February 17, 2020

How American GIs Helped Revive Batangas’ Balisong Industry
Image credit:  tactical-life.com.
Image credit:  tactical-life.com.
The first balisong or Batangas fan-knife, one of the lasting symbols of the Batangueño, was created by one Perfecto de Leon of the barrio of Balisong in Taal, supposedly in the year 1905. According to one Ciriaco Arcega, de Leon was forced into the creation of the balisong by a “failing bolo manufacturing business1.”

February 7, 2020

5 Steps to Finding a Wife the Batangueño Way – Old Batangas Courtship Traditions
Image credit:  DIY Wedding Favor Tags.
Image credit:  DIY Wedding Favor Tags.
Young men in the 1960s and after probably have to thank the American regime and the onslaught of western thinking that freed them from the often arduous tasks that accompanied the need to find a mate – courtship. Albeit disappearing, as “recently” as the 1950s, there were families – especially in remote barrios – that still adhered to the age-old traditions associated with finding a wife.

February 2, 2020

In World War II, People Evacuated TO the Taal Volcano Crater Island
The Taal Volcano Island.
The Taal Volcano Island.
Although Taal Volcano Island has long been declared a “permanent danger zone” by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)1, there were, prior to the January 2020 eruption, permanent settlements on the island. The communities in the island’s northern half belonged to the municipality of Talisay, while those to the south were under the jurisdiction of San Nicolas2.

November 27, 2019

Nasugbu Right after World War II
Filipino guerrillas in Nasugbu, February 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
Filipino guerrillas in Nasugbu, February 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
Late in January 1945, the United States 8th Army landed on the beaches of Nasugbu virtually unopposed, making the town the first in Batangas to be liberated from Japanese rule in World War II. From the so-called “historical data1” of Poblacion Nasugbu, we are able to paint a picture of the days immediately after liberation.

November 19, 2019

5 Strange Batangas Beliefs when there are Deaths in the Family
Batangas superstitions about death in the family.
Batangas superstitions about death in the family.
Not just Batangueños, but many Filipinos will agree that all sorts of strange and obscure beliefs and superstitions come out of the closet when there is a death in the immediate family. Not that there is always an explanation for any of these, and any inquiries are often dismissed by the elderly with an emphatic “Basta!” – probably an indication that they themselves have forgotten how these beliefs and superstitions started in the first place.

November 13, 2019

Cuatro Santos:  the Four Barrios Disputed by Lipa and Tiaong during the Spanish Era
Satellite map shows the present boundary between Lipa and Tiaong.  Image credit:  Google Maps.
Satellite map shows the present boundary between Lipa and Tiaong.  Image credit:  Google Maps.

On the eastern outskirts of the City of Lipa in Batangas, close to the shared border between Batangas and what is presently Quezon Province, there are four barrios collectively called “Cuatro Santos” or the Four Saints. These are the barrios of San Benito, San Celestino, San Francisco and Santo Toribio, all named after saints and, hence, the term “Cuatro Santos.”

November 5, 2019

A “True” Tigbalang Story Set in a Barrio of Lipa City
Image credit:  ubermosnter.deviantart.com.
Image credit:  ubermosnter.deviantart.com.
In the present day, with Lipa City having overtaken Batangas City as the province’s most populous geopolitical unit1, and swathes of erstwhile forest and agricultural lands having been converted into commercial and other establishments, folkloric myths about creatures such as the “aswang,” “tiyanak,” “tigbalang” and others do not carry the same kind of fascination and believability as they once must have when the city was still primarily agrarian in nature.

October 22, 2019

Barrios in Lipa where Concentration Camps were set up during the Fil-Am War
Image credit: Pinoy Culture.  Inside a concentration camp in Batangas.
Image credit: Pinoy Culture.  Inside a concentration camp in Batangas.
Most readers will recall from secondary History textbooks that Batangas was the last province to drop its resistance to United States forces in what is known as the Philippine-American War. “Batangas” was, in fact, a region composed of the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Tayabas (presently Quezon Province) which American military planners referred to collectively as “Batangas region” or as “Southern Luzon1.”

October 8, 2019

The Legendary Tulisan Romang Gabi, the “Robin Hood” of Spanish-era Batangas
Image credit:  Bamboo Tales at Project Guttenberg.
Image credit:  Bamboo Tales at Project Guttenberg.
From the so-called “historical data1” for the barrio of Muzon 2nd in the town of Alitagtag, Batangas, we hear of this forgotten legendary story about something of a Robin Hood figure in Spanish-era Batangas. His name was Roman Abratigue, and whether he was from Batangas or not, the source document failed to say.

October 4, 2019

The 48 World War II Martyrs of Lian, Batangas
The commemorative marker for the 48 martyrs in Lian, Batangas. Image source: Municipality of Lian Official Web Site.
The commemorative marker for the 48 martyrs in Lian, Batangas. Image source: Municipality of Lian Official Web Site.
Soon after the Japanese attack on the United States naval facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941, “able-bodied citizens and reservists” of the small western Batangas town of Lian along the shores of what is now called the West Philippine Sea “rallied to the frontlines of democracy1.”

September 26, 2019

The “Rescue” of Spanish Prisoners in Rosario, Batangas by American Soldiers in 1900
The US Army stationed in front of the Cathedral of San Sebastian.  Image souce:  Hoosiermarine on Flickr.
The US Army stationed in front of the Cathedral of San Sebastian.  Image souce:  Hoosiermarine on Flickr.
In a much earlier article, Batangas History already featured the capture and looting of the then-town of Lipa1 in 1900 by forces of the United States Army. That article included a short aside about a daring if foolhardy ride to the neighboring town of Rosario by a small group of Americans led by Cols. Robert L. Bullard and Geo S. Anderson, Commanders of the 38th and 39th Infantry Regiments, United States Volunteers (USV), respectively, to rescue a comrade.

September 20, 2019

A Chronology of Guerrilla Activities in Alitagtag, Batangas in WWII
Filipino guerrillas in action against the Japanese in March 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
Filipino guerrillas in action against the Japanese in March 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
From a memorandum1 dated 6 March 1946 written by one 1st Lieutenant Patricio M. Abu, addressed to the Chief of the United States Armed Forces Western Pacific Command, we extract this compelling chronology of guerrilla activity in the town of Alitagtag, Province of Batangas, during World War II.