We were invited as one of the judges in the Lantern Making Contest organized by the Provincial Capitol as part of this year’s Paskong Handog ng PGA last December 8. It’s the first day of the program that also includes the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, a program for kids featuring the Jollibee mascot, Christmas bazaar and nightly shows at the Capitol grounds.
Almost thirty lanterns made from recyclable materials were entered in the competition. There’s supposed to be a lantern parade but rains caused by typhoon Ruby got in the way. The “parols” were judged based on originality, craftsmanship and use of recycled/recyclable materials, and overall impact.
First Place – NFA. The “parol” was made from garlic and onion skins, grounded egg shells, rice, rice husks, and tahong shells.
Second Place – DPWH. Made from dried coconut flower parts, plastic bottles, and PVC pipes.
Third Place – PGSO. Made from welded iron bars, metal screens, cans and air filters.
The lanterns will be on display at the Capitol until the first week of January.
Last year we posted some Google Earth images of Aurora province and noted that some areas like Northern Aurora already have high quality images but Baler is still stuck with crappy satellite images. Earlier this year Google Earth updated with high quality images of Baler and some places in Central Aurora. The latest timestamp is July 2014 so they’re pretty much up to date. Here are some images of Baler taken from space. You can check out Google Earth if you want to see a view of your roof.
Baler Poblacion area.
Baler Poblacion and Sabang Beach area.
Baler Municipal Plaza on center. Baler Church and MCC compound on left.
I’m slowly uploading photos of my recent solo motorcycle road trip from Baler to Dinadiawan. I started taking photos at Amper and frequently stopped to take pictures of great views at Ditale, Diarabasin, Borlongan, Dianed and Dinadiawan. The roads were already concreted all the way to Dinadiawan so taking the trip is a breeze. The photos are at the BatangBaler FB Page.
I’ve been monitoring Google Earth for sometime waiting for high resolution photos of Baler and other towns in Aurora. Last year they updated the low-res images of Baler to slightly better but still low def satellite photos taken in 2010. This month, the images of Baler and some parts of San Luis and Dipaculao were again updated with the same crappy and now black and white photos. But, while Google Earth provides no joy for Aurora’s capital town, some places, especially up north are getting nice snapshots. Here are some screencaps I made for your viewing pleasures. Click on the images to biggify and see if you can spot your roof in the pictures.
Low-res 2010 picture of Baler, Aurora. Some big structures could be identified. From this picture, you can tell that Baler’s town plan is a mess.
A slightly better but black and white picture of Baler.
Just giving you peeps a heads up on some photo sets you might have missed while this blog was stuck in the Facebook universe. Here’s a photoset of a typical Palengke Day in Baler, Aurora. Baler market day happens every Saturday and its the best day to go to the market. It’s when the palengke goes overdrive and sellers from everywhere are allowed to set up shop at the parking area beside the market. The photos in the FB album were taken last January 2013.
Pamumukut is the local term for baby purse-seining, where a purse-like net called “pukut” is layed out offshore and pulled on both ends like a drawstring from the shore by persons called “mamumukot“. Pulling the net is a choreographed movement, similar to doing the cha-cha. Back in the days, anyone who wanted to get free fish can help in pulling the “pukut” and he will be given a share of the catch. However, this type of fishing was outlawed years ago because of its negative effects on fish stocks. In Baler, there are months when it’s allowed in certain areas and this month, September, is pukut season.
It’s been years since I last saw a live pukut event. Luckily I managed to witness one on Labasin Beach last Sunday, September 14. Check out the pictures:
After about two hours of pulling the net, the day’s catch is about five kilos of small fishes and another five kilos of trash. That’s how it goes, says one of the mamumukot, sometimes you catch many fishes, sometimes you catch nothing.
Back in the 70s and 80s, Dicaloyungan River was one of the best picnic places in Baler. It’s near the town and there was a big natural swimming pool just by the road. Here’s two pictures of the old place taken from the 1978 MLQ Centenial Yearbook:
The original caption from the yearbook reads:
In the midst of the Sierra Madre Mountains surrounded by wide coconut plantations and lusty vegetation is the popular Dicaloyungan Week-end Resort – famous for picnics, outings, dancing and other recreational activities. Constructed and being maintained by the Aurora Engineering District, DPH.