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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30 November 2017

Ananias Diokno: the Taal-born General Recognized as the only Tagalog to lead a Military Expedition to the Visayas during the Philippine Revolution

Image credit:  L - Taal, Batangas; R - Wikipedia.
It was 1898. The Philippine Revolution was becoming the success its instigators might have hoped for probably only in their wildest dreams. The Americans had yet to reveal the darker purpose which took them across the expanse of the Pacific to these islands. Emilio Aguinaldo himself, in his memoirs1, wrote: “…triumph following triumph in quick succession, evidencing the power, resolution and ability of the inhabitants of the Philippines to rid themselves of any foreign yoke and exist as an independent State...”

22 November 2017

Lipa to Padre Garcia Bypass Road by 2018, Lipa Flyovers by 2021 among DPWH Projects

Image credit:  Screen capture from the video on the Facebook page of Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto.
A video released 21 October 2017 by the Facebook Page of Batangas District VI Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto provides details of three major Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects in Districts IV and VI of Batangas. These are the Lipa to Padre Garcia Diversion Road, the flyovers along J.P. Laurel National Highway in Lipa City and the Padre Garcia to STAR Tollway Diversion Road.

These projects are being undertaken, according to the video, “to boost growth potential and make full use of the vast resources of the province.”

Lipa to Padre Garcia Road
The Lipa City to Padre Garcia diversion road is being built at a cost of ₱1,247,960,000. The project is being undertaken, according to the video, as DPWH’s “response to the congestion at the Manila-Batangas Road and Lipa-Rosario Road.”

The total road length is placed at 11.346 kilometers. When completed, it is expected to reduce travel time anything from 20 to 45 minutes. The video placed the diversion road’s completion date at 2021.

However, a TV Patrol Southern Tagalog report on 22 October said that the project is already 45% completed and is expected to be opened to vehicular traffic by April 2018. The DPWH Batangas official interviewed also estimated reduction in travel time by 40 minutes to one hour.

The diversion road starts at Barangay Talisay in Lipa City and passes through Santo Niño, Malitlit, San Benito, San Celestino, Santo Toribio and San Francisco before ending at Barangay Bawi in Padre Garcia.

Upon completion, the road is expected to “decongest the north and south bound lanes of poblacion Lipa City” and “serve as alternate routes to Quezon, the Bicol Region and Southern Philippines.

Lipa City Flyovers
The second major project is the construction of flyover roads in Lipa City “to provide comfort for the passengers of public utility vehicles and to boost the efficiency of business related activities of Lipa.”

From the graphic rendering of the project in the video, it appears that there will be two flyovers to be constructed along J.P. Laurel National Highway. The total road length of the two flyovers is 2.87 kilometers.

The first starts in the Marauoy area and descends in the vicinity of SM City-Lipa. The second begins in the vicinity of De la Salle Lipa and descends in Tambo. Both flyovers, when completed, will likely ease congestion two of the city’s present day frequently choked roads. The project is expected to be finished by 2021 and built at a cost of ₱4,305,000,000.

Padre Garcia to STAR Tollway
The final project outlined by the video is the Padre Garcia to STAR Tollway Diversion Road. This undertaking aims “to provide shorter travel time to those trying to reach the resort destinations of Batangas while enjoying the scenic landscape beside the diversion road.”

This diversion road starts in Padre Garcia and cuts through parts of Rosario, Lipa and Ibaan to gain quicker access to the STAR Tollway. When completed, the diversion road will be a boon to travelers trying to reach not just the beaches of San Juan but also other destinations beyond.

This project is being targeted to be completed by 2023 and its construction cost is pegged at ₱830,221,700. The road’s total length is 10.7 kilometers.

A recent TV Patrol report also says that construction of a Batangas City to Bauan Diversion Road is about to commence. This project, of course, within the jurisdiction of Districts II and V of Batangas.

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21 November 2017

12 Marriage and other Customs Observed in Calaca, Batangas in 1931

Image credit:  The Luther Parker Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
A 1931 Anthropology paper entitled “Customary Laws in Calaca, Batangas1,” written by one Marcela Endaya, presumably a native of the town, offers a cultural glimpse into life in the province almost a century ago. The paper is part of the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

19 November 2017

19th Century Ibaan as Described by a Spanish Historian

Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
We continue with the series featuring each of the 22 towns of Batangas as described by the Spanish historian Manuel Sastron in his book “Batangas y su Provincia1” (Batangas and Its Province) which was published in 1895. The information contained in the book was collected in the years preceding its publication in Malabon.

16 November 2017

Tuy, Batangas: Historical and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
We continue with the series on the barrios of Batangas, and this time we look at the small western Batangas town of Tuy. As with the other articles in the series, the information has been taken from the documents required of Department of Education districts around the country in 1951 by the Philippine government to reconstruct local histories after important documents were destroyed during the war. The documents are among the digital collection of the National Library of the Philippines.

14 November 2017

Know the Population of 22 Batangas Towns in 1877

Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
An 1895 book entitled “Batangas y su Provincia1” (Batangas and its Province) paints a compelling picture of the province far from the congested place modernity has turned it into in the present day. Written by the Spanish historian Manuel Sastron, the books gives contemporary readers a vivid glimpse of an era when Batangas was lush with forests and vegetation and towns and villages were not just sparsely populated but also relatively isolated from each other.

12 November 2017

Beliefs Held by the People in Lian, Batangas in 1924

Women in Batangas early during the American colonial era.  Image credit:  U.S. National Archives; University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
From the small western Batangas municipality of Lian, we feature some beliefs held by the people during the American colonial era, specifically the year 1924. These beliefs are taken from an Anthropology paper written1 by one Rafael L. Arcega in a document filed under the Henry Otley-Beyer collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

11 November 2017

Cuenca, Batangas in the 19th Century, as Described by a Spanish Historian

A calesa, in a typical scene of the 19th to early 20th century Philippines.  Image credit:  New York Public Library.
This article continues our series dedicated to showing how the towns of Batangas were like in the nineteenth century, as described by the Spanish former government official and historian Manuel Sastron in his 1895 book “Batangas y Su Provincia1.” Presumably, the information that Sastron wrote in his book was either observed or collected in the years preceding the publication of the book.

09 November 2017

DLSL Alumna Richie Tumambing: Destined to be an Architect despite the Twists of Life that came her way

Image from Richie Tumambing.
Sometimes, God just finds ways to nudge you back in the direction you are meant to take. Or so thinks De la Salle Lipa high school 1988 graduate Richie Tumambing. Make that Architect Richie Tumambing. She was proprietor of the Fitness-A Gym at the Big Ben Complex in Lipa City; but then, after a while, started to feel unhappy that the gym was not taking her to where she wanted to be.

This was in 2005. She took her unhappiness as a sign that she was being nudged by God back along the path she started to travel eighteen years earlier. She was almost at the finish line, but then the foibles of youth pushed her off the track.

“I got pregnant,” she said with the sort of candor that was just so Richie Tumambing.

She was just nineteen or so units short of obtaining her bachelor’s degree from one of the best schools of architecture in the Philippines, at the University of Santo Tomas. It was not really her dream to become an architect, Richie said honestly. It was her mother’s; and like most mothers, her logic was irrefutable.

“My Mom told me that it was her dream to have an architect in the family,” Richie confided. “What I really wanted to be was a lawyer.” Her Mom insisted that she got herself a degree in architecture first then she could go on and pursue law afterwards if she still wanted to. Richie let her have her way.

So off she went to España after graduating from De la Salle Lipa, equipped with a Lasallian education courtesy of the Christian Brothers; and despite her misgivings about taking up Architecture was nonetheless eager to swap the green and white for the gold of the university.

Being Richie, she breezed through the first four years of her program with hardly a fuss. This was just as her third year high school aptitude test, administered by the DLSL Guidance Office, predicted. Richie could not understand why because she had been planning for a career in law; but the aptitude test recommended that she build instead a career in Architecture.

But then, in 1993, just a semester short of graduation, she found out that she was with child.

Childbearing and raising her son as a single mother would ultimately mean a twelve year hiatus away from her pursuit of a degree in Architecture. That it was a struggle is probably an understatement; but she plowed on as was, perhaps, only to be expected of one with determination built right into her DNA.

In the process, she went into various endeavors to sustain herself and her growing child: taught aerobics; worked as an agent in a local call center; sold interior design products; and ran a fitness gym.

Richie with her son, for whom she gave up most of her life before returning to live hers and fulfill her destiny.  Image from Richie Tumambing.
To finally be able to return to university in 2005, she sought the assistance of a benefactor just so she could obtain a sponsorship from a bus company. “The daily commute to Manila cost ₱250,” Richie narrated, “but at the time I hardly had any money.”

But complete the Architecture program she did in just one semester, after which she underwent the required internship under local architect Elmer Borlaza. Having completed the required 1,800 hours of “mentorship” under Borlaza, she was eligible to take the Licensure Examination for Architects, which she passed in January of 2009.

Richie presently owns her own home-based company called RichMan Designs and Consultancy. She considers the design and renovation of the Victory Church in Lipa as her most challenging project to date; albeit she also considers it the most fulfilling. She considers Residential Architecture, however, as her specialization, and has designed houses for clients in Alabang, San Pablo City, Cebu City and, of course, Lipa.

Early this year, Richie was elected President of the Lipa chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines, a nationwide organization started in 1975. The Lipa chapter was granted a charter only in March of this year, starting initially with 26 members but presently already has 34.

The local chapter’s vision is to provide service to its members, promote the profession locally and to be able to give back to the community. At present, it is also working with the local council to have the Architecture Law implemented in Lipa. This law requires, among others, that an architect’s signature be obtained for building plans before construction can commence.

To make up for lost time, Richie enrolled in the Master of Architecture program of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Since she started late in the practice of the profession, she explained, a master’s degree would raise her competitiveness in her profession. She is just a thesis away from the degree.

Meanwhile her son, for whom she gave up most of her life before returning to live hers, is also on the cusp of his own degree, also in Architecture, from National University. Richie’s Mom, who passed away recently, will undoubtedly be smiling in Heaven at the prospect of having not just one but two architects in the family.

And the dream of being a lawyer? “Let me worry about my master’s thesis first then I will take it from there…”

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08 November 2017

When the Town of Bauan was founded along the Shores of Taal Lake

Sugarcane crusher in Bauan during the early years of the American colonial era.  Image credit:  University of Michigan Digital Collections.
For most modern day people of Batangas, it is probably stock knowledge that the town of Bauan is close to the shores of Batangas Bay and is right next door to the town of San Pascual and Batangas City. What is probably less well-known is that Bauan, in the seventeenth century, was founded along the shores of Bombon or what is now known as Taal Lake.

06 November 2017

Lemery: Historical and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

Present day Lemery.  Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This is yet another article in the series dedicated to historical and folkloric trivia about the barrios of Batangas. The information contained herein is all from documents required of the administration of President Elpidio Quirino in 1951 of all Department of Education districts around the country to help reconstruct the nation’s history down to the level of barrios. This was because many historical documents were inevitably destroyed in World War II.

Rosario, Batangas in the 19th Century, as Described by a Spanish Historian

The roads to Rosario were passable by all types of horse-drawn carriages.  Image credit:  New York Public Library.
This article takes a look at the town of Rosario in the nineteenth century through the eyes of Manuel Sastron, the Spanish ex-government official and historian who was one of the few who wrote comprehensively about the Province of Batangas during the Spanish colonial era in his book “Batangas y Su Provincia1.”

05 November 2017

19th Century Talisay, Batangas as Described by a Spanish Historian

A rural scene which could have been anywhere in the Philippines in the 19th or early 20th century.  Image credit:  New York Public Library.
This article is the second instalment of a series featuring the towns of Batangas in the nineteenth century. Most of the information contained herein has been culled from “Batangas y su Provincia1,” a book written by the Spanish ex-government official and historian Manuel Sastron and published in 1895. Presumably, the information provided by Sastron was gathered in the immediate years preceding the book’s publication.

The 1749 Eruption of Taal Volcano which Forced 2 Pueblos to Become One as Tanauan

The present-day city of Tanauan is among the Province of Batangas’ oldest population centers. It can trace its roots back to two pueblos set up by Augustinian missionaries back in the sixteenth century. A pueblo was a Christian community or mission which the Spaniards set up in their colonies around the world during their country’s heyday as a world power.

02 November 2017

The Glory of 19th Century Villa de Lipa as Described by a Spanish Historian

Street scene in Lipa, Batangas, the rich coffee town of former days.  Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
A nineteenth century book written by the Spanish ex-government official and historian Manuel Sastron1 painted a captivating descriptive picture of Batangas during the era, including the glory years of Villa de Lipa, to which an entire chapter was dedicated. This article attempts to condense what Sastron wrote to perpetuate memories of an era which can alternatively be thought of as the City of Lipa’s first golden years.