Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Ambulong in the City of Tanauan, Batangas, the original scanned documents at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections not having OCR or optical character recognition properties. This transcription has been edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation where possible. The original pagination is provided for citation purposes.
Historical Data
[p. 1]



1. Present official name: AMBULONG

2. Popular name of the barrio, present and past; derivation and meanings of these names. Names of sitios within the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio:

From a research made of the history of Ambulong, how it had been in the past and how it came to be what it is in the present, we came to know that the earliest name used to designate this place was Tanauan. On the western side of this barrio lies the beautiful Taal Lake. Looking around from the shores of the lake, one can see the gorgeous landscape of an island in which one of the world’s famous Taal Volcano is located, the towns of Malvar, Lipa, Cuenca, Taal, Lemery, Batangas, Talisay, the long mountain ranges of Cavite, and the adjacent territories. From the fact that this is a center of views of many places, the early inhabitants designed the name “Tanauan,” meaning center of views. Later, the name of Tanauan was used to designate the whole town, Ambulong being only a part of it.

Just how this community came to exist by the name of Ambulong, we do not know. According to the oldest folks in this place, who lived during the Spanish period, Ambubuyog was the name applied to this community since it became only a part of a newly created town, now Tanauan. Ambulong was a derivation of Ambubuyog (bees) because of the murmuring characteristic of these insects. “Villa Kiran” was another name applied to this place by the Spaniards. The spaniards got the name “Villa Kiran” from a barrio or villa, as they called it in the Spanish language, in the medieval kingdom of Castilla.

The early American invaders who established an army detachment here called this barrier as “El Pueblo de Ambulong,” meaning that Ambulong was an urban place. Up to the present time, the word “Ambulong” is used to designate this barrio. During the days of the Spanish regime, Ambulong comprised not only its present territorial limits, but also it included the adjacent communities such as Maugat, Bañadero, and Wawa. Today, these communities, of which were, once upon a time, under the jurisdiction of the Tenientes and Cabezas de Barangay of Ambulong, [now] exist as separate barrios.

3. Date of Establishment:

It was during the early part of the nineteenth century that the people from the western shores of Taal Lake began to move eastward for wider opportunities in life. Time came and went fast. People came in great numbers to join the old settlers and the village became a populous settlement. From 1885 to 1890, a few years before the outbreak of the Filipino armed struggle against the Spanish government, the settlement already known as Ambulong became a barrio under the municipality of Tanauan, province of Batangas.

4. Original Families:

There were less than a hundred people here at that time. The original natives with their families were:

 1.  Juan Mendoza  9.  Benedicto Caraan
 2.  Ciriaco Carandang 10. Gregorio Magabo
 3.  Mariano Panganiban 11. Lope Carandang
[p. 2]
 4.  Jose Lunzaran 12. Marcelo Alvarez
 5.  Alfonso Austria 13. Alfredo Barrion 
 6.  Francisco Perez 14. Segismundo Perez
 7.  Ambrosio Mainot 15. Teofilo Arante
 8.  Claudio Cabatao 16. Wenceslao Sandoval
17. Suarez and Malabanan
Many of their early descendants are still living and prominent people in the community.

5. Some tenientes during the early part of the Spanish Occupation –
Names Dates Matanda sa Nayon
 1.  Damaso Alcantara Unknown  1.  Valentin Mainot
 2.  Lope Carandang "  2.  Claudia Cabato
 3.  Jose Mendoza "  3.  Jose Mendoza
 4.  Justiniano Sumague "  4.  Benedicto Caraan
 5.  Fermin Lumpay "  5.  Gregorio Mabago
Tenientes from the earliest part of the American Occupation –
Names Dates Vice-Teniente
1.  Lope Carandang 1901-1909 1.  Epitacio Panganiban
2.  Epitacio Panganiban 1908-1918 2.  Lope Carandang
3.  Victorio Ortiz 1918-1927 3.  Gregorio Garcia
4.  Marcelo Zumarraga 1927-1933 4.  Aquilino Mainot
5.  Amadio Panganiban 1933-1936 5.  Francisco Javier
6.  Aquilino Mainot 1936-1943 6.  Francisco Arante
7.  Fernando Suares 1943- 7.  Pedro Tiongco
Prior to these dates, the head of the barrio was known as Cabeza de Barangay.

6. Story of the old barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct.

A long time ago, the land territory of this place, about a mile from the present seashore extending more than a kilometer from the present shores, was once upon a time a forest. This allegation is accepted by the old people living herein as legendary. How this legendary forest became a body of water will be treated in a later topic.

There is a story of the existence of a church with a beautiful tower on the western side of the barrio facing the sea. This church, it is said, was run by an old priest. The origin of this church is lost in the twilight of legend and fable.

During the days of the Spanish regime, many years before the outbreak of the revolution, a church was established by the Spaniards at the present boundary between Ambulong and Bañadero. The erection of this church had some beneficial as well as harmful effects to the inhabitants living around. It was run by the Spanish missionaries who taught the people the Christian religion. It also became a school of Spanish grammar. On the other hand, this church was made through forced labor, thus delaying the agricultural pursuits of the natives. They were paid only one chupa of rice every two days. As evidence of this, a few remains of this structure are still standing.

Old Ruins: There are two sugar mills, one in the southern part of Ambulong owned by Agustin Panganiban, and one in the northern part owned by a former Cabeza de Barangay.

[p. 3]

Present Buildings: At present, there are two public buildings, the Weather Observatory and the public school buildings. The Weather Observatory, which was formerly under the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is now under the supervision of the Department of Commerce and Industry. Father Selga was the first director of this Weather Observatory. It was established in 1915, three years after the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1911. The government has purchased various apparatuses for the observatory, such as seismograph, a device which records geophysical movement, a barometer for measuring atmospheric pressure, thermometers and many others. The Ambulong Weather Observatory is generally accepted to be the most beautiful and fully equipped weather observatory in the Philippines.

Formerly, there were no public school buildings here. Instructions were made in rented houses. In response to the crying need of the barrio to accommodate the increasing number of schoolchildren, a small public school was established in 1938 at government expense. Later, two more temporary buildings were built on both sides of the older building through the initiative and cooperation of teachers and [the] Parents-Teachers Association. This school is one of the finest barrio schools in the municipality of Tanauan.

7. Important facts, incidents or events that took place:

a. During the Spanish Occupation –

The Spanish missionaries played an important role in the educational, economic, and religious development of the natives. They went around teaching [the] Christian religion and oftentimes asked voluntary contributions from the natives. It was a custom of the natives to kiss the hands of the priest wherever they met him. Anybody who failed to kiss the hands of the priest was called “Erehe” or “Moro” by the priest. Even the Spanish soldiers could not escape paying reverence to the missionaries.

Ambulong played prominently in the revolution, having contributed to the long list of “revolutionaries” during the Filipino-Spanish War. Among them were:
Capt. Benito Panganiban Polito Alvarez
Lt. Domingo Tuico Sr. Leoncio Millares
Wenceslao Sandoval Risalio Ansiado
Gregorio Malabanan Basilio Dihan
Bartolome Suarez Lazaro Villanueva
Enrique Lunzaran Felix Arante
Simplicio Ansiado Florentino Arante
Juan Tenorio
General Miguel Malvar was the leader of these rebels.

A young man of Ambulong was gathering wood for fuel. In his effort to cut a tree, he was accidentally wounded by his own bolo. It so happened that in a nearby barrio, the Guardia Civil encountered the insurgent. The troops of the Guardia Civil suffered a great casualty, thus forcing them to retreat and abandon the place. The next day, the Spaniards gathered all the male inhabitants of the place. Those found having no “cedula personal” or resident certificates were suspected of being rebels, and were made to suffer severe punishment. Unfortunately, for the man, the soldiers took sight of his wounded body. The Guardia Civil concluded that the man’s wound was inflicted during their encounter with the insurgents. The innocent man was tortured to death.

[p. 4]

The Guardia Civil:

The members of the Guardia Civil were Filipino soldiers under Spanish officers. Most of them wear pro-Spanish and a few of them were sympathizers of the revolutionists. These Guardia Civil made untold brutalities on their countrymen. They we're very instrumental in liquidating the rebels. Their usual form of challenge was “Alto,” “Con Bebe.” This was a form of challenge to halt a person whom they wanted to arrest to grill. The filipino revolutionists during the critical period, were commonly called “Insurrectos.” an insurrecto caught by the Guardia Civil could hardly escape torture. Many of the natives of this barrio where victims of the atrocities of the Guardia Civil. One of the leaders of these rebels was Col. Juliano Panganiban. During the revolution, a man found having no cedula was accused of being a rebel.

The Battle of Ambulong:

Between the boundary of Maugat and Ambulong, the rebels clashed with the Spaniards and Guardia Civil. The rebels or insurrectos fought gallantly against their numerically and superior enemies, but in the end, they gave way. The civilian population, fearing of being accused of conniving with the insurrectos, fled to the forest with their families and belongings. When the Spaniards found out that not a single man was available, they burned the houses and got all the chickens and pigs. Such was the most important event that took place during the Spanish occupation.

(b) During the American Occupation to World War II:

Early in 1900, the natives received advanced information that the Americans were arriving. The insurrectos retreated to the forest where, after a brief resistance, they peacefully surrendered. Among the Filipinos who fought the Americans were:
Col. Juliano Panganiban – Overall Commander
Capt. Benito Panganiban Gregorio Malabanan
Lt. Domingo Tuico Sr. Santos Tizon
Wenceslao Sandoval Leoncio Millarez
Rizaldo Ansiado Lucio Tizon
Bartolome Suarez Felix Arante
Florentino Lunzaran Basilio Dihan
Enrique Lunzaran Lazaro Villanueva
Florentino Arante
In 1901, a large U.S. Army detachment was stationed on the very site where the present Weather Observatory now stands. They were under the command of Capt. Green and Lt. Clark. After a period of one year, the U.S. Army left the place and was replaced by the combined American-Filipino troops under American officers. Some of the soldiers or scouts, as they were called, were non-Tagalogs. Some of them married the native women. Two of them are still living as American pensionados. After 1901, the Americans zonified the people of Talisay, Bañadero, Wawa, Bilog-bilog, Maugat, and Luyos. Epidemics broke out inside the zone. In 1903, the scouts were replaced by the Constabulary.

Constructions under the Americans:

In 1915, the Ambulong Weather Observatory was constructed. Way back in 1924, the provincial road from Tanauan to Talisay, passing through Ambulong, was constructed, and the bridge built across Angasin River is the present boundary between Tanauan and Talisay.

[p. 5]

During World War II:

(a) In December, 1941, the Japanese Expeditionary Forces landed at Mauban and Atimonan, Quezon Province. In an attempt to halt the advance of the enemies, the U.S. Army tanks stationed in Tagaytay rushed to Atimonan. From Tagaytay, twenty U.S. tanks passed through Ambulong.

(b) Neighborhood Association – In the closing year of 1942, the Japanese, through the municipal government, ordered the organization of the Neighborhood Association. The neighboring association divided the male inhabitants into several groups. Each group consisted of eight men under a “Kabo.” All the members were required to carry a long pointed bamboo called the “ronda.” Each group of ronda had its respective nights to patrol around the barrio.

(c) Underground Activities: Tired of the atrocities committed by the invaders, a feeling of patriotism aroused in the minds of the people. Amador Suarez, the most influential man of the barrio, organized the guerrillas. The members appropriated a large sum of money to purchase arms. They were given voluntary contributions by the people.

(d) The Murder of Aquilino Mainot: A band of guerrillas from Cavite under the command of the notorious “Heneral” Tisio, raided Ambulong. They went to the house of the barrio teniente, Aquilino Mainot, go downstairs, but he refused. The guerrillas broke into the house and hogtied Mainot, and carried him away with them. Only the news of Manot's death reached his sorrowing family about a week later

(e) Discovery of the Guerrilla Organization: A certain man from Los Baños, Laguna appeared in the barrio and later was invited to the house of Amador Suarez. Suarez, being a very generous and hospitable man, received the stranger with great hospitality and politeness. The man stayed in Suarez's house for a few days. During his brief stay, he made conversation about the guerrilla organization, alleging that he was also a guerrilla leader and would try his best to enlist his support to the guerrilla organization of Suarez. He saw several arms and even the existence of an underground movement. After a few days, this man bade farewell to Amador Suarez on the pretext of bringing more arms on his return.

One morning, a few weeks after he departed from Ambulong, two trucks loaded with Japanese soldiers arrived. The Japs forcibly summoned all the male folks to a meeting. All the men were later confined in the barrio chapel. The Japs went to the house of Amador Suarez, searched the house thoroughly and when no evidence could be found, arrested him, maltreated him, and then he was brought, too, to the chapel. The man from Los Baños, who was, in fact, a Japanese spy and not a guerrilla as what he claimed to be, appeared and testified as to the veracity of Suarez being the real leader of the guerrillas and the one responsible for the underground activities in the barrio. Suarez undauntedly denied all these charges against him. Before the fear-stricken barrio folks, the Japs hogtied Suarez and grilled him to oblivion. When Suarez gained consciousness, he found some of his ribs broken. After four days of confinement in the chapel, all the zonified persons were released except Amador Suarez, who was taken to Batangas for further investigation. Others who were made to suffer were Ciriaco Laurel, Joaquin Miranda, Romualdo Suarez, and Agaton Anillo. When the Japanese soldiers began their ruthless killing of the civilians in February, 1945, the people abandoned their homes and evacuated to Pulo, an island in Taal Lake.

[p. 6]

(f) Battle of Liberation: Sometime in March, 1945, when the town of Tanauan was partially liberated, a contingent of American liberation troops was quartered at Bañadero in the house of the incumbent Judge Modesto Castillo of the CIR. When the evacuees knew about this, they returned to their homes. A few days later, hundreds of evacuees from other towns went to Ambulong hoping it to be their sanctuary in the meantime. Then came the most critical period. A large number of Japanese stragglers retreated from Talisay, setting all the houses along the way on fire. They killed three men and two women. The news reached Ambulong and all the people became panicky. The people were just beginning to evacuate again when the Japanese stragglers came. The American soldiers stationed at Bañadero began to shell the Japanese with their 105 howitzers. There was a wild rush of people to the seashore. The Japanese soldiers, believing that it was futile for them to fight although they did not have a tint of decision to surrender, mixed with the civilians. When the Americans knew of this tactic, they immediately ceased firing and gave time for the non-combatants to separate from the Japanese soldiers. The Japanese proceeded to Wawa. They were encountered by the guerrillas who were then bivouacked in the area. With the excellent support of the American shelling, the guerrillas were able to drive the Japanese, killing two of them during the encounter.

8. Destruction of lives, properties and institutions during wars:

(a) 1896-1900: There was no destruction of lives except those who died in sickness. The destruction of properties was great. During the revolution, many houses of Ambulong were burned by the Spaniards and a number of animals were taken.

(b) 1941-1945: Two women and three men were killed, and nine houses were burned by the Japanese. Useful trees were cut down by the Japanese for their own use.

Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II:

The Weather Observatory was reconstructed through the aid from the U.S. government. Roads were improved and the bridges were reconstructed. More school rooms were constructed, and the barrio chapel was rebuilt. [The] Agriculture and fishing industries were improved. Fishermen now use motor boats instead of sailboats. More people are now engaged in commercial business. The standard of living of the people is changed so much that many are sending their children to schools and colleges and universities in Manila. Different puroks were organized.


9. Traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life:

a. Birth:

When a child is born, the neighbors, relatives and friends of the family visit the mother. Usually, the parents of the newly-born child are satisfied if the newly-born baby is a boy.

[p. 7]

b. Baptism:

A few days after a child is born, a temporary baptismal party is held, called “huhusan.” Friends and relatives of the godfather are invited to the party. In return, these invited bring with them gifts and contributions, usually in the form of drinks. In most cases, when the newly-born child is a boy, the father chooses the godfather; when female, the mother. The “buhusan” is conducted by a man who knows a simple form of baptismal ceremony. After about a year, the godfather of the child goes to church for [the] real baptism. He provides the child the baptismal garment and pays the baptismal fee.

c. Courtship:

A young man courting a woman gives his utmost courtesy and politeness to the parents of the woman. The man is very civil and courteous in words and action in his dealings with the woman’s parents. In politeness and in affectionate intercourse, they are very extravagant, addressing love letters to each other in terms of elaborate expressions of affection. A suitor renders his personal services to the woman by helping in the fields.

d. Marriage:

[The] Marriage custom during our early generation is interesting. The father of the young groom-to-be, after having been notified by his son of his engagement to a certain woman, would go to the parents of the young girl to make arrangements for the forthcoming marriage. Under this arrangement is the fixing of the bride’s dowry, spending almost a whole night before any agreement is reached. The parents of the girl disposed of their daughter in a sort of business-like way. It was finally decided that he would give a certain piece of land or a number of animals, or a house or all of them. The wedding day was set about two or three weeks later.

The young girl is informed of her forthcoming marriage. She then spends a busy day of preparation. Relatives and friends of the bride come to help and advise her. As the wedding day approaches, she adorns herself. On the other side, the relatives of the groom help him. They contribute rice, chickens, pigs, fuel and other things. Bundles of firewood are distributed to the relatives of the bride.

Then comes the wedding day. Marriage is solemnized with [a] religious ceremony. The bride’s veil is lifted. The remainder of the day is spent in eating and merrymaking. When afternoon comes, the bride is escorted to the house of the groom. She bids farewell to the relatives, sisters, brothers, and parents with tears. The groom stays in the house of his in-laws, and after three days joins his new wife.

e. Death and Burial:

It is a common practice of the natives to dress the deceased person elegantly. Mourning before the burial composed of the members of the family shutting themselves in the house for a few days and abstaining from amusements. Black dress is a sign of mourning among the natives.

f. Festivals:

The barrio fiesta is held always on the last day of May, marking the last day of “Flores de Mayo.” Every house has ample preparation for the visitors, but the biggest preparation is done in the house of the “Hermana Mayor.” A mass is held in the chapel early in the morning of the fiesta. Bands are hired to furnish the music. On the eve of the fiesta, there is a band concert. In the aftermath of the fiesta is held the procession. After the procession follows the floral offering done in the chapel.

[p. 8]

g. Punishments:

Minor offenses are arranged through extra-judicial proceedings. For example, a young man commits an immoral act against a woman. He would be summoned by the teniente or by the “matanda sa nayon.” The offender is told to lie down flat on a bench and is beaten several times. In some cases, the offender is made to pay a certain sum of money as indemnity.

10. Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations and Superstitions:

a. Legend of a Forest that Became a Body of Water:

A very long time ago, there lived in beautiful maiden in a forest near the shore of Taal Lake. She had no companion at home. She maintained her living from the fruits, vegetables and other foods which the forest could provide. Her house stood in the place where fishermen passed by. The fishermen were kind and generous to her. They gave her fish and offered her some help. In return, she was hospitable to everybody. Everybody was interested in conversing with her because of her hospitality, kindness, and above all, beauty. She's in a very attractive tone so that many became fond of her. She had many lovers but to her, love was nothing. [A] Hundred years went fast and this maiden remained as beautiful and attractive as ever. She did not grow old in appearance. The fishermen regarded [her as] an enchanted human being or a goddess of the sea. Whenever she got sick, the fishermen could not catch any fish.

Time went on, and finally the maiden fell in love with a young man. The man visited her every night, and they had passed many happy moments. One moonlit night, she went walking along the shore. She saw a man and a woman talking together. She found out that the man was no other than her lover. She cried with deep grief and in the course of her disappointment, she commanded the sea to have its largest waves. The sea roared its high waves violently, engulfing the trio until they are all drowned. The great water extended up to the forest.

This is the story of the legendary forest which became a part of Taal Lake.

b. Beliefs and Superstitions:

1. The people believe in the existence of [the] “tianak,” “tikbalang,” “kulam,” and “asuang.” The asuang is the most dreaded. It is, according to the people, a person who, because of [an] ailment, assumes other forms like that of a dog, a carabao or a pig, when he rooms at night in search of prey, particularly sick persons or expectant mothers. The “mangkukulam," through near words, inflicts injury on his victim. The "tikbalang” is a harmless being, but when he takes fancy on someone, he will lure him to his place and make fun of him. The people also believe in [the] “nuno” which, they say, live underground. When offended, the “nuno” inflicts injuries. Urinating and sitting on the ground which happens to have [a] “nuno” living under, are ways of offending the “nuno.”

2. Acquisition of a black cat at night is a sign of [a] bad omen.

3. When a crow breaks the stillness of the night with its sound, some ill fortune will happen.

4. When the dogs sound their melancholy howl at night, somebody will die.

5. If a cat rubs its face with its paw, or when a house lizard produces a sound near the door, some visitors are coming.

6. Dreams are interpreted in the opposite.

[p. 9]

7. The people believe in the presence of sea nymphs at night. Fishermen say they actually hear the song of strange ladies of the sea. However, they say, the music vanished when they tried to locate it.

11. Popular Songs, Games, and Amusements:

a. [The] Popular songs of the people are the kundiman, balitaw, and the danza.

b. The pandango, the subli, and the kutang-kutang are the popular native dances.

c. “Pata,” a counterpart of bowling, is one of the popular games among the natives. Other amusements are cockfighting, playing cards, serenading, and dancing.

12. Puzzles and Riddles:

1 – Sinampal ko muna bago ko inalok. – sampalok

2 – Walang sala'y iginapos, niyapakan pagkatapos. – sapatos

3 – Bumbong kung araw, kung gabi'y karagatan. – banig

4 – May dalawang magkaibigan, unahan ng unahan. – paa

5 – Isda ko sa Marabeles, nasa loob ang kaliskis. – sili

6 – Pagsipot sa sang-maliwanag kulubot na ang balat. – ampalaya

7 – Dala ko, dala ko pa rin siya. – bakya

8 – Lumalakad walang paa, tumatakbo ay walang humihila. – bangka

9 – ang buhok ni Adan, hindi mabilang-bilang. – ulan

10 – Isang balong malalim, punong puno ng patalim. – bibig

13. Proverbs and Sayings:

1 – Mataas pa sa kalabaw ang Langaw na dumapo sa likod ng kalabaw

2 – Kapag may sinuksok ay may madudukot.

3 – Magpakahaba-haba man ang prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang urong.

4 – Ang, lumakad ng matulin kung matinik ay malalim.

5 – Hindi lahat ng kumikinang ay ginto.

6 – Kung Anong taas ng iyong lipad, siyang lagapak kung bumagsak.

7 – Pahirin mo muna ang sariling uling bago pahirin ang ibang uri ng.

8 – Kung maliligo sa tubig ay umagap nang hindi abutin ng tabsing sa dagat.

14. Methods of Measuring Time, Special Calendar:

The ancient method of measuring time was by the leaves of the acacia tree. When the leaves of the acacia faded, it was four o'clock in the afternoon. Leaves of the madre cacao, when they faded, designated four o'clock in the afternoon. This form of measuring time was used in the absence of the rays of the sun. The race and the position of the sun were used in the daytime when not cloudy. At night, they used to

[p. 10]

detect time by means of the crowing of the cocks and through heavenly bodies.

There was no special calendar during the ancient times.


15. Information on books and documents treating of the Philippines and names of their owners:

Domingo Tuico, Sr., a former revolutionary leader, has some documents about the revolution, but were destroyed as an aftermath of the Second World War.

16. Names of Filipino authors born or residing in the barrio:

There is none.


Resource Persons
Mrs. Filomena Garcia y Silva 120 years old
Mrs. Maximina Perez y Carandang 100 years old
Mr. Florencio Ansiado 83 years old
Mr. Enrique Lunzaran 73 years old
Mr. Marcelo Zumarraga 73 years old
Mr. Victorio Ortiz 73 years old
Ms. Isidro Suarez 60 years old
Information Gathered By:
Mrs. Aurora T. Velasco Teacher
Mrs. Felicisima S. de la Peña "
Miss Pilar Perez "
Miss Paula L. Guevarra "
Assisted by:
Mr. Domingo Tuico Jr. Local Resident
Mr. Agapito M. Tuico "
Mr. Maximo L. Llarena "
Mr. Jose Platon Head Teacher

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Report on the History and Cultural Life of the Barrio of Ambulong,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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