“La Balanga”

A big argument is brewing over the reopening of the BNPP Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

The proponents say that it will generate cheap electricity like our Asian neighbors have as well as supply the looming 3,000 megawatt shortage we face by 2011.

The opponents say that it is so old that it will mostly leak like “Three Mile Island,” all environmental hazards notwithstanding.

The Solution, as Everyone knows, is somewhere in between.

I think we should just dance the “La Balanga” around the BNPP Bataan Nuclear Power Plant… in full flared costumes with leopard and cheetah prints, led by Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos no less.  After all, it is a legacy from the Marcos Era.

See “Bimbo Jet La Balanga French TV 1975” on YouTube and see what I mean.  [ Well, don’t miss “Bimbo Jet El Bimbo 1974” either for the whole shebang!!!   😛 ]

Maybe then a sensible answer will come… from the heavens.   😛


  1. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 7, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Salamat, palaginghuli. You are very kind.

    I would really hate for the Philippines to be hoodwinked again the way it was circa 1965-1986. So I guess I try to give everything I do, each waking hour and minute, all the gusto I can give.

    Carpe diem!!

    (GI is fine…) 🙂

  2. palaginghuli said,

    August 6, 2009 at 5:19 am

    Oh, by the way, to “Inflammed throat”, I love your passion when you write. You are very eloquent!

  3. palaginghuli said,

    August 6, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Oops, I did not have a chance to follow this post, and did not realize somebody answered my comment. I just started surfing when Tita Cory passed away hoping to get some “behinf the scenes” information which I am sure I will not get through the news outlets.

    Fatima153, I do not deny that corruption exists anywhere in the world. I live in the US of A, so I know. However, if you study the history of this country, you will realize how God blessed this country (which I am not sure is true anymore due to the deteriorating moral standards of its people). I just read a few days ago that Brad Pitt does not believe God. Who needs Brad Pitt anyway?

    But sin and corruption are inherent in the hearts of men (and women), so I am not suprised. However, true Christians should not be corrupt, don’t you think? Applying logic then, if Catholic is true Chrisitianity, then corruption, even if may be present (which will never be completely eradicated until Jesus comes), should not be so prevalent in a country that purports itself to be Christian?

    Speaking of Balanga, Toto. You know so much about history of the old families in the Philippines, and I am just curious to know whether you are familiar with the Banzons of Balanga. I have a friend who is a Banzon, whose family I swear owns half of Balanga. When I was growing up, my mom also used to talk about 2 landed families in Orion, Bataan,the Sangalangs and Rodriguezes, whose land stretches to “as far as your eyes can see”. Unfortunately those families lost most of their land to Land Reform. My mom used to talk of grand parties in the “big house” of the Rodriguezes when she was little. Pardon my curiosity. I love learning about how life was in the olden days. I miss, miss the Philippines!

  4. fatima153 said,

    March 31, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Our local mammals tend to do a little better when they spend their working years in cooler climates suited for working. Blame the temperature and topography, not the colonizers of 100 years ago. Over half of today’s techno inventions originated in German brains and we can compute the mean temperature in Germany over a 1-year period.

    Americans look down on the Japanese because the average Japanese cannot afford a small house and lot in Japan even with their retirement lump sum. But it’s just a case of their land being mostly mountainous with little flatland, so land became impossibly expensive taking into account supply and demand.

  5. periphery said,

    March 30, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    The difference between the former Anglo colonies and the former Spanish colonies is that corruption is not as endemic and entrenched in the Anglo colonies. In the Philippines, for example, if you get stopped by a traffic cop it is de rigeur to attempt to bribe the cop in order to avoid getting a ticket. Very often the cop will even solicit a bribe outright. In the USA, that almost never happens. In the Philippines, if you’re trying to get through government red tape to get something done, and the civil servants are being slow, you grease the bureaucratic wheels with money. In the USA, you just complain to their supervisor or manager.

    At the highest levels of government, however, I’d say that corruption is just as prevalent. The difference is that in the Philippines, it is expected that these officials are KURAKOT, but in the USA you will get in some kind of trouble if you get caught, because the expectation is that you are _not_ corrupt.

  6. Thundernut said,

    March 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Am I glad we have Ramon and fatima153. Sorry, Isabella and Palaginghuli, but you seem to close your eyes to corruption happening in the honey-coated USA and the many mansions that now exhibit, for a very modest entrance fee, mementos that define fame and fortune from remote and recent past eras. It would be safe not to resort to generalizations, lest we offend those we least want to.

  7. fatima153 said,

    March 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Palaginghuli: Spain had colonies among the US states and these are not poor or that corrupt. A principle of biology: Mammals (e.g. humans) are bigger and more successful in temperate climates, smaller and less successful in the tropics. Reptiles and amphibians are biggest and most successful in the tropics, and smaller/least successful in temperate zones. Since some temperate-climate mammals transplanted here (like some Chinos) became highly successful, climatic adaptation to the old country might become genetic for a few generations unless they intermarry with the local warm climate mammals. Culture is an adaptation to the climate.

    Tests have shown the human brain works best at a temperature of around 74 deg F. (hi-cool aircon). Ergo, the most successful in the Philippines would be the snakes, frogs, turtles, lizards and crocs if the humans didn’t kill off too many.

  8. Garganta Inflamada said,

    March 30, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Just saw MAMMA MIA film on cable. Wonderful, infectious, over-the-top musical. Am now a big ABBA fan. The Closing Credits beat that Balanga footage and dancing by a mile!!

  9. Ramon Lagtapon said,

    March 29, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Being Catholic did not prevent Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Southern Germany, and Spain (yes, they caught up) from becoming rich countries. True, the Spaniards were not the best colonizers compared to, say, the British. But it doesn’t follow logically that all Catholic societies were like Spain. And as for weath, it is the Protestants themselves who are in fact more materialistic. Haven’t you ever heard of the Calvinist work ethic? By working hard and becoming rich, the Calvinists believed that they were being favored by God. On the other hand, until recently, Catholics were told that it didn’t matter whether you were materially poor in this world, because you would surely get your just reward in the afterlife. There was thus less incentive for poor Catholics to sacrifice and work hard to improve their lot. Of course, this has changed in the last 50 years or so.

  10. isabella said,

    March 29, 2009 at 3:10 pm


    Amen,amen,amen to that!

  11. Palaginghuli said,

    March 29, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I am sorry to butt in, but the reasone Spanish influenced countries are corrupt is because the foundation is Catholic. The United States was built on Protestant principles. Wealth does not make a man. What does it matter that a man gains the whole world, and yet loses his soul? We come naked into the world, and we will leave naked. If one is given much, much will be accounted for when he dies. And one cannot boast that he/she did good works. (Galatians 2:16 – ..yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ …..) So unfortunately for Grand Dowager Empress, not even 100 bishops can save her. Unless she repents, accepts Jesus Christ as her only way to heaven, she is bound for hell, and she cannot bribe God with her billions. This life will only be the only heaven she will experience. On the other hand if one is in Christ, even if he is the scum of the earh, this world will be the only hell he will experience. It surely will be a surprise to know who is in heaven or in hell in the end. So let us turn away from pursuit of wordliness, deny ourselves, and follow Him, Jesus Christ the King.

  12. Ramon Lagtapon said,

    March 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Since many here understand/speak Spanish, here’s a 48-minute current affairs documentary about the Philippines from Spain’s RTVE:


  13. Toronto Gal said,

    March 24, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Check this out http://cocktales.ph/?p=1573

  14. aruray said,

    March 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Monchet gets March-ing

    THE managing director of ABS-CBN’s cable channels and print media group, Jose Ramon “Monchet” Olives, is leaving after only one and a half year after being appointed to head the difficult division.

    Officially, Olives, 46, will take a sabbatical for two to three months, but, according to the ABS-CBN insider chatter, Olives had already informed ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III that he will not be returning to the same division.

  15. isabella said,

    March 23, 2009 at 8:38 am

    according to the ‘ampalaya vine’ he is on leave but indefinitely!

  16. kibosh said,

    March 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm


    That is really hot talk around the neighborhood!!!

  17. larry leviste said,

    March 22, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    The loudest whisper in town, please confirm as I am in the boondocks of Malarayat…

    WAS M*nchet Oliv*s REALLY FIRED by Gab*y Lop*z for ” making hocus pocus ” ABS-CBN funds? Wasn’t he the head of Cable and Print for ABS-CBN?

    I got texts but no one can confirm.

    Gab*y will lose his RIGHT arm, this man knows where all the bodies are buried.

    M*nchet is rumored to be a closet case and a basket case… ?

    PLEASE knowledgeable ones, confirm or forever hold your piece.

  18. bidang said,

    March 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    will everyone just participate with the Switching off for an hour from 8:30-9:30 anywhere in the world for the Earth Hour? This is March 28 2009…that’s next week.
    I was one of the participants when it was first launch in sydney australia. I felt very good in participating.
    thank you.
    Note: you may use candles, just a couple…..anyway Filipinas is not new to this. hahaha

  19. Thundernut said,

    March 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Isla, you’re a stitch supreme. Imagine a party with you in the middle of the room! I would volunteer Larry as your side-kick and me as the supportive fan to both of you. I also see Toto in the core, laughing wholeheartedly.

    If you are serious about number 13, we have something in common; not astrology or numerology, just the fact that we choose not to be ordinary.

    GI. I didn’t really mean to provoke you. I just thought you may have something to spill in a milder degree of comparison to the Jose Lopez Rega- Isabel Peron relationship. Isla seems to have avoided that. Snickers, anyone?

  20. Isla said,

    March 19, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I blush with thy compliments. Merci!
    Now that you say it, I vaguely remember some story about Isabelita and astrology. Now, please bear in mind that Argentina has the highest per capita ratio of psychotherapists in the world. This isn’t a joke!
    I must admit I read my horoscope in the newspaper ever day but if it’s negative then I don’t pay any attention. What I do believe in firmly is that serious astrological charts exist although mine wasn’t properly done because at the time I did not know the exact hour of my birth.
    I’m into numerology and my favourite and lucky number is 13.
    Thanks for the good wishes. I hope that by next week the deals are closed and in less than a month I’m heading for Filipinas again. Can’t wait!

  21. Garganta Inflamada said,

    March 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Thunder, twist my arm.

  22. Thundernut said,

    March 18, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Isla, gracias, gracias, gracias, muchisimas gracias. You cannot imagine how much I laughed upon reading your latest entry about Argentina, your parallelism of RP to Switzerland, and Heidi resorting to Neet. Your punchy humor is another reason we are hooked into this blog. You also explained why a waiter in Barcelona tried to stop his more accommodating colleague from talking to us in Castillano. Perhaps you can expound on the astrological consultations that Isabelita resorted to. This will evoke another entry from GI on his “favorite” presidential couple.

    On the sincere lane, I wish you speedy success on your business mission so that you can enjoy Manila before the humid days between July and August. Palawan should be delightful. Enjoy!

  23. larry leviste said,

    March 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm


    Cannot wait to see you in Manila next month.

  24. periphery said,

    March 17, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    When taken in aggregate, one thing that’s just as bad for a country as corruption at the highest levels is corruption among rank-and-file civil servants. Unfortunately, such low-level corruption is so rampant in the Philippines that it’s almost a way of life. Almost everyone – a traffic cop, a clerk at city hall, an inspector at customs – can be bribed. Some even expect you to grease the wheels just to get them to do their friggin’ jobs. So the sad net effect is that most everyone in Philippine government, from civil service clerks urban and provincial, through members of congress, to the president, is a crook to some degree. I think that’s one of the main differences between how citizens of the Philippines and citizens of the developed world see their government institutions.

  25. Isla said,

    March 17, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Since I started my new job I’ve lost track of time. I remember I was planning on going to San Francisco this year but instead am zigzagging through the various deals we must close before this socialist administration falls. Seriously, now there are quite alarming demonstrations going on in Spain and I hope there will be an EDSA II equivalent here. One more trip to London at the beginning of April and then my annual vacation in Filipinas where I hope to enjoy Manila and Palawan. Who knows, I might even manage to open our branch handling Southeast Asian corporate finance in Manila. Will be looking into it.

  26. Isla said,

    March 17, 2009 at 7:26 am

    You’d need three or four hands to count those who have been caught with a finger in the wrong pie in Latin America and are enjoying Spain and Madrid in particular.
    Top of the list must be former Argentine First Lady and later President Estela de Perón, known as Isabelita. Look her up in Google. She’s a riot and put on a great show when there was talk of extraditing her to face trial in Buenos Aires. But trial for what? Propaganda? The poor old lady didn’t know what hit her when she married Perón who picked her up while she was a dancer in a cabaret in Panamá. The only wrong thing I believe she ever did was comb Evita’s hair while her embalmed body was kept in the attic of the Peróns home in Madrid. Please, let’s give her some credit: Evita is so well embalmed by the late Spanish Dr. Ara that I find it commendable that a former Head of State’s real ambition was to become a top hairdresser for a funeral parlour, possibly specialized in chignons and pompadours.
    Argentina will eternally be a Peronist country because with the exception of Presidenta Kirchner who tries, unsuccesfully, to copy Evita AND the Princess of Asturias, the future Queen of Spain, the Peronists, while occasionally pocketing a few billions here and there, do know how to create an illusion of hope for the poor.
    Argentina is surreal, to put it mildly. The people are so nice and the lifestyle is a mix of the best of Europe and the USA but, if you don’t know who you’re dealing with in business, I highly recommend you count your fingers after shaking their hand. Same goes for many Spanish businessman from Madrid towards Andalucía. The northern Spaniards and Catalans are, on the contrary, very serious and hard working people who’ve had it with Madrid which is a hotbed of intrigue but is properly run by its Governor, but for how long?
    Ain’t it a riot living in such a system. The Philippines is therefore, in my opinion, as exciting as midnight in the Canton of Graubünden in Switzerland where a wild night entails dinner at 5 p.m. followed by an hour of yodelling and then to bed so that you can be “invigorated” by Heidi to milk the cows at dawn. I think they may have showers in Graubünden, otherwise I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing nicer than waiting until Sunday for a nice dip in a hot tub and have Heidi rub you vigorously so that you look handsome when you go to Church in those stylish lederhosen. Heidi might also have used Neet for the occasion, both on her legs and to smoothen the length of the inside of her arms.

  27. Garganta Inflamada said,

    March 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    To Isla…

    Entonces, cuando va a visitar nosotros aqui en el Bay Area de San Francisco? Febrero a pasado ya.


  28. Isla said,

    March 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

    In all seriousness, and Spain does have some rather outstanding qualities, can we name ONE country (perhaps except Chile and Costa Rica) that did not inherit from her Spanish colonisers the virtues of corruption, cruelty, disorder and nepotism?
    On another note, I spoke yesterday to a very dear friend in Paris whose wit I needed to wither the crisis we’re in here, which is deeper than anyone can imagine because it’s mostly political and has nothing to do with the worldwide economic crisis. At any rate, perhaps because I was already on my third flute of Cava (Spanish Champagne – not bad at all and cheap, ideal for the “crisis” and I highly recommend “Anna” by Codorniù, I complained to Emmanuel that in Madrid it’s all froth and no chocolate. His riposte about Paris was as swift and lethal as can be: he said “Isla, how about us – we invented the crème Chantilly.” (Whipped cream). It made my weekend.

  29. Thundernut said,

    March 15, 2009 at 7:48 am

    That was a riot of a samba, Isla. Even in the great USA, corruption, theft, and political misconduct are exposed. The difference as they say is that those caught in the USA go to jail, while those who get caught in the Philippines go to the USA. Did not a former president pardoned by the current one enjoy hotel privileges during incarceration?

  30. March 15, 2009 at 5:13 am


    You’re too funny… and too chic!!!


    Toto Gonzalez

  31. Isla said,

    March 15, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Why, you’re all under the illusion that the Philippines is a merry-go-round for kleptocracy and corruption.
    I would love to charter a newly redecorated PAL 747-400, nay two, and invite you all while we listen to Ricky Martin’s “La Vida Loca” for a tour of Spain anno 2009 and then we can hop over to Mexico, spend some time sipping margaritas overlooking Acapulco Bay from Las Brisas, fly down to Panamá where there’s a wonderful annual temperature of about 95ºF and 100% humidity to have some refreshing rum-cokes and admire the 70 story laundries (I mean buildings) and close our trip to the former colonies of spick-and-span Spanish heritage in ethical business practices in Argentina, where we’d have lunch with “La Puerta Pintada” or “Painted Door” (a tad OTT make-up gave her the monicker) Presidenta Kirschner at the Casa Rosada (Argentina’s Malacañang) and enjoy a good asado (barbecue) with excellent wines while Paraguayans and Chileans provide a magnificent show of unadulterated tango and songs by French-born national hero, Carlos Gardel of “Mi Buenos Aires Querido” fame.
    When Evita broke the bank, at least she dished out most of the Treasury to make poor people happy at least once. And yes, she was tastefully dressed to the nines by Jacques Fath, wore diamonds and sapphires at 10 am, didn’t sleep and died at 33.
    Don’t Cry For Me Filipinas!

  32. yonath said,

    March 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    there are a myriad of choices when it comes to generating green electricity e.g. solar, wind, tides, geothermal, biomass, etc.

    here in toronto, each household has the option of telling the power company where to purchase the power delivered to us. i have been using windpower for the last two years (www.bullfrog.com). i wish the philippines had something similar.


  33. CN said,

    March 11, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Hello Toto:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for the occasional glimpse into Old Manila and life in the past. I have to comment now on the BNPP and how I believe there is no middle ground here, the risks of operating such a faulty plant in corrupt Manila are too great. Please examine the entry in this link: http://rverzola.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/the-bataan-nuclear-power-plant-bnpp-cannot-be-proven-safe-says-technical-consultant/

    It sums it up, that the plant itself, and the very idea of nuclear powered reactors in the Philippines is a BAD idea. For starters, even if it were possible that the plant were safe and run properly, where would the nuclear waste go? Nuclear waste is forever toxic, and there are no remedies for it. People are already talking about how to design a perpetual system of alarms and security warnings for the poisoned land and water left by Chernobyl, and surrounding waste dumps, because these areas will need generation after generation of people who can guard the land and keep people off of it, and who are technically informed and capable of warning people that the land is poisoned and will never be safe again for thousands of years to come. Can you imagine this scenario in the Philippines, where people steal safety railings off bridges and manhole covers on the streets, where street names are changed and historical records altered by revisionists?

  34. Garganta Inflamada said,

    March 10, 2009 at 4:14 am


    Why the Filipino people “…don’t bother to show any rage toward these people who had robbed us of everything…”?

    Well, think about it… Marcos, Estrada, etc..

    The people have had a LOT of practice. So practice makes perfect… 🙂

  35. isabella said,

    March 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm


    Why,we share the same surreal dream! Since 2003, I have heard of the abysmal, disgusting ,thieving, and kleptocracy of the Ayokos… my God! I am really sad that Filipinos don’t bother to show any rage toward these people who had robbed us of everything… our pride,our wealth and our soul! Seems nothing could stop them anymore!

    Larry, I hope the brave and principled men in uniform could take their cue from you: 2009 will be the most epic year in our history if they execute your surreal dream!

  36. larry leviste said,

    March 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

    A little maya bird told me those THIEVES we call the government refuse to have more electricity by reopening Bataan’s Nuc Plant. That’s because they still DONT how to STEAL .. er profit and up the charges thru Winston’s takeover of Meralco. The Ayokos have very little time left before they step down.

    FRANKLY, my dears I do give a damn because talks are loud the AYOKOS will do another dance, the midnight CHA CHA CHA and extend rule, martial, parliamentary or otherwise.

    What we should do is bring the entire F**** F***** to Luneta at dawn, death by firing squad with the proviso that they instantly become National Heroes… of Greed, Termerity, Sociopathic Lying… etc..

    THEN we can all get in our jubilant Filipiniana, Bagobo, Manobo, Ifugao, Spanish Maria Clara’s, Baro’t Saya, Balintawak, modern Ternos and dance the night after night after HAPPY night away.

    But that’s just a pipe dream of mine, surreal but could be, should be REAL.

    Any comments, please.

  37. Isla said,

    March 9, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Let me start on a serious note about Bataan; properly supervised by the IAEA it could well be the ideal solution for the energy needs of the Philippines, which is not exactly a threat to World Peace. Charo, however, was a threat to world order and discipline: she’s Spanish, need I say more? I thought her “palace balcony” had made her keel over but I’m glad to know she can now suspend pan-fried, breaded butterfly shrimp between her bazoombas.

  38. fatima153 said,

    March 7, 2009 at 4:59 am

    If the plant leaks, to be philosophical about it — if there is no artificial population control, there is always the natural: disease, famine, war, pestilence, natural and man made disasters. Few of the deformed people in Chernobyl will reproduce.

    Here, a leak would create a whole new industry for damage control, nuclear medicine, rehab, kickbacks from the foreign aid pouring in after the disaster. The kickbacks will go to the same people who profit from the plant installation.

  39. fatima153 said,

    March 7, 2009 at 4:59 am

    If the plant leaks, to be philosophical about it — if there is no artificial population control, there is always the natural: disease, famine, war, pestilence, natural and man made disasters. Few of the deformed people in Chernobyl will reproduce.

    Here, a leak would create a whole new industry for damage control, nuclear medicine, rehab, kickbacks from the foreign aid pouring in after the disaster. The kickbacks will go to the same people who profited from the plant installation.

  40. Garganta Inflamada said,

    March 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Toto wrote: I think we should just dance the “La Balanga” around the BNPP Bataan Nuclear Power Plant… in full flared costumes with leopard and cheetah prints, led by Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos no less.

    See “Bimbo Jet La Balanga French TV 1975″ on YouTube and see what I mean.


    Oh God, I did look at the “La Balanga” clip on YouTube…but…but….

    1. Wouldn’t it be called “La B*tanga” in Manila?

    2. It looks like some nightmarish dream of koochy-koochy Charo ( Isla, whaddya know about Senora Charo…who I know now runs a restaurant on Kauai )..or Larry’s?

    3. La Imierda would only participate by insisting on wearing her authentique leopard-skin coat which would either cause (a) her dehydration or (b) bring out the PETA activists in hordes. Either way, you’d get a great desired result!! 🙂 🙂

    Why don’t they just turn the damned thing into some b&b casino/SM outlet store?


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