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In the highlands with the grand old lady of ‘batok’

Carpe diem! What do Apo Whang-Od and I have in common? Let me (presumptuously) try to count the ways. Apo Whang-Od, the oldest living tattoo artist—mambabatok—has become Vogue’s oldest cover star, and I have branded myself as the oldest stariray with tattooed arms in my clan.  And like her, I have a following, too! My...

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The conglomerate that a ‘sari-sari’ store built

PANGLAO ISLAND, Bohol—A group of companies that grew from a sari-sari store in Bohol’s capital Tagbilaran City has been so dominant in the commercial center business that mall magnates like the Sys, Ayalas, Gokongweis, Gotianuns or Gaisanos have not gained a foothold in the province.  Alturas Group of Companies (AGC) is the clear mall king...

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Hidilyn Diaz, aka ‘powerhouse’

Because she did it again, “powerhouse” may well be her middle name.  Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Francisco Diaz-Naranjo, now 31, added three more gold medals to complete her collection and finally became a world champion at the ongoing IWF World Weightlifting Championships held in Bogota, Colombia, starting Dec. 5.  Hidilyn reigned over Rosalba Morales of Colombia...

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A ‘trattoria’ in Silang, Cavite? That’s ‘amore’

Tucked in semi-commercial Bulihan in bucolic Silang, Cavite, is a “trattoria”-style restaurant called “Cotoletta Ni Saletta.” It gets its name from the owners, Matteo Saletta, an Italian who speaks Filipino quite fluently, and his wife, Jonie Olandag-Saletta, a Filipino who speaks Italian like a native.  In Italy, a trattoria is a small restaurant usually run...

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Dancing full circle at 80

Dance is history; little is said, but much is understood.  I made history through research, documentation, and publication of the traditional performing arts and related folk artistic expressions of the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines.  To keep a dance tradition alive, it must live in a dancing body. Instinct guided me to nurture “pangalay”—“gift...