Thursday, December 29, 2005

Casiguran Flash Flood

Note: the two local radio stations in Baler, DZRH-FM and DZJO-FM, are reporting the following information:

  1. The non-stop rains this week caused a major flash flood in Casiguran, Aurora. The entire Poblacion and most low-lying barangays are now under water with some areas under 5 to 10 feet of water. Some barangays in Dilasag and Dinalungan are also affected. Most rivers in the area have overflowed their banks. About 100 to 200 families are now in the different evacuation areas in Casiguran particularly Ermita Church, MCC building and the municipal hall. The road to Dicadi is unpassable and the area is currently isolated.
  2. There are also reports of minor floodings in Maria Aurora, San Luis (San Isidro area) , Baler (Pingit, Kinalapan and Sitio Pulo in Zabali) and Dingalan.
  3. Baler-Bongabong road is unpassable because of high water levels in Villa river. Canili-Pantabangan road is currently unpassable on account of a landslide near Brgy. Wenceslao in Ma. Aurora. The Maria Aurora mayor and the DPWH chief already dispatched heavy-equipment vehicles to clear the slide.
  4. Although the Aguang and Kinalapan rivers have overflowed, Baler experienced only minor floods in some area on account of recent flood control projects of the government and the opening of the Sabangan area so that waters going through the Pudok area can flow directly to the sea. (Thanks also to the rain for taking a break last night.)
  5. The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council and the different local government agencies are now on heightened alert and currently doing what they can to help the affected Aurorans.
Please note the date and time of this post. Some developments might have happened while this is being posted.

Reporters of DZRH Baler are constantly updating their mother station. DZRH can be heard online. Just go to and click on the DZRH link. You should have Windows Media Player to stream the broadcast.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Elevated Alert

Baler is now on elevated status with regards to floodings. Two days of non-stop rains caused the swelling of the Kinalapan ang Aguang rivers. Local radio stations are reporting minor floodings in Pingit, Sitio Pulo in Zabali and othet parts of the town. Local government disaster agencies are now in action and advising residents in low lying areas to evacuate while it is still daytime and the waters are still low. Road to Casiguran and other northern towns are closed and passengers are stranded at the Baler Sports Complex. There's an unverified news that a passenger jeepney on the way to Casiguran was covered with landslide. No news yet if the Baler-Bongabong and Canili-Pantabangan roads are still passable. There's still electricity and the rain is still going on.

NPA, AFP Trade Accusations in Baler Fire

from ABS-CBN Interactive: NPA, AFP trade accusations in Baler fire. "Fire gutted the headquarters of a nongovernment organization in Barangay Buhangin in Baler, Aurora, at 4 a.m. on December 25, the military reported on Tuesday. The fire destroyed the headquarters of the Bahay Talakayan para sa Rekonstruksyon at Ikauunlad ng Sambayanan, or Bataris. Damage was estimated at P1 million. Lt. Col. Joselito Kakilala, battalion commander of the 48th Infantry Division, reported that a group of suspected New People’s Army guerillas allegedly planned the fire although some quarters blame the military for the blaze. read more.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Aurora Travel Journal - In German

This looks like a great read - if you know German. It's an account of a travel or expedition in Dinalungan and Baler. the pictures are great, just click on them to open the bigger versions.

If you really want to read it, these tranlation websites might be useful: babelfish (just copy the url or web address of the site and choose German to English translation. It translated the entire page and the resulting English version is understandable but hard to read.). Google translate (do the same step as babelfish. I think this tool translates better but it only translated the first two paragraphs of the page. Check out the Google english version of the website.)

Aurora Catholic Group's Dorm Burned

from Aurora Catholic Group's Dorm Burned. "Three men believed to be government soldiers burned the women's dormitory of a Catholic church's training institute in Baler town, Aurora province on Christmas Day, reports received by the Inquirer said. Alfonso van Zijl, executive director of the Bataris (Bahay Talakayan para sa Rekonstruksyon at Ikauunlad ng Sambayanan) based in Barangay Buhangin, said the fire that broke out at about 4 a.m. destroyed the institute's wooden sleeping quarters and burned two motorcycles. He estimated the losses at almost P1 million." read more.

Dingalan Housing Program Launched

from Manila Times Internet Edition: Dingalan housing program launched. "The groundbreaking for the immediate construction of 100 housing units in typhoon-ravaged Dingalan, Aurora, began Saturday through the initiative of Sen. Edgardo Angara. An initial 900 housing units will be built in Dingalan for the resettlement of those whose homes were destroyed by the typhoon. Most of the destroyed houses were built near rivers." read more

Friday, December 23, 2005

NPA's Attack Globe Cellsite in Dinalungan

from the Mindanao Daily Mirror: NPAs attack Globe cell site anew. Suspected communist guerillas attacked yet another Globe telecommunications tower in the province of Aurora Monday, the 22nd on the Ayala-owned company since July. Police reports said the attack occurred 12:05 a.m. when about 20 New People’s Army strafed the Globe cell site compound in Poblacion Zone 1 village in Dinalungan town. read more.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Surf Report

Rimat Ti Aminian Surfing Invitational at La Union wrapped-up last Dec. 17 and 4 BalerBoys are in the winner's list, Argie Hugo (2nd Runner-up Open Division), Jeff Dela Torre (2nd Runner-up Junior Division), Allan Derecho (3rd Runner-up Junior Division) and Allen De Vera (Champion, Grommet Division - the kids division). For a complete list of the winners, visit surfpinoy.

The La Union surfing competition was also the last leg of the inaugural Phillipine Surfing Circuit. From surfpinoy: " The circuit was created to determine the Top 12 Filipino Surfers for the year. Each time a surfer (from the open division) reaches the finals he will a get points depending on how he placed for a certain leg. These points are then tallied at the end of the circuit to determine which 12 waveriders make it to the prestigious list." Three Balerboys made it to the Top 12: Argie Hugo (#3), Edmund Mendoza (#6) and Joel Faraon (#7). Click here to see the complete list

Kage has pixes of the event.

Congratulations to all the winners! See you next year in Baler!



I have closeup shots of these surfer dudes in my busted PC at home. I'll post them as soon as i can get the junk to run again. In the meantime, heres something for reference: Argie Hugo is 4th from left, Edmund Mendoza is 3rd and Joel Faraon is 6th. Badgirl must be jumping for joy.

I want! I Want!

The Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) Giga Pack is more than a portable version of Playstation. It's a portable entertainment center with MP3 and MP4 Download and play capabilities. This nearly pocketable portable has a built-in, bright, high-resolution 4.3 inch (diagonal) Color TFT LCD widescreen (for 16:9 perspective), built-in Stereo speakers, and amazing connectivity. Etc..etc..etc..

The Xbox 360 sets a new pace for digital entertainment. More than just a cutting-edge game system, Xbox 360 also integrates high-definition video, DVD movie playback, digital music, photos, and online connectivity into one sleek, small tower.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wanted: Anesthesiologist in Aurora

from Wanted: Anesthesiologist in Aurora. "Despite a regular search, this province has had no anesthesiologist in the last 10 years, limiting the access of pregnant women and other patients to life-saving surgical operations.

“The item has always been opened but there has always been no takers,” Dr. Norma Palmero, provincial health officer, told the Inquirer.

An anesthesiologist specializes in administering anesthesia, a drug that makes a patient numb to pain during surgery. An anesthetist used to do that work here until the Department of Health made it a policy to assign that task to an anesthesiologist, she said." read more.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Law and Order

Some Aurora related legal cases:

People vs Silva: "That on September 3, 1996 at around 10:00 o’clock in the evening, purposely sought to better accomplish their criminal design, at Sitio Diaboyo, Barangay Ditumabo, San Luis, Aurora, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together and helping one another, with intent to kill and with treachery and evident premeditation and use of superior strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and use personal violence upon the person of one Manuel Ceriales after abducting him and his brother Edmund Ceriales and while his feet were both tied with a rope and his hands tied at his back, by stabbing and beheading him causing his instantaneous death; that the accused also commenced the commission of the crime of murder upon the person of Edmund Ceriales directly by overt acts by also tying his two feet and his hands at his back with intent to kill, but the said accused did not perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime of Murder as a consequence, by reason of causes other than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, said Edmund Ceriales was able to escape while the accused were about to kill his brother Manuel Ceriales." read more.

G.R. No. 160341: "On April 16, 1997, petitioner Exequiel Senoja, Fidel Senoja, Jose Calica, and Miguel Lumasac were drinking gin in the hut of Crisanto Reguyal in Barangay Zarah, San Luis, Aurora. An angry Leon Lumasac suddenly arrived at the said place, holding a bolo in his right hand and looking for his brother Miguel. Petitioner and Jose tried to pacify Leon. But when petitioner approached Leon, the latter tried to hack him so he embraced Leon and Jose took Leon’s bolo." read more.

Ubongen vs Ubongen: "According to the complainant, the respondent was legally married to Dionisio F. Dela Cruz. She thereafter contracted a subsequent marriage with one Benjamin N. Ubongen on August 18, 1993 knowing that the latter was married to Ruth Notada Ubongen with seven children. The complainant added that the entire community where she resides was aware that she lived with Dionisio F. Dela Cruz in a single abode prior to the celebration of her second marriage. The complainant prayed that the respondent be preventively suspended and thereafter dismissed from the service “with prejudice,” and attached the respective marriage contracts alluded to." read more.

datamined from


from Adrian Ayalin's Lagalag blog: "It’s been a year now since the first of the three strong typhoons hit the country. And it is a great relief for me to find out that the town of Dingalan in Aurora Province is slowly getting back to its feet. Just a few weeks ago, my team went back to Dingalan to see how the town has recovered from its worst nightmares named Violeta, Winnie and Yoyong. (Actually, typhoon Yoyong did not bring as much rain but it was a supertyphoon, and the winds were just as scary.) read more.

Fabricated Resolution Basis for Lifting Logging Ban

from Manila Times Internet Edition: Fabricated resolution basis
for lifting of logging ban:

CASIGURAN, Aurora: A municipal councilor has alleged that a fabricated resolution was used to justify the lifting of the logging ban in this town.

In a briefing in Quezon City, Councilor Joel Torre denied that the council passed and approved Resolution 021-2005 requesting President Arroyo to lift the logging ban in Casiguran and Aurora.

“The minutes of the meeting of March 21, 2005, regular session shows there was no such approved resolution. The lifting of the logging ban was not also included in our agenda so how come there was such a resolution?” he asked.

Torre said the document was fabricated to justify the lifting of the moratorium by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, allowing the Industries Development Corp. to continue its logging operation in August 2005.

Mayor Reynaldo Bitong of Casiguran said he only learned about the “fake” resolution from the energy department’s evaluation team that assessed the logging activities of IDC to determine whether its logging permit would be reinstated.

In December last year, President Arroyo declared a total logging ban nationwide after a series of landslides and flash floods hit Aurora, Quezon and parts of Nueva Ecija, killing 1,600 people and displacing more than 53,000 families.

Bitong noted that the corporation started its operation in August 2005 but applied for a mayor’s permit only in September.

He refused to issue a permit since the company allegedly failed to submit a multipartite agreement with the local government and nongovernment organizations endorsing its logging operation. The firm also reportedly failed to provide the mayor a rehabilitation plan and a budget for its implementation.

Bitong faces a civil case after the firm filed a petition for mandamus with application for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. Judge Corazon Soluren of Branch 96 of the Baler Regional Trial Court issued a 20-day TRO dated December 2, preventing him from stopping logging operations in Casiguran.

Of the 57,069-hectare logging area, 70 percent is in Casiguran, while the remaining hectares are in the towns of Dinalungan and Dilasag in Aurora.

Environment Secretary Mic­hael Defensor said the IDC was allowed to operate because of its “satisfactory” performance. He claimed his approval had the consent of NGOs, like Tanggol Kalikasan, but the group denied the secretary’s claims.

The Manila Times tried to contact Defensor for his comment on the allegedly fake resolution but he was available. -- Ronnie E. Calumpita


from NORDIS weekly: Env’t group backs Casiguran mayor decision not to grant permit to logging firm. Environmental groups in Aurora province backed Casiguran town Mayor Reynaldo Bitong, who was issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by Regional Trial Court Branch 96 Judge Corazon Soluren, in the Petition for Mandamus by the logging company Industries Development Corporation (IDC). read more.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Attention Amazon Users

The BB website stats reveals that more than 40% of its visitors are from North America. If you're one those visitors, this message is for you. If you're into online shopping and uses, you can help Batangbaler by using the newly installed Amazon searcbox on the right sidebar instead of going directly to the site. By using the searchbox, a small percentage of the price of the item you buy on Amazon will go to Batangbaler (ranges from 4% to 7% of the gross price). This way you can help BB earn some income for use on the website expenses and to buy beer and pulutan for the webmaster (that's me). I also included some recommended products on the lower part of the sidebar. Most of them are Baler and Philippine related. I will change them occasionally and you can purchase one if you're interested. I will also put recommended products directly on my posts. Like this:

I can't believe that Weng-Wengs's movie is available on Amazon. Weng-Weng was my Favorite when I was in elementary, and this movie predates Mini-me and Austin Powers by a good two decades. Here's a take from my new favorite blog: "For your Height Only is classic camp: so bad, it’s good. Dr. Van Curler, the inventor of the N-Bomb, is kidnapped by syndicate ringleader Mr. Giant. Agent double O (Weng Weng) is assigned to save the scientist, and the world, from doom. He is aided by the voluptuous Irma Alegre, who gets killed in the cross fire. There are lots of derivative gadgets and gizmos copied from James Bond flicks but this is more ingenious. They attach an empty can of mini-fire extinguisher to Weng Weng’s body as a personal propeller rocket, and turn a cheap black Bumbay umbrella into a parachute. If Bruce Lee is famous for his flying kick, Weng Weng has his four foot-kick that directly targets the opponent’s groin."

I'm putting this DVD on my wishlist.

Ay syempre, wag kalilimutang pindutin at bisitahin ang mga patalastas sa itaas at ibaba ng batangbaler. Makakatulong din kayo sa fundraising ni kidlat (ako) pag ginawa ninyo ito. (Tinagalog ko dahil bawal mag promote na kagaya nito he he he).

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon sa inyong lahat!

News Alert

from abs-cbn news: Timber company threatens 5 protected areas. "At least five protected areas within a timberland face destruction after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources lifted the suspension of logging in three towns in Aurora. Fr. Jose Talaban of Quezon Prelature, whose religious jurisdiction covers Aurora, said that under the law, protected areas like watershed, waterfalls and landscape must be spared from logging and other kinds of development activities. The DENR violated the law, he said." read more.

from Tempo Online: Man arrested after killing businesswoman. "CABANATUAN CITY – A man was arrested by police shortly after he shot to death a businesswoman in full view of the public here on Wednesday afternoon. Police Superintendent Jesus Gordon Descanzo, city police chief, said the suspect, Pepito Gonzales, of Barangay Buhangin, Baler, Aurora, was placed behind bars for the fatal shooting of Carmen Concepcion Macatiag, 52, of Mossessgeld Street, Magsaysay Norte, Cabanatuan City." read more.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Guess Where?

Do you know where in Baler is this place?


Villa Aurora, December 8, 2005. A car being towed by a DPWH bulldozer across the river. The next day the river was ten times bigger.

The DPWH announced that the Baler-Bongabong road will be closed from December 15 to 22. Labi bridge will be repaired. So if you're planning to go home to Baler on those dates, the only option is the Canili-Pantabangan road.

The annual Provincial Athletic Meet (aka Division Meet) started yesterday here in Baler without the delegates from Casiguran, Dinalungan and Dilasag. They were stranded because the one week non-stop rains flooded most of the rivers in the Dicadi area and caused some landslides along the Baler-Casiguran road. The delegates arrived only yesterday afternoon.


This news is sad, and ironically...funny:

"For resident 68-year-old Norma Vilar, a pensioner for at least five years now, it has been a long wait for her pension fund to be released to her automated teller machine account. Last August, her pension money stopped. Upon verification at the regional branch here, she said she was told she has to file an affidavit or certification “that she is still alive."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

North Flood

from Floods, landslides isolate 3 Aurora towns . Strong monsoon rains over Aurora province since Monday have triggered landslides and caused rivers to overflow, isolating three northern towns here, reports from local officials said. read more.

Old news: 600-km ecotourism trail under way in the Sierra Madre. "The Sierra Madre Mountains, the country's longest mountain range and one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, is being primed to become the top ecohistorical tourism destination in the Philippines."

"One such place is the Baler-Palanan trail whose coastline is noted for waves ideal for surfing."


Mmm... i wonder if the logging concessions along Sierra Madre will be included in the package.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Civil Engineers

Congratulations to the 6 new civil engineers from ASCOT, especially Engr. Renee Alcantara who ranked 18 with 90.7 grade and surfer boy Engr. Rommel "Okoy" Rojo.

SEA Games Gold Medalist From Aurora?

I received an unverified message that Glen Llamador, who represented the country in the men's team arnis competition in the recently concluded SEA Games, is from Dipaculao, Aurora. Their 3-member team won a gold medal. Anyone who can verify this?

Here's the link to the news about the arnis team.

Update: Confirmed. Glen Llamador is from Dipaculao.

La Union Surfing

If you're into surfing action, the last leg of the 2005 Philippines Surfing Circuit will be on December 13-17 at San Juan, LaUnion. This is where the Top 12 surfers of the year will be announced. We're expecting 4 or 5 Balerboys to be on the list.

for more info visit surfpinoy.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Bridge In Town

This new bridge is called Duungan Bridge 2 and is located at Brgy. Buhangin, just in front of A.V. Mijares Elementary School. It goes to the beach just after the PNP headquarters. It was inaugurated last August.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Relatively Speaking

I received this email from Mr. Pablo Pantalunan of Maryland USA:

Hello, I came across your website and I found it very interesting, beautiful places and pictures about baler. I came to realized that my ancestors from my father side was from Baler. My father’s name is Elias Pantalunan, unfortunately he passed away in the late 60’s. We are living in Roxas, Isabela prior to his death. According to my mother, my grandparent’s name are Nemecio Pantalunan and Josefa Aquino Pantalunan. My father has sibling’s named Raquel, Miriam, Nemecio Jr. and Florida. After college in 1988 I migrated to the United States to join my mother’s side of the family. I am happily married and blessed with three healthy sons. Presently, I am working in pharmaceuticals for the last thirteen years. Kung sakaling nakikilala mo ang mga taong nabanggit ko, ay kung maaari lamang ay pakisabi sa kanila na gusto ko silang makilala. Maraming salamat at maligayang pasko at manigong bagong taon sa inyong lahat.

Pablo P. Pantalunan

Mr. Pantalunan's full contact info is available on request. Just email me at batangbaler at gmail dot com
Link to Mr. Pantalunan's post at Barangay BB.

Friday, December 02, 2005

When Was The Last Time You Checked For Lice?

Wallpaper Donation

This wonderful Batang Aurora wallpaper was emailed to me by Janette of Dipaculao. She is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Aurora Association USA

The Aurora Association USA, Inc. Scholars held a welcome and thanksgiving party for association members who were in Baler for a vacation. The program was held at the Angara Hall of Baler Central School on Sunday, November 20, 2005. Honorees present were Mr. & Mrs. Amador del Prado (from New York), Mr. & Mrs. Ezer Gonzales (from New york), and Dr. & Mrs. Ruben Guinto (fr. California). the program was coordinated by Mrs. Ilovita Mesina, the association coordinator in Baler.

Aurora Association USA, Inc. College scholarship Program started in 1995-1996 under the chairmaship of Mr. Ador del Prado, the husband of Corazon Loarca Buenconsejo, a native of Baler. It used to be a high school financial assistance but when Mrs. Ilovita Mesina became the coordinator, she recommended that it be changed into a college scholarship since there are free high schools all over Aurora. The association sponsors the college education of deserving and potential students who cannot afford to go to college due to financial reasons. Candidates are chosen from the eight municipalities of Aurora and will have to enroll only in the colleges in Baler for closer monitoring and supervision of the awardees. So far 26 high school graduates have been accomodated, 12 have graduated, 12 are on going and 2 were dropped due to marriage and failure to meet the graduate requirement. the association likewise gave high school Valedictorian awards of $100 each and to the Valedictorian of Baler Central School in honor of Mrs. Levy Gonzales Sindac, the association founder.

The organization limits the sponsorship of scholars to three students per year due to limited funds. If you are from Aurora and permanently living in the USA and wants to know more about this scholarship program, send an email to batangbaler at gmail dot com and I will forward their contact information.

Click here for more pictures from the program.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Welcome Home!

Baler is now waiting for the arrival of Mr. & Mrs. Arnold and Donna Costa and Ms. Gay Avellano. They will be coming home for Christmas from UK. This is a reminder from Ymay and BB so that they will not forget the pasalubong.

BB also welcomes back Ms. Vangie Daton-Sanchez who will be coming home this December after a long tour-of-duty in Iraq. Can't wait for "My friend went to Iraq and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt" t-shirt.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Photo Gallery

The new Batangbaler Photo Gallery is now live. Check out the first gallery of pictures featuring the recent visit of Spanish Prime Defense Minister Jose Bono.

Friday, November 25, 2005

New Old Blog

Old Baler is an online gallery of vintage Baleriana.

Our Map

I created a Fraffr map for Batangbaler. Visit the page and add yourself to the map. I'm curious where the 400+ daily visitors of Batangbaler are coming from. It's not just a map pointer, it's also a messageboard thingy.

Spanish Defense Minister Visits Baler

Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono visited Baler, Aurora last Tuesday, November 22, 2005. He was with more than 20 Spanish delegates including Senators, Congressmen and other Spanish Government Officials. They arrived before 11 am and there was a welcome program in front of the Museo De Baler. After the program a Thanksgiving Mass was held at the Baler Church then the delegates went to Baler Central School for lunch. A cultural show was presented during lunch.

I'll post more pictures and give more details as soon as i finished uploading them. I need wifi!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pasirit News

Here's some surfing competition results:

3rd Lanuza Surfing Cup, the fifth leg of the Philippine Surfing Championship Circuit 2005. The event was held on November 14-20. Lanuza in Surigao Del Sur. The Balerboys dominated the event.

Open Division
Champion- Argie "Bad Boy" Hugo (Baler)
1st Runnerup- Luke Landrigan (La Unioin)
2nd Runnerup- Joel Faraon (Baler)
3rd Runnerup- Sandito Alciso (Siargao)

Junior Division
Champion- Jeff dela Torre (Baler)
1st Runnerup- Joe Henry Tena (Baler)
2nd Runnerup- Zaldy Coldura (Siargao)

Eastern Samar Surfing Crown, Guian, Eastern Samar. October 6 - 9, 2005. the 3rd leg of the 2005 Philippine Surfing Championship Circuit 2005.

Open Division
Champion - Dionisio “Dodo” Espejon (Siargao)
1st Runner up - Joel Faraon (Baler)
2nd Runner up - Argie Hugo (Baler)
3rd Runner up - Edmund Mendoza (Baler)

Junior Division
Champion - Zaldy Coldura (Siargao)
1st Runner up - Allan Derecho (Baler)
2nd Runner up - Jason Osarez (Lanuza)
3rd Runner up - Myrell Santos (Boronggan)

Info provided by Olin Duaso, who is currently enjoying the beach of Pagudpud.
Also check out this blog for the latest surfing update.


BB congratulates Rommel "Okoy" Rojo for passing the Civil Engineering board exam this month.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Two Sunsets

Go Emily!

I receive a sort of email alert every time Baler is mentioned on the net. Most of the time i get junk news and info about the hay baler, a machine used on farming. Once in a while I get jewels, like this: Check out what the buzz is all about.

Emily grew up in Baler and now lives in California. I met her once at Bay's Inn years ago. She once graced the pages of this website, posing with Chester of Linkin Park. Hanepti! Iba talaga ang batang Baler!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Spanish Defense Minister to Visit Philippines. "Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono will pay a four-day official visit to the Philippines from Nov. 19.This will be the first ever visit to the Philippines by a defense minister of Spain, a former colonial power which ruled the Philippines for 300 years until the end of 19th century." Minister Jose Bono will also go to Baler on Sunday Nov. 20 Tuesday November 22to visit the Baler Church and the Baler Museum. The Provincial Government of Aurora is also preparing a cultural show that will be held at the Baler Central School.

There will also be a Workshop on Choreography at AMCO Beach Resort on November 19 to 21 to be conducted by Enrico Labayen, "multi-award winning choreographer from the USA and one of the most exciting and innovative dance artists in the world". Here's a background article about Enrico Labayen. And here's the Google returns on his name. If I could dance, i'll join this workshop.

If you're in Manila check out the opening of the 20th Asian International Art Exhibition on November 21 at the Ayala Museum. Jeho Bitancor's works will be part of the exhibit that will run until March 2006.

The crew of ABS-CBN's Magandang Gabi Bayan were here in Baler to shoot a feature about Surfing in Baler. Check out your tubes this Saturday or next week.

And after posting this i'll be off to ASCOT's Training Center to check out the workshop on the NSTP program, the government's replacement to the ROTC. The workshop is titled Teacher's Training for Implementing NSTP: Investing In The Future with participants from selected government college teachers throughout Luzon

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Department of Self-Promotion

I received an email from Ken Ilio one of the few Philippine internet pioneers and webmaster of Tanikalang Ginto, the Philippines' most comprehensive and largest human-edited web directory. Online since 1994, the website compiles a directory of all interesting Pinoy-flavored websites on the Internet. He also chooses monthly selection of the best Pinoy websites, The Best of Cyber Pinoys.

He informed me that the one-week old Balerspeak, the wiki I created to be the online dictionary of Baler's unique Tagalog words was one of the Best of Cyber Pinoy sites for November 2005. No prize for this recognition, just bragging rights and an opportunity to "lift my own chair", so to speak.

Three years ago, when Batangbaler was barely four months old, it was also chosen as one of the Best of Cyber Pinoys for March 2002.

Mr. Ilio also maintains My Islands Philippines, a gallery of Philippines pictures. Check out Baler and Aurora pictures on the website soon.

Balerians in California

Balerians in Californ..i..a!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

History of Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion in Leesburg, Virginia
Temporary Residence of Philippine Commonwealth President
Manuel L. Quezon & His Family During World War II

The Belmont mansion has been an important part of American history since Ludwell Lee built it in 1799 – 1802. It is important, not only for its refined expression of Federal-style plantation architectural design, but also for the generous hospitality and solace it has provided noted people throughout the years. Local tradition says that Mr. & Mrs. Lee opened the mansion to the President and Mrs. Madison during the war of 1812 while Washington, D.C. was under siege. In addition, Belmont has opened its doors to other presidents including Presidents Harding and John Quincy Adams. Marques de Lafayette was a distinguished guest who is said to have presented Mr. Lee with the mantle pieces in the Library and Parlor as an expression of his appreciation during his last visit to America in 1825. Mr. Lee served as aid-de-camp to General Lafayette during the Revolutionary War.

The Quezon Family, Leesburg 1942. Nini Quezon is on the extreme right.

The mansion and its surrounding property have had a number of famous owners. The first, Mr. Ludwell Lee, was a son of Richard Henry Lee, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Following Mr. Lee’s death, Margaret Mercer, daughter of a former Maryland governor, established it as a progressive Christian school for ladies. Former governor of Kansas, Frederick M. Staunton, purchased the mansion as a residence, Mr. & Mrs. Edward McLean owned the mansion from 1915 – 1931. Mr. McLean was the son of the owner/publisher of The Washington Post. Mrs. McLean was the owner of the Hope Diamond. President Hoover’s Secretary of War, Patrick Hurley, owned the property and rented it to the Philippine government in exile headed by Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon during World War II. In 1995, Toll Brothers, Inc. purchased Belmont and restored the mansion to its original elegance.

Same Place, October 27, 2005 with Poppo Olag, Nini & Son, Gaye

Belmont was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1976. The mansion is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places with the United States Department of Interior. The Belmont mansion stands on the point in Eastern Loudoun County, which is quite appropriate since Belmont means "Beautiful Mountain."

From: Poppo Olag
More pictures coming soon.


And here's an informative post about the Mansion from MLQ3.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Whats New?

I finally had 1 hour of free time and I used it to add some features in Batangbaler:

  • Barangay Batangbaler. I created a blog for everyone. Great webspace to put pictures, post news, stories and anything you want as long as they're wholesome. To post just go to and use this username: barangaybb, the password is pelisyokin. Once you're in the dashboard, just select the Barangay Batangbaler blog and Create a Post. Give it a try!
  • Balerspeak. The redesigned Puntung Baler website. It's a wiki so everyone is free to add, edit, alter, and delete items on it. To log-in, just go to the login page and use this username: balerspeak. The password is pelisyokin.
  • The Shoutbox. I also added a shoutbox near the bottom of the sidebar of the website for quick shoutouts or messages to your kababayans or anyone browsing the site.
  • Flickr. I also updated my flickr page. I got some selected pictures posted on BB, photoshopped them and posted large-sized versions for your copying, printing, and wallpapering pleasure. All pictures are free for personal use. If you're planning to make money out of them, you should ask for my permission so that we can share the loot. Check it out.
  • The Yahoo Messenger notification. The icon just below my profile tells if i'm online or offline . If it's online, you can click it to send personal message or to chat with me.
  • I also added my picture (taken 10 years ago) and a counter - so BB averages 200 - 250 visits per day. Not bad.
  • My wishlist. See what i'm drooling for.
  • And finally, BB now accepts advertisements. If you have a business that you want to advertise - like Boris Travel, BB's first client - you can contact me. Batangbaler belongs to the top 50 weblogs as monitored by pinoytopblogs, and gets more than 10,000 hits per month. If you're living or working abroad and you have relatives that have business in Baler, tell them to advertise at BB. Not only will it give their business a webpresence, it will also help me earn money to support my vices.
So until the next update. Continue enjoying Batangbaler.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Is it just me or GMA's Joseph Morong sounded really disappointed when he reported that nothing much happened in Aurora during the last typhoon? He reported live last night somewhere in the Province and the worst he can tell was a bus stuck in a spillway in Ma. Aurora. Sorry bro, no flood today! Come back another day. It's so disappointing that the national media only come to Baler or Aurora when disaster occurs or when one is about to happen. You don't even need to invite them. Last Aurora Day, the event was covered by Channel 13 - the channel nobody watches.

It's the first time I heard the term NABALAHAW. I always thought that it's called NABALAHO. Or maybe because it happened in Ma. Aurora, an Ilocano country where "balaho" is pronounced as "balahaw". "Ney! Nabalahaw!" No offense meant to my Ilocano friends in Maria.

Mayor Ariel Bitong of Ma. Aurora. His wife in Canada- a Batangbaler regular visitor - will be happy to see this picture.

Mr. Dan Nieva, Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council Executive Director.

And finally, i can't wait to see the next batch of Startsruck survivors.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Typhoon ONDOY

from PAGASA website: At 2:00 a.m. today, Tropical Storm "ONDOY" was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 220 kms east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes (14.6°N 126.3°E) with maximum sustained winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph. It is expected to move west northwest at 22 kph.

The rain started at around noon here in Baler but it's only moderate until now (4:30 pm). The typhoon is expected to hit the northern part of aurora at midnight.

Update: November 11, 2005 10:00 AM
No real damage here. The rain that started at noon yesterday stopped at around 3am this morning. GMA 7 reported a flooded spillway at Brgy. Sto. Cristo Ma. Aurora, Aurora and a bus was stranded for a while. The local and provincial disaster council were specially alert yesterday. There was a "bandilyo" roaming around the town broadcasting the status of the typhoon. There's still no news from Casiguran and the other northern part of the province where the typhoon made a landfall last night.

Chica Go!

Ma. Nympha Leander Poblete from Chicago is celebrating her birthday today (Philippine time) and Ymay Lady is sending her this greetings: Happy Birthday Nympha! She misses her Baler home so much so we're posting this pix for her. I hope this will excite her enough and send me this or this for Christmas.

This is a bonus picture, Nympha's pamangkins posing with John Arcilla, Baler's one and only celebrity.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Batangbaler Podcast - Sponsors Wanted

Podcasting is a means of distributing audio and video programs via the Internet that lets users subscribe to a number of files, also known as "feeds," and then hear or view the material at the time that they choose. A feed is usually in the MP3 audio format."Podcasting" is distinct from other types of online media delivery because of its subscription model, rather than one-time delivery. A series of files are delivered because subscribers want to get the information regularly. (from wikipedia)

I'm planning to jump in on this podcasting craze but i need to have some equipment to record audio/voice. Since BB runs on pure donation juice, i need sponsors to jumpstart this project. I must have a digital voice/audio recorder, something like this. I tried recording on a headset microphone and the audio sucks. And i can't use an ordinary microphone because i need something portable, something i can just put in my pocket so that I can record anywhere i want.

The planned BB podcast will include mostly any topics and stories about Baler and Aurora, news and interviews. Maybe some live music and recordings of events like fiestas, etc.

If you're interested, just give me a hoot at batangbaler at gmail dot com or rev up your Yahoo Messenger and buzz me, my username is josephisdead.

The Best of Central Luzon - Behind The Scenes Part 3

Yep, i'm not yet finished with this thingy.

This message is nailed too high for the sandos, shorts, and slippers to read. No problem with people entering.

The Pangkat Kawayan, Wesleyan University street dancers, and the sabutan models - those who were not lost on the way and arrived first, got real accomodations.

Breakfast of champions, 4 1-inch pieces of tocino, boiled egg without salt, and rice. And a pack of zest-o juice drink. I missed the chickens.

The Red Cross sack added authenticity to the refugee theme.

Kukay Poohpye, John Arcilla's doggie. What's with those shoes?

ASCOT dancers, all ready to storm the mall.

The Wesleyan dancers, waiting for transpo.

John Arcilla - last minute instruction. He stayed with the kids by the way. Not in the same room but he's in the same compound.

Off to SM City.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stealing Kat-ti

I stole this kat-ti photo from this blog. Check out the other pictures. Funny how you discover things on the net. I was reading this blog by the vocalist of Half-Life, Half-Death, a band I dig (dug? :-) back in the 80's, and stumbled on his post about warm bodies, an online anthology published in PDF format. It turned out that one of the editors of the tree-saving e-zine is from Baler, the son of my elementary teacher in Suklayin. Wait til you see the Big Brother of kat-ti, the Buting!


Walang mai-post. Ito na lang muna. This was taken at Suklayin about two months ago.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Here's a tip on how to have your pictures posted on Batangbaler: pose with stars, like Metz here. I like posting "almost famous" shots. Metz aka Metong will soon open a blog with lots of pictures like these.

With Ate Shawi.

With Jopay

And here's an old BB post of Metz posing with Manny Pacquiao.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Best of Central Luzon - Behind The Scenes Part 2

October 1, day 2 of departure. The contingent who would be joining the Street Dancing Contest already left a day before. Our batch consisted of more than 400 peeps in 7 airconditioned Genesis buses.

Some of the ASCOT street dancers in their casual wear.

I travelled with the ANSHS group. I'm 15 years too early.

The 45 degree incline they call 36. I don't know why it's called 36, but it's the steepest road along the Canili-Pantabangan route.

The humps. This road was actually the top of the dike that was constructed to dam a river to create the Pantabangan dam.

Inside one karaoke bar at Brgy. CastaƱeda, Nueva Viscaya. The words on the manila paper were the songs and their corresponding numbers in the karaoke machine. No songbook needed.

After the lunch at the Green Forest restaurant. The pack lunch were already given before we departed from Baler - a hefty lump of rice and two big pieces of fried chicken.

Arrival at the concentration camp where we were officially turned over to the care of Department of Tourism Region III. It turned out that they don't really care at all. We arrived at around 9pm after getting lost for three hours.

The dining area where we were given "panis" food.

Apparently, some peeps think that a banig (one for every four persons) without pillows and a comfort room without water is called accomodation.

Some kids and myself decided to hack the comfy chairs into beds.

Same thing downstairs.

This was our refugee camp. It really looked like like a German WW2 concentration camp.