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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31 July 2016

Taal: Extolling the Virtues of the Neighbourhood Heritage Town (Video Log Embedded)

Taal seen from the tower of the St. Martin de Tours Basilica.

Vigan or Taal? I had a bit of a discussion about this with my former student and colleague Albert Gamatero over the weekend when I took him up on an invitation to take me on a walking tour of his hometown, Taal. Not that the question is of national significance; and ideally, if one has the time and can afford it, both heritage towns are excellent travel destinations.

28 July 2016

Tanauan, Batangas City Improve in 2016 National Competitiveness Ranking; Lipa Drops 22 Places

Image credit:  Google Street View.

The Province of Batangas’ three cities had mixed fortunes even as the province itself soared from 20th to 9th among 74 provinces in the 2016 Annual National Competitiveness Index. The calculation of the index is an undertaking by the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines in coordination with Regional Competitiveness Committees and USAID. The 2016 results were released last 14 July 2016.

24 July 2016

Searching for Nasugbu’s Lost Airfield

The Philippine Air Force L-5.  Image credit:  PAF Official site.

When I was a small boy back in the sixties, I had been hearing from my Mother, who was originally from the town of Nasugbu in western Batangas, and other relations on the maternal side about this place that they referred to as ‘landing.’ I knew, because I grew up in an Air Force base, that the term probably referred to a place where airplanes flew from or landed.

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.

11 July 2016

How Batangas Compares with other CALABARZON Provinces in Crime Incidence in 2016

Image credit:

This article examines the crime incidence in the CALABARZON Region, with particular interest on Batangas, of which this web site is about. The data used for this article has been taken from the statistics made available online by the Regional Office of the Philippine National Police (PRO-CALABARZON).

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.

04 July 2016

Rankings of Batangas Towns in Terms of Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency and Infrastructure

Images compiled from Google Earth.

This is the follow-up article to the profiling of Batangas’ three cities. This time, I present to all readers a profiling of twenty-two municipalities of the province in terms of competitiveness. The information in this article comes from data collected for the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, an annual ranking made by the National Competitiveness Council through its regional arms.

03 July 2016

2016 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index Tables

Economic Dynamism Table
LGU Score
San Jose 9.22
Lemery 9.12
Bauan 9.03
Balayan 8.93
Rosario 8.90
Santo Tomas 8.73
San Juan 8.56
Nasugbu 8.25
Ibaan 8.25
Mabini 7.90
Malvar 7.89
Lobo 7.62
Padre Garcia 7.60
San Pascual 7.30
Taysan 7.27
Taal 7.21
Lian 7.19
Alitagtag 7.19
Talisay 7.00
Cuenca 6.81
Calaca 6.75
Balete 6.50
San Luis 6.49
Santa Teresita 6.09
Laurel 6.08
Mataas na Kahoy 6.07
Calatagan 5.96
Tuy 5.85
Agoncillo 5.25
Tingloy 5.03
San Nicolas 4.36

Government Efficiency Table
LGU Score
Mataas na Kahoy 11.49
San Juan 11.43
Alitagtag 10.47
Bauan 9.84
Malvar 9.09
Lemery 8.16
Taal 8.02
Lian 8.01
Rosario 7.87
Calaca 7.80
San Luis 7.78
Cuenca 7.73
San Jose 7.71
Agoncillo 7.50
Taysan 7.49
Ibaan 7.38
Balete 7.32
San Pascual 7.14
Nasugbu 6.61
Tuy 6.32
Mabini 6.31
San Nicolas 6.28
Balayan 6.20
Santo Tomas 6.08
Tingloy 5.91
Talisay 5.81
Lobo 5.77
Padre Garcia 5.59
Laurel 5.53
Calatagan 5.20
Santa Teresita 5.13

Infrastructure Table
LGU Score
Nasugbu 11.22
Rosario 10.97
Lemery 10.82
Balayan 10.49
Bauan 9.96
Santo Tomas 9.37
San Juan 9.22
Taal 9.05
San Pascual 8.61
Calaca 8.58
Cuenca 8.53
Ibaan 8.39
Talisay 8.33
Mabini 8.12
Lobo 8.06
Alitagtag 8.03
Taysan 8.02
San Jose 8.02
Padre Garcia 7.66
Tuy 7.65
Mataas na Kahoy 7.51
Malvar 7.48
Balete 7.25
Lian 6.43
Calatagan 6.08
Santa Teresita 4.67
Laurel 4.56
Agoncillo 4.48
San Luis 4.05
Tingloy 2.76
San Nicolas 0.34

Overall Nationwide Rankings and Scores
LGU Rank Score
San Juan 54 29.21
Bauan 62 28.83
Lemery 83 28.09
Rosario 97 27.73
Nasugbu 197 26.08
Alitagtag 224 25.68
Balayan 230 25.62
Mataas na Kahoy 269 25.07
San Jose 278 24.95
Malvar 324 24.46
Taal 344 24.29
Santo Tomas 351 24.18
Ibaan 364 24.02
Calaca 448 23.14
Cuenca 452 23.06
San Pascual 457 23.04
Taysan 487 22.78
Mabini 533 22.33
Lian 605 21.64
Lobo 625 21.46
Talisay 664 21.14
Balete 665 21.07
Padre Garcia 683 20.85
Tuy 783 19.81
San Luis 883 18.33
Calatagan 949 17.25
Agoncillo 951 17.23
Laurel 1010 16.17
Santa Teresita 1023 15.88
Tingloy 1110 13.70
San Nicolas 1173 10.99

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01 July 2016

Answers to Forgotten Tagalog Riddles

1. kabag (a small bat)
2. kalabaw (carabao)
3. baboy (pig)
4. sungay (horn)
5. campana (church bell)
6. nganga (betel)
7. banca (a Filipino boat)
8. tenga (ears)
9. mata (eyes)
10. bulag na isang mata (one blind eye)
11. mata at kilay (eyes and eyebrows)
12. mukha (bayabas)
13. mga daliri (the fingers on one hand)
14. buhok (hair)
15. mga binte (the forelegs)
16. bibig (the mouth)
17. lura (spit)
18. kandila (candle)
19. ilaw (light)
20. taong may bulutong (a person afflicted with smallpox)
21. hikaw (earrings)
22. sambalilo (a Filipino woven hat)
23. bakya (wooden slippers)
24. bibingka (a Filipino rice cake)
25. mais (corn)
26. niyog (coconut)
27. kasoy (cashew)
28. langka (jackfruit)
29. mabalo (a red fruit)
30. piña (pineapple)
31. lucban
32. sungkaan (a Filipino game)
33. buwan (the moon)
34. mga bituin (the stars)
35. araw (the sun)
36. sahig (the floor)
37. pagaatip (nipa thatching)
38. karayom (needle)
39. gunting (scissors)
40. alimango (crab)
41. kuto (louse)
42. suso (snail)
43. dalaga (a maiden)
44. banig (a sleeping mat)
45. tubig (water)
46. hugas bigas (the water used to wash rice)
47. bata (a child)
48. kumpisalan (the confessional)
49. kawayan (bamboo)
50. saging (banana)

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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.