July 25, 2019

The Beheading of Jose Dimaandal by the Japanese in Batangas Town in 1943
Decapitation of an Australian soldier in PNG by a Japanese soldier.  Public domain. Image source:  Wikipedia.
Decapitation of an Australian soldier in PNG by a Japanese soldier.  Public domain. Image source:  Wikipedia.
Filed away at the National Library of the Philippines are so-called “historical data” for the different towns across the Philippines. These were required by the administration of then-President Elpidio Quirino of all Bureau of Education divisions across the country to reconstruct local histories destroyed during the Second World War.

July 23, 2019

A Forgotten Mariang Makiling Legend Set in Balayan, Batangas
Image source:  "Alamat ni Maria Makiling," Pinoy Collection.
Image source:  "Alamat ni Maria Makiling," Pinoy Collection.
Even in the present day, one still hears once in a while stories of people who had gone on treks up Mount Makiling in the Province of Laguna and fell ill afterwards, the illness attributed to these same people allegedly having done something to displease the guardian of the mountain, the “diwata” or fairy called Mariang Makiling.

July 9, 2019

When the Holy Cross Refused to Leave Alitagtag to Save Its Inhabitants from Taal Volcano
The Holy Crosses of Bauan and Alitagtag.  Image credit:  adelacy on Panoramio.
The Holy Crosses of Bauan and Alitagtag.  Image credit:  adelacy on Panoramio.
There are many folkloric stories about the Holy Cross, patron of the towns of Alitagtag and Bauan, the former incidentally once part of the latter. One of the most fascinating of these was a story set during the 1911 eruption of Taal Volcano, among the most destructive in recorded history.

June 26, 2019

The Revival of the "Haybing" Religious Drama in Taal in 1929
Juan Maningca fishing the image from the river as depicted by a fresco at the Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine.  Image credit:  By Eric Jam - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30978535.
Juan Maningca fishing the image from the river as depicted by a fresco at the Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine.  Image credit:  By Eric Jam - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30978535.
According to one Claudia M. Cruz in an ethnographic paper1 submitted to the University of the Philippines in 1930, a religious drama called the “Haybing,” which used to be held in the Municipality of Taal in Batangas during the Spanish colonial period, was temporarily shelved early during the American era probably for “the great expenses and trouble incurred before a successful “haybing” could be given.”

June 20, 2019

The “Procesion Civica,” Highlight of Cuenca, Batangas’ Fiesta Celebration c. 1930
Image extracted from the 1898 publication "Yesterday in the Philippines." Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
Image extracted from the 1898 publication "Yesterday in the Philippines." Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
In the present day, the Municipality of Cuenca in Batangas has developed a reputation for being the “Home of the Bakers,” and the town itself has become renowned for its “Tinapay” (Bread) Festival which “puts the spotlight on the hardworking bakers or ‘panaderos’ of the place1.” During the American colonial era, however, the highlight of the annual fiesta or the feast celebrated in honor of the town’s patron saint, was something else altogether.

May 30, 2019

The Folkloric Origin of the Subli Dance of Batangas from a 1916 Ethnographic Paper
The iconic Batangas dance "subli."
The iconic Batangas dance "subli."
Mention the word baraco and most people in the Philippines immediately think of Batangas, the province with which the liberica species of coffee is most often associated. In the performing arts, there is a dance that is just as instantly associated with Batangas: the “subli,” a hauntingly beautiful dance with contortive moves made by men and women to rhythmic beatings of the drum and clacking of castanets.

May 24, 2019

STCAA:  Tracing the Athletic Association’s Humble Roots and Batangas’ Early Participation
Image extracted from the 1911 publication "Athletic Handbook for Philippine Public Schools."
Image extracted from the 1911 publication "Athletic Handbook for Philippine Public Schools."
In the present day, each year a competition is held to select teams and athletes who will represent Region IV-A in the national games called Palarong Pambansa. These teams and athletes come from the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon, otherwise known collectively as the CALABARZON.

The 1907 Philippine Assembly and the First Legislative Districts of Batangas under American Rule
William Howard Taft addressing the Philippine Assembly in 1907.  Image taken from MGOH Gallery. [Public domain]
William Howard Taft addressing the Philippine Assembly in 1907.  Image taken from MGOH Gallery. [Public domain]
In July 1902, the United States Congress passed the so-called Philippine Organic Act, which was the basic law for the Insular Government of the country’s newly-acquired territory of the Philippine Islands. Among the provisions of this law was the creation of an elected Philippine Assembly, depending of the following conditions: a) the ceasing of insurrection against American rule in the islands; b) the completion and publication of a national census; and c) at least two years of peace in the islands along with recognition of American sovereignty1.



May 21, 2019

When Crocodiles and Sharks Swam in Taal Lake
Image credit: Albert Kok~enwiki [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)].
Image credit: Albert Kok~enwiki [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)].
Although, in the present day, the waters of Taal Lake have become completely freshwater, this was not always the case. The lake used to be a bay or inlet that connected to Balayan Bay until it was cut off almost completely by debris cast into the atmosphere by the prolonged 1754 eruption of Taal Volcano. Today, the Pansipit River is the lake’s only link to the bay.

February 28, 2019

The Folkloric Story of Why the Town of Lipa was moved to Its Present Location
Image extracted from a 1962 edition of The Chronicle Magazine.
From an ethnographic paper entitled “Folklore from Lipa, Batangas1,” written by one Amparo Reyes, we extract this otherwise forgotten folkloric story of why Lipa transferred to its present location. The story is not historical at all and must have been told to pass the time or impart virtues upon children.

February 27, 2019

When President Manuel L. Quezon Praised Batangas for Its Self-Sufficiency
A typical American era street scene in the Philippines.  Image source:  Scrapbook of Clyde Tavenner, online at the Internet Archive.
A typical American era street scene in the Philippines.  Image source:  Scrapbook of Clyde Tavenner, online at the Internet Archive.
Erstwhile “confidential records1” of Philippine Commonwealth President Manual L. Quezon’s conferences with the press in 1936 showed how high the level of esteem was with which he held the people of Batangas. This was just a year after the commonwealth came into existence.

February 22, 2019

Narciso Claveria’s 1849 Decree and the Surnames of the People of Lipa
Women of the Red Cross Society of Lipa, early 1900s.  Image source:  “The Story of the Lopez Family: A Page from the History of the War in the Philippines.”
Women of the Red Cross Society of Lipa, early 1900s.  Image source:  “The Story of the Lopez Family: A Page from the History of the War in the Philippines.”
In the early days of the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines, as the indios or native Filipinos converted to Christianity, many such natives also started taking on Spanish names: of Catholic saints, symbols, sacraments and feasts and even the names of Popes. There was, as yet, no definitive system for administrative purposes so that it was not uncommon for native Filipinos to take two or three names and change these whenever it took their fancy.