Friday, September 23, 2011

Brgy. Linao

Two kabaws (Philippine Buffalos) wallowing in this clear river of Brgy. Linao. A common sight at the deep portion of the river downstream.
 Barangay Linao got its name from the pristine water flowing along the course of Inopacan River. The freshwater would somehow settle for a while on lowly plain before it proceeds to flow downstream toward the sea in Inopacan bay. The pond of water formed by the settling water is called “linaw” in local dialect, which is basically Bul-anon (Boholano). Thus, it became the name of the place where this pond is can be found and became Brgy. Linao.

Villagers in the barangay and neighboring places would gather here for a swimming picnic, especially when celebrating special occasion in the family and other social gathering such as birthday celebration, baptismal celebration, graduation party, despedida (farewell party), bienvenido (welcome party) and during liwas sa pista (day after the barangay fiesta) for the “hugas”, which literally means “to wash” that connotes the traditional swimming in the river where remaining food in the fiesta were brought and eaten till the last piece is consumed.
The creek in Sitio Bacung-bacung is actually part of the smaller river in town also known by its name as the subang gamay (a rivulet). This portion  is the upstream of subang gamay that separates Brgy. Linao from the town proper of Inopacan. A potpot (pedal-powered tribike) crosses the concrete bridge (used to be a bridge made of wooden planks) that connects the Brgy Linao to Poblacion (town proper)
Another common sight in Inopacan river are groups of early morning bathers (locals and vacationers) and people washing their laundry like what these folks are doing in Sitio Bacung-bacung, Brgy. Linao.   
Locals would also fetch their drinking water from the tubod (spring) that have been dug alongside the river like the boy here fetching two gallons of potable water and the men with big plastic water container (jerry cans) for use in their houses.
Bathers, kabaws, and motorcycles (sometimes pedicabs, cars or jeepneys) are sharing the river
On ordinary days, local villagers would hunt here some fish, shrimps and tu (a species of small-sized river crabs) and baki sa tubigan (freshwater frogs) for their food, while some farmers would bring their kabaw (Philippine buffalo) for a dip when days were hot so to keep them cool. Until now, some kabaws are still seen wallowing in the river to these days. We could also find cars, tricycles and motorcycles come by for a wash at the downstream portion of the river near the Brgy. Linao bridge.

Because of Spanish influence, the spelling of “Linao” was used in some literary records and official documents in town and is still used now. Yet both “linaw” and “linao” have the similar diphthong sound in the second syllable.
The upstream portion of Inopacan River in Brgy. Linao that curves at the foot of a crag.
After the many flooding in the river and avulsion of riverbanks over many decades, the “linaw” eventually disappeared and what is left now is a flowing river of cool, clear water that curves at the foot of a rocky wall or crag. Though the water is no longer staying still as it used to be, the local folks and their guests would still come to have a swimming picnic in this portion of the Inopacan River.

A habal-habal motorcycle is negotiating the Brgy. Linao Bridge to cross over the Inopacan River.
Brgy. Linao is basically agricultural where some villagers are tending to their coconut farm while few are cultivating their rice fields. Other agricultural products in the barangay would include bananas (plantain), bamboos, and some seasonal fruit-bearing trees.

The place had long been accessible through one of the major rural roads in town. Jeepneys, pedicab (motorized tricycle), potpot (pedal-powered tribike) and habah-habal (a single motorcycle that offers a ride to passengers) are plying along this road. Considering that Brgy. Linao is just less than a kilometer away, one can simply walk his way to get there from the Poblacion (town proper).

These are the common mode of transportation plying the rural road that passes by the Brgy. Linao bridge. A jeepney (above), habal-habal (middle) and pedicab (below)..

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuba - the ever popular coconut red wine in Inopacan

(Left) Holding a tagay while on the floor spread with Inopacan-made banig (woven palm mat) This one in the picture is bag-ong dawat (newly gathered tuba, i.e. less than 24 hour-old tuba) and can easily be identified as it is typically effervescent (bubbling, notice the ring of creamy froth on tuba inside the gallon) as the fermentation has just begun; (Right) Two years ago, Nanay Pita offered me this glass of fresh tuba chilled in cracked ice. Sweetish! (I mean it literally)
Freshly gathered tuba is actually creamy in color if tungog is not yet blended into it. Tungog is a dried bark of a particular species of mangroove tree that would give tuba its maroon-orange color and bitter taste. Tungog would prevent the coco sap from becoming sour and allows tuba to ferment and become bahal, then to become bahalina or siete biernes. The process of tuba-making in Inopacan would make tuba more desirable the longer tuba is fermented and the longer it is stored to age, the better it would become.

(Left) A bundle of tungog bark, the kind used by manangguete in Inopacan; (Right) Tungog is pounded into small bits (or even smaller bits than what is shown in the picture) when used as fermentation agent in making tuba.

Tuba is the most popular native wine in town. This bloody colored wine when shared by fellow Inopacnons tantamount to a ceremonial celebration of continuous friendship and bonding much like that of a blood compact. This organic wine is most affordable and plentiful for a meager budget one can afford to buy a drink. This wine would magically turn someone from being reserved to become a verbosely master of the show. Once it gets into your veins, it would kick warmly to awaken your timid blood, thus virtually make you brave that no mosquito would even dare to sting your numb skin.

It is a symbol of pride for Inopacnon to serve their guest the best tuba in town. Sharing some tagay of bahal is a celebration of companionship or friendship. But when bahalina is served, it is considered a royalty treatment or it must be for a special celebration.

There are at least three common way of serving tuba in Inopacan, one is sinagolan, another is may chaser and the manly puro.

  1. sinagolan - tuba is blended with lots of cola (Coke or Pepsi) making the wine very sweet and fruity to your palate and throat
  2. may chaser (tsineseran) - literally said, tuba served with a chaser of cola or any sweet drink, such as juice, chocolate drink, sweetened coffee, etc.. the chaser is immediately served after swigging tuba. You dare to savor first the true taste of tuba then iron out your squirming face with a chaser.
  3. puro - from the Spanish word puro (meaning "pure"). One has to swig a tagay of pure tuba without sipping any chaser afterward. This will surely give you the truest meaning of saying "Ahhh!" to a drink.

Tagay is that serving of wine poured in the glass
A lot of Inopacnons are well versed in tagging the quality of tuba by its smell, transparency in color and by knocking a glass container (usually a gallon or demijohn) filled with tuba. The sounding of "tonk! tonk! tonk" and "tink! tink! tink!" is more often enough to gauge how old the wine is. Telling the age is important; the older, the better.

And nothing is spared by the ingenuity of Inopacnons that even the kisom (sourness) can be easily masked with cola drinks as pangsagol (mixing ingredient) or by the sumsoman (food served in drinking session).

You must have missed something good in Inopacan if you have not experienced the taste of tuba, the one of a kind we have in town.

For the benefit of those who do not know how tuba is produced and collected from the coconut tree and how tuba from being bag-ong dawat would become a bahalina, read the following paragraphs lifted from Edgie Polistico's Philippine Food and Cooking Dictionary.

tuba – (tu-bâ; Visayas, Mindanao, Quezon & Lagueño native wine) [n.] coconut red wine (Visayan & Mindanawanon) coconut wine (Quezonian & Lagueño) \palm toddy.

In Quezon and Laguna provinces, this is turbid or milky white in color as it is served pure by the tuba gatherer, but must be consumed immediately in one or two days from harvest; beyond that, the tuba sours to become vinegar.

This same kind of harvested palm toddy is made red or maroon in color in Visayas and Mindanao due to the mixture of pounded or ground bark of tungog (a.k.a. barok) to allow the coconut wine to ferment and help prevent tuba from becoming sour.

The making of tuba starts when the tuba gatherer called “mananguete” climbs a coconut tree in the early morning. While on top the coconut tree, he would sit on the base of palm’s frond and looks for a newly sprouting bud of bunch of coconut flower that is still completely encased in its green pod (takong). The bud of coconut fruit (inflorescence) is lopped off by slicing its very tip using a razor-sharp sanggot (scythe) to cause the sap to ooze out from the bud. The stalk of the wounded bud is then pushed down to force it to bend and to position its tip to point downward making it easy to collect the dripping juice as it drips.

A container called pasok (small and short bamboo tube with a diameter enough to fit the size of the bud, also called sugong in the western part of Leyte) is then attached by inserting the wounded tip of the bud into the mouth of pasok and sealed by wrapping around a sheat of ginit (coconut sheat) and tying it securely with lapnis (strips from coconut frond’s bark or strip of rattan). This is done to prevent the rainwater from contaminating with the collected sap if the rain comes. With the availability of plastic cellophane and synthetic straw string, ginit and lapnis are sometimes no longer used as wrapper and binder.

Pasok is then left hanging on the tip of the bud for the whole day to collect the slowly dripping sap. The mananguete would climb down and proceed to another coconut tree to do the same routine.

By afternoon, the mananguete would climb back to gather the juice collected in the pasok and pour it into the hungot or kawit (big bamboo pole container) brought along by the mananguete which he hung behind his shoulder (a wooden hook that fits the shoulder is attached on it, making it easy to carry up and down in the tree). The emptied pasok is then cleaned using a pitlagong (bamboo plunger, also called patok or patek in Ilonggo) that would scrape off the sediments left behind and the assorted kinds of insects that came into it. The waste is thrown out by tapping the pitlagong on the frond of coconut palm.
1)The manangguete (tuba gatherer) lops off the bud of coconut fruit (inflorescence) using a razor-sharp sanggot (scythe). Refreshing the wound will assure continuous oozing of sap from the bud. 2) A bud of coconut fruit (inflorescence) still encased in green takong (coconut pod)

Then the tip of the bud is sliced off again to freshen the wound so that the coconut juice would continue to ooze out and drip. This is necessary because an old wound retards the oozing out of sap from the bud. The pasok is placed back on the tip of the bud before the mananguete would climb down

At the ground, the collected tuba is stored in glass or plastic gallon; and if plenty, it is stored in damahuwana or damahan (demijohn) that is now commonly replaced by 5-gallon plastic container shaped like a jerry can.

1) Tuba content is transferred from the sugong (bamboo tube) into the damahan (5-gallon container) in Sitio Tabuk, Brgy. Tao-taon, Inopacan, Leyte; 2) PET bottle is now used as receptacle to collect the dripping sap. Conventional receptacle is one made with bamboo tube. This sanggotan (coconut tree cultivated to produce tuba) is at the Reclamation Area (Pasil) that I found along the dike of Inopacan river.

Everyday thereafter, the mananguete routinely tend to the same coconut bud until about half of its length is totally sliced off and the bud’s takong (pod) would start to burst open and the tentacle-like stalks (butay) inside are no longer tender. When freshly gathered from the coconut tree, tuba is milky-white in color, tastes sweet, and effervescent (continuously producing tiny bubbles creating a cream-colored froth). This freshly gathered tuba, with no tungog in it, is said to be good for nursing mothers (as a last resort).

The unblended tuba will last only for one day as it immediately turns sour on the next day that eventually becomes sukang tuba on several days more. If the freshly gathered tuba is mixed with tungog (a.k.a. barok), it tastes bitter-sweet and turns reddish-orange in color. If tungog is added the earliest possible time, as if the juice is still in the pitlagong or sugong, the coconut sap is prevented from immediately becoming sour, instead the tungog-blended juice would ferment and would be aged over time to become bahal or bahalina. A tuba that is freshly fermented with tungog and still effervescent is called bag-ong dawat (a day-old or freshly gathered tuba).
1) A newly gathered tuba would froth to the brim. It is typically effervescent for bag-ong dawat (a day-old tuba); 2) The typical sanggotan (coconut tree cultivated to produce tuba) in Inopacan.

After about 12 hours of fermentation, the effervescence stops and the coconut wine becomes bahal (or lina in some other places), meaning the wine is a full pledge tuba. For the first 2 weeks, tuba is filtered by siphoning to decant it out from its storage, leaving behind the lawog (sediments) that settles at the bottom of the container.

After a month of fermentation, tuba is called bahalina that is darker in color and tastes and smells like a fruit red wine. The longer it is aged the better it becomes. Tuba must be stored under shade, better if not totally exposed to any form of light, that is why some tuba maker bury their jars of tuba in the ground or hide them inside the house and covered the jars with black cloth to avoid the souring bacteria to subsist that is responsible of the souring of tuba. The container must also be filled up to its brim, devoid of any air inside, and tightly sealed the opening to prevent the airborne souring bacteria from contaminating the coconut wine. A contaminated tuba will tastes sour and becomes vinegar called sukang tuba.

For more about tuba, click here

Monday, June 13, 2011

Do you know Indong Bangka?

Fishing boats idling at the mouth (delta) of Inopacan River in
the Reclamation Area (Pasil), Inopacan, Leyte.

This is where the legendary story of Indong Bangka was unfolded

All photos by Edgie Polistico - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Inopacan has many legendary stories to tell. Aside from Inong Pak-an, let me also reintroduce to you the extraordinary power of "Indong Bangka," known as the Samson of Inopacan. He was known to have an extraordinary strength that people resorted to his help when there is a need to lift a huge boulder, timber, machine, etc.. He became well known in our town early before the World War II broke out. He became famous after one day all the people in town kept on wondering who caused the bangka (big passenger boat) that ran aground for several days to have it floating back to sea in the middle of the night. The mysterious incident occurred at the mouth of the Inopacan River, or that portion between Pasil (now reclamation area) and Badoy Beach. By word of mouth, the news spread like wildfire about a big boat that was carried single-handedly by Indong himself in the middle of the night. Because big boat is called "bangka" in our town, it was then that people started calling Indong as "Indong Bangka."

There were some narration from our old folks that Indong also helped carry or lift huge timber (troso) in some house construction, and he did it also at night. It's uncertain if the darkness of the night had something to do with his extraordinary strength or simply he was just too shy to show it off.

If you know some stories about Indong Bangka or some details as to who was the owner of the boat, what was the name of the boat, where Indong used to live, his family, his epic in life, etc. & etc., please share it here so the people around the world would know and became interested about Inopacan and us Inopacnons.

This would also help preserve the unwritten stories and history in our town. Somehow this literary compilation of Inopacan's past would be our valuable legacy to our children and future generations.

Felix Perandos sent me the following:

Edgie, you might not so familiar with me but i know your father well. Back home, im more known to as "Elfix" rather than Felix. Youngest son of Crispen Compendio Perandos & Queteria Payot Beltran from Pasil, Sto Rosario. I used to be the school artist (taga-himo mga charts & evrything sa I.I. before, hence i was exempted in Experiments, hehehe) I'm fond of drawings & commercial arts, T-shirt printing, cards, etc. I'm currently working as AutoCAD optr and as a Sales Engr.

I loved hearing stories like this ever since i was a kid. Mostly, we hear them during early nights near the seashore while we're waiting for the fishermen.

Well, i've heard some stories about Indong Bangka before from my neighbor fisher-folks in Pasil area. Some says that the reason why Indong" did his feats mostly at night because he has some secrets. They suspected that he uses improvised levers, pulleys, rollers & the likes in moving grounded bancas, timbers other heavy objects just like how the Ancient Egyptians build their great Pyramids. It was'nt confirmed though before because they never actually saw him or had any evidences to challenge Indong's reputation & strength. So the legend still stands through the times.

It was told that he has a relative or let's say,a "descendant" in the name of Hermogenes Dominisi or "noy Mohing" in vernacular. He used to live near the Place of Justin Espinosa (Beside the Industrial Arts Bldg of Inopacan Central School, going to the Slaughterhouse (Abattoir) of Inopacan. I personally knew the man & he's very strong too. He can almost single-handedly carry the whole (fishing net) locally known as "Baling" at one end against 3 or 4 men at the other end of the carriage.His wife,nang Persing used to sell "native Nilugaw" (landang) very bulky body & walks just like the incredible Hulk in the movie.

There was allegedly another, relative of Indong in the name of "Tiago" but unfortunately, i never really have much story to tell about him except that he used to lived near Pasil Area near the mouth of Inopacan River... Thanks!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

IGF must register with SEC as Charitable Institution

IGF seal design by Inopacan Global Family
Yesterday morning (at 11:00 AM to be exact on 08 June 2011), I received a text message from Mr. Boy Luego asking me to comment about the Inopacan Global Family (IGF) and his dinner meeting with Mayor Loloy Lumarda in Inopacan last 14 May 2011 wherein they talked about the story of Inopacan and the promotion of tourism in our Cuatro Islas. He also asked me to help in the rehabilitation of the erstwhile Inopacan Institute.

I thanked him for making me that important, for asking my thoughts about the IGF and the projects they were discussing about. Boy is one of my FB friends for quite some time around. His being Luego gave me hint that he is related to the Luego’s I met before in town (that include Cris Luego my old next-door-neighbor, playmate and classmate in Inopacan Elementary School), and to some Luego’s I met in some of my travels in Cebu. I found that Boy is actually now in Consolacion, Cebu. This guy first called my attention when he followed some of my blogs that include "Inopacan, Leyte and the Inopacnons" and the "Inopacan Institute" where he left some flattering comments.

I promised Boy to pop him a message here in FB. Thus, I could not go to bed now bringing my collected thoughts in my sleep on how could I address the topics he brought up in his text message.

I strongly recommend to the organizers of the IGF to duly register your group as a charitable institution in the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines, its counterpart abroad (such as in the US) for the IGF to enjoy the following: 1) To have a juridical body that would perpetuate the existence of your group even after you are gone. 2) The juridical body, being distinct and separate from the persons composing it, can readily transact on its own such as to receive many and huge donations from various sponsors without worrying who will keep and audit the money among yourselves. 3) Finally, charity institutions enjoys break of some sort of tax exemptions. This means more money for the operation and to give to the beneficiaries. So start looking now who will fill the list of directors.

Operating a charitable institutions in the Philippines is subject to several regulations as required by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). You must first register with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) either in its main office at SEC Building, EDSA , Greenhills, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines (across POEA or EDSA Shrine) or at its SEC Branch Office near the area where the charitable organization will be established (SEC Extension office in Cebu City is at SEC Bldg., V. Rama Avenue, Guadalupe, Cebu City. Tel. No. (032) 255-2874; (032) 253-5337; (032) 253-6987)

Applications for registration with SEC are then forwarded to the Standards Bureau of the DSWD or the DSWD Field Office for evaluation of the purposes of the institution and assessment of the merit of its programs and projects.

If the entity’s Articles of Incorporation, objectives, programs and services are within the purview of social welfare and do not violate existing policies, the DSWD Standards Bureau or the DSWD Field Office will endorse your application to the SEC and to DSWD for a license. Otherwise, it will suggest a review or revision or refer your application to appropriate agencies.

Your institution will also file an application with the DSWD in order to be credited as a social welfare and development (SWD) agency by submitting an information sheet and a certified true copy of the SEC Registration with Articles of Incorporation and Constitution and by-Laws. DSWD will then conduct its assessment and issue corresponding Certificate of Registration usually within 2-3 working days. If the institution is considered as a social work agency, it is required to proceed with the licensing and accreditation assessment within 1 year after the date of registration.

For more information, contact the DSWD Standards Bureau at (632) 931-3181 or (632) 951-7125 or send an e-mail to

  • For more about the advantage and disadvantage of creating charitable institution. Click here.
  • To know on how are the charitable institutions in the Philippines. Click here
  • In another topic, my thought about their plan to rehabilitate Inopacan Institute, click here



Monday, May 30, 2011

President Carlos Polistico Garcia had sought refuge in Inopacan in 1942

The tomb of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia at the Libingan ng mga Bayani within Fort Bonifacio (formerly known as Fort McKinley) in Taguig City.

The following is an excerpt from the official website of Talibon, Bohol, the birthplace and hometown of former President Carlos Polistico Garcia (CPG):

“It may be recalled that when Japanese occupied Bohol in 1942, one of their first acts was to dispatch a patrol to capture Carlos P. Garcia who was then staying in Talibon with his wife, the former Leonila Dimataga, and only daughter, Linda. A volunteer guard, Cesario Avergonzado, saved Garcia and his family. Asked by the Japanese patrol where Senator Garcia and his family were, Avergonzado replied that they evacuated to barrio San Isidro, about a kilometer from the Poblacion. The Japanese no longer search the Garcia house in Balico, a sitio near the seashore.

“The failure to locate Garcia in San Isidro infuriated the Japanese who consequently subjected Avergonzado to severe torture. The Japanese rushed back to Poblacion and searched the Garcia house but to no avail for the Garcias had fled to the mountains of Talibon and finally to Inopacan, a town in Southern Leyte [sic], on a sailboat. That was indeed a narrow escape for the man who was destined to be the President of the Philippines. In their wrath, the Japanese burned down the Garcia house and with it his law library, his researches, and other precious possessions, on July 4, 1942.”

A visit at the tomb of CPG.

Talibon, Bohol official website - click here

By virtue of Republic Act 8224, the entire Circumferential Road 5, more commonly known as the C-5 Road or C-5 is now called the President Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, honoring the eighth president of the Republic of the Philippines, Carlos Polistico Garcia (CPG). The photo above is taken right after passing the C5 entrance toolgate from SLEX. The bust of CPG is installed atop the concrete pole. 

It spans to about 32.5 kilometers (20.2 miles) connects at least seven cities of Metro Manila (Parañaque, Taguig, Makati, Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City, and Valenzuela). This is C5 entrance toolgate along the Taguig portion of SLEX, taken after our plane took off  the NAIA runway and passes over the SLEX   
The entrance toolgate of CPGarcia Avenue after exiting SLEX  
The portion of CPGarcia Avenue along Kalayaan (Makati) overpass and elevated U-turn of Buting (Pateros) near The Fort (BGC)

 (Click image to enlarge)
 All photos by Edgie Polistico


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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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