Sunday, May 29, 2005

Adventure Race Redux

The Island Paradise Adventure Race in Aurora last May 7 and 8 was really a multi-event 2-day affair. Being the lazy person that i am, I only watched the Labasin beach gig and only during the day. I did not bother going to San Luis to watch the participants while doing their "suksuk" challenge or to Digisit to see them race through Lukso Lukso. I opted to watch TV instead of watching the evening party and awarding night and i did not bother waking up early the next day to catch the genuine Igorots sending the participants off to their next destination. Fortunately, some people were more vigilant than myself. So here's the other parts of the action, provided by the good people of the Provincial Tourism Office. Pictures taken by Ferdie Delos Reyes with their spanking new Nikon D70.

San Luis Mayor Mariano Tangson guiding the participants through the delicate craft of sabutan weaving and how to do the "suksuk".

The award winning golden ladies of ASCOT await the racers at the finish line.

The racers enjoying their dinner at the beach while being serenaded by Baler Central School's Pangkat Kawayan - the real "bamboo the band".

Receiving a giveaway from Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, the wonderfully packaged lambanog called Casiguran, aka pure virgin coconut wine.

Early morning briefing - "O! wag masyadong damihan ang baong buko ha, bibigat ang sasakyan!"

A genuine Igorot tribe sending off the racers to their next pitstop. I wonder if they're doing the Dayang-Dayang.

The Payatots hauling their salbabidas.

The digisit race - how to conquer a mountain in five minutes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sining Silangan

I'm still reeling from the 7-day workshop called Sining Silangan held last week. It's an artfest/workshop organized by Jeho Bitancor with the help of Gov. Bella Angara-Castillo. It aims to find another Jeho Bitancor. It went well aside from the rain that ruined the closing party in front of Museo De Baler. The works of the participants are still on exhibit at the Museo. And while i'm still sorting through the hundreds of pictures taken by Olin and partner Mos, here are some teasers.

The kids of Category 1 (15 years old and below) trying their hands on pastel painting on felt.

A lesson in still life.

Landscape painting at Tibag.

Multi-awarded artist Noel Pama demonstrating how to do clay sculpture.

The older ones busy with their mural piece.

Performance artist Yuan Mor'O Ocampo leads the kids in an 30 minute epic of a performance art during the closing ceremonies of the artfest. First in Aurora.

Viewing the works at Museo De Baler.

All photos by Olin Duaso and Mos Moselina

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pasirit Moment

Here's a pasirit moment for you: Baler boy Joel Faraon testing the waves of Catanduanes. Picture taken by Olin Duaso.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dimasalang Falls

Dimasalang is a sitio of Brgy. Dimotol, Ma. Aurora, Aurora. It is one of the barangays along the Ma. Aurora - Pantabangan road and located halfway along the route, between Brgy. Dianawan and Galintuja. From the looks of the place - logged-out and mostly secondary forests, you wouldn't guess that the place shelters a great waterfalls called Dimasalang. It's a series of terraced waterfalls and is just a 30-minute walk from the road. Years ago, the local government decided to develop the place and a kilometer long concrete walkway was constructed. Along the path, they also put up concrete cottages for the would-be travellers to the place.

Then a group of indigenous people decided to form a settlement upriver, the source of the waterfalls. After they settled the water downriver was found to be contaminated and the Dimasalang Falls area was abandoned as a tourist site. I didn't know about this when we went there. I just found out about it when I asked some people in the tourism office why the place was not in their list of Aurora tourist spots. Anyway, the place is not really that "dirty". If you can stand swimming in the San Luis Dam (a popular picnic place) or Kinalapan River then this waterfalls is about 10 times cleaner. The waters are clear and aside from the mosses, you wouldn't guess that it is not that pristine. I guess the local government are just too touchy or too concerned about the health of their visitors.

Here are the pictures. I came with Donnel Gomez, Rommel Sindac and our guides Aurelio, Loreto and Ryan.

How to go there step 1: Go to the bus terminal and ride a D'Liner or any bus that will go via Pantabangan. We dcided on a Cabanatuan bound Wadi Laki D'Liner. The fare is 40 pesos from Baler or 30 if you're coming from Maria. If you have your own ride, make sure it can manage the 60 degree inclines of the road. You can also start from Cabanatuan if you're coming the other way.

One and a half hour later, were already shopping for energy drinks. Our choice is the good old quatro cantos.

The landmark is this huge stump of a tree in front of a small house. The concreted pathway - complete with pipe balusters- starts at the back of the house.

The pathway is already covered with grasses. Ready those lotions and alcohols.

Scene from the Exorcist.

Resting in one of the cottages. All of them are now full of graffiti, blank loves blank thing written with charcoal.

Ummm... trees.

This one's about to become a house post.

First look.

Ground level.

The free wallpaper.

The killjoy snake. More than a meter long and ready to eat all seven of us. No swimming in this spot.


Tagay mu!

Slide. This one is down the first falls.

View from the bottom.


Falls no. 2.

Back up the trail.

looting the iron bars start here.

Relaxing while waiting for a ride home. You're a supper star.

Free truck ride.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

No Vacation

Hey! I did not go on vacation. Last Friday we went to this abandoned tourist site in Maria called Dimasalang Falls. It's a great place but it was scrapped off the tourist sites of Aurora because of water contamination. More about this thing later.

Then there was a one day brownout in Baler but it lasted for three days where i connect to the net. This week we're busy with the Sining-Silangan Art Fest. More details about the event in the coming days.

BatangBaler Fund Drive

Hi! Once a year i switch on a begging mode to try to solicit funds for the maintenance of batangbaler. This is the 2005 edition.

June 12 is a special day for Batangbaler. Not just because it is Independence Day, but also because it is the deadline for its financial obligations. As some of you know, BB needs to pay for yearly hosting fees, domain registration, and other maintenance fees. The average yearly expenses of this website is 15 thousand pesos. Now it is expected to go higher because of the increase of visits to the website since November 2004. Before, the average daily visits of this site is 200 - 300. Now it receives from 300 to 500 visits per day. BB now regularly exceeds it's monthly bandwidth allocation of 5GB, and all excess bandwith needs to be paid monthly.

So i'm calling all good-hearted Balerians and Aurorans to please make Batangbaler your favorite charity this year. If you want to be a BB patron, you can donate any amount you want before the deadline - June 12. For information on how to donate, just email If you can't help financially, just pray for the continued existence of this website and for the good health of the webmaster.

Thank you for supporting Batangbaler.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

On A Whim

The other day, on a whim, I strolled from the "opis" all the way to Digisit, where the road up to PAGASA starts. It was the first time I went there since the December typhoons. Most of the houses, concrete and wooden, on the seaside were wrecked and the reefed beach is now back to it's pristine condition. At least until a few more months since the land "owners" are already reconstructing their resorts. Here are some of the pictures i took. The trip was a sure cure for "bonog".

Digisit Beach. That trimmed mountain point there is natural. No illegal loggers caused it. It's always been that way. Old folks call it "Pokpok na Bundok". (I earlier posted that it is called "Bundok na Kalbo". Thanks to Poppo Olag for the correction.)

This one is a wallpaper. Just click on the image to open the big one.

Anyaw. That big island was already "inangka" by some foreigner and he's building a house on top of it. I don't know if it was destroyed by the typhoon. I hope it was. Reminds me of Lizardo from Ang Panday.

The Digisit Falls (Poppo Olag again emailed a correction, this falls is actually called Natulo Falls and the area is called Natulo), where we used to get our sweet, cold and fresh water before the advent of "free-flowing" and the purified drinking water. The pipes are still there. There's a yellow "pro-environment" message grafittied (?) on a big rock in front of the waterfalls. It's ugly and should be removed. I will post the picture next time to prove my point.

The road less travelled.

Nothing beats chikka by the beach.

A boardwalk is being built from the seaside near lukso-lukso to the dapang bato, the platform to the best surf in Aurora - so far. Olin's dream come true.

Publisher Shot Dead in Aurora

from Publisher shot dead in Aurora town. Philip Agustin, publisher-editor of the Luzon weekly Starline Record, was shot dead in his daughter's home in Dingalan town, Aurora province, before midnight Tuesday.

from Publisher shot dead in Dingalan, Aurora. A publisher of a local newspaper in Dingalan, Aurora province was shot dead before midnight Tuesday by still undetermined number of assailants, DZMM reported Wednesday.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Ang Tagubilin

(Tagubilin ni Pedro Gomez sa kaniyang mga kapatid nang mahina na at malapit na sa kabilang buhay, at gayun din sa kaniyang mga pamangkin na mga ulila.)

Mga kapatid,lalo na ikaw Tomas, David, Sario, Dalicio, Leonides, Pedro at Felicisima tinawag ko kayong lahat, sapagkat nararamdaman ko sa aking katawan na ako ay nanghihina na,ibig ko ay habilinan kayo nang aking kaunting pangaral, na nais ko ay itanim sa inyong mga puso at patausin ninyo hanggang sa mga buto upang huwag ninyong malimot magpakailanman.

Ang nais ko, ay sapagkat buhat nang tayo ay maulila kay TATA at kay INA, namuhay tayo nang tayo ay parang hindi naulila sa pamamagitan ng aming pangangasiwa ni Tomas na inyong panganay, na kami pa lamang ang may hustong isip nang panahong iyon, na kayo naman hangga't lumalaki ay gumaganda ang ating pagsasamahan, pagsusunuran at sa lahat ng kilusan sa lahat nang bagay, maging mahirap at kaginhawahan ay hindi tayo nagpapabayaan. Ang nais ko ang gawaing ito ay huwag ninyong babaguhin, sapagkat tayo ay isang kapuri-puri sa lahat ng angkan dito sa Baler. Kaya't ang ating mga anak ay pilitin nating turuan sa ganitong ayos ng samahan.

Alisin niyo sa inyong mga puso ang masamang budhi, huwag ninyong samantalahin ang inyong mga anak, pamangkin na agawan nang karapatan na sila ay wala pang malay at matuwid, alisin ninyo ang pag iimbot sa ating samahan sapagkat diyan manggagaling ang ika-sisira at pagbagsak nang samahan.

Kaya't mag iingat kayo, huwag kayong pa aakay sa ilan ninyong mga kaibigan o iba pa mang mga tao upang sirain ang magandang ayos nang samahan, kundi bagkus kayo ang umakay sa kanila sa mga kabanalang aral at layunin sa ating mayabong at kasalukuyang ningning na pagsusuyuan.

Ito ay sinabi ko sapagkat hindi tayo maipagkakaila kangino man at ito ay hindi na tayo ang magpapatunay, kundi ang mga iba nang tao na nakababatid at nakakakilala sa atin.

Kaya't ito ay huwag ninyong dudungisan, ang ating pangalan na pinanggalingan ni TATA at ni INA, ay malinis ang puso at malinis ang budhi, ang gatas at dugo na ating inut-ut ay iisa lamang. Kaya't ang bawat tilamsik naman ng ating mga dugo at dugo pa ng ating dugo ay pilitin ninyong hubugin sa magandang aral at pakikisama.

November 9, 1948

More from The Pitstop

The Island Paradise Adventure Race is "a 9-day auto rally through 8 tourist destinations/provinces in Luzon based on a "on-time, all the time" system, featuring 35 teams. Each team shall be composed of 3 persons, one of whom will be required to perform certain physical and mental challenges at the control points and pit stops". The concept was borrowed by the Department of Tourism from the reality TV show - Amazing Race. Only here, the participants can bring their own car. It's a project of the DOT Region III and Baler is the first pitstop. The local tourism office prepared a grand welcome for the participants. It includes a fiesta-like setup at the beach which showcased the best of Aurora - foods, bazaars, parties, streetdancers and the komedya. At San Luis, the contestants were required to finish a sabutan hat before going to the pitstop.

I only checked out the Saturday afternoon gig and enjoyed the komedya and a pack of sistarong kibit. The event was well attended. There was also a night beach party which I hope was never spoiled by the rain (a regular summer thing in Baler - night time rains after a boiling-hot day). Then there was a send-off event on Sunday morning.

Check out the news about the race.

No swimming signs on some dangerous parts of the beach.

I think i've seen these flags before.

Nothing beats watching a komedya by the beach on a hot summer afternoon.

Free mura galore.

The buko girls.

From the balcony.

Hmm. These peeps look familiar.

Haute-couture Buhangin style

Cars with adspace.

Hey there are scratches on my Expedition!

The welcoming committee.

The usherettes.

The kids of the Pangkat Kawayan, dressed in bamboo green.

Spot your relatives.