May 21, 2018

The Hukbalahap in Batangas in the Immediate Post-WWII Years
Image source:  For Filipinos in Europe (FFE).  Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
Image source:  For Filipinos in Europe (FFE).  Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
[Keywords: Huk, Mateo del Castillo, Partidang Komunista ng Pilipinas, Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan, Peasant Revolt in the Philippines, Communism in the Philippines, Tanauan Batangas, Jose P. Laurel]
In the National Library of the Philippines document entitled “History and Cultural Life of Tanauan, Batangas1,” there is a brief item stating operations of the Hukbalahap (which we shall from this point on refer to as “Huk”) in the then-town of Tanauan.
“Raid and burning of the entire market and surrounding residential houses inflicted by a strong Huk force on March 29, 19502, a date which marks the anniversary of Communism. The total damage caused by this conflagration amounted to about 2 million pesos.”
More about Base R, an American Logistics Base in Batangas City in WWII
The US Army Signal Corps tent quarters, Base R, Batangas 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.  Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
The US Army Signal Corps tent quarters, Base R, Batangas 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.  Colorized courtesy of Algorithmia.
[Keywords: Batangas City, Base R, United States Army, Historical Data, Barrio Santa Clara, Hilltop, Mainaga Cove, military logistics]
In the “historical data1” of Santa Clara in present-day Batangas City is written this bit of information about American operations in the barrio presumably in 1945:
“When the American liberation forces came, they occupied some parts of the barrio, like the school compound. Heavy artillery guns were placed in the different points of the barrio. A Red Cross camp was established at the entrance of the barrio to aid both American soldiers and civilians. Soon, all the people came back and began making temporary shelters with all available surplus materials that the American soldiers gave away to the homeless population. With this assistance, the barrio was gradually constructed. The pier was rebuilt, this time to serve the American forces.”

May 18, 2018

Historical Landing Fields or Airstrips in Batangas
Aerial photo of an airstrip in the town of Batangas.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
Aerial photo of an airstrip in the town of Batangas.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
[Keywords: Aerodrome, Airstrip, Landing Field, Airdrome, Nasugbu, Calatagan, Batangas, Lemery, Tanauan, Lipa]
Up to the present day, there are still people who refer, at the very least in Nasugbu and Batangas City, to places in their respective towns simply as “Landing.” Many do not even know how such places came to be so named, albeit unofficially.

May 16, 2018

A CIA Report’s View on Elpidio Quirino’s Presidency and the Continuing Influence of Batangas’ Jose P. Laurel
Dr. Jose P. Laurel of Batangas (left) and President Elpidio Quirino.  Both photos in the public domain.
Dr. Jose P. Laurel of Batangas (left) and President Elpidio Quirino.  Both photos in the public domain.
[Keywords: Elpidio Quirino, Jose P. Laurel, 1949 Philippine Elections, Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, fraudulent election 1949, declassified CIA report]
Readers will recall from high school History books that the Ilocano Elpidio Quirino was elected as the 6th President of the Philippines1 and 2nd after Manuel Roxas of the so-called Third Philippine Republic. Having assumed the presidency due to the untimely demise of Manuel Roxas in 1948, he would defeat Batangas’ Dr. Jose P. Laurel the following year in what some accounts called “the dirtiest elections” in Philippine History up to that point.

May 14, 2018

Taysan, Batangas in the 19th Century as Described by a Spanish Historian
The Public Market in Taysan, Batangas.  Image source:  Google Earth Street View.
The Public Market in Taysan, Batangas.  Image source:  Google Earth Street View.
[Keywords: Batangas, Taysan, Batangay y su Provincia, Manual Sastron, 19th century Batangas, Monte Mapolo, Toribio Mateo, Fr. Gregorio Paredes]
Continuing with this web site’s series on late 19th century Batangas as described by the former government official and historian Manuel Sastron, we switch to the Municipality of Taysan to the southeast of the province. The descriptions of the town in this article are from Sastron’s book “Batangas y Su Provincia1,” published in Malabon in 1895.

Picture Compilation of Evidences of Japanese Atrocities in Santo Tomas, Batangas in 1945
A man shows bayonet wound on his back. Image source:  United States National Archives.
A man shows bayonet wound on his back. Image source:  United States National Archives.
This post contains a compilation of photographs taken in 1945 of survivors of Japanese atrocities committed earlier that same year in the town of Santo Tomas, Batangas. The pictures have been downloaded from the United States National Archives web site, run through graphic software to improve clarity and then colorized.

May 13, 2018

US Army Signal Corps Pictures taken during the Liberation of Santo Tomas, Batangas in 1945
A US Army soldier in Batangas, 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
A US Army soldier in Batangas, 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
A set of pictures taken by the United States Army Signal Corps in the Philippines in 1945 and filed away at the United States National Archives in digital format are labeled has having been taken in the “town of Santo Tomas, Luzon, P.I.” In the island of Luzon, there are towns named Santo Tomas at least in the provinces of La Union, Isabela, Pampanga and, of course, Batangas. The phrase “at least” is used because these are what show up in the initial pages of a Google Search.

May 10, 2018

US Army Signal Corps Photos taken while in the town of Lipa in 1945
Ruins of the cathedral in Lipa, Batangas in May 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
Ruins of the cathedral in Lipa, Batangas in May 1945.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
This is the second article featuring photographs taken by the United States Army Signal Corps while stationed in Batangas. Those posted earlier, taken while the corps was stationed at Camp R in Batangas City, were mostly taken from 1945 to 1947. The pictures contained in this article, meanwhile, were taken in 1945 while the soldiers of the corps were stationed in the then-town of Lipa. At the time most of the pictures were taken, the war was still ongoing.

Brief History of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Batangas City
The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City.  Image source:  Eric Jam - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33151104.
The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City.  Image source:  Eric Jam - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33151104.
[Keywords: Batangas Church, Immaculate Conception, Minor Basilica, Batangas City, Fray Diego Mojica, Fr. Pedro Cuesta, Monsignor Cirilo Castillo, Monsignor Domingo Librea, Pope Pius XII, 1869 Philippin Earthquake, 1942 Philippine earthquake]
From the document “History and Cultural Life of the Poblacion1” (of Batangas City), we get a historical snapshot of the by-now Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City. This document is one of many solicited by the administration of President Elpidio Quirino in 1951 from Department of Education districts around the Philippines to reconstruct local histories destroyed during the war.

May 9, 2018

Particulars of the Now-Defunct Nasugbu ‘Landing' or Airfield, Pre-WWII and onwards
The town of Nasugbu during the American era, with the airfield visible from the air.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
The town of Nasugbu during the American era, with the airfield visible from the air.  Image source:  United States National Archives.
[Keywords: Batangas, Nasugbu, Nasugbu Landing, Nasugbu Airfield, Nasugbu Aerodrome, Roxas y Cia, Ayala y Cia, American Era Philippines]
From the time of the American colonial era and onwards, the western Batangas town of Nasugbu had its own airfield or landing field as these airstrips were alternatively known. Hence, to the present day, there are those among Nasugbu’s inhabitants who still refer to the area where this airstrip once was simply as “Landing.”

May 8, 2018

US Army Signal Corps Pictures while in Batangas City Post-World War II
Chaplain Kirker, delivering the first prayer at the Memorial Day services,  for members of the 11th Airborne and 1st Cavalry Divisions.  Chaplain Daly and Chaplain Adler followed.  Taken 30 May 1945.
Chaplain Kirker, delivering the first prayer at the Memorial Day services,  for members of the 11th Airborne and 1st Cavalry Divisions.  Chaplain Daly and Chaplain Adler followed.  Taken 30 May 1945.
In the months immediately after the conclusion of World War II in the Pacific Theater, the United States Army Signal Corps maintained a facility in a base in what is present-day Batangas City. The Signal Corps is a branch of the army that “develops, tests, provides, and manages communications and information systems support for the command and control of1” the United States’ “combined armed forces.”

May 7, 2018

Controversy in the Recognition of Guerrilla Groups by the US Army in 1946
Original caption:  American GI and Filipino guerrilla seem oblivious to slain Japanese soldier, with brains blown out, in front of Santo Tomas, University gate.  Image source: Presidential Museum and Library PH on Flickr.
Original caption:  American GI and Filipino guerrilla seem oblivious to slain Japanese soldier, with brains blown out, in front of Santo Tomas, University gate.  Image source: Presidential Museum and Library PH on Flickr.
[Keywords: guerrilla activity in Batangas, Hunters/ROTC, Filipino-American Irregular Troops, FAIT, World War II, Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Japanese in Batangas, Blue Eagle Command, Colonel Hugh Straughn, Major Philips Unit, Emilio Macabuag]
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942-1945, there were many guerrilla outfits that operated in the province of Batangas. The more notable of these were the Hunters/ROTC, the Filipino-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) and Emilio Macabuag’s Major Philips’ Unit. The operations of these outfits ranged from recruitment, protecting the general population from bandits, gathering intelligence or active combat such as sabotaging Japanese installations and ambushing Japanese troops.