End of the Road

Salamat. Merci beaucoup. Thank you.

It’s the end of the road for this blog.

It has been a roller-coaster ride.

And now, it’s time to move on.





World Heart Day Fun Run

I ran 5K today in celebration of the World Heart Day.

The event was organized by the Philippine Heart Association – Cebu Chapter in cooperation with the Philippine Heart Center – Medical Alumni Society. Since it’s for the HEART, the singlets were in white and red.

It was a good Sunday run. About 1,600 running enthusiasts came for the event. The number may be small since there were also other fun runs scheduled at the same time. One run is organized by the University of San Carlos and the other one took place in Balamban, Cebu. There was also an Alay Lakad (Walk for a Cause) at the city center.

In celebration, let me just post here the article from a pamphlet of PHA.


1. Ensure a healthy food intake – Eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and avoid saturated fat. Be wary of processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt.

2. Get active & take control of your heart health – Even 30 minutes of activity can help to prevent attacks and strokes.

3. Say no to tobacco – your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time.

4. Maintain a healthy weight – Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke.

5. Know your numbers – Visit a healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index (bmi). Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health.

6. Limit your alcohol intake – Restrict the amount of alcoholic drinks that you consume. Excessive alcohol intake can cause your blood pressure to rise and your weight to increase.

7. Insist on a smoke-free environment – Demand an tobacco ban and ensure your workplace is 100% smoke-free. Support the adoption of smoking-cessation services as these would encourage your employer to provide help to those wanting to quit tobacco.

8. Bring exercise to the workplace – Include physical activity in your working schedule – cycle to work if this is possible, take the stairs, exercise or go for a walk during your lunch breaks, and encourage others to do so.

9. Choose healthy food options – Ask for healthy food at your work canteen, or find nearby cafes or restaurants that serve healthy meals.

10. Encourage stress-free moments – while stress has not been shown to be direct risk factor for heart disease and stroke, it is related to smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating, which are risk factors for heart disease. Take time for lunch away from your workplace to get some fresh air and have regular breaks during the day – try stretching or exercising for 5 minutes twice a day.

Well these are just 10 suggestions. 10 Ways to be healthy. It’s entirely up to you if you want to achieve a healthy life.

Then try running.


Nasa Dumaguete ako kanina. No. I was in Dumaguete for a couple of days. Work has made me visit Dumaguete again. This time, I hooked the travel with something that I could do over the weekend.

Kanina, merong ganito sa may Quezon Park.

About 8,000 ang naka green shirt at tumakbo para sa Milo Marathon. Lahat kami gustong mabigyan ng sapatos na green and white for free. Ay hindi pala. Libreng olympic energy drink lang pala.

Nagbigay pala ang Nestlé ng pairs of rubber shoes to 140 lucky students of an elementary school here. Some of them may have written their names on the white foot patterns. Somehow, there’s a bit of owning some social responsibilities here, though corporate-backed, it’s for a noble cause.

I joined the 34th edition of the Milo Marathon. I chose to join here in Dumaguete because I missed out the chance in the Cebu City elims and that of Tagbilaran. I’m grateful for some friends who’d helped me out in the registration.

It’s my first 10K race. The previous races that I’ve joined were 5K events.  This is a bit special. Personally I’ve turned the notch higher (or in this case, longer) but I just decided to try the 10K for bench-marking.


So I ran 10 kilometers in an unofficial time of 1:04:19. Not bad I guess.

I’ll keep on running.

Ang-Pa-Pa (Angono-Pakil-Paete in Reverse) Part 3 of 3

The group decided to skip this ancient artwork arguably done by the earlier inhabitants of Binangonan.

It’s the petroglyph which Carlos Francisco, a national artist, discovered in the 1960s. To reach the petroglyphs, one has to take a long walk to the hills and must pass through a network of caverns. The path is not well lit and since it’s almost sundown, it would be too risky, both for the students and teachers, to visit the petroglyphs, so everyone agreed to go back to Metro Manila and bypass it.

It’s because we spent much time in Angono. This town was dubbed as the “Arts Center of the Philippines” probably because of several well-known artists who lived here, including two national artists, one was Carlos “Botong” Francisco for the arts and the other was for music, Lucio San Pedro.

The town itself is studded with art museums. We visited one of which, the Blanco Family Museum.

A family of painters is not so common in the Philippines. But for the Blancos of Angono, theirs is a mix of innate and developed talents for visual arts. The patriarch had a formal schooling (from University of Santo Tomas) while the rest had none. They were just trained and taught by the patriarch, Jose “Pitok” Blanco. Each of the kids had undergone a serious ‘baptism of fire’ or according to the tour guide, a thesis for compliance, wherein they have to produce a huge painting of a chosen subject and theme. Most of the subjects are about rural life, ethnic or folk, with huge emphasis on the play of lights, the clarity of facial expressions and attention to details.

The artworks in the Blanco Family Museum were clearly arranged according to the individual family member, starting with the youngest up to the head of the family, and culminating at a gallery where the vintage red car is also displayed. The sequence for every artist was such: from his/her first artwork then to his/her ‘thesis’ masterpiece, which are oftentimes huge and overwhelming, then finally to his/her latest works.

The individual gallery would start from the small paintings and then to the larger ones and finally to the obra maestra which were in huge frames occupying much of the gallery walls. Jose Blanco’s celebrated artpiece is this one:

This is his depiction of the Angono Fishermen’s Festival. It’s a huge painting filled with countless human figures of varied shapes, ages and sizes. The faces are distinct and different from each other, details of the faces are also very clear. Truly impressive on the technical execution. It’s a fine example of horror vaccui.

Here are some other amazing paintings in the museum:

Technically, a great painting. I’d say that this one has a great composition. Once again, the drama is in the use of light and shade. This is also a very huge painting. One would be drawn to the subject that is the boy but one could also be amazed by his reflection on the water. What’s fascinating also is how the dog and the orchids were painted heavily in details.

Captured emotions. Bro Bear explained to his class how the play of light could generate the drama of the painting.  The composition leans to the subject on the right portion, the focus being the woman with her hands raised in surrender to the suffering yet hope still clinging to her soiled clothes, arms longing for deliverance from the conflagration.

Happy colors on a sullen theme (pic from rizalbiz.com). And even though the theme is about the eruption of Mt. Mayon, bright colors were utilized and blended with the play of light to balance the gray and the darkness of the theme.

An intermittent subject and the basis for the family logo. I was not able to take a clear picture of this painting. But it’s a proof of how the family is attached to realism and to the themes  related to rural life. The basket of fish reflected the way of life in Angono, a town which is also located near Laguna de Bay.

This family of painters were able to freeze through oil paints and canvases several Filipino festivals and rituals. Many painting were about the Moriones Festival, the Pahiyas, the ritual of harvest by the Igorots, etc.

There were also serious themes of mother and child, of mother giving birth – assisted by a hilot (midwife), of a fishing scene, of a natural calamity and potraits of non-current Filipinos. I did not see any painting about the present day scene. They mastered the art of realism, but their subjects were heavily anchored on the era where women were dressed in baro’t saya and the men were clad in g-strings, linen pants rolled up to the knees and camizas de chinos. The paintings were like still images or photographs because when viewed from a distance, they seemed to look so real.

The museum greatly reflects how prolific the family is. The tour was quite extensive and long. Visitors learned to appreciate an unspoken yet obvious advocacy by the late Pitok Blanco. It is the preservation of culture and recording through visual arts, the Filipino tradition and practices. Those who chose to walk through the galleries were not only reminded of how lives of the Filipinos were centuries ago but also, they were led to appreciate how this family dedicated their talents to contribute to the preservation of the Filipino identity.

Angono’s soul is in the arts. It’s scions had fan the flames of art appreciation. From the Blanco Family Museum, we proceeded to Doña Aurora Street found several blocks from the town park. The street is known for its murals, sculpted artworks on the perimeter walls of the houses that lined the street.

This pic was taken while I was trying to sing Lucio San Pedro’s Ugoy ng Duyan. I remember this popular lullaby because we sang this in most of UPSA’s practice session.

The musical notes and the lyrics of the song were placed on the blue wall behind me. I instantly recalled the tenor part of the song. Lucio San Pedro was proclaimed a national artist for music in 1991.

Doña Aurora Street is lined with various concrete murals.

If the Blancos preserved the culture and tradition through oil paintings, Botong Francisco preserved culture and history in the form of murals. The entire strip was adorned with his depiction of several historical and cultural events. His works can also be seen at the National Museum branch in Butuan, Agusan del Norte.

There were also some other murals in the strip.

Arts and culture vis-a-vis with the people of Angono, or at least in Doña Aurora Street in Barangay Itaas.  A lot of people take this street on their way to hear mass every Sunday. We saw people hurriedly walking through. We noticed by-standers gawking at our every move. We were staring at the murals and we took time to check if we knew the subject of every concrete art. We were quite envious.

The people of Angono are lucky to have these art forms. We’re just not sure if they fully appreciated what these art forms have preserved.

Hindi Malilimutang Pinoy Quotes

Dahil nung Sunday, nagkaroon ako ng ideya para sa susunod na composition ko.

“Si Val, si Val, si Val! Palagi na lang siya ang may kasalanan! Si Val na walang malay!” – sinabi ito ni Vilma Santos bilang Stella sa pelikulang “Saan nagtatago ang pag-ibig.” Ito’y hango sa komiks (Tagalok Klasiks) na ginawang pelikula ng Viva Films noong 1987. Sa panulat ni Gilda Olvidado, ang kwento ay tungkol kay Val (Tonton Gutierrez). May pagkukulang sa pag-iisip si Val. Kapatid niya si Rick (Ricky Davao). Nabuntis ni Rick ang girlfriend niya na si Stella. Iskandalo kung iskandalo. Dahil ayaw ni Rick ng iskandalo, pinilit ni Rick si Stella na magpakasal kay Val. Takot kasi siya na matanggalan ng mana. Ayun, Nireto si Stella kay Val.

Ano pa kaya ang mga di malilimutang lines mula sa Pinoy films?


Ang Pa Pa (Angono-Pakil-Paete in reverse) Part 2 of 3

From Paete, we moved to the next town which is famous for the Turumba Festival.

It’s a festival that is observed between April and May or within the Lenten Season starting on Palm Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. The pilgrims call it Pistang Lupi. The central focus of the celebration is the Nuestra Señora de los Dolores or Our Lady of Sorrows. A huge crowd, some are the sickly and the invalid, would flock to Pakil to sing and dance in prayer that is the Turumba.

The oil painting of the Mater Dolorosa at the right was said to be the painting that was found by fishermen in Laguna de Bay. Story has it that it was one of the relics from a ship that was wrecked in the lake; the painting belonged to a missionary.  The fishermen left the painting on a rock. The women saw it there and told the parish priest about the relic, which in turn gathered the sextons and the clergy and brought the image to the church. They carried the relic to Pakil in song, dance and prayer.

As for the etymology of the Turumba, several origins were suggested. It could have been derived from the local work “turo” and “umbay”. Turo means to point while umbay refers to the elegiac poem or that of a slow and mournful music for the dead.

Some would say that Turumba was the sound of a drumbeat when the image of the Mater Dolorosa was paraded in a procession around town. Devotees carry Her in an anda on their shoulders and paraded Her in the streets of Pakil. They are accompanied by people who stomped their feet, danced and gyrated in a song of prayer and to the two-step beat.

Turumba is said to be one of the longest festivals in the country because it spans to at least 7 weeks of song and prayer. There is also a Grand Turumba Festival held every September 15  in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows. Pakil also celebrates the feast of San Pedro de Alcantara every October. But the biggest drawer of devotees and pilgrims is the Turumba Festival in the months of April and May.

The sleepy town of Pakil comes to life during the Turumba Festival. The center of activity is the old church of San Pedro de Alcantara. It’s an 18th century baroque structure with a façade that has clearer ionic and corinthian details than it’s neighboring Paete church. The convento which now houses the parochial office is attached to the church’s left side.

The church itself is Pakil’s main tourist attraction. Huge crowd of daytrippers and students visit Pakil on weekends. Tour guides lead them to the old religious and art pieces that are mostly carved from or made of wood done by the town’s craftmen. There is also a huge painting of Judicium Finale similar to Paete’s. The retablos and the altar are also intricately designed. I was reminded of how we embraced horror vaccui or the fear of empty spaces.



Visitors marveled on the collection of icons, all 14 of them at the main altar with St. Michael the Archangel on top. Several sets of statues placed in ornate wooden niches can be found at the sides and at the ends of the transept.

One of the most intriguing artwork in this church is the Judicium Finale by the Paeteño Jose Dans. Daniel Murphy had an interesting article about the painting which deliberately depicted the stratum of hell with only women in it. A painting at the Paete Church of the same subject of El Cielo, El Paraiso, El Purgatorio y El Infierno didn’t have the same perspective of hell.

A few step away from the church is the ancestral house of Danny Dalena. A typical bahay na bato, the house was reconstructed and converted into a museum. It is said that some of his artworks are on display in the museum. Unfortunately, Mr. Dalena was not available at that time, so we just had to look at the house-cum-museum from afar.

In this town, the dying art of whittling can still be found. If Paete is known for its wood carving industry, Pakil was once known for its whittled products. There is a clear divide between carving and whittling. The former is more of a European woodworking technique while the latter is more of an American style. They differ also in the tools they use. Carving may use a broad range of chisel and carving tools while whittling only utilizes a knife to shave off wood. Others deem the art of whittling as more of hobby unlike the art of carving which has, for centuries, been considered as a profession. Carving they say is a more advanced form of craft than whittling.

We were led to a shop of whittled products a few blocks from the Pakil church. Mr. San Gaspar had already prepared his tools for a brief demonstration of whittling. Whittlers only need a knife and a stick. I saw how he patiently shave off portions and portions of raw wood. A slow yet delicate process of cutting and paring unnecessary layers of wood, it lead to wonderful shapes like peacocks, butterflies, flowers and fans.

The art of whittling should be passed on to the next generation of Pakileños, otherwise, it may suffer a similar fate as the Taka of Paete. A dying artform in the Philippines, I just wish that whittling will not be shaved off from wooden cup of local arts and crafts. 

Next and final stop: Angono, Rizal

2020VAL and the Naga Run

First time kong dumaan sa bagong subway ng Cebu City. Actually ilang beses na ako magpass-through pero mula south papuntang north lang. Pero first time ko pumasok from the north end ng subway.

Pasensya na sa accompanying song en español. Wag nang mag-sing-along baka ma dedo pati kayo. Tapos.

Tapos na siya after 48 years. Promise ng Cebu City government na matatapos na siya by August this year. September na ngayon, kaya pwede nang mag may-i-pass through.

Mahaba ang tunnel, almost 1km. Nag-loan pa ang government from JBIC para masimulan na ang proyekto last June 2006. Dahil subway, sa ilalim siya ng Fort San Pedro at Plaza Independencia dumaan. Long and winding ang drama ng tunnel with matching lights and security guards sa magkabilang dulo.

Dahil first time ko, napa-isip ako kung ano ang nasa dulo ng tunnel.

Actually, wala akong naisip.

Pero alam ko kung bakit kailangan kong magdrive down south. Ito’y dahil kailangan kong pumunta ng Naga.

Sosyal naman. Maglo-long drive ba ako papuntang Naga? Bakit di na lang ako lumipad papuntang CamSur. Teka teka lang. Eh bakit ako nagda-drive pagawing South eh nasa Norte and Bicol?

Nag-monologue ba? Hindi sa Camarines Sur ang punta ko. Kundi, dito.

Ito yung marker ng bayan ng Naga, Cebu. Ang parokya ni San Francisco de Asis. Sunday na sunday, kaya maraming tao. Pero hindi po ang pagsisimba ang pinunterya ko rito.

Malayo ang Naga. 18 kilometers from Cebu City. Isang industrial town ang Naga. Pero naging city na siya ngayon. Kontrobersyal nga ang cityhood nito. Wag na tayong maki-sawsaw. Baka mag-isip pa ang Supreme Court na i-reverse ang decision at ma-demote pa ang Naga sa pagka-city.

Naghanap ako ng parking space para kay ZeeWee. Dumaan ako sa plaza, sa city sports center, sa bagong city hall, punung-puno ng sasakyan ang parking lot. Inikot ko ang park, ang medical clinic, at ang police station sa tapat ng badminton court. Puno rin. Nagpasya ako na dun na lang sa tabi ng tennis court magpark. Na-realize ko, medyo complete and compact din and centre-ville. Kaya maraming tao dahil halos andito na lahat ng pwede mong puntahan, pwera lang sa palengke na naandun sa likod ng simbahan, pero walking distance lang.

Nauhaw ako. Kaya diretso ako sa isang barbecue stall na merong refreshment. Eh walang bottled iced tea, kaya GO na lang ako sa isang bote ng Mountain Dew. Habang hinuhugot pa ni manang ang malamig na softdrink, nagulat ako sa naapakan ko.

2O2OVAL. Confused ako kung 202 OVAL ba ang pagbasa or 20-20-VAL. Tinanong ko si manang.

Sa taong 2020 pa mag-e-end ang term ni Mayor Val,” reply ni Manang sabay abot sa akin ng yellow-green na bote ng softdrink.

Lalo ako na-confused. Bakit ganun? Ang alam ko, 3 years lang ang isang term ng alkalde. Bakit dito, 10 years in the making ang pagiging mayor? Nasa ibang planeta ba ako? May binago ba sa local government code o sa konstitusyon?

Hindi na ako nag-tanong uli. Baka lalo pa akong mauuhaw. Masyado na akong uhaw kaya sa mismong softdrink ko na lang binaling ang mga tanong ko.

Refreshing ang Mountain Dew. Turn around and walk away ako pagkatapos.

2020VAL! With conviction talaga. With confidence. Naka-contrata for 10 years. Ano kaya yun?

Siguro love-na-love siya ng mga constituents nya. O di kaya, magaling siyang public official. Dehins ko alam kung ano ang rationale behind the code. Almost everybody knows what the code is all about. Everyone in Naga. Except me. Naturalmente, hindi ako taga-dun.  Tinalo pa ang DaVinci code. Sikat ang 2020VAL dito sa Naga City.

Pano naman kasi. Halos kahit saan ka lumingon, makikita mo ang code na ito. 2020VAL is everywhere.

Sa utility truck.

Sa ambulance.

At pati sa tarp ng Naga 10K Fun Run.

Si Val, Si Val, puro na lang si Val. Si Val na walang malay. . . Ehem-ehem. Vilma Santos, saan nagtatago ang pag-ibig? 

Ayan. Ang sadya ko po sa Naga ay para sumali sa fun run na ito. Eh kasi ba naman, hindi ako nakapag-enrol sa Milo Marathon. Zerowena chance na sumali sa Milo run kaninang umaga. Bitterness is next to ugliness ako, kaya eto, nakahanap ng running event on the same day. Go ako dito.

Hindi totoo na walang malay si Val sa mga nangyayari. Andun nga siya nung magstart na ang takbo. Nagbigay pa nga ng short inspirational message. Andun din siya sa awarding of winners. Galing nga eh. Charter Day na, Birthday celebration pa, and with matching fun run. Bongga.

Pero in fairview, organized naman ang fun run. Maayos naman ang traffic management habang rumarampa kami sa highway ng Naga, sa ilalim ng matinding sikat ng araw. Merong water stations, meron ding marshalls. Carry lang, kahit pawis na pawis at pagod ng slight sa kakatakbo. Fun ba yun? Slight. Kasi andaming mga echosera sa daan. Halos lahat sila, naka-smile. Feeling artista ako dun.

Ako naman, first time mag fun run sa hapon. Most of the races kasi ginagawa sa umaga, starting early. Bukang liwayway ang tema.  I’ve tried the Energizer night race.  Siyempre iba yun. Hindi kailangan ang payong at sunblock nun.

For fun! For Fitness! For Recognition!

Go! I say For 2020VAL!

Echosz only. Di ko naman siya close eh.

I say, For the Life of Me!

Naga 10K Charter Day Run started at 4pm. Kaya alive-alert-awake-enthusiastic pa si Haring Araw. Naglagay pa ako ng Olay moisturizer sa mukha. Hindi naman umobra. Nilisan lang nila ang mukha ko while I ran the course. Pocari Sweat na ang visage ko 2Km into the race.

Mabuti naman at natapos ko ang 5Km na buo pa ang hasang ko at kumpleto pa ang sampung mga daliri, kamay-at-paa. It’s always a great feeling to reach the Finish Line. Iba talaga pag-nakatapos. Kahit di ko nabasag ang personal record ko, I was happy that I took part in that afternoon run. It was a different experience. Another singlet collected.

I’ll keep on running!