Caledian and Suklayin

Google Earth - Caledian and Suklayin in Arayat, Pampanga
Google Earth - Caledian and Suklayin in Arayat, Pampanga

Young people of Baler wouldn’t probably know where Caledian is. They would know Suklayin which is one of the big Barangays of the town and where the provincial seat of government is located. Caledian is now just a Sitio of Bgy. Suklayin. It probably got its name from “Kalye Diyan” (the street over there). It has no formal geographical boundary but it’s located along the Quezon highway somewhere between Gloria Street and the Provincial Capitol. The original Suklayin starts at the curve of the highway where the old DPWH (BPH) used to be located and ends at the boundary with San Luis, the place we call Welcome. We live in Caledian since I was a child so i have many fond memories of the place, but that’s another story.

The Google Earth picture above is of Caledian and Suklayin – in Arayat, Pampanga. Coincidence? Not really. That place used to be the farm of Manuel L. Quezon. I first read about a place in Arayat called Caledian from Manuel L. Quezon III’s column in the Inquirer where he wrote about his grandfathers’ farm called “Caleidan”. I wondered if there was a connection with the Caledian here in Baler. It turned out that Pres. Quezon and Mrs. Quezon named it after the place here in Baler, where they also had farms. They loved their hometown so much they made an “avatar” of it in a place that’s nearer to Manila. Of course they also brought in some Balerians to stay in the place to make it more authentic.

Poppo Olag, a retired US navy now living in the USA, read my short note here at Batangbaler and emailed me this:

You bet, the name of the Quezon’s Hacienda in Arayat were not only Kaledian but on the other side was Suklayin. We lived in the farm from 1940 until the outbreak of World War II. Tata Manuel was in charge of Kaledian Farm, while Mang Tomas Ranillo was in charge of Suklayin Farm. Tatay was in charge of the construction of Mt. Arayat National Park. Nonong and I used to climb the Ratilis tree at the back of their house. That was the good old days. We walked back to Baler from Arayat in 1942 when everything quieted down. And, where we settled down? Back to Suklayin!

So it turned out that there’s also a place beside Caledian in Arayat called Suklayin. And those places retained the names until now. So what happened to the farm in Arayat? The family of Manuel L. Quezon, being a champion of social justice and a trailblazer of agrarian reform, redistributed the land to its tenants and farmworkers. Which was also what he did in Baler. When he was president, he ordered a cadastral survey of Baler and gave two portions of lands to each family, a small lot at the Poblacion and a bigger track of land at the outskirts of the town. Most of the lands their family owned in Baler were also given away. Almost a century later, he is still remembered for those unselfish acts. I wonder how we will remember those who are now more into taking than giving.

Baler Artists Exhibit at UP Bulwagan ng Dangal

Baler Art Exhibit at UP Bulwagan ng Dangal
Baler Art Exhibit at UP Bulwagan ng Dangal

Complementing the still ongoing Baler, Aurora ethnographic art exhibit at Bulwagan ng Dangal, UP Diliman’s University Heritage Museum, is another showcase of artworks by Baler’s Dimalangat Arts Community. The exhibit will run from March 15 to April 30, 2010. Participating artists are Sherwin Paul Gonzales, Marvin Soriano, Ian Maigan, Roy Buen, Jazmin Pasion, Vincent Christopher Gonzales, Val Davidson De Leon, Rosanna Querijero, Ibunsod Querijero, John Blanco, Johann Bitancor, Amado Jimenez, Eufemno Amansec, Jaypee nidoy, and Erwin Preposo. The exhibit was made possible through the initiative of Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, with the guidance of Jeho Bitancor.

Bulwagan ng Dangal, the newest and largest exhibition hall of UP Diliman, is located at the basement of the Gonzalez Hall (University Library).

Photos from the opening of the exhibit can be viewed here. Courtesy of Mimin Pasion

The Art of Johann L. Bitancor

Jose Johann L. Bitancor
Jose Johann L. Bitancor

Before devoting himself full-time into painting, Jose Johann L. Bitancor has been a seasoned Visualizer/Graphic designer in the Philippines. As a designer, his practice ranged from exhibition designs to Advertising and Promotional materials for several Communications and Marketing Firms.

Upon his migration to the U.S. in 2003, he sought to further increase his knowledge and enrolled at the University of Memphis in 2004, during which he was also granted a scholarship at the Memphis College of Art in 2006. Very recently, his longtime passion for sculpture produced several works in wood. Coupled with relentless experimentation with materials, his works now include textural abstractions based on everyday life’s experiences.

A graduate of Fine Arts from Far Eastern University in 1996, Bitancor has exhibited his works in 50th Manila F.A.M.E. International-October 2009, World Trade Center, Manila, Philippines, Fiesta Resort Guam, Tumon Guam-November 12- 14, 2009 and Art in the Park, Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village Makati-Feb. 27, 2010 among others.

He was an active member of the Baler Art Group and 901 based in Memphis Tennessee.

Johann’s website:

More of Johann’s artworks:

Jose Johann L. Bitancor
Jose Johann L. Bitancor
Jose Johann L. Bitancor
Jose Johann L. Bitancor

Continue reading The Art of Johann L. Bitancor

Batangbaler @ iBlog 6


iBlog 6: The 6th Philippine Blogging Summit is the biggest blogging event in the country. I’ve been to 2 previous iBlog events as an observer and this year I will be one of the speakers. Heck, it’s still more than a month to go and I’m already nervous. I may be an instructor by profession but I still fear talking to a large crowd outside my territory. But this is a great chance to share my blogging experience to a national audience, so i will not let this pass.

My slot is on the second day (April 17) at 3:15 to 3:35 pm, right smack siesta time where most of the audience would be sleepy and looking at the exit door, which is good for me. My topic is about the Impact of Blogging to the Community aka How Not to Earn Money Online. This is just basically sharing my experience as a 10-year blogging veteran and how this website makes an impact to the Balerian and Auroran community. With my presentation, I hope some people in the audience would be inspired to blog about the small place on earth they call home and even though it is not financially rewarding, the emotional and personal benefits are more fulfilling.

iBlog 6 will be on April 16 and 17, 2010 at the Malcolm Theater, UP College of Law, UP Diliman, from 8 am to 5 pm. If you’re interested to attend, you can register here for FREE.

Please go to the event website for details and schedule.