Taal Lake's Forgotten Past: How a Volcanic Eruption Reshaped It

Taal Lake was not always the freshwater inland lake geography books say it is. A volcanic eruption was responsible for its change.

Why Once There were no Chinese in Taal, Lemery and Bauan in Batangas

Taal used to be known for its not having any Chinese citizens, but Lemery and Bauan were also guilty of anti-Sinicism.

Searching for Nasugbu’s Lost Airfield

There used to be an airfield in Nasugbu which the Americans built and later reclaimed from the Japanese in 1945.

When Lipa and Batangas Merge, Will It Become Metro Lipa or Metro Batangas?

There is every possibility that one day the cities of Lipa and Batangas will become one large metropolis.

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

Forgotten with the passage of time is that there used to be a knife-making rivalry between Taal and Lipa.

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30 July 2017

Forgotten Historical Trivia about some Towns and Cities of Batangas Part II

Image credit:  Sandra Plummer Collection at the Fort Worth Library's Digital Archive.
Part I

This is the second of two articles featuring historical trivia largely ignored by conventional Philippine history textbooks but immortalized in documents submitted by schools in 1953 in compliance to President Elpidio Quirino’s directive to reconstruct the nation’s history.

28 July 2017

Forgotten Historical Trivia about some Towns and Cities of Batangas Part I

The Cathedral of San Sebastian in Lipa in the early 1900s.  Image credit:  The Luther Parker Collection at the NLP Digital Collections.
Because important historical documents in the possession of the National Library of the Philippines were destroyed during World War II, in 1951 President Elpidio Quirno issued Executive Order #486 instructing Department of Education schools around the country to reconstruct the nation’s history down to the level of the barrio. All Department of Education superintendents were directed to have these reconstructions submitted no later than July 1953.

27 July 2017

The Folkloric Story of the Beginnings of Batangas City

Image credit:  Sandra Plummer Collection at the Fort Worth Library's Digital Archive.
The origins of today’s modern, large and still growing port city of Batangas, capital of the province of the same name, can only be reconstructed from folklore. To begin with, our forebears, although they had a form of writing, used this on materials that were very much perishable.

24 July 2017

4 Different Versions about How Taal Got Its Name

The street in Taal leading to the town of Lemery.
Among the names of Batangas’ towns and cities, perhaps the one that has fascinated me the most is Taal, and not least because there are several versions of how it got its name. This is one of those things that we will probably never get a definitive answer to because documentation was not among the strengths of our forebears. If at all they wrote things down, regrettably these were also on very perishable materials.

The Rainbow Regiment: the Batangueño Guerilla Group in WWII

Image credit:  John Tewell.
In two earlier articles, I wrote about the exploits of the Hunters/ROTC, a guerilla group that was formed in the province of Rizal but relocated its headquarters to Nasugbu as the liberation of Luzon by Allied forces neared in 1944. But there was another guerilla group operating in Batangas, one that was organized by Batangueños and composed also of Batangueños. This was the Malakas Division of the AUSA (Army of the USA), otherwise known as the Rainbow Regiment.

23 July 2017

Feminist Clemencia Lopez of Balayan, the First Filipina to Visit the White House

Captured from Laura R. Prieto's paper "A Delicate Subject: Clemencia López, Civilized Womanhood, and the Politics of Anti-Imperialism"
In the year 1902, a 26-year old Batangueña from the town of Balayan in Batangas became the first Filipina to ever set foot in the White House. Her name was Clemencia Lopez, daughter of Natalio Lopez by the former Maria Costelo1. The Lopez family was among Batangas’ most prominent, owning as it did vast tracts of land planted to sugar and rice. The family was also into shipping2.

21 July 2017

US Terrain Intelligence Pre-WWII Photos of Batangas

Actual cover of the Allied intelligence terrain study.
The photographs contained in this collection are taken from a document dated November 1944 entitled “Terrain Study No. 95 Batangas-Lucena.” The declassified document was originally from the Allied Geographical Section called the Southwest Pacific Area, which was responsible for the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation in World War II and was under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.

17 July 2017

PHL Volleyball Team, with Batangas Core, Pushes Regional Power Thailand All the Way in ASEAN Tournament

The Philippine girls' volleyball team in the ASEAN Schools Games. Image credit:  Malou L. Malaluan.
A Philippine girls’ volleyball team, the core of which is from the secondary girls’ team of De la Salle in Lipa City, pushed regional powerhouse Thailand all the way earlier today in the ASEAN School Games being held in Singapore before eventually succumbing in the fifth set of a tightly fought contest.

16 July 2017

6 Batangueño Amusements to Pass Time in 1916

Lipa Town in 1911, from the Lucas Parker Collection at the NLP Digital Collections.
Boredom is, by and large, no longer a concern for most contemporary Batangueños. There are large malls in the province which people can visit to pass the time. Even those who prefer to stay at home have a glut of channels to choose from if they can afford cable television. There are also social media and the Internet, where one can spend hours upon hours without even having to leave the comforts of one’s bed or couch.

15 July 2017

The Recruitment and Organization of Anti-Japanese Guerillas in Batangas in WWII

Image credit:  Expatch.org.
Around August of 1943, soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army stationed in the Philippines in World War II started to conduct a severe anti-guerilla campaign to stem the tide of Filipino resistance to Japanese occupation. If anything, however, guerilla organizations continued to grow.

14 July 2017

Rare Early 20th Century US Army Photos of Batangas, Lipa et al from the Sandra Plummer Collection

Image credit:  Sandra Plummer Collection at the Fort Worth Library's Digital Archive.
The Sandra Plummer Collection is part of the Fort Worth Library Digital Archives. Basically, the collection is a documentation of American troops’ movement during the Philippine-American War from 1899-1902. The troops, in particular, appear to have been those of Company G of the 38th United States Volunteer Infantry.

11 July 2017

Operations of the Hunters/ROTC Guerillas in Batangas Prior to the 1945 Nasugbu Landing in WWII

Image credit:  John Tewell.  Taken from the Presidential Museum and Library.
On 31 January 1945, troops of the United States 8th Army landed on the beaches of Nasugbu in Batangas virtually unopposed. That they did was partly due to the efforts of a guerilla group called the Hunters/ROTC, who provided not just vital intelligence but also harassed Japanese troops stationed in the province.

10 July 2017

Chinese Words that have enriched the Tagalog Language according to a 1916 Anthropology Paper

Image credit:  A Blast from the Past by Mike Dash.
Tagalog, the language spoken primarily in the southern part of Luzon and arguably the basis for the national language called Filipino, is part of the Austronesian language family1. In its present conversational form, it has been enriched by words from other languages such as English and Spanish, which is merely a reflection of the Philippines’ history.

09 July 2017

Colorum: from Cult in Nasugbu, Cavite & Quezon to Unregistered Vehicles in the Present

Image credit:  The Luther Parker Collection at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Just like any other teenager back in the seventies, every once in a while I loved belting out the rock songs that were the anthems of our era. The music that my parents were accustomed to, of course, were the gentler songs of the pre-rock age.

07 July 2017

Beliefs Held by People of Lipa in 1924 with Regards Natural Phenomena

Image credit:  The Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
This article will be the first of several to feature papers about Batangas written during the American colonial period which are part of the Henry Otley Beyer Collection available at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

05 July 2017

The DLSL Academic Glory Years in the Eighties Capped by an NCEE Grand Slam

Foreground in white robe:  DLSL Principal Brother Jaime Dalumpines during a school activity in the eighties.
When I first joined the DLSL teaching force in 1982, I learned from some of my new co-teachers that there were those in the community who referred to the school as Paninsingin High School. Implicit to this unflattering reputation was a perceived decline in academic standards, something generally uncharacteristic of schools owned by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

04 July 2017

Pictures of Old Manila taken during the American Colonial Period

Ayala Bridge.  Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

To conclude my recent series of photo-essays on life during the American colonial era, allow me to momentarily leave my usual Batangas theme to present nostalgic photos taken during the same era of Manila. Most if not all of the pictures below ought to be familiar to this web site’s typical Batangueño audience.