Particulars of Mataasnakahoy’s Separation from Lipa in 1932 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Particulars of Mataasnakahoy’s Separation from Lipa in 1932 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Particulars of Mataasnakahoy’s Separation from Lipa in 1932

[In this article: Batangas Province, Mataasnakahoy Batangas, History of Mataasnakahoy, Kasaysayan ng Mataasnakahoy, Ceferino Capuchino, George Butte, Municipal President, Lipa Batangas]

Batangas History continues the series on the local history of Mataasnakahoy based on the narrative of one Ceferino Capuchino in 19981. This is the series’ third installment. Readers who have not seen the previous articles may wish to read these first. The articles are archived under the Community History section of the main menu at the top of this page.

As mentioned in the previous installments, Mataasnakahoy used to be but a barrio of the town of Lipa. Capuchino claimed that it was the most economically progressive, something, however, that Batangas History is unable to corroborate. One Don Jose Templo, he wrote, among Lipa’s first lawyers, was in fact from Mataasnakahoy. Victor Templo, who would be elected councilor of Lipa in 1920, was also from the barrio.

Capuchino then went on to enumerate the cabesas (Spanish: head) of the barrio during the Spanish era. These were Urbano Tiquis, Silvestre Silva, Monico Silva, Santiago Templo, Estanislao Templo, Juan Mandigma, Francisco Recinto, Primitivo Silva and Domingo Templo. Capuchino’s text was unclear if this list went on into the early part of the American colonial era.

Mataasnakahoy Municipal Hall
Image source:  Ramon F. Velasquez [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons.

Capuchino was not very diligent with his dates, but presumably after 1916, a group of the barrio’s inhabitants led by Lt. Col. Antonio Mandigma, Candido Recio, Segundo Paran, Agapito Templo, Enrico Caraan, Juan Hernandez and Casiano Silva started meeting at the store of one Marciano Aguila to discuss a move to separate Mataasnakahoy formally from Lipa.

The meetings aimed at getting a formal motion filed and submitted through Batangas representative (to the Philippine Legislature) Jose Dimayuga and then-Senator Manuel L. Quezon. Quezon was elected to the Senate in 19162, hence the meetings were presumably held after this year.

Another prominent inhabitant of the barrio, one Manuel Macasaet Matanguihan, a business partner of one Simplicio Sombrano, contributed her efforts, not to mention personal funds, so that the motion may reach the hands of Dimayuga and the soon-to-be Commonwealth President.

The efforts of these barrio folks would eventually pay off. At midday sometime in the middle of January in the year 1932, Capuchino wrote, the barrio folks were surprised when the bells of the church started pealing. One Alfredo Gardiola was given the task of sounding the bells which, as it happened, were to greet and announce the arrival of Jose Dimayuga.

The latter bore with him the papers formally signed by the Acting Governor of the Philippines George C. Butte establishing Mataasnakahoy as a new municipality formally separated from the town of Lipa3. Butte actually signed the document on 27 March 1931. However, the formal separation took effect on the 1st day of January 1932.

The arrival of Dimayuga and the papers formally establishing the barrio as a new municipality caused instant celebrations in the new town. There were music and dancing, Capuchino wrote, along with a small gathering during which a law student named Calixto Luna delivered presumably a celebratory speech.

Named in a Special Order – presumably accompanying the document establishing the new town of Mataasnakahoy – as the town’s new Presidente4 Antonio Mandigma, with Candido Recinto as Vice-President and Agapito Templo, Segundo Paran, Juan Hernandez and Enrique Caraan as councilors.

Also appointed as officials were Casiano Silva (Municipal Secretary), Fidel Sauz (Municipal Treasurer), Dalmacio Tibayan (Chief of Police), Jose Manguiat (Justice of the Peace) and Ponciano Vizconde, originally from the town of Calaca as Municipal Nurse.

The old house of the new Municipal President was initially used as the town hall and moved from house to house for many years. It was during the term of Mayor Jose M. Landicho, with help provided by Dr. Clemente K. Silva, former Speaker of the House Jose P. Laurel and Senator Claro M. Recto, that a Municipal Hall was built on a lot provided by former Mayor Vicente Matanguihan.

Because Gregorio T. Matanguihan, presumably a resident of the town, was District Engineer of Batangas, roads in and around the town were fixed, along with the road that linked Mataasnakahoy with the national road along Lipa in the area of barrio Banaybanay.

The repair and construction of these roads, Capuchino wrote, provided the impetus for the development of Mataasnakahoy. Whereas in the past, the town could be reached only by using horse- or carabo-drawn carts, with the repair and construction of the roads, trucks could enter and leave the town with precious produce for export to other places.

Capuchino also paid tribute to Mandigma, who would soon die after being selected to be the town’s first President. Mandigma not only fought the Spaniards and the Americans but was also instrumental, Capuchino wrote, in the establishment of Mataasnakahoy.

Candido Recinto, the Vice-President, naturally took over from Mandigma. He would hold the position until 1934. When the act establishing the Philippine Commonwealth was ratified, new elections were held Vicente R. Matanguihan was elected Mayor. The young mayor was the son of Segundo Matanguihan and the grandson of Manuela Macasaet (presumably the same woman earlier mentioned). He studied Medicine in Japan and would serve two terms as Town Mayor.

[This Mataasnakahoy historical series is archived under the Community History section in the main menu at the top of this page.]
Notes and references:
1 “Sa Langit-langitan ng Bayan Ko,” written by Ceferino Capuchino in 1998. A copy of the narrative was obtained by Batangas History through the kindness of Renz Marion Katigbak.
2 “Manuel L. Quezon,” Wikipedia.
3 Capuchino wrote that the paper declaring Mataasnakahoy a new municipality was, in 1998 when his narrative was penned, in the care of one Francisco Laqui, grandson of the Candido Recinto who was with the original group that started planning the separation.
4 The president of the town was the equivalent of the present day mayor. “Municipal president,” Wikipedia.
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