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”.

Continue reading Adventure Race Redux

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.

Continue reading Sining Silangan

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 look of the place – logged-out and mostly secondary forests, you wouldn’t guess that the place shelters a series of waterfalls called Dimasalang. The terraced waterfalls 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 travelers 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 the water in the area is about 10 times cleaner. The waters are clear and aside from the mosses, you wouldn’t guess that it’s not that pristine. I guess the local government is 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.

Continue reading Dimasalang Falls

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 [email protected] 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.

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.

Continue reading On A Whim

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.