Life So Mundane in Batangas
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

04 October 2016

Spanish Governance and Christian Instruction in Batangas in 1591

Previous Chapter

(Chapter XIII of a Batangas Historical Series)

A new decade of Spanish rule in the Philippines brought with it changes with which the Spaniards administered the islands. The Royal Audiencia, which in 1583 Felipe II had decreed formed in the country, ultimately turned out not quite the solution to the country’s troubles as was hoped. Hearing first-hand from the Jesuit priest Alonso Sanchez, head of an embassy sent from the Philippines to Spain, of not only the real conditions in the islands but also about the constant bickering among the members of the Audiencia, the king replaced the body with a governor direct from Spain.

1903 Batangas Seen through the Eyes of an American Colonial Officer’s Wife
Nipa huts in a reconcentrado camp.  Image credit:  "The Last Holdouts".

A series of letters written by Edith Moses about the Philippines provides a colorful insight into life in the country at the turn of the previous century. These letters were subsequently published into a book entitled “Unofficial Letters of an Official’s Wife” in New York in 1908.

To Duterte’s Mention of the Bud Dajo and Balangiga Massacres, Add the Batangas Concentration Camps of the Phil-American War
Image credit: Pinoy Culture.  Inside a concentration camp in Batangas.

Now that Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has dug up from history and brought back into public consciousness the massacres at Bud Dajo in Sulu and Balangiga in Samar, both events having occurred during the Philippine-American War from 1899-1902, perhaps it is but appropriate to revisit as well the concentration camps which the Americans set up in Batangas starting December 19011.

Thomas Cavendish: the 16th Century English Pirate who Prowled Philippine Waters
Image credit:  Wikimedia Commons; Pauline's Pirates and Privateers.

Many will recall from World History lessons the abortive sixteenth century invasion of England by the so-called Spanish Armada, so ordered by Philip II, King of Spain. The invasion force was sent partly as retribution for the execution of the Catholic English Queen Mary I (Stuart), whom the Spaniards, being a dutiful Catholic nation, felt was the rightful Queen of England. But apart from wanting to restore a Catholic to the throne of England, the Spaniards also intended the destruction of the English navy so that its pesky raids of Spanish ports, including those in the colonies, might come to an end1.

Provincia de Bombon y Balayan, as 16th Century Batangas was Known
Image credit:  The Inhabitants of the Philippines, Frederic H. Sawyer.

Previous Chapter

(Chapter XII of a Batangas Historical Series)

The Royal Audiencia established in Manila was supposed to allow the governance of the Philippines without having to refer major concerns to the Audiencia in Nueva España and also to rein in the powers of the Governor General and prevent the corruption and abuses that used to occur during Gonçalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa’s term as Governor.

Early 20th Century Postcards Show Nostalgic Images of Old Manila
Dewey Boulevard, Manila (presently Roxas Boulevard).

An obscure collection of postcards simply called the “Rudyuski Collection” sits among the digital collections at the National Library of the Philippines. Regrettably, no details are given as to the owner of the collection or how the postcards were accumulated. The subjects of the postcards are diverse, with images not only of Metro Manila but of indigenous tribes and different provinces of the country. This post shows only postcards of Manila subjects.

The Practice of Sending Convicted Criminals as Soldiers to Spanish Colonial Philippines
Image credit:

“While this ship was on the point of departure, one of two ships which your viceroy Don Martin Enrriquez1 despatched from Nueva España (Mexico) arrived here, on the fifth of the present month. Through these ships he sends one hundred and fifty soldiers, some married men, and three Augustinian religious.2

Gabriel de Ribera, Mariscal de Bombon, Batangas’ Representative to the Royal Audiencia
Image credit:

Previous Chapter

(Chapter XI of a Batangas Historical Series)

Gonçalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa’s term as Governor of the Philippines would be cut short by his death in 15831. He was in poor health from the day he assumed office, according to the historian Antonio de Morga. His demise, it is fair to assume, was probably hastened by the stresses brought on by criticisms that his administration drew not just from his political rivals but also from the members of the clergy.


Spanish-Style Corruption Arrives in 16th Century Philippines, Including Batangas

Image credit: Putok Do You Know the Truth?

Previous Chapter

(Chapter X of a Batangas Historical Series)

After Miguel de Loarca’s pseudo-census of the Philippine Islands, Spanish documents for all intents and purposes went silent in the 1580s on anything that had to do with what would over time become the Province of Batangas. This was likely by no means deliberate and more due to politicking between the Spaniards themselves, often to the detriment of the native Filipinos or the Indians as these were referred to by the conquerors.


20 July 2016

Miguel de Loarca’s 16th Century “Census” of Batangas

The Bombon area was the most vibrant according to de Loarca's narrative.

Previous Chapter

(Chapter IX of a Batangas Historical Series)

Mention has already been made in the second chapter of the Spaniard Miguel de Loarca as this narrative sought to get a bearing on the coastline of Tulay or Tuley. For this chapter, we return to his relation or narrative to get a better grasp of how things were in Batangas in the first decade of Spanish colonisation in terms of population and governance.


19 July 2016

The Galleon Trade, Their Filipino Crews and the Earliest Filipino Community in the United States

Thumbnail from the YouTube video "El Galeón de Manila. La aventura de los tesoros de Oriente (Manila Galleon) HRM Ediciones" by Arturo Sanchez.

Most Filipinos, from high school history books, ought to have a fundamental knowledge of the so-called Galleon Trade, that maritime link across the vast expanse of the Pacific through which the Philippines maintained its contact with Nueva España (Mexico) and, therefore, the mother country Spain itself.


13 July 2016

The Chiefs of Balayan and Their Role in the 16th Century Spanish Invasion of Borneo

Image credit:

Previous Chapter

(Chapter VIII of a Batangas Historical Series)

It was no surprise that Spanish overtures of peace and friendship with the King of Borney in 1573 were received lukewarmly; and even this is an understatement. The Spaniards, after all, were encroaching upon lands where Borney, if it did not have direct sovereignty, at least wielded apparent influence.


07 July 2016

When Islam was a Widely-Practised Religion in Luzon, Including Batangas

Image credit:  The Daily Brunei Resources.

Previous Chapter

(Part VII of a Batangas Historical Series)

Documents of the earliest Hispanic contacts with Batangas referred to the natives of Bonbon and Balayan as Moros – Spanish for Moors. This was altogether incorrect because the term Moor was originally used to connote the Muslim inhabitants of North Africa and parts of Europe, particularly those of the Iberian Peninsula, regardless of ethnicity.


01 July 2016

Deaths of the Early Spanish Conquistadores of Luzon and Batangas

Previous Chapter

(Part VI of a Batangas Historical Series)

The three main characters of the initial Spanish exploration and subsequent conquest of Luzon – including Batangas – in 1570 did not even survive the decade. Miguel López de Legaspi, the first Hispanic governor of the country, lasted just over a year from the time he first arrived in Luzon in 1571 to claim it on behalf of Felipe II, the King of Spain.


30 June 2016

Douglas MacArthur’s May-December Secret Affair with a Filipina

Image credit:  Wikipedia and Konted's Make My Day 2.

…or maybe February or March is more descriptive. But I get ahead of the story…

Most Filipinos will remember Douglas MacArthur from History lessons for the immortal vow “I shall return.” This sentence concluded a short statement he made to reporters before he was whisked away to Australia, leaving behind American and Filipino troops to face surrender to the Japanese in 1942.


28 June 2016

The Founding of Pueblos or Towns by the Agustinians in 16th Century Batangas

Ruins of the St. Martin de Tours Church in San Nicolas, Batangas
Previous Chapter

(Part V of a Batangas Historical Series)

The awarding of Bonbon as a repartimiento to Martin de Goite by Miguel López de Legaspi in 1571 was just one of many, for indeed, it was Felipe II himself, King of Spain, who willed it so. It was the king’s wishes for the western islands, as the Philippines were then called, to be colonised and the lands divided among those who worked to conquer them.


22 June 2016

Glimpses of Bonbon (Early Batangas) at the Dawn of the Spanish Colonial Era

Taal Lake, which used to be called Bonbon.

Previous Chapter

(Part IV of a Batangas Historical Series)

Just over a year after first sighting the bay of Balayan in an exploratory voyage from Panay to Luzon, Martin de Goite was rewarded by Miguel López de Legazpi, first Spanish governor of the Philippines, for his services to the Crown of Spain with a repartimiento of 8,000 natives in the area of the lake and river of Bonbon. This we now know to be the present day Taal Lake area.


17 June 2016

Bonbon in Present Day Batangas the First Colonial Estate in Luzon Rewarded to de Goite

Image credit:  The Philippines.

Previous Chapter

(Part III of a Batangas Historical Series)

After leaving the coast of Tulay early one day around the third week of May in the year 1570, Martin de Goite and his expeditionary party to explore Luzon pushed on and arrived in Manila Bay in the afternoon of the same day. His instructions from the governor, Miguel López de Legazpi, were to make peace and win friends in Manila.


11 June 2016

De Goite Brings Peace to Warring Natives from Balayan and Nearby Tulayan

Image credit: Trans-Pacific Project.

(Part II of a Batangas Historical Series)

←  Previous Chapter

“These people declare war among themselves at the slightest provocation, or with none whatever. All those who have not made a treaty of peace with them, or drawn blood with them, are considered as enemies. Privateering and robbery have a natural attraction for them. Whenever the occasion presents itself, they rob one another, even if they be neighbours or relatives; and when they see and meet one another in the open fields at nightfall, they rob and seize one another.1


08 June 2016

Kinky Pre-Hispanic Sexual Devices Filipinos Used According to Antonio Pigafetta

Pre-Hispanic Filipinos. By Boxer Codex -,

And on the lighter side after researching tons upon tons of historical documents (okay this part is an exaggeration)…

Those among you who did not snore through Philippine History lessons may remember Antonio Pigafetta as the chronicler who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan on an exploratory voyage half a world away from Spain to the Far East to find the lands of spices.




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