San Nicolas and Santa Teresita: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Exploring forgotten stories about the barrios of San Nicolas and Santa Teresita.

Balandis: the Slanted Houses Along a Road in Cuenca/Alitagtag

Exploring this quaint area in Cuenca and Alitagtag where the houses are slanted away from the road.

Mataasnakahoy: Historical and Folkloric Trivia about some of Its Barrios

Revisiting obscure barrio histories of the barrios of the Municipality of Mataasnakahoy.

An Old Tourist Spot in Taal Called the Pansipit Fishery

A throwback to a by-gone era, when tourists around Luzon visited this resort in Taal and Lemery.

The Hitchhiker who Gets on at the Zigzag in Cuenca Batangas Lipa

A tall tale familiar to all who drive through this curving road in Cuenca. Is it really a tall tale, though?

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30 December 2017

Agoncillo, Batangas: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

The Agoncillo Public Market.  Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This article is part of a series dedicated to bringing to younger readers otherwise forgotten historic and folkloric information about the barrios of Batangas. The information included here has been taken from documents submitted by Department of Education districts around the country in 1953 to the national government to help reconstruct the nation’s history. This was made necessary because of the destruction of many documents in World War II.

29 December 2017

An Old Tourist Spot in Taal Called the Pansipit Fishery

Tourists posing at a resort by the Pansipit River back in the fifties.
I still carry inside my head very hazy memories of a family trip to the Taal-Lemery area back in the early or mid-sixties. I could not have been more than 5 or 6 years old at the time. My mother used to be so fond of what she used to refer to as the “muslo,” the giant trevally which, as I understand it from people I know from Taal, is also called the “maliputong-labas” if caught outside Taal Lake.

10 Historical Trivia about Batangas All Batangueños Should Know

Present day map of Batangas Province.
The history of the great province of Batangas overflows with richness and trivial notes will not do it any justice. That said, there are those who are averse to lengthy readings and it is to them that this article is addressed. The historical notes contained in this article are but snippets that will, it his hoped, encourage readers to take greater interest and read more on the fascinating past of this province we call home.

The Balisong and the Old Knife-Making Rivalry between Taal and Lipa

Image credit:  By Iamthawalrus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30337122.
The blacksmithing industry in the Philippines likely predates the arrival of the Spaniards. A 1590 manuscript called the Boxer Codex1, which was something of an instruction manual on the Philippines and other Far Eastern countries at the time, contained textual and pictorial descriptions of the Philippine ethnic groups known to the Spaniards.

28 December 2017

The Merchants of Taal in 1934 and a Business Model Based on Filipino Honesty

Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
A 1934 Anthropology paper written by one Crisologo Atienza documented a remarkable business model used by the merchants of Taal that was totally dependent on Filipino honesty. The paper, entitled “The Industrial Survey of the Town of Taal, Batangas Province1” is part of the Henry Otley-Beyer collection of the National Library of the Philippines.

Still quite well known in the present day albeit not necessarily true anymore is that enterprises owned by those of Chinese origin were not allowed to gain a foothold in the town of Taal. Atienza explained: “…they (the Chinese) could not stay because no one dared to buy… This unique characteristic is transmitted from generation to generation…2

This was apparently less from a sense of patriotism and more brought on by a sense of self-protection. Atienza wrote, “Its (Taal’s) nearness to Manila plus the pressures of population are factors that induce the people to be restless and specialists in many lines of trade and industry.”

There were local industries in Taal that produced bamboo baskets, buri mats, sacks called “bayones,” whips, leather products, cotton cloths and towels and many others3. Add to these dry goods, hardware and other miscellaneous products that were shipped to Taal by steam ships and the town had become something of an entrepôt. In contrast, Atienza wrote, to surrounding towns which were still very much agricultural in nature.

Taal’s stores and shops were kept mostly by its women. The men, meanwhile, “engaged themselves as traders or traveling merchants and have stores in the different towns of the province of Batangas, Tayabas (Quezon in the present day), Laguna, Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque and in some of the Visayan Islands4.”

There were also traveling merchants who peddled their goods from house to house. These merchants roamed the Ilocos provinces, Pangasinan, Mindoro, Tayabas, Laguna, Marinduque, Romblon, Catanduanes and Albay. They brought with them sinamay, jusi and piña products and other woven cloths, slippers and bolos.

Many of these merchants followed a business model totally dependent on Filipino honesty. To coax people to buy, especially those who did not as yet have the capacity to pay or were waiting for potential income from, say, the harvest of crops, the merchants were prepared to leave the products with the buyers without payment.

No credit documents were ever signed or exchanged. Neither were receipts ever issued. All transactions were conducted purely on the basis of trust and honesty. The merchants returned the following year, usually after the harvest season, to collect their payments.

Remarkably, very few of the buyers defaulted on their payments. This, Atienza conjectured, was due to the Filipino’s natural honesty, especially those who lived in the barrios and remote places.

To conclude, and especially so in the context of Filipino society in the present day, one is tempted to ask where this natural honesty has gone; and more importantly, why has it seemingly disappeared?

Notes and references:
1The Industrial Survey of the Town of Taal, Batangas Province,” by Crisologo Atienza, 1934, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
2 A more complete discussion on the absence of Chinese merchants in Taal is contained in this article: “Why Once There were no Chinese in Taal, Lemery and Bauan in Batangas.”
3Industries of Batangas Province,” by Galicano C. Luansing, published 1916, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
4 During a CEAP Congress in Davao in 2003, colleagues and I bought presents from a market stall owned by a family originally from Taal.

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27 December 2017

San Luis, Batangas: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

The San Luis Public Market.  Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This article is part of a series of articles dedicated to resurrecting otherwise forgotten historic and folkloric trivia about the barrios of the Province of Batangas. The information contained in the series is taken from documents required by the Presidency of Elpidio Quirino in 1951 of all Department of Education districts around the country to help reconstruct the country’s history. These documents are filed at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

24 December 2017

Calatagan, Batangas in the 19th Century, as Described by a Spanish Historian

The historic Cape Santiago Lighthouse in Calatagan.  Image sent in by Jigger Gilera, MD.
This is the eighth article of a series that seeks to acquaint modern day readers with conditions in the different towns of the Province of Batangas late in the nineteenth century. Our focus for this article is the western Batangas town of Calatagan, which is at the southern end of a peninsula facing the West Philippine Sea.

23 December 2017

Agricultural and Other Products of Batangas in 1916 and the Top Producing Towns

Sugar was among Batangas' main products in 1916.  Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
An Anthropological paper written by one Galicano C. Luansing in 1916 offers a glimpse at economic activities undertaken by the people of Batangas at the dawn of the American colonial era. The paper, entitled “Industries of Batangas Province1,” is part of the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection at the National Library of the Philippines.

12 Violent Earthquakes that Rocked Batangas from 1645 to 1901

Photo from John Tewell's collection on Flickr.
The shaking of the ground which we all refer to as “earthquake” may be caused by different factors: the collapse of an underground cavern or mine; or perhaps a nuclear of chemical blast. The most common causes of earthquakes, however, are purely natural occurrences: those induced by underground volcanic activity and are, therefore, called volcanic earthquakes; or those caused by movement of tectonic rocks underneath the surface of the earth which are, thus, called tectonic earthquakes1.

21 December 2017

Nasugbu, Batangas in the 19th Century as Described by a Spanish Historian

An antiquated sugar mill.  Image source:  New York Public Library.
In this seventh article of the series featuring the towns of Batangas as described by the Spanish historian Manuel Sastron, we focus on the western Batangas town of Nasugbu. The information is taken from Sastron’s 1895 book “Batangas y Su Provincia1” (Batangas and Its Province).

10 December 2017

The State of Agriculture in San Juan, Batangas in 1919

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
A 1919 paper written by one Beato M. Bukid1 provides a rare glimpse at the state of agriculture in the eastern Batangas town of San Juan back in 1919. This was just roughly two decades since the start of the American regime in the Philippines. Not just San Juan but most other towns of the Province of Batangas were still very much agrarian in nature. Thus, a lot of the information Bukid provided would have been true as well in many other towns of the province.

04 December 2017

Taysan: Historical and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This article is the latest in the series dedicated to folkloric and historic trivia about the barrios of Batangas. This time, we focus on those of the Municipality of Taysan.

01 December 2017

19th Century San Jose, Batangas as Described by a Spanish Historian

Church at San Jose, Batangas.  Image from the Luther Parker Collection at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
This article is the sixth of a series featuring the towns of Batangas in the late nineteenth century, as described by the Spanish Historian Manuel Sastron in his 1895 book “Batangas y Su Provincia1” (Batangas and Its Province).

30 November 2017

Ananias Diokno: the Taal-born General Recognized as the only Tagalog to lead a Military Expedition to the Visayas during the Philippine Revolution

Image credit:  L - Taal, Batangas; R - Wikipedia.
It was 1898. The Philippine Revolution was becoming the success its instigators might have hoped for probably only in their wildest dreams. The Americans had yet to reveal the darker purpose which took them across the expanse of the Pacific to these islands. Emilio Aguinaldo himself, in his memoirs1, wrote: “…triumph following triumph in quick succession, evidencing the power, resolution and ability of the inhabitants of the Philippines to rid themselves of any foreign yoke and exist as an independent State...”

22 November 2017

Lipa to Padre Garcia Bypass Road by 2018, Lipa Flyovers by 2021 among DPWH Projects

Image credit:  Screen capture from the video on the Facebook page of Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto.
A video released 21 October 2017 by the Facebook Page of Batangas District VI Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto provides details of three major Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects in Districts IV and VI of Batangas. These are the Lipa to Padre Garcia Diversion Road, the flyovers along J.P. Laurel National Highway in Lipa City and the Padre Garcia to STAR Tollway Diversion Road.

These projects are being undertaken, according to the video, “to boost growth potential and make full use of the vast resources of the province.”

Lipa to Padre Garcia Road
The Lipa City to Padre Garcia diversion road is being built at a cost of ₱1,247,960,000. The project is being undertaken, according to the video, as DPWH’s “response to the congestion at the Manila-Batangas Road and Lipa-Rosario Road.”

The total road length is placed at 11.346 kilometers. When completed, it is expected to reduce travel time anything from 20 to 45 minutes. The video placed the diversion road’s completion date at 2021.

However, a TV Patrol Southern Tagalog report on 22 October said that the project is already 45% completed and is expected to be opened to vehicular traffic by April 2018. The DPWH Batangas official interviewed also estimated reduction in travel time by 40 minutes to one hour.

The diversion road starts at Barangay Talisay in Lipa City and passes through Santo Niño, Malitlit, San Benito, San Celestino, Santo Toribio and San Francisco before ending at Barangay Bawi in Padre Garcia.

Upon completion, the road is expected to “decongest the north and south bound lanes of poblacion Lipa City” and “serve as alternate routes to Quezon, the Bicol Region and Southern Philippines.

Lipa City Flyovers
The second major project is the construction of flyover roads in Lipa City “to provide comfort for the passengers of public utility vehicles and to boost the efficiency of business related activities of Lipa.”

From the graphic rendering of the project in the video, it appears that there will be two flyovers to be constructed along J.P. Laurel National Highway. The total road length of the two flyovers is 2.87 kilometers.

The first starts in the Marauoy area and descends in the vicinity of SM City-Lipa. The second begins in the vicinity of De la Salle Lipa and descends in Tambo. Both flyovers, when completed, will likely ease congestion two of the city’s present day frequently choked roads. The project is expected to be finished by 2021 and built at a cost of ₱4,305,000,000.

Padre Garcia to STAR Tollway
The final project outlined by the video is the Padre Garcia to STAR Tollway Diversion Road. This undertaking aims “to provide shorter travel time to those trying to reach the resort destinations of Batangas while enjoying the scenic landscape beside the diversion road.”

This diversion road starts in Padre Garcia and cuts through parts of Rosario, Lipa and Ibaan to gain quicker access to the STAR Tollway. When completed, the diversion road will be a boon to travelers trying to reach not just the beaches of San Juan but also other destinations beyond.

This project is being targeted to be completed by 2023 and its construction cost is pegged at ₱830,221,700. The road’s total length is 10.7 kilometers.

A recent TV Patrol report also says that construction of a Batangas City to Bauan Diversion Road is about to commence. This project, of course, within the jurisdiction of Districts II and V of Batangas.

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21 November 2017

12 Marriage and other Customs Observed in Calaca, Batangas in 1931

Image credit:  The Luther Parker Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
A 1931 Anthropology paper entitled “Customary Laws in Calaca, Batangas1,” written by one Marcela Endaya, presumably a native of the town, offers a cultural glimpse into life in the province almost a century ago. The paper is part of the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

19 November 2017

19th Century Ibaan as Described by a Spanish Historian

Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
We continue with the series featuring each of the 22 towns of Batangas as described by the Spanish historian Manuel Sastron in his book “Batangas y su Provincia1” (Batangas and Its Province) which was published in 1895. The information contained in the book was collected in the years preceding its publication in Malabon.

16 November 2017

Tuy, Batangas: Historical and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
We continue with the series on the barrios of Batangas, and this time we look at the small western Batangas town of Tuy. As with the other articles in the series, the information has been taken from the documents required of Department of Education districts around the country in 1951 by the Philippine government to reconstruct local histories after important documents were destroyed during the war. The documents are among the digital collection of the National Library of the Philippines.

14 November 2017

Know the Population of 22 Batangas Towns in 1877

Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
An 1895 book entitled “Batangas y su Provincia1” (Batangas and its Province) paints a compelling picture of the province far from the congested place modernity has turned it into in the present day. Written by the Spanish historian Manuel Sastron, the books gives contemporary readers a vivid glimpse of an era when Batangas was lush with forests and vegetation and towns and villages were not just sparsely populated but also relatively isolated from each other.

12 November 2017

Beliefs Held by the People in Lian, Batangas in 1924

Women in Batangas early during the American colonial era.  Image credit:  U.S. National Archives; University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
From the small western Batangas municipality of Lian, we feature some beliefs held by the people during the American colonial era, specifically the year 1924. These beliefs are taken from an Anthropology paper written1 by one Rafael L. Arcega in a document filed under the Henry Otley-Beyer collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

11 November 2017

Cuenca, Batangas in the 19th Century, as Described by a Spanish Historian

A calesa, in a typical scene of the 19th to early 20th century Philippines.  Image credit:  New York Public Library.
This article continues our series dedicated to showing how the towns of Batangas were like in the nineteenth century, as described by the Spanish former government official and historian Manuel Sastron in his 1895 book “Batangas y Su Provincia1.” Presumably, the information that Sastron wrote in his book was either observed or collected in the years preceding the publication of the book.

09 November 2017

DLSL Alumna Richie Tumambing: Destined to be an Architect despite the Twists of Life that came her way

Image from Richie Tumambing.
Sometimes, God just finds ways to nudge you back in the direction you are meant to take. Or so thinks De la Salle Lipa high school 1988 graduate Richie Tumambing. Make that Architect Richie Tumambing. She was proprietor of the Fitness-A Gym at the Big Ben Complex in Lipa City; but then, after a while, started to feel unhappy that the gym was not taking her to where she wanted to be.

This was in 2005. She took her unhappiness as a sign that she was being nudged by God back along the path she started to travel eighteen years earlier. She was almost at the finish line, but then the foibles of youth pushed her off the track.

“I got pregnant,” she said with the sort of candor that was just so Richie Tumambing.

She was just nineteen or so units short of obtaining her bachelor’s degree from one of the best schools of architecture in the Philippines, at the University of Santo Tomas. It was not really her dream to become an architect, Richie said honestly. It was her mother’s; and like most mothers, her logic was irrefutable.

“My Mom told me that it was her dream to have an architect in the family,” Richie confided. “What I really wanted to be was a lawyer.” Her Mom insisted that she got herself a degree in architecture first then she could go on and pursue law afterwards if she still wanted to. Richie let her have her way.

So off she went to España after graduating from De la Salle Lipa, equipped with a Lasallian education courtesy of the Christian Brothers; and despite her misgivings about taking up Architecture was nonetheless eager to swap the green and white for the gold of the university.

Being Richie, she breezed through the first four years of her program with hardly a fuss. This was just as her third year high school aptitude test, administered by the DLSL Guidance Office, predicted. Richie could not understand why because she had been planning for a career in law; but the aptitude test recommended that she build instead a career in Architecture.

But then, in 1993, just a semester short of graduation, she found out that she was with child.

Childbearing and raising her son as a single mother would ultimately mean a twelve year hiatus away from her pursuit of a degree in Architecture. That it was a struggle is probably an understatement; but she plowed on as was, perhaps, only to be expected of one with determination built right into her DNA.

In the process, she went into various endeavors to sustain herself and her growing child: taught aerobics; worked as an agent in a local call center; sold interior design products; and ran a fitness gym.

Richie with her son, for whom she gave up most of her life before returning to live hers and fulfill her destiny.  Image from Richie Tumambing.
To finally be able to return to university in 2005, she sought the assistance of a benefactor just so she could obtain a sponsorship from a bus company. “The daily commute to Manila cost ₱250,” Richie narrated, “but at the time I hardly had any money.”

But complete the Architecture program she did in just one semester, after which she underwent the required internship under local architect Elmer Borlaza. Having completed the required 1,800 hours of “mentorship” under Borlaza, she was eligible to take the Licensure Examination for Architects, which she passed in January of 2009.

Richie presently owns her own home-based company called RichMan Designs and Consultancy. She considers the design and renovation of the Victory Church in Lipa as her most challenging project to date; albeit she also considers it the most fulfilling. She considers Residential Architecture, however, as her specialization, and has designed houses for clients in Alabang, San Pablo City, Cebu City and, of course, Lipa.

Early this year, Richie was elected President of the Lipa chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines, a nationwide organization started in 1975. The Lipa chapter was granted a charter only in March of this year, starting initially with 26 members but presently already has 34.

The local chapter’s vision is to provide service to its members, promote the profession locally and to be able to give back to the community. At present, it is also working with the local council to have the Architecture Law implemented in Lipa. This law requires, among others, that an architect’s signature be obtained for building plans before construction can commence.

To make up for lost time, Richie enrolled in the Master of Architecture program of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Since she started late in the practice of the profession, she explained, a master’s degree would raise her competitiveness in her profession. She is just a thesis away from the degree.

Meanwhile her son, for whom she gave up most of her life before returning to live hers, is also on the cusp of his own degree, also in Architecture, from National University. Richie’s Mom, who passed away recently, will undoubtedly be smiling in Heaven at the prospect of having not just one but two architects in the family.

And the dream of being a lawyer? “Let me worry about my master’s thesis first then I will take it from there…”

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08 November 2017

When the Town of Bauan was founded along the Shores of Taal Lake

Sugarcane crusher in Bauan during the early years of the American colonial era.  Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
For most modern day people of Batangas, it is probably stock knowledge that the town of Bauan is close to the shores of Batangas Bay and is right next door to the town of San Pascual and Batangas City. What is probably less well-known is that Bauan, in the seventeenth century, was founded along the shores of Bombon or what is now known as Taal Lake.

06 November 2017

Lemery: Historical and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Present day Lemery.  Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This is yet another article in the series dedicated to historical and folkloric trivia about the barrios of Batangas. The information contained herein is all from documents required of the administration of President Elpidio Quirino in 1951 of all Department of Education districts around the country to help reconstruct the nation’s history down to the level of barrios. This was because many historical documents were inevitably destroyed in World War II.

Rosario, Batangas in the 19th Century, as Described by a Spanish Historian

The roads to Rosario were passable by all types of horse-drawn carriages.  Image credit:  New York Public Library.
This article takes a look at the town of Rosario in the nineteenth century through the eyes of Manuel Sastron, the Spanish ex-government official and historian who was one of the few who wrote comprehensively about the Province of Batangas during the Spanish colonial era in his book “Batangas y Su Provincia1.”

05 November 2017

19th Century Talisay, Batangas as Described by a Spanish Historian

A rural scene which could have been anywhere in the Philippines in the 19th or early 20th century.  Image credit:  New York Public Library.
This article is the second instalment of a series featuring the towns of Batangas in the nineteenth century. Most of the information contained herein has been culled from “Batangas y su Provincia1,” a book written by the Spanish ex-government official and historian Manuel Sastron and published in 1895. Presumably, the information provided by Sastron was gathered in the immediate years preceding the book’s publication.

The 1749 Eruption of Taal Volcano which Forced 2 Pueblos to Become One as Tanauan


The present-day city of Tanauan is among the Province of Batangas’ oldest population centers. It can trace its roots back to two pueblos set up by Augustinian missionaries back in the sixteenth century. A pueblo was a Christian community or mission which the Spaniards set up in their colonies around the world during their country’s heyday as a world power.

02 November 2017

The Glory of 19th Century Villa de Lipa as Described by a Spanish Historian

Street scene in Lipa, Batangas, the rich coffee town of former days.  Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
A nineteenth century book written by the Spanish ex-government official and historian Manuel Sastron1 painted a captivating descriptive picture of Batangas during the era, including the glory years of Villa de Lipa, to which an entire chapter was dedicated. This article attempts to condense what Sastron wrote to perpetuate memories of an era which can alternatively be thought of as the City of Lipa’s first golden years.

30 October 2017

College Students in Lipa Highlight the Barako Coffee as Food Ingredient

Creamy chicken liberica served with mashed potatoes.  The chicken meat was marinated in ground kapeng barako beans while the cream of the chicken was infused with barako espresso. 
[This article is a press release from the Lipa City Tourism Council.]

While the Liberica Coffee, also known locally as the “kapeng barako,” has traditionally been the most popular drink among Lipeños, two students from the Lipa City Colleges (LCC) used this coffee as an ingredient for a savory dish and a sweet dessert. Their recipes were presented last 27 October 2017 at the college's mock hotel.

Nineteen-year old Francesco Binalayo from Brgy. San Carlos in Lipa City created a dish called “creamy chicken liberica with mashed potatoes,” the chicken meat marinated with ground kapeng barako beans. Barako espresso was used as part of the cream for the chicken.

Francesco Binalayo from Brgy. San Carlos together with his creamy cicken liberica.
On the other hand, 20-year old Jelaiza Acapulco from Brgy Latag also in Lipa City made a dessert called “triple-layered liberica panna cotta.” Ground paborita buiscuits were used for the bottom layer of the panna cotta instead of the commonly used Graham crackers. The top most part was a Kapeng Barako flavored jelly.

Jelaiza Acapulco from Brgy. Latag in Lipa City together with her dessert triple layered liberica panna cotta. 
This event, which aimed to discover more usages of kapeng barako as a food ingredient, was part of the 2017 Kapeng Barako Festival organized by the Lipa City Tourism Council.

The triple layered liberica panna cotta used traditional a Batangas biscuit called paborita as its base, cooked milk in the middle and brako infused jelly on top. 

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Malvar: Historical and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Poblacion Malvar.  Image credit:  Google Earth Streetview.
This article is the latest installment of a series dedicated to featuring otherwise forgotten historic and folkloric information about the barrios of Batangas. This time we focus on the town of Malvar, which until 1919 was part of the then-town of Lipa.

27 October 2017

The Augustinians and their Role in the Founding of Taal, Batangas, Tanauan, Bauan and Lipa

Image credit:  Augustinian Churches and History.
The Augustinians were the first Catholic religious order to come to the Philippine Islands. In fact, the expedition led by the conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi which sailed out from Nueva España (now Mexico) in 1564 was guided by the navigator Andrés de Urdaneta. De Urdaneta had erstwhile been reluctant to join the expedition, having considered himself retired after joining the Order of St. Augustine in Mexico. Upon receiving a personal letter from Felipe II, King of Spain, asking him to guide the expedition, he felt that it was his duty to obey. He was joined by four other Augustinian missionaries: Martin de Rada, Diego de Herrera, Pedro Gamboa and Andres de Aguirre1. They all helped de Legazpi build the first Spanish colony in Cebu upon their arrival in 1565.

26 October 2017

Batangas c. 1880 as Described by a Jesuit Priest

A man pounding rice in Batangas.  Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
A book entitled “Handbook of the Philippine Islands1” published in 1899 paints a narrative picture of Batangas and other provinces of the country in the second half of the nineteenth century. The book is an English translation of an earlier work by the Jesuit priest Francisco Javier Baranera entitled Compendio de Geografia de las Islas Filipinas, Marianas y Jolo2 (Geographic Compendium or Summary of the Philippine, Marianas and Jolo Islands) which was published in 1880.

25 October 2017

San Nicolas and Santa Teresita: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

At the wharf in San Nicolas.
In this article, which is part of a series dedicated to historical and folkloric trivia about the barrios of Batangas, we feature the towns of San Nicolas and Santa Teresita. The information contained in this article was taken from documents required by the administration of Elpidio Quirino in 1951 from public school districts around the Philippines to replace historical documents destroyed during the war. The documents were collected in 1953 and are now archived at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.