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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31 May 2017

Fidel A. Reyes, the Lipa-born Nationalist Writer of the Early American Era, and the Case of the Bust to Honor His Memory

Fidel A. Reyes and the bust in honor of him.  Images from Heroic Footsteps.
In the year 1901, while the Philippine-American War was ongoing, Filipino nationalists founded a Spanish-language newspaper which they called El Renacimiento or The Rebirth. Sheila Coronel described the newspaper as “the voice of the native intelligentsia and reflected their aspirations for self-rule, even as they had, by then, accepted the reality of American sovereignty1.”

24 May 2017

The Apolinario Mabini Syphilis Rumors and Late 19th Century Philippine Power Play

By National Historical Commission - National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1189762.
Those among readers who daydreamed through lessons on Apolinario Mabini in high school Philippine History would likely have paid attention more had textbooks not kept out one sleazy bit of information that would have made these lessons a tad more interesting: that there were rumors circulating in the day that Mabini’s paraplegia1 was caused by syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease.

22 May 2017

Bonbon Eco-Cultural Festival Hosted by Tanauan City 26-27 May 2017

Batangueños and non-Batangueños alike are invited to attend the third annual Bonbon Festival, an eco-cultural event that aims to provide artistic opportunities to local artists and at the same time create an environmental platform for the promotion and preservation of Taal Lake, the volcano and its environment.

18 May 2017

First-Hand Narrative of the Violent 1911 Taal Volcano Eruption which Killed More than a Thousand People

Taal Volcano right after the 30 January 1911 eruption.  Original photo from John Tewell on Flickr.

“Tiny” Taal Volcano, at just 311 meters or 1,020 feet above sea level considered the world’s smallest active volcano, is also among the deadliest1. It has had a total of 33 historical or documented eruptions2. One of these, the 1754 eruption, lasted for almost seven months and redefined the terrain in the Taal-Lemery area, closed off Taal Lake’s access to Balayan Bay and changed its waters from marine to freshwater.

16 May 2017

General Juan Cailles, the Nasugbu-born Soldier of the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War

Left image by Unknown - Downloaded from http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/SEAiT/data/images/lc/large/ph00577l.jpg. Local Identifier: SEAiT.Philippines.ph00577.bib, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2525551.  Right image from Philippine-American War, 1899-1902.

Obscured by the fame of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Miguel Malvar and other great historical figures is one Nasugbu-born soldier whose military exploits spanned the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. His name was Juan Cailles, a Batangueño who was not even of Filipino blood. His father was Hippolyte Callais, a Frenchman originally from Lyon; while his mother was María Kauppama from British India.

13 May 2017

The Question Everyone Wants an Answer to: Are There Fault Lines in Batangas?

Image credit:  Esurance.com.

In the midst of that earthquake-infested month that was April of 2017, hundreds of people were arriving at this web site from search engines having used the search string “fault lines in Batangas” or something similar. The earthquakes on the fourth and eighth of the month were quite nerve-wracking; and those affected naturally wanted to know what was going on.

11 May 2017

The Tree after which Ibaan was named and other Historical Trivia about the Town

Just outside the Municipal Hall of modern day Ibaan.  Image credit:  Google Street View.

The Municipality of Ibaan is one of the Province of Batangas’ middle-sized towns, with a land area of 6,899 hectares and a population (2015 Census) of 52,9701. Its poblacion is roughly 14 kilometers southwest of Lipa City and roughly 12 kilometers northeast of Batangas City.

05 May 2017

Captain Roberto Lemery, the Spanish Outpost Commander after whom a Town is Named

The bridge that separates Taal from Lemery.  Image credit:  Google Street View.

A quick examination of the list of Batangas’ cities and municipalities shows that the names of all the province’s 34 geopolitical subdivisions sound distinctly Tagalog or Spanish – except one, the municipality of Lemery. Lemery is more a French rather than a Spanish surname.1 Not that there is anything unusual about this because the histories of France and the Iberian Peninsula are very much intertwined so that there are those of Spanish citizenship who go by this typically French-sounding surname.

03 May 2017

Know the Tsunami-Prone Areas in Batangas as Shown by a Phivolcs Hazard Map

Image captured by video posted by TD Interesting Topics Tube on YouTube.

Right after the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that hit just off the island of Tingloy on the 4th of April 2017, subsequent news reports showed clips of Batangas City-residents along the coastal areas hurrying off to higher grounds. Some of these were also sent scampering because of bogus text messages that warned of the impending arrival of a tsunami. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or Phivolcs quickly moved to allay people’s fears. The strength of the earthquake, Phivolcs spokespersons told media, was not strong enough to have generated a tsunami.