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 September 2017

Historical and Folkloric Notes about some Barrios of Alitagtag

Poblacion Alitagtag.  Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This article is part of a series dedicated to historical and folkloric trivia about the barrios of Batangas Province. The information is taken from obscure documents submitted by Department of Education districts around the country in response to President Elpidio Quirino’s directive in the early 1950s to reconstruct local histories.

28 September 2017

13 Superstitious Beliefs of the People of Santo Tomas, Batangas in 1925

An old chimney in Sto. Tomas, Batangas during the American colonial era.  Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
From an Anthropology paper entitled “Superstitious Beliefs from Santo Tomas, Batangas,” written in 1925 by one Aurora A. Hernandez, we get further glimpses of Batangas culture almost a century ago. The paper is part of the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines’ Digital Collections.

2 DLSL Alumni Doing Well in Top Philippine Ceramic Company

Ma. Lizette Marajas and Ramses Mabilangan, both DLSL graduates working at Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc.
Through the efforts of two DLSL graduates, I was recently able to go on a plant tour of the Mariwasa Siam Ceramics factory in Santo Tomas, Batangas. These were alumna Ma. Lizette Marajas of the high school class of 1991 and alumnus Ramses “Batoy” Mabilangan of the high school class of 1995.

26 September 2017

The Philippines Seen to be among World’s Top 20 Economies by 2050


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global professional services network with offices in 157 countries around the world, sees the Philippines as among the Top 20 economies worldwide by the year 2050. This is a “mere” 33 years into the future. The forecast is contained in a study published February 2017 and entitled “The Long View: How will the global economic order change by 2050?1

23 September 2017

Bonbon, Bombon, Bongbong; Possible Origins of Taal Lake’s Former Name


Earlier this year, I wrote an article to help promote the Bonbon Festival, an eco-cultural event held annually in the past few years for the promotion of local art and the preservation of Taal Lake and its environment. While the more common spelling of the lake’s old name that I have encountered while studying primary documents written by Spanish chroniclers was Bombon, i.e. with an “m,” there were indeed also those who spelled Bonbon with an “n” instead.

20 September 2017

Balayan: Historical and Folkloric Trivia about some of its Barrios

View of Church at Balayan. The old capital of Batangas.  Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
This article is part of a continuing series that attempts to bring to the Batangueño public and anyone else interested otherwise forgotten historic and folkloric trivia about the cities and municipalities of Batangas. The information contained herein comes from obscure documents required of Department of Education districts around the country in the fifties by the administration of then-President Elpidio Quirino. These documents are archived at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

19 September 2017

Know More about the Calamba-Batangas Branch of the North-South Railway Project

Image credit: Dutertenomics Build-Build-Build.
Most people in the province of Batangas will probably have some vague notions from frequent enough reports in the evening news that the Duterte administration intends to build a rail network that will connect the northern part of Luzon with the Bicol Region. This network, as readers probably already know, is called the North-South Railway Project.

17 September 2017

The Story of Juanang Ilaya, Supposedly a Legend Started in Lipa Town

Juanang Ilaya was originally a maiden of great beauty.  Image credit:  Wikimedia Foundation, entitled "Filipina-Spanish mestiza wearing baro't saya."
A few years back, somebody on social media suggested that I wrote about the legend of Juanang Ilaya for this web site. I replied that I would consider it, but if I was being honest, I only had these exceedingly vague recollections from my childhood more than half a century ago of being told to behave or I would be taken by this Juanang Ilaya. I never fully understood who or what she was; and neither could those who used to admonish me give definitive enough explanations for me to remember for the rest of my life.

16 September 2017

Was Dr. Jose P. Laurel, Batangueño President of the 2nd Philippine Republic, a Traitor?

Dr. Jose P. Laurel (right) with his son Sotero (left) and Ambassador Joaquin Elizalde in 1949.  Image credit:  Presidential Museum and Library PH (2010-2016) on Flickr.
I have a fairly vague recollection of this self-same question being asked during a high school history class decades ago. If Dr. Jose P. Laurel of Tanauan had willingly consented to becoming President of a puppet state set up by the Japanese in 1943, later renamed by historians as the Second Philippine Republic, was he not then a traitor to his own country?

11 September 2017

Documented General Characteristics of the Batangueño in 1915

Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.  Taken at the Normal School in Tanauan between 1900 and 1930.
A 1915 Anthropology paper written by one Leon Bibiano Meer1 gives some very fascinating insights about the characteristics of the Batangueño of his era. The paper is part of the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

09 September 2017

Historical and Folkloric Trivia about some Barrios of Nasugbu

The Nasugbu Municipal Hall back in 2012.
This article is part of a series dedicated to providing historical and folkloric information about the barrios of the cities and municipalities of Batangas. All the information has been extracted from obscure documents required of all Department of Education districts in the early fifties by then-President Elpidio Quirino to help reconstruct the nation’s history. These documents are archived at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

04 September 2017

2017 Competitiveness Index: Batangas First, Lipa Third in Batangas Province

Rankings of the three cities of Batangas in the 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index
All images taken from Google Street View.
The City of Batangas took over from Tanauan City as the most competitive city in Batangas Province according to the 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index released last month by the National Competitiveness Council. Lipa City is ranked third, as it was last year.

03 September 2017

Lemery, Bauan, Rosario, Calaca, Taal Top Batangas Municipalities in 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index

Poblacion Lemery.  Image credit:  Google Street View.
Lemery, Bauan, Rosario, Calaca and Taal are the Top 5 towns of Batangas in the 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index released last month by the National Competitiveness Council. The Province of Batangas itself rose one notch from ninth nationwide last year to eighth this year.

01 September 2017

The Story of How De la Salle Came to Open a School in Lipa City Back in 1962

The facade of La Salle High School in Lipa City back in 1963.
Back in 1987, then-DLSL Principal Brother Jaime Dalumpines asked me to write down the first-ever history of the school. I did, albeit at the time, I was young and wrote in a flippant and very unhistorical style. The finished product I published in the Stallion of 1988. Now that I come to think about it, I wish I had written that first school history in a more formal style.