Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dimanagsag Redux

This was taken during our relief operation last December at Dimanagsag.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Batangbaler Classic
The Batangbaler classic shirt is on sale again while supply lasts. Again, only available in black and white. Other colors soon to follow.

Pasirit Shirt
The first in our lineup of surfing shirts. Initially available in black and white. Limited supplies only.

Here's the pricelist:

White Shirt: XS and S - P200, M & L - P210, 2XL - P220
Black Shirt: S & M - P210, L - P220, XL & 2XL - P230, 3XL - P240
(note: prices will be higer abroad)

To order, please contact:

Baler: Joseph (Kid) - 09215413720
Manila: Rommel (Mets) - 09208603048 or Enniele - 09192476157
USA: Joan Querijero - 09212012987 and +17327635501

Aurora Day 2005

Here's the tentative schedule for the
26th Aurora Foundation Anniversary:

February 14, 2005
9.00AM : Soft Opening of Beach Bazaar (Sabang Beach) and Trade Fair (Capitol Grounds)
6.00 PM : Soft Opening of Acoustic Nights at the Quezon Park
February 15, 2005
7.00AM : Start of Aurora Surfing Cup Sabang Beach)
8.00AM : Ecumenical Service (Capitol Grounds)
9.00AM : Grand Opening of Trade Fair (Capitol Grounds)
10.00AM : Inauguration of Inter-Agency Sportsfest (Capitol Court/Sports Complex)
12.00N : Luncheon with the Governor (Guest House Courtyard)
4.00PM : Launch of Heritage Tour (Baler Poblacion)
6.00PM : Aurora Surfing Cup Welcome Dinner (Bays Inn)
8.00PM : Inter-LGU Tuklas Talino (Capitol Stage)
February 16, 2005
8.00AM : Drum and Lyre Competition, CAT-I Competition (Capitol Grounds)
February 17, 2005
8.00AM : Skills Olympics (Baler Municipal Plaza)
7.00PM : Bb. Aurora 2005 (Capitol Stage)
February 18, 2005
8.00AM : Sportsfest Finals (Capitol Grounds)
1.00PM : Street Dancing Competition (Quezon Highway/Capitol Grounds)
6.00PM : Aurora Surfing Cup Awards Night
7.00PM : Street Party (Quezon Hiway)
8.00PM : Fireworks Display (Capitol Grounds)
February 19, 2005
7.00AM : Mass/Assembly (Baler Central School)
8.00AM : Parade (Baler Poblacion)
9.30AM : Wreath Laying/ Anniversary Program / Outstanding and Inspiring Aurorans (Capitol Stage)
6.00PM : Governor's Ball (Guest House Courtyard)

provided by the Provincial Tourism Office

Goodbye Suman Festival! Adios patupat.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Villa Aurora was on network news the past two days. 24 Oras, GMA 7's primetime news program featured Kapuso Foundation's school rehabilitation program. The elemetary school in Villa Aurora was covered by a landslide during the November 30 typhoon. Well not only the school but the whole place. The foundation, with the help of Habitat for Humanity and the local officials, will put up a new school at the mountaintop of Sitio Dimani. No less than Mel Tiangco, did the groundbreaking for the construction. Good news.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Kaninang Umaga

Kaninang umaga, alas sais. Sa may labasin ng Baler.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Loggers Galore

Here's the list of all LEGAL loggers in Aurora. I took it from an Inquirer news, it was sent to them by the Multi-Sectoral Action Group (MSAG) of Aurora.

Pacific Timber Export Corp.
Verdant Agro-Forest Development Corp.
Inter-Pacific Forest Resources Corp.
Industries Development Corp.
RCC Timber Co., San Roque Sawmill Corp.
Benson Realty Development Corp.
Toplite Lumber Corp.
Green Circle Properties and Resources Inc.


"The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the Office of the President and the DENR approved the logging operations of International Hardwood and Veneer Corp., Timberland Forest Products, Industries Development Corp., RCC Timber Co. and Top Lite Corp.

The government granted permits and concessions to these "logging giants" in the form of IFMAs between January 2001 and November 2002, Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

The group said this was how the five firms got their permits:

In January 2001, the government allowed International Hardwood and Veneer Corp. to operate on 13,527 hectares of forest in Mauban town, Quezon.

On Nov. 12, 2002, the national government through the DENR approved the logging operation of Timberland Forest Products, covering 34,660 ha in General Nakar.

On Dec. 5, 2001, the President also approved the operations of Industries Development Corp. and RCC Timber Co. in Aurora through the IFMA. The two companies were allowed 48,877 ha and 23,140 ha, respectively.

On July 9, 2002, the DENR approved the logging permit of Top Lite Corp., also in Aurora, which covered 8,630 ha. "While former Environment Secretary Elisea Gozun suspended the permit for quite some time, new Environment Secretary Michael Defensor overturned the decision and lifted the suspension two weeks ago," the group said."

Here's the link to the inq7 article.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tarlac News

Nolcom tags NPA of being behind Aurora illegal logging. The Armed Force’ Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) has tagged a guerilla unit of the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) of protecting illegal logging operations in the calamity-struck province of Aurora.


Mets (drinking from the poso) works at GMA as production designer of Nuts Entertainment, art director of 3R and recently as a researcher for Naks!, that Bearwin Meily and Benjie Paras magic program imitating David Blaine. Until about three episodes into Naks, Mets didn't know that he's working with another pure Akaw, Ethel Mapindan from Buhangin, daughter of Councilor Mapindan. Yes, that female magician in the show named Ethel is from Baler. She's in the show by way of Eric Mana, a great Fil-Canadian magician who is her husband. Anyway I told Mets about her and he just bowled over. They were talking "dipuntu" to each other not knowing that they are pure Akaws. Now they talk attilauys and enjoying their inside jokes about Tantul and Ka Paul. Aside from Mets, there are two other Balerians working at GMA.

The above picture by the way was taken at Dimanagsag East, a sitio in Calabuanan, Baler, Aurora. With Mets are Ayie Pimentel and Enniele Sinsay.


Monday, January 17, 2005


Here are some signs that things are pretty well getting back to normal in Baler:

Last Saturday, January 15, Kabalikat Civicom, probably the biggest "amateur radio-civic service" group in the country held its Regional Conference at The Baler Central School. Hundreds of officers and members of the org from Region 3 gathered for their annual eyeball of sorts. The highlight of the event was a relief and medical operation for the victims of the recent calamity. Kabalikat Civicom, the group with a "commitment to serve humanity" was founded by Gil Dela Torre from Baler, Aurora.

And today, January 17, is the opening of the one week event called The 26th Regional Schools Press Conference. It is an annual gathering of all Region 3 high school and elementary press teachers and students and will be highlighted by different contests related to school papers. Good luck to all the kids. Special mention to the staff of Nucleus, the official school paper of Aurora National Science High School. They featured Batangbaler in their recent issue. The good thing is the writer probably didn't even know that BB can trace its roots to one boring physics class in ANSHS.

Friday, January 14, 2005


photo by: olin, somewhere in Suklayin

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Not sure about this one, consider this a chismis untill proven right:

Apparently, College Assurance Plan (CAP), a educational preneed company headed by Director Robert John SobrepeƱa is in dire straits and needs money to settle maturing educational plans. This semester it has a P160 million liabilities to various schools.

To come up with the much needed money, the company is considering different options including loans, government buyout and share swaps with real-estate assets. This is where the Green Circle Properties and Resources comes in. Green Circle is a forest development (i.e. logging) company owned by a certain Atty. Romeo Roxas. The company holds thousands of hectares of logging concessions in Quezon (Gen. Nakar) , Dingalan and apparently, Baler.

"Roxas, through Green Square Properties and Green Circle Properties and Resources, is proposing to subscribe CAP shares worth P6 billion and pay for them by allotting parcels of land in Baler town in the eastern province of Aurora near Dingalan Bay." from

Roxas reportedly owns 30,000 hectares of land in the area. The Securities and Exchange Commission is holding its letter of acceptance to the proposal because of some snags. Some of the land titles being offered by Roxas is said to be owned by the government and some are earmarked for agrarian reform.

For the record, Baler, Aurora has a total land area of 9260 hectares.

Here are the sources: December 16, 2004. SEC lets CAP draw on trust fund; buy-in deal hits snag. 16, 2004. SEC OK’s CAP withdrawals CAP signs $300-M loan deal with US investment fund. CAP bares $300-M loan from US firm.

The Prelature Speaks

Words. In the January 10 inquirer column of Conrado De Quiros, he praised the recent statement of the cregy of Quezon, or the Prelature of Infanta (where Aurora is included) indicting the Government for the deaths in Quezon last December. The church statement was in reaction to the words, some of them coming from government officials, that the disaster was caused by nature.

" By speaking out against the crime, the prelature corrects yet another word that has been so widely bandied about, whose effect is to bury the dead in the mud twice over. That is the word "illegal," especially as affixed to "logging." By harping on "illegal" logging, government has exculpated, or tried mightily to, the true criminals in this case, which are the legal loggers, made so by the documents they carry from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Can anything be more idiotic than attributing the tons of logs that fell down the mountains and washed up to the sea to the nefarious activities of "illegal" loggers? Can anything be more idiotic than suggesting that the solution to that is to add more checkpoints to catch the “kainginero” [slash-and-burn farmers] and indigenous folk who operate on the fringes of the logging routes -- and often feed on them-and punish them "to the full extent of the law"?"

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Townsfolk warn of war on logging

from TIMBER FIRM VS RESIDENTS Townsfolk warn of war on logging. DINGALAN, Aurora, Philippines -- Residents of this typhoon-ravaged town are resisting government attempts to bring logs swept off the mountain to a sawmill, warning of war should this happen.

"If they proceed with the plan to take the logs out of here and bring these to Green Circle (Properties and Resources Corp.), I tell you there would be war," Benito Lopez, chair of the Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Umiray, the farmers’ association in Umiray village, told the Inquirer on Friday.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Olag Stories: The Catastrophe of December 27

The Catastrophe of December 27
by: Olag Zelasnog

December 27 was headline news the world over, that the quake that caused the tsunami demolished the nations around the periphery of the Indian Ocean. Not to mention the lost of life and severity of its economic impact, Aceh province in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia just 90 miles from the epicenter received a double dose of destruction. In the resort islands of Phuket and Phi-phi in Thailand, almost everything standing was swamped by the on rushing waves with tremendous velocity. And Sri Lanka, an island nation south of India, were turned into fields of debris and devastations.

But long forgotten and unknown to most of us, 349 years ago on the same date, 27 December 1735; similar catastrophic event occurred in the town of Baler. It was in the early morning around 2:30 AM that the town was engulfed by tsunami* or better known to the early years of the Spanish Missionaries as 'tromba marina' with tremendous proportion without no warning, that within an hour the town was gone. Fray Jose de San Rafael, the missionary of Casiguran who was on vacation in Baler and few accounted families** survived the deluge by swimming to the near by hill of Point Baja (Ermita). On his descriptive account of the destruction: “I was awakened by the Sacristan and informed me that the convent was moving, I rushed to the window to find out, and was shaken of what I had witnessed. The convent was being carried by the rushing sea When tide receded, there was no sign of civilization remains except the barren ground littered with scattered dead bodies and houses sheared clean by the on rushing waves with the exception of a few settlement further inland.”

The tsunami that struck Baler differs at present day tsunami, that in 1735, the only impacted area was mysteriously the town of Baler. Mission de San Miguel (Dipaculao, circa 1719) northwest of Baler did not experience the horrendous calamity, nonetheless, situated on the same shoreline. In Casiguran, ninety kilometers north of Baler did not even learn about destruction until sometimes later.

It was not long however, that a new Baler was built under the leadership of the parish priest with the help of the surviving families situated in an area belonging to Sitio Sabali and located a league away from the obliterated town.

What was significant about the present day disasters, it happened on the same date the old town Baler was so mysterious vanished from the map. Is that not weird? I come to think if it!


* Tsunami is a series of large waves usually generated by a violent undersea earthquakes. The word tsunami (pronounced tsoo-na'-mee) is composed of the Japanese words "tsu" (which means harbor) and "nami"(which means "wave")

** Based upon the story of Mang Alejandro P. Ferreras in 1935; some of the tidal waves surviving families were: the Angara, Bihasa, Bitong, Carrasco, Lumasac and Poblete.

*** The story was taken from; Fray Felix de Huerta, O.F.M.: Estado geografico, topografico, estadistico, historico, religioso de la Santa y Apostolico Provincia de San Gregorio Magno "Baler, Distrito del Principe" 1855, Manila, pp 279-282

for more Olag Stories, go to

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Seas of Our Minds

MLQ3's latest article in the Inquirer: Seas of Our Minds

An uncle remembers the (now) Aurora and Quezon Provinces of his youth, when people would set out in small boats to haul in tuna in such enormous quantities that boats were often in danger of being swamped. His memories are joyful ones: of abundance and community spirit.

The laughter of that generation will not be heard again, for those straits have long become ghostly expanses of emptiness. The tuna have long been fished out of the waters of his youth, and now only the merchant marines of more efficient states can catch tuna in abundance. But there is, too, the grisly, residual memory of the residents of Baler, Aurora, itself founded after the first settlement was destroyed by a tsunami in the 18th century.

Balikas - Barakong Kape

Edelio Delos Santos is the Editor-in -Chief of Balikas, a livelihood, environment, and community newspaper circulated in the Calabarzon, Area. He hailed from San Isidro, San Luis, Aurora. His regular column in the paper is Barakong Kape. This is his latest article:

Kwentong TV at Baha sa Aurora. Dumating ang ilang magkakasunod na bagyo na nagdulot ng pag-apaw ng Ilog Dikildit na katabi ng aming barangay. Sikat bigla ang San Isidro, halos kalahati ng aming barangay ay lumubog sa baha. Ang binahang bahagi ay ang Purok Tres, na tinatawag naming "Tondo," kung saan karamihan ng nakatira’y mahihirap na magsasaka. Ilang linggo ang inabot bago humupa ang tubig.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Logging didn’t cause disaster in Aurora town - Punongbayan

What's your say on this?

from manila bulletin online: Logging didn’t cause disaster in Aurora town - Punongbayan : Former Phivolcs chief Raymundo Punongbayan said that the recent "flash floods" which devastated barangay Paltic, the most populated village of Dingalan town which lies at the foot of the Sierra Madre, should not be blamed on logging activities.

Punongbayan, who conducted a study on the natural features of the area where an avalanche took place, said that a portion of the mountain range was deeply eroded, indicating that a huge volume of water caused the "flash floods" that set off massive landslides.

Most of the trees that rolled from the mountain had the root systems intact, indicating the uprooting of the trees from loose, water-saturated soil, said Punongbayan, a veteran geologist.

Personally, i think it would be very hard to explain to the people of Dingalan especially those whose houses were destroyed and family members were killed by clear-cut (chainsawed) logs.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Villa Now

Oplan Villa Aurora

Part 3 of Aurora Volunteers' relief operation in Villa Aurora on December 31st was another success. The Villa residents are now in Sitio Dimani and we were able to give them our small yuletide presents. Going to the place is another story, the road was one big landslide from Diteki to Villa, and i guess up to Labi in Bongabong. Most of the concrete roads are now gone or unusable and the road condition reverted back to the 1960's. Villa is one big mess of a place. All structures were either submerged in sand or covered with landslides.

Big thanks again to those who helped with the goodies and the actual operation. Thanks also for the pandesal, the lunch, the cake and the merienda. Our New Year felt much much better.

Some part of the road are so bad we have to get out of the jeep and walk. Notice the concrete double box culvert thrown out of the road.

Cooling off the engine. We were perched on the roof of the jeep because priority was given to the goods. During the operation, people were treated only as second class cargo.

Arrival at Sitio Dimani

Sitio Dimani, located approximately two kilometers from Villa Aurora is located on the top of the mountain and was relatively unharmed during the disaster. The place served as the evacuation area for the Villa residents. This is also where the dislocated Villa residents will be permanently relocated.

The small chapel served as backdrop for the relief operation. Priority were given to Villa residents

Large crowd turnout.

Tsunami Scare

from Aurora gov asks residents to stay alert vs tsunami . Some 300,000 residents of Aurora, a province about 200 kilometers east of here and facing the Pacific Ocean, have been advised to always stay alert for tsunami as historical records showed that the town had a brush with the killer waves in 1735, Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo has said.