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.

Baler on Google Print

Google Print has just been launched. I tried searching for Baler and I got some interesting results. Here's the result for Baler, Aurora. And for Baler, Quezon.

The book Girocho: A GI's Story of Bataan and Beyond by John Henry Poncio and Marlin Young is a great find.


This sign greets every funeral procession arriving at the Baler cemetery. The Undas week was extra rainy in Baler especially on Nov. 1 wheere it rained for 24 hours. I'm currently detox-ing from all the Gran Matador brandy i downed and the tons of foods I ingested during the break.