Mataasnakahoy: World War II to Martial Law Years - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Mataasnakahoy: World War II to Martial Law Years - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Mataasnakahoy: World War II to Martial Law Years

[In this article: Mataasnakahoy Batangas, History of Mataasnakahoy, Kasaysayan ng Mataasnakahoy, Japanese occupation of Batangas, World War II Batangas, Speaker Jose B. Laurel, Ceferino Capuchino, Capas Tarlac concentration camp, Mayor Vicente Matanguihan, Mayor Santiago Luna, Mayor Jose Landicho, Mayor Felino Templo, Mayor Soriano Lubis]
This article is the fourth installment of a series on the history of the town of Mataasnakahoy in Batangas based on a narrative written by Ceferino Capuchino1. Readers who have not seen the earlier installments may find these archived under the Community History section of the main menu at the top of this page.
After Vicente Matanguihan had served his two terms as Mayor of Mataasnakahoy, it was the turn of Santiago Luna to be elected to the position. As mentioned in previous articles, Capuchino’s narrative, because it was based on oral history, was not very precise in terms of dates. He did mention that the Japanese arrived – to occupy the Philippines – soon after Luna’s election, so the year must have been 1941 when national and general elections were held2.
It was in these trying times, Capuchino wrote, that Luna proved that he was a true father of the town. He travelled all the way to Capas in Tarlac, went on Capuchino, to fetch citizens of Mataasnakahoy who suffered at the concentration camp there.
school in Mataasnakahoy
The Central Elementary School in Mataasnakahoy during the term of Mayor Felino Templo in the 50s.  Image source:  Google Earth Street View.
With the help of the previous Mayor, who had studied in Japan and presumably spoke Nihongo, Luna bravely negotiated with the Japanese occupiers when they seized landholdings of the locals, likely related to the construction of airfields for use in the Japanese war effort; and also with regards atrocities that the invaders committed in their attempts to check the movements of Filipino guerrilla groups.
READ more about the construction of the airfield: “Fernando Air Base: Its World War II Roots.”
After extolling the virtues of Luna, Capuchino skipped the rest of World War II and continued his narrative with the postwar election in 1946, during which Jose Landicho was elected Mayor. Landicho would go on to serve in this capacity for all of 16 years.
Landicho became known throughout the entire province because of his closeness with Speaker Jose B. Laurel, son of the President of the puppet Philippine Republic under the Japanese occupation. This was in the mid-fifties when the younger Laurel was first elected to become Speaker of the House of Representative3. It was only when the two were in position that the present-day municipal hall of Mataasnakahoy was built.
After Landicho came Felino Templo, who served only one term as Mayor. It was during Templo’s time as Mayor that water service was first provided to Mataasnakahoy with help from Laurel. Street lights were put up in the poblacion or town center and the central elementary school buildings were built. A municipal health center was also put up on a lot donated to the town by the Vice-Mayor Bernardo Vergara.
Templo was succeeded in 1963 local elections by Soriano Lubis. A young lawyer by the name of Eddie Inciong was his Vice-Mayor. Before long, Capuchino wrote, Inciong was called to serve with the NAPOLCOM. There was a slight error in this bit of history. The NAPOLCOM did not come into existence until 1972, so what Capuchino was likely referring to was its predecessor, the Police Commission, which was created by the Police Act of 19664.
This meant that Inciong did not serve his full term and was replaced by Mateo Magpantay, the highest ranked councilor of the town.
Meanwhile, Lubis would serve as the town’s mayor through the Martial Law years all the way to the time of his death in 1978. During his time as mayor, Capuchino wrote, sturdy schools were built in the barrios of Bayorbor, Calingatan, Loob, Santol, Nangkaan, San Sebastian, Kinalaglagan, Lumang Lipa as well as at the central elementary school.
Additional offices were added at the municipal hall and the Municipal Health Center was expanded. Gravel roads were built leading to San Sebastian, Kinalaglagan all the way to Bubuyan and Loob. Meanwhile, at the town center, asphalt roads were also paved. When Lubis passed away in 1978, his position was taken over by his brother Reynaldo until the year 1980 when local elections were again held.
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.
2Elections in the Philippines,” Wikipedia.
3José Laurel Jr.,” Wikipedia.
4National Police Commission (Philippines),” Wikipedia.
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