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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30 June 2017

Historic Pictures Taken in Batangas during the American Colonial Era

Image credit:  Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.

I found the picture above at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum’s Digital Collection. It was taken circa 1945 so this was about the time of the liberation of the country from the yoke of Japanese occupation. Here is how the image was captioned: “A street in an unidentified city in Batangas Province, Luzon, Philippines. Old cars can be seen parked along the sides of the street. All people are unidentified. Donor: John Paxton.”

28 June 2017

The Hard Luck and Suffering in San Juan and Balayan after the End of the Philippine-American War in 1902

Entitled "A native nipa shack."  From the Everett E. Thompson Photograph Collection at the University of Michigan Online Digital Collections.

With the surrender of General Miguel Malvar in April 1902, for all intents and purposes, the Philippine-American War also came to an end. Batangas was the last province to yield to American imperialism. In fact, the American General J. Franklin Bell had to resort to forcing civilian populations in the province to live in the so-called “re-concentration” camps to prevent them from lending support to Malvar and his army1.

25 June 2017

How the Population of Batangas’ Towns and Cities Has Grown from the 1903 to the 2015 Census

Nipa huts in a reconcentrado camp in Batangas circa 1903.  Image credit:  "The Last Holdouts".

In 1902-03, the fledgling American colonial government in the Philippines undertook a population census as approved by the United States Philippine Commission. The census was undertaken by American military forces1. Historians take statistics yielded by this 1903 census with a grain of salt because it was nowhere near as thorough as population surveys are undertaken in the present day. Still, this census was probably so much more accurate than anything that the Spaniards ever undertook.

This article, as dictated by the scope of this web site, is limited to statistics relevant to Batangas. However, the numbers will likely be reflective of population growth elsewhere in the country 114 years after the fact. The growth rates, needless to say, when compared to present day statistics are staggering.

22 June 2017

How Churches in Balayan, Bauan, Ibaan, Lemery, Lipa, San Jose, San Juan, Tanauan and Taysan Looked Like in 1911

The images were all taken in the year 1911 by the American Luther Parker, who first came to the Philippines in 1901 and stayed in the Philippines until 1931. He worked in the Bureau of Education and rose to the position of Superintendent. He retired in 1926.

19 June 2017

How Taal, Batangas Looked Like in 1911 as seen from Pictures of the Luther Parker Collection

Church at Taal, Batangas. Philippine Islands.
The nostalgic images in this page are from the Luther Parker Collection publicly available as part of the National Library of the Philippines’ Digital Collection. The images were fortuitously scanned at 600 dpi (dots per inch), and this has allowed me to enlarge each without resulting pixelation. I have enhanced each picture using graphic software to improve clarity but have also retained the sepia tone as old pictures rather tend to have. The captions are as Parker himself had written in his albums.

16 June 2017

Know the Life and Culture in the Town of Lipa, Batangas in the 1800s

A pre-war photo of Calle Real, Lipa town.  Image credit:  Lipa City Tourism and Museum Councnil.

For a 1948 publication called the Batangas Directory, one Baldomero B. Reyes wrote a fascinating article entitled “Important events that occurred in Lipa during the Spanish regime.” The article is informative and should be interesting whether the reader is from Lipa City or not.

The Mystery of the Tawilis’ Origin and Its Transformation from a Marine to Freshwater Fish

Image credit:  by Shrumster at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,
If you are Batangueño, then it goes without saying that you are familiar with your home province’s iconic fish, the freshwater sardine found nowhere else on earth but in Taal Lake. This small fish with silvery scales is known by its scientific name sardinella tawilis, or just tawilis in the vernacular. What you probably do not know is that the origins of this iconic fish remains a mystery even to biologists up to the present day.

14 June 2017

Philippine Azkals: Finding the Player who will Steady the Defense

Even this early, with just two rounds of six AFC Asian Cup qualifying matches having been played, whether or not the Philippines qualify for the tournament proper appears to be entirely in the team’s hands. Eight goals scored in two matches is no small thing, albeit against admittedly modest opposition.

The team can score goals, this much was apparent even against the continent’s elite, as we all saw in the supposed coming of age friendly against China last week. But it is at the opposite end of the field where there is cause for concern; plenty, if we are all being honest.

China, in fact, last week made public the blueprint for how to beat the Azkals with aplomb: give them the ball and lull them into a false sense of security then launch lightning raids down either flank. Alternatively, play up-tempo in their own half and string together quick touch passes.

The problem is less that our defenders are poor and more that there appears to be an abject need for a cool head from midfield down when we do not have possession. This was evident even in the qualifier last night in Dushanbe, particularly after the Tajiks had managed to pull one back by way of an annoyingly soft and dubious penalty.

Albeit still ahead by two goals, as the Tajiks drove forward in search of more goals, suddenly we were snapping into tackles unnecessarily instead of sensibly defending the space in front of the ball. In so doing, we also conceded a rash of unnecessary fouls in dangerous positions, further adding tension to the already frantic way we were defending.

As we did in China…

That period from the Tajik penalty to when Daisuke Sato finally doused the fire with a screamer from outside the box was certifiably harmful to one’s fingernails. Our defending was China-version-2-point-oh; and only Tajikistan’s own limitations ensured that our Azkals headed home three precious away points to the better.

In that frantic period, how we could have used the experience and coolness of a Jerry Lucena, who when in the national colors always looked like his feathers could not be ruffled even by an intensity 7 earthquake.

Unless the Flash can fetch a younger version of Lucena from an alternate universe, Thomas Dooley has a year and a half to find that player who has the coolness and authority to organize the defense and bring down the testosterone levels so that our players do not scamper all over the place like headless chickens.

Phil Younghusband, perhaps, gave us a bit of that when he was anchored deep in midfield and orchestrated play away from the snapping boots of unscrupulous defenders. But there were those among us who whined that the country’s record goal poacher should be closer to goal.

Now that he has been restored upfront and curls Beckham-esque freekicks like he did against the Tajiks as though he does it for fun, it will make no sense to whine that he ought to be playing deeper.

Ah, the travails of the armchair critic…

Who, then, to turn to so that a tad more maturity and composure might be restored at the back? I do not follow the fledgling PFL enough to dare put forth a name; but perhaps in a bedroom in some obscure household some pimply teenager is playing FIFA 2017 on his laptop and will make a discovery similar to that which brought the Younghusbands to our distant shores.

Or, perhaps Dooley prefers to ride out the next year and a half and hope that the same lot who leaked eight against China will have matured enough to ensure we do not again leak as many when the entire continent is watching.

The trip to China was in no way the disaster the scoreline suggests. Particularly in the first half, our passing was crisp and purposeful. We even managed an end-product in Misagh Bahadoran’s goal. But attacking is just one side to the game of football, and the uncelebrated art of defending is just as important as the oft-celebrated art of goalscoring.

Our performances against Nepal and Tajikistan suggest that we can leak goals but still have enough in the armory to get to the UAE. Before we get there, the leaks need to be plugged because as China taught us all just recently, when in the company of the continent’s powerhouses, a tiny leak can quickly become a deluge.

Perhaps it is best that we all leave it to Dooley to figure the conundrum out. He was, after all, a defender. Or, perhaps we start looking for that pimply kid…

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Philippine Football Federation Hosts "A" License Coaching Course

Image courtesy of Ake Pastoral of the PFF.
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF), in cooperation with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), is hosting the 3rd AFC “A” License Coaching Certificate Course (Part 1) at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila from June 14-28, 2017.

12 June 2017

Batangas City to Puerto Galera in 18 Minutes by Super Bridge?

Image credit:  cropped from the 26 August 2015 post of former Batangas Vice-Governor Mark Leviste.
The historical connection between the island of Mindoro and the Province of Batangas dates back to the dawn of the Spanish colonial era, and likely even earlier. In 1570, a Spanish expedition from Panay headed by Colonel Martin de Goite and Captain Juan de Salcedo to explore the island of Luzon made its final hop into the main island likely from the port of Puerto Galera in Mindoro.

07 June 2017

The Legend of the Miraculous Holy Crosses of Alitagtag and Bauan

The Holy Crosses of Bauan and Alitagtag.  Image credit:  adelacy on Panoramio.
In this article, we shall be featuring the legend of the finding of the Holy Cross in Batangas, as written by the Rev. Father Juan S. Coronel. The legend was included in a 1953 compilation1 prepared by Department of Education District of Alitagtag for submission to the Division of Batangas.

05 June 2017

Breeding the Expensive Maliputo Fish and Helping Its Fry Get to Taal Lake

The maliputo served as sinigang at Taal Bistro.

While on a day-tour of the Municipality of Taal last Saturday, over lunch at the famous Taal Bistro, a bit of trivia mentioned by our host Joseph Razon, whose family owns the restaurant, had my ears instantly pricking up with interest. I had previously written an article about the bistro entitled “Taal Bistro: the Maliputo Alone is Worth the Trip.”