Sunday, June 10, 2018

How tubá is made

Tubá is coconut wine, a delicacy of Cebuanos. It is extracted from a sapling that is about to bear coconuts. According to my dad, once there is a sprout, it will have to be slowly bent — over a few days — to bow so gravity will cause the sap to drip down.
The ‘trained’ sap will then be sharply sliced, revealing the veins from which each would have grown into a full fruits.
Twice a day, mornings and evenings, the sapling will have to be finely sliced to remove the dried out veins and reinvigorate the flow. The sap will be sweet and a delight to drink. During the world war, my cousin lost her mother and was fed liná, or what the sap is locally referred to — a mother’s milk substitute.
The cloudy sap is what the coconut tree would feed to fruit into young coconuts. After a day, the sap would turn a little sour hinting fermentation.

My mom loved the taste, flavor and the sweetness, especially the portion that she keeps cold in the fridge. But she could not explain — despite the medical doctor training in her — why she is wobbly after a glassful.

The sap will remain delightful for two to three days and then it would really sour into vinegar. The rusty color of tubá is derived from mixing powdered bark of mangrove, tungog, which makes the brew taste characteristically bitter.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Spot the wrong...

This photo appears to be not out of the ordinary, does it? It is the cashier station of the SM Appliance Store at the SM Seaside Mall just south of Cebu city.

But look closely. There is something very wrong the in they way they do business. Can you tell what it is? What could be the reasons for this? Please post in the comments section.

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Imagine: This guy and his close circle, just before the elections, must have already a good idea that they will win. They had a huge war chest from friends, and money from China some of which could have been channeled through his family. They had an army of online trolls supported by Russia and backed by firm know-how from years of sowing mind-manipulating and norm-challenging “information” that eventually distorted the Philippine, and the US elections.

When he won the election, imagine what he and his friends thought about what could be possible with the power and the legitimacy.

What could China want in return, Russia? What could explain his numerous trips to Russia, many of which are under raps and probably would never be reported in the media.

For him, fame and fortune lang yata yan — at 72, or so it seems. What has he got to prove? Perhaps a lot? That Davao is not a one-off, and that he could experiment with a much larger territory. How could he show-off a Davao?

Imagine: He is probinsyano (no discrimination intended) and know only a few people. So classmates were an easy reach? Dahil wala masadong kakilala kaya maraming pwedeng makikisawsaw; pwede nga kanya-kanya, baga.

With a year-and-half into the presidency, this guy surely is not acting alone. The interests of his friends and that of the two foreign powers could already be firmly in place. His only worry is that he needs to cover his backside as there is a relentless interest on the death squads, his undeclared wealth, the huge shabu shipment pointing to his network, and others.

Some of his friends could be hedging if and when we will not last the full-term. The largest investors probably by now have already staked their claim so that even if his term is short-lived, his successor would be left with no other choice except to pony up.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Opposition to the planned revolutionary government

Via email:

November 13, 2017

The Honorable
Delfin N. Lorenzana
Department of National Defense
DND Building, Segundo Ave.
Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City

Re: Opposition to the revolutionary government initiated by president Duterte

Dear Secretary Lorenzana,

I express in the strongest possible terms the plan by president Duterte and his administration to declare a revolutionary government. This would be unconstitutional.

The president took this oath, “I,... do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.”

If and when he declares a revolutionary government, he would have violated this solemn oath. He would have also disregarded the electoral process that had brought him to his current position.

We appeal to your office and to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to stay committed to defend the Constitution, and defend the nation from the rogue plans of this government.

Very respectfully yours,

Telibert Laoc
Mandaluyong City

Sunday, December 25, 2016

"A man's got to know his limitations."...

Fictional character police inspector Harold Francis "Dirty Harry" Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the film Magnum Force (1973) whispers to himself after rogue police lieutenant, Callahan's superior, Neil Briggs (Hal Holbrook) blew up in his car.  The bomb that killed him was planted by Briggs' cohorts and had been intended for Callahan.  The camera then zooms in on Callahan and the closing credits roll up.

Yes, I am taking about Duterte, the mayor of Davao who reportedly relishes the moniker "Dirty Harry".  He was 26 when the eponymous Eastwood starrer was released in 1971, and Magnum Force was sequel to Dirty Harry.  He might have fancied the nickname but he had long since murdered the character.

Callahan: It's not hard to understand how this could happen, the way things are. As incredible as it seems, there may be a sub-organization within the police force.  Sort of a death squad like they had in Brazil some years back. Damn.
Rogue motorcycle cops (Briggs' band) confronting Callahan: Do you have any idea how hard it is to prosecute a cop?
Callahan: You heroes have killed a dozen people this week. What are you gonna do next week? Kill a dozen more.  Is that what you guys are all about, being heroes?
Rouge cops: All our heroes are dead. We are the first generation...that's learned to fight.  We're simply ridding society of killers that would be caught...and sentenced anyway if our courts worked properly.  We began with the criminals that the people that our actions would be understood.  It's not just a question of whether or not to use violence. There simply is no other way, lnspector. You of all people...should understand that. Either you're for us or you're against us.
Callahan: I'm afraid you've misjudged me.

Briggs: I run the investigation, with your record, I can make anything stick.
Callahan: What I can't understand is, why you of all people?
Briggs: A hundred years ago in this city, people did the same thing. History justified the vigilantes, we're no different. Anyone who threatens the security of the people will be executed.  Evil for evil, Harry. Retribution.
Callahan:  That's just fine.  But how does murder fit in? When police start becoming their own executioners...where's it gonna end, Briggs?  Pretty soon, you'll start executing people for jaywalking. And executing people for traffic violations. Then you end up executing your neighbor 'cause his dog pisses on your lawn.
Briggs: There isn't one man we've killed that didn't deserve what was coming to him. Yes, there is. Charlie McCoy. What would you have done?
Callahan: I'd have upheld the law.
Briggs: What the hell do you know about the law? You're a great cop, Harry.  You had a chance to join the team, but you'd rather stick to the system.
Callahan: Briggs, I hate the goddamn system. But until someone comes along...with some changes that make sense,  I'll stick with it.  You're about to become extinct.  Living a bad dream in which all of us are the victims.

Callahan: A man's got to know his limitations.

Duterte himself has owned and bragged to have committed vigilante-type killings while mayor of Davao.  He rode his motorcycle and shot, just like the rogue cops -- taking the law in their own hands.  As president he has turned the presidency rogue and could turn our own police force rogue, if he hasn't already. His cheap movie has obituaries for credits.  It has to end now.

(Image source: