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

Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data Part I

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.

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.

Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data PART I


[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 Carandang10. Gregorio Magabo
 3.  Mariano Panganiban11. 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 –

NamesDatesMatanda 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 –

1.  Lope Carandang1901-19091.  Epitacio Panganiban
2.  Epitacio Panganiban1908-19182.  Lope Carandang
3.  Victorio Ortiz 1918-19273.  Gregorio Garcia
4.  Marcelo Zumarraga 1927-19334.  Aquilino Mainot
5.  Amadio Panganiban 1933-19365.  Francisco Javier
6.  Aquilino Mainot 1936-19436.  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 PanganibanPolito Alvarez
Lt. Domingo Tuico Sr.Leoncio Millares
Wenceslao SandovalRisalio Ansiado
Gregorio MalabananBasilio Dihan
Bartolome SuarezLazaro Villanueva
Enrique LunzaranFelix Arante
Simplicio AnsiadoFlorentino 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 PanganibanGregorio Malabanan
Lt. Domingo Tuico Sr.Santos Tizon
Wenceslao SandovalLeoncio Millarez
Rizaldo AnsiadoLucio Tizon
Bartolome SuarezFelix Arante
Florentino LunzaranBasilio Dihan
Enrique LunzaranLazaro 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.


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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