Its sun and stars alight,
Oh, never shall its shining fields
Be dimmed by tyrants might!

Beautiful land of love, o land of light,
In thine embrace 'tis rapture to lie
But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged
For us, thy sons to suffer and die

Starting the 1940s, the Spanish lyrics were translated into Tagalog. A final, Pilipino version from 1956 was revised in the 1960s to the present lyrics.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Ating Alamin" Makes for an Educational Sunday TV Viewing

Ating Alamin is the longest-running agri-entrepreneurial and livelihood program on Philippine television. Its longevity is surprising and very much welcome considering that the programming lineup is filled with so-called variety shows that have become too boring.

Since 1975, the show has been dedicated to the promotion of livelihood projects and the latest in agriculture-related  technologies. Ating Alamin can make Sunday TV viewing more educational and worthwhile: Following is a portion of an Ating Alamin episode:

Hosted by Gerry Geronimo for the last 39 years is the host, Ating Alamin is aired over People's Television Channel 4 every Sunday, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. The highly informative show can also be seen world-wide thru The Filipino Channel.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

This Week in Philippine History and Culture (March 8 to 14)

Mar. 8, 1908: Conjoined twins Lucio and Simplicio Godina (d. November 24, 1936) is born in the island of Samar. The Godina Twins became famous performing in various sideshow acts in the United States, including in an orchestra on Coney Island.

Mar. 9, 1891: Jose Paciano Laurel (d. November 6, 1959), the 3rd President of the Philippines, is born in the town of Tanuan, Batangas. From 1943 to 1945, Laurel led the Second Philippine Republic, a Japanese puppet state during the Second World War.

Mar. 9, 1899:  Francisca Reyes-Aquino (d. November 21, 1983), the Philippines' pioneer researcher on traditional Philippine folk dances and music, is born in the village of Lolomboy in Bocaue, Bulacan. In 1973, Reyes-Aquino became the first women to be receive the National Artist Award.

Mar. 9, 1988: Cosplayer and model Alodia Gosiengfiao is born. Gosiengfiao's involvement in cosplaying started in 2003 after being encouraged by her friends from an Internet fan forum called Anime Club. As Gosiengfiao became a multi-awarded cosplayer, her status an authority in the field heightened. She is now being invited to appear at conventions or to judge competitions locally and abroad.

Mar. 10, 1906: Alejandro G. Abadilla (d. August 26, 1969), regarded as "Father of Modern Tagalog Poetry", is born in Rosario, Cavite. Abadilla's most famous work is the 1955 poem "Ako ang Daigdig" (I am the World) in 1955. He also wrote essays, short fiction and novels.

Mar. 10, 1917: The ratification of Act No. 2711 or the Administrative Code of the Philippines leads to the incorporation of some provinces and cities in the Philippine Islands.

Mar. 10, 1951: Beauty-queen-turned-actress Gloria Diaz is born in the town of Aringay, La Union. Diaz was only 18 when she crowned as Miss Universe in 1969 - the first Filipina to achieve the feat. Judges were impressed with her answer to the question about how to welcome the first men that had just landed on the moon as soon as they were back on the planet. Five years later, her showbiz career was launched through the film Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (The Most Beautiful in the Surface of the Earth).

Mar. 11, 1966: The old Mountain Province was divided into four separate provinces: Mountain Province, with Bontoc as the capital; Benguet, with La Trinidad as the capital; Kalinga-Apayao, with Tabuk as the capital; and Ifugao, with Lagawe as the capital.

Mar. 11, 1983: Television host, Bianca Gonzalez is born in Manila. Gonzalez's hosting career started in 2001. She is currently part of Umagang Kay Ganda, an ABS-CBN morning magazine program. Aside from being a blogger, Gonzalez writes a lifestyle column, Ten Things You Should Know About, at The Philippine Star.

Mar. 12, 1996: The Philippine Judicial Academy was created by the Supreme Court in accordance with Republic Act No. 8557. The Academy is intended as a "training school for justices, judges, court personnel, lawyers and aspirants to judicial posts."

Mar. 14, 1903: The Manila Electric Company (Meralco), which provides electric power to Metro Manila residents at present, was established. The firm was originally named "Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company. It was the first power company given franchise to operate the tranvia or electric cars.

Mar. 14, 1947: President Manuel A. Roxas and Paul V. McNutt, the United States high commissioner in the Philippines, signed the the Military Bases Agreement. The agreement provides the United States the right to retain the use of the bases in the Philippines. The agreement was concurred in by the Philippine Senate on March 26, 1947. It was accepted and ratified by the US on January 21, 1948.

Mar. 14, 1975:  Film and television actor Rico Yan (d. March 29, 2002) is born in Pasig City. Yan was one of the original members of Star Circle, ABS-CBN's roster of talents. Yan was paired with many actresses, but it was his reel-and-real romantic relationship with Claudine Barretto that became popular among followers.

Aside from being a Youth Spokesman for the Department of Education, Yan established the nonprofit "Pinoy 'Yan!" which aims to make young people stay in school and value education. Yan died of cardiac arrest due to pancreatitis. At the time of his death, Yan is at the height of his popularity.

SOURCES:  The Kahimyang Project and Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

Friday, March 7, 2014

Filipino Movies with Titles that Include the Word "Init" (Heat): 1993 to 1996

March is the hot month which is traditionally considered as the harbinger of summer in the Philippines. Incidentally the third month of the year is also Fire Prevention Month, a reminder that each one of us should take the necessary precautions. Fire is something that is related to anything hot or to heat, which rhymes with the Tagalog word init. Init means heat, and mainit translates to hot (or intense). From 1993 to 1996, there were five action movies with titles that include the word init.

Ramon "Bong Revilla Jr. and Vina Morales led the cast of Viva Films' Sala sa Init, Sala Sa Lamig (Lacking in Heat, Lacking in Coldness), which opened in theaters on July 22, 1993. The movie's title is derived from the Tagalog idiom that refers to a moody person. Other cast members include Johnny Delgado, Mark Gil, Ruby Rodriguez, Smokey Manaloto, Mia Pratts, Teresa Loyzaga. This action-comedy-romance feature was directed by Pepe Marcos.

Sala sa Init Sala Sa Lamig, Bong Revilla, Vina Morales

The movie title Walang Matigas na Tinapay sa Mainit na Kape (There is No Hard Bread in Hot Coffee) seems to refer to Filipinos' penchant for drinking coffee any time of the day. A movie having such a title was topbilled by Fernando Poe Jr., Vandolph and Alice Dixson. It can be recalled that Poe was known as the "King of Philippine Movies," while Vandolph is the son of the late Comedy King Dolphy. Poe produced this action-comedy movie under his own FPJ Productions. Tony Cruz directed this movie, which opened in theaters on June 29, 1994.

Walang Matigas na Tinapay sa Mainit na Kape, FPJ, Fernando Poe Jr., Vandolph, Alice Dixson

'Di Mapigil ang Init (Can't Stop the Heat) is a Seiko Films presentation and has Rosanna Roces in the lead role, so it is readily known to what genre this movie belong ("If it's from Seiko, it must be good."). During that time, Roces was known as the queen of the "Titillating Film" or TF genre. Toto Natividad directed this sex drama movie, which opened in theaters on December 7, 1995 (A few weeks before the Metro Manila Film Festival). Supporting roles were portrayed by Jestoni Alarcon, Miguel Rodriguez and Eddie Gutierrez.

Di Mapigil ang Init, Rosanna Roces, Seiko Films

Intercinema Films' Mainit sa Laban ... Renegade Soldiers (Intense in Fighting ... Renegade Soldiers) opened in theaters on April 25, 1996. The ensemble cast of this action movie was led by Dan Fernandez, who is now a congressional representative from the province of Laguna. Other cast members include Roy Alvarez, Patrick Dela Rosa, Douglas Veron (who is also the director), Dindo Arroyo and Teresa Loyzaga.

Renegade Soldiers, Mainit sa Laban Renegade Soldiers, Dan Fernandez

The alluring Ara Mina is probably the right choice to lead the cast of Good Harvest Productions' Init sa Tag-Ulan (Tagalog: Heat in Rainy Season). This film by Ramje opened in theaters on October 23, 1996. Init sa Tag-Ulan is dubbed as "a passionate tale of forbidden love possessed by time and space). Ara Mina's leading men in this movie are Dan Fernandez (again!), Raymond Keannu, Ramon Recto (in an introductory role) and Jeorge Estregan Jr. (who is now the provincial governor of ... Laguna)

Init sa Tag-Ulan, Ara Mina

POSTSCRIPT: It seems that the last two mentioned movies have common denominators: actors-turned-politicians and Laguna. Politics is a hot issue in the Philippines, rendering it a staple of heated debates among people from all walks of life.

Jeorge Estregan Jr. is the nephew of actor-turned-senator-turned-vice-president-turned-president-turned-mayor Joseph Estrada. In 1969, Estrada started the trend of action stars running for public office when he was elected as mayor of the town of San Juan. Joseph's sons, Jinggoy and J.V., are now senators.

Going back to Jeorge Estregan, his career has been marked by dynamic name changes: Jeorge, Jheorge, George, E.R. As a politician, he is now popularly known as E.R. Ejercito.

Bong Revilla, by the way, is another member of the club. He held both vice gubernatorial and gubernatorial posts in Cavite, then successfully ran for senator. His son Jolo is now the vice governor in their province.

The late Fernando Poe Jr. was the most popular actor in the country, and his legendary status endures. Poe, however, unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004. Claims persist that he was the rightful winner.

Dan Fernandez has an almost-namesake who is also an actor-turned politician: Vice Governor Daniel Fernando of Bulacan.

Enough of politics! Considering that heat is the theme for today, I cannot stop thinking about Laguna as a province famous for its hot springs.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Angel's Breath For Men Only Eau de Cologne

Angel's Breath is a popular brand of cologne in the Philippines. According to its Facebook page, Angel's Breath "is the Classic Cologne that makes everyone as fragrant as the Angels. Made only from nature's garden of essences!" The cologne manufactured by Angel's Breath is typically marketed to babies and ladies, but in 1996 the company released a cologne that is marketed to men.

The following advertisement for Angel's Breath For Men Only Eau de Cologne appeared in the April 12, 1996 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Angel's Breath For Men Only Eau de Cologne was available in green 40- and 100-mL bottles. The blurb reads like this: "For Men Only!" A single splash on your skin. A feeling so different, you want it again. A scent so good you just can't stop her From trying it too!" It is still unclear whether this cologne brand is still available in the market.

Angel's Breath For Men Only Eau de Cologne, Angel's Breath, cologne, advertisements

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Today is Ash Wednesday

The Philippines, being a predominantly Catholic country, will observe Ash Wednesday today, March 5. In the Western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Based on the canonical Gospels in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday signals the start of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. It can be noted that Ash Wednesday is Day 1 and Palm Sunday is Day 40.

Image Credit: InterAksyon
On Ash Wednesday, the Catholic faithful attend a Holy Mass and wait for the priest to place ashes on their foreheads. The ashes are said to be a reminder of human mortality and a symbol of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are gathered mainly from the burning of the palms (palaspas in Tagalog) from the previous year's Palm Sunday. Ash Wednesday is observed not only by Catholics, but also by adherents of other Christian denominations.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Ensaladang Ampalaya" (Bitter Gourd Salad)

I will understand if some readers will freak out about ampalaya owing to its bitter taste. The ensaladang ampalaya (bitter gourd salad), however is an appetizer that puts a new twist to the bitter vegetable. The addition of bagoong (fish paste) appears to neutralize the bitterness with the right combination of saltiness and savory. Being an example of umami food, sliced tomatoes enhance the savory taste of this easy-to-prepare salad. A bit of spiciness is imparted by a dash of ground black pepper.

Never underestimated to be underestimated is the nutritional value of the salad. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database, bitter gourd addresses 13% of the daily recommended allowance of folate and 40% for Vitamin C. Of course the other ingredients have also nutritional merits. On the other hand the Philippine Department of Health recommended the use of ampalaya for alleviating type-2 diabetes.

ensaladang ampalaya, bitter gourd, ampalaya

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Anting-anting" or "Agimat" (Amulet) Outside the Malolos Cathedral

Mention anting-anting (amulet) and surely older folks will remember the action films of Ramon Revilla Sr., the father and namesake of an incumbent Senator of the Republic. In the context of Revilla's filmography in the '70s and '80s, he typically portrays a man of the masses who got oppressed by powerful-but-corrupt people. All of a sudden, an old man (often portrayed by Pedro Faustino or Venchito Galvez) personifies the deux in machina who gives Revilla the anting-anting or agimat. (By the way, the word agimat also refers to anting-anting.) Our hero Ramon gets special powers to fight his adversaries.

Yours truly grew up watching TV re-runs of these movies, resulting in a childhood dream to get hold of an anting-anting and get special powers. Millions of other children then may have also wished for acquiring special powers through the anting-anting. Its popularity continues for many people, even in the age of social media. Renowned historian Ambeth Ocampo wrote in the February 26, 2014 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer that the anting-anting or amulet may have gone out of fashion, but people still believe in luck and charms that are supposed to attract good fortune and repel the bad.

Ocampo said that anting-anting is like those sold outside Quiapo church. The anting-anting, however, is also available outside the Malolos Cathedral (and perhaps in other church grounds all over the Philippines). When I went there early this year, I chanced upon a stall that sells sacramentals, prayer books and anting-anting. It was a moment that I mentally shouted the words "Great success!" the way Borat does. Finally, a childhood dream going to be realized. Those shown below were purchased there earlier this year, each for fifty pesos. The vendor claimed that both amulets ward off evils spirits.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals Winners, Not!

The 2013-2014 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup has just culminated with the San Mig Coffee Mixers emerging as champions in the best-of-seven finals. It can be noticed, however, that as of March 2, the playoffs flowchart on shows that the Barangay San Miguel Ginebra defeated San Mig Coffee Mixers in the best-of-seven semifinal series. (By the way, these squads are sister teams).

Philippine basketball fans know that San Miguel Coffee Mixers won over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a tightly contested series. Considering that Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is the crowd favorite, is the 4-3 result indicated in the flowchart an honest mistake or wishful thinking among its legions of fans? Time will tell if the team will be luckier at the 2014 PBA Commissioners' Cup which will start on March 5.

Ginebra San Miguel, Philippine Basketball Association, San Mig Coffee Mixers,
Screen grab from