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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27 April 2016

British Troops Chase after Treasures in 18th Century Batangas

Image credit:  Ayala Museum.

Most Filipinos are vaguely aware from high school History lessons that for a brief period in our nation’s storied past, the British ruled over the entire archipelago. This was, at least, in principle. In reality, direct British control was really just over Manila and some parts of Cavite1.

25 April 2016

Bus Travel to, from and Around Batangas, Then and Now

Manila bound BLTBCo, circa 1962.  Image credit:  History of Batangas on FB, c/o Jigger Gilera, MD.

These days, one can travel to Metro Manila in airconditioned buses with decent enough leg room and head rests high enough to be comfortable for Filipinos of above average height. The roads are also well-paved, so the days of bumpy rides are long gone. As everyone knows, however, there is always a trade-off; and these days, despite the pampered comforts of bus travel, the downside is that the roads are frequently jam-packed with vehicles.

20 April 2016

The “Cruel” Koreans of the Japanese Army in the Philippines in World War II

Image credit:  Wikipedia.

In the midst of a discussion about Japanese atrocities committed in the Province of Batangas during the last world war, a former player of mine with whom I was having the discussion mentioned offhandedly that the Koreans in the Japanese army, or so he had heard, were actually nastier than the Japanese themselves.

19 April 2016

Taal Volcano: Lying in Wait like a Booby-Trapped Postcard

Taal Volcano always looks picture-perfect, but has a violent past.

It is always easy when one drives along the Tagaytay Ridge to simply forget that the postcard picture perfect scenario below of Taal Lake has in its midst a midget of a volcano the size of which belies its violent temper.

15 April 2016

Bigay Suso, Bigay Caya and Other Pre-Hispanic Filipino Customs

Image credit:  Painting by Amorsolo.

So yes, the title caught your attention, did it not? This article intends to narrate marital and other customs of pre-Hispanic Filipino people as recorded by the 18th century Agustinian friar and chronicler Joaquín Martínez de Zúñiga in his book “An Historical View of the Philippine Islands.”

13 April 2016

Hypotheses on the Difference in Accents between Eastern and Western Batangas

Taal, like Balayan, used to be a capital of Batangas.

When the Filipino actor Leo Martinez started gaining a bit of fame on Philippine television cast as a Batangueño with an exaggerated accent, I felt mystified that people bought the accent at all. It sounded extremely phoney to me.

11 April 2016

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

Taal Lake seen from the Tagaytay Ridge.

Even to those Batangas born and raised, knowledge of Taal Lake is often limited to that which was taught in elementary geography: that it is a freshwater lake; that inside it is a small but active and dangerous volcano that bears the same name; that it is home to fish species found nowhere else in the world; and that, seen from the Tagaytay ridge, it is always postcard perfect.

08 April 2016

MacArthur’s I Shall Return: How He Almost Didn’t

Gen. Douglas MacArthur arriving at the beachhead in Leyte in October 1944.

To quickly put the title into context, I should add the phrase “at the time that he did.” And if History had panned out differently, then we would not have had the iconic images of MacArthur alighting from that lone landing craft on a beach in Leyte to wade into knee deep waters as he tried to get to shore.

06 April 2016

Alternative Stories about How Lipa City Got Its Name

Before yesterday, the only story I had heard about how Lipa City got its name was this silly folklore about two Spanish conquistadores who heeded the call of nature behind a shrub then had the utter misfortune to wipe themselves with leaves from the same shrub.

04 April 2016

The Ball Pen Spinning Skill DLSL Students Used to Have

When I first started teaching high school at La Salle here in Lipa back in 1982, there was something that students did that fascinated me no end. This was the skill of spinning their ball pens with their fingers.

02 April 2016

The Nasugbu Landing in WWII and Its Significance to the Liberation of Batangas

Image credit:  Wayne Violette.  American troops marching into Nasugbu town after the beach landing.

Among the wartime stories that I used to hear from my late mother was the amphibious landing of American troops on the beaches of her hometown of Nasugbu in Western Batangas. I know now from my own personal research that the landing occurred on the 31st of January in 1945.