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of Turtles and Men


Our vocabulary is superbly rich; just one example: In English it may be simply "rain" or "drizzle"; we can be more precise with uran, dunag, ragiri, tagiti, toro-toro, or ambon ;

Our keen sense of humor allows us to pick up really hilarious gems; sample: Overheard in the Allan Theater [in Iriganon accent]: " Simtun, si Max (Alvarado) tinataba sana sa kalulugus;"

In the field of sports and athletics, we are second to none in this part of Bicol; and, In music and the arts, need we say more?

Second of all, Baaoeños are not at all laidback. Although peace-loving, the valor and nobility of the Baaoeño came to the fore when the small village then resisted the Spanish conquistadores as early as just 50 years from Magellan's setting foot in Mactan. That badge of honor was again earned when our forefathers engaged the American forces in the fierce Battle of Agdangan in 19005.

Baaoeños are the competitive, go-getter, and take-charge types. The town deservedly takes pride in its roster of great achievers, most of whom are themselves a further testament to the Baaoeño as a brave freedom fighter; they include (in no particular order):

  1. Jorge I. Barlin: Popularly known simply as the first Filipino bishop, albeit he was a cleric steeped in the law, a spiritual and temporal leader, and champion of the Catholic Church;

  2. Luis G. Dato: A top-notch journalist, historian, academician, strong oppositionist to Martial rule, and a national poet laureate;

  3. Juan B. Guevara: A feisty officer and a gentleman, Philippine Military Attache to Japan, and Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force,

  4. Tai Babilonia6: The daughter of Constancio Babilonia from Baao who migrated to Los Angeles, CA after the war, Tai's claim to fame is that of a world figure ice skating champion in the '70s and '80s. Highly favored to take the gold in the 1980 Winter Olympics, her skating partner, Randy Gardner, suffered a groin injury and the highly favored pair withdrew from the finals before an anxious worldwide audience;

    Tai was swamped by over 10,000 fan mail and the bittersweet experience ironically catapulted her to even greater popularity. Her road to success was truly not without obstacles, but she overcame those through hard work and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Tai approaches life with the same passion and dedication that brought her skating fame.

    Turning professional, she featured in many ice skating shows in the U.S. and abroad. She has attained success in clothing and jewelry design and has even come out with a children's book and, lately, a coffee table book of her story with Randy Gardner. A coveted speaker on themes like developing the discipline to succeed, overcoming life's obstacles, and achieving a lasting healthy relationship, she frequently guests on radio and TV talk shows and was featured in a life documentary on national TV. Tai untiringly gives herself in the support of organizations helping inner-city youths and children with AIDS,

  5. Its priests and nuns who constitute the Philippines' largest source of religious vocation, next to Oas, Albay,

  6. Four Presidents, five Deans, and scores of professors of leading universities in the country,

  7. Jack P. Arroyo: Acclaimed political guru, bank executive, Commissioner of the Social Security System, Vice Governor of Camarines Sur,

  8. Joker P. Arroyo: Fierce opponent of the Marcos dictatorship, vanguard of human rights, trial lawyer par excellence, Executive Secretary during the Aquino Administration, a no-nonsense Congressman then two-term Senator of the Republic (despite not being a politician),

    5Robosa, Paulix B., "Battle of Agdangan," 2000-2001 Kaiba Yearbook.
    6The longer resume is meant to introduce Tai Babilonia to readers 'meeting' her for the first time. For more about this outstanding lady, please visit her website.

    World champ skating pair, Tai Babiloniaand Randy gardner. No doubt, Tai's facial features are that of a Babilonia; but, who could imagine a nobo quin Baao would be a world skating champion and a celebrity in the U S of A?