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January 4, 2018

Taal, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the Municipality of Taal, 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.

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The town of Taal was first built in Balangon, at present a barrio in Lemery, Batangas, by Datu Balinsusa and Datu Dumangsil from Borneo. Lemery was at that time a part of Taal. The name of the town, “Taal,” which in Tagalog means pure or unadulterated, is said to have originated from the word “taad,” which means the upper part of the sugarcane which is used in planting. It is said that in the early days of the Spanish regime, a Spaniard who visited the place met a farmer who was planting sugarcane. The Spaniard asked the farmer what the name of the place was. The farmer, believing he was being asked what he was planting, answered, “Taad.” The Spaniard repeated “taad” to memorize it, but because he did not know how to pronounce the final consonant “d,” but pronounced it as “l,” hence the name “Taal.” From that time on, this locality was named Taal. The people of this town feared the Moros during the high tide of Moro piracy, so they transferred Taal to a place seven kilometers up the Pansipit River, an outlet of Lake Taal. In the center of this lake is Taal Volcano, whose terrible eruption in 1754 buried Lumang Lipa, Lumang Bauang, and Lumang Taal. This was the cause of the transfer of the town to a place near Balayan Bay, south of the Pansipit River where the present town of Taal is located. The old Taal (Lumang Taal) near the lake is at present called San Nicolas, a barrio of this town. Tourists who go to this barrio and ask where the ruins of [the] old church are, the people point to that part of the barrio near the shore where parts of the stone walls and watchtower can still be seen covered with trees and climbing plants. Taal was the capital of Batangas Province from 1732-1754 when old Taal was buried in ruins in the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754. It was after the transfer of the capital of the province to Batangas when Taal Church, which is considered the largest church in the Orient, was begun. Its construction lasted for almost a century in spite of the forced labor utilized in its construction. Even during the Spanish period, the people of Taal were against foreign invaders. When Juan de Salcedo, grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, sailed up the Pansipit River, he was met by several hundred natives who attacked Salcedo and his men with bows and arrows. Salcedo was wounded in one leg so he and his men returned to Manila. In 1749, when Taal was the capital, she had a population of 41,347 people, then second to the city of Manila. Because many migrated to the different provinces of the archipelago to trade and visit Taal on December 8 and 9, the town fiesta, the population of Taal has fallen to 23,004 as shown in the Census of 1939. Many were killed by the Japanese two weeks before the liberation, March 6, 1945, so the present population cannot be determined until after the Census report of 1940 is finished.

PHYSICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL
SITUATION OF TAAL

Taal, one of the largest towns in the province of Batangas, and the very [first] place settled by the three datus from Borneo headed by Datu Puti, was selected on account of its physical and geographical situation. Taal in those days comprised what are now known as the towns of San Luis, Lemery, and Taal. The Pansipit River, the only outlet of a lake of the same name often called Lake Bonbon, flows

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through the center. It is now composed of forty-eight barrios with a population of 23,004 as per Census of 1939.

The town as it is now is located between the towns of Lemery to the north, Alitagtag to the east, Balayan Bay to the south and San Luis to the west. It occupies a highland rising several hundred meters above the sea, thus overlooking Lemery, Calaca, and Balayan Bay. About one-fourth of the total area is fertile due to the many eruptions of Taal Volcano. The surface is dotted with hills. In the barrios facing the volcano where the soil is fertile, being on a coastal plain, agriculture is made possible with our defined wet and dry seasons. Good roads, which connect all the barrios with the provincial road, enable the farmers to export their brown sugar to the neighboring towns with ease.

Nature has endowed Taal [with] some of the best gifts. The beautiful Taal Lake, formerly called Lake Bonbon, the Taal Volcano in the center, and the winding Pansipit River are the most picturesque ones. This lake not only gives beauty but furnishes an abundant supply of fish, some of which are not found elsewhere. The presence of Taal Volcano, which erupted so many times, was the cause of the transfer of the town from the shore of the lake to where it now is. The Pansipit River serves as the boundary of Taal and Lemery and the medium through which the fish go to the bay during the spawning season. A fishery, the Pansipit, is located about a kilometer from the lake. It once ran a hotel so well equipped, but the building and all its equipment were reduced to ashes during the Japanese regime.

SOCIAL STATUS

During the Spanish time, only the rich were able to study. There was no middle class. The poor were ignorant.

In social functions, there was a clear distinction between the well-to-do families and the laboring class. In the course of time, this began to change and in1906, the “Sociedad La Patria,” the most aristocratic society in Taal, was organized. This exists till the present and usually gives its annual ball on the thirty-first of December till the early hours of the New Year. Later, many societies were formed. Among these were the Taal-Lemery Literary Society, Banaag ng Tagumpay, Taal Youth Association, which was later named Volta Club, Malvarian Association, Magkakasama, and Fifty-fifty came into existence. The gentler sex organized three societies. They are “Professional Sorority,” which as the name suggests is composed of all professionals, the Barangay, which is composed of non-professionals but has within it political partisanship, and the “Socialites,” which is composed of the youngsters of no political inclination. These societies give annual receptions and balls either in December or May, which are the vacation months. All the above-mentioned societies exist in the town proper, but in the barrio there are societies which are either civic or religious in nature. Some of them are “Makabuhay,” “Sambat Student Club,” “Bagong Araw,” and San Jose Athletic Club, which has one of the best Boy Scout Troops and

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Bugle Corps in the province.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Taal, which is situated on a knell of a hill south of the Pansipit River, is very picturesque. The largest church in the Orient, with its two towers which were destroyed by the earthquakes of 1911 and 1942, command the views of Balayan Bay, Taal Lake or Lake Bonbon, Taal Volcano, Mt. Makulot, the strongest hideout of the Japanese, and the nearby towns. This church is called San Martin. About a kilometer away down the hill, which can be reached by passing a flight of one hundred twenty-five marble steps, lead to the Caysasay church where masses are held even Saturdays. This and its large convent were built earlier than the San Martin out of limestone rock. These two churches are the living monuments of the forty days of forced labor for during their construction, all men and women of legal age were made to help even in getting sand from the shore, and no boat or ship could anchor without stones for [the] said construction. About [missing number] meters from Caysasay church, to the left side of the flight of steps, in ascending it is a well which pilgrims visit to bathe with its water for the legendary story says that this is the Virgin's well. Sick persons go there to take a bath in either of the rooms provided for the purpose.

TAAL VOLCANO

One of the most important places of interest in the Province of Batangas is Taal Volcano, the lowest in the world, but with the widest crater. It is about one hundred thirty kilometers from Manila and is easily reached for there are good means of transportation available both on land and across the lake to the shore of this island where the volcano is. It is called the “cloud maker” by some, and the “terrible” by others. Nobody knows definitely as to when this volcano began emitting sulfurous smoke and burning lava for even during the early part of the Spanish occupation, this volcano threw out ashes, burning lava, and smoke which frightened the people near it but by all who saw the fire coming out of its crater. In the seventeenth century, it erupted several times and buried in ruins many towns in the neighborhood. The two worst eruptions recorded are those of 1754 and 1911. In January 1911, the volcano showed signs of activity for there was continuous smoke coming out of the crater and at least six earthquakes of great intensity were felt in Taal and in the province as a whole. A week or more before the eruption, it began to throw out mud. On January 30, 1911, the explosion began throwing out hot water, mud, ashes, and flaming lava which buried all the living creatures on the island and devastated about 90 square miles of the country around which fine ashes fell over an area of more than 800 square miles. Many villages around the lake were destroyed and the official estimate of the casualties was 1,135. The signs of activity were seen until February 8, 1911 when smoke ceased coming out of the crater. Since then, it has been quiet, though a small mud geyser has started near the shore of the barrio of Sinisian in Lemery. Before the eruption, there were four prominent features in the crater which was about five feet above the level of the lake. There were two small lakes of hot water – one green, the other more or less red; near the center was a gas vent or

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6 feet in diameter from which hot gases roared, as from a blast furnace; and just a little distance away was a triangular obelisk of hard volcanic rock. During the eruption, all the materials inside the crater to a depth of 230 feet was heaved up and scattered over the surrounding country. Later, the whole was filled up with water which seeped in from the lake, almost up to the level of the former floor or almost about that of the lake itself. The volcano consists of a crater near the center of a low island more than five and one half miles in its longest diameter in the center of a lake 17 miles long, 10½ miles wide, and about 2½ meters above sea level.

Small launches and motor boats carry passengers bound for the volcano at normal rates. It takes from twenty to thirty minutes from the barrio of San Nicolas to the nearest point on the volcano, whose greater is about a thousand feet above the level of the lake.

Taal Volcano, at present, is said to be extinct by some, but the first sign of activity was seen in May 1923, when clouds of black smoke where seen coming out of a new crater about two miles from the former crater in that part of the island called Binintiang Malaki, which belongs to Talisay, Batangas. The former crater is now a crater lake with an obelisk of hard rock standing in the center. The whole volcano served as an evacuation center during the critical period from February 1, 1945, the time when the American liberation forces landed in Nasugbu, Batangas to March 6, 1945, the day when Taal was liberated. The part of the volcano belonging to Taal has a population of about four times its population in pre-war days for most of the evacuees who did not own even sites for their houses on the mainland did not return to their former homes for their houses were burned and because they found out that fishing in the lake near the volcano is a remunerative industry.

THE PANSIPIT FISHERY

One of the prettiest spots within easy reach is [the] Taal-Pansipit Fishery. Tourists coming from all corners of Luzon visit and crowd the place on off days and holidays. For more than a quarter of a century, Pansipit Fishery has been a place worthwhile seeing and living. There are beautiful spots which induce visitors to take Kodaks and cameras with them to have something which will serve as a reminder of a visit to this fishery. The fish corral where the fish ready for sale are kept which is in the shape of a heart is so interesting to see for therein are the fish going all around the corral web parts of their backs out of the water. Outside this corral, is the main stream where the other fish, which cannot be accommodated in the heart shaped enclosure, are kept. On one side is an enclosure with bamboo floor partly submerged in water where eels of different sizes are. About fifteen meters from the fishery was the hotel equipped with everything except and orchestra whose place was being taken by a piano and an available pianist. Excursionists, parties, and walls often made reservations in this hotel but sorry to state that as a result of the Japanese occupation, the hotel and equipment were reduced to ashes as a result of the Japanese atrocities. In this fishery are caught fish

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which are not found elsewhere. From the start, this fishery was handled by the corporation who gives the highest bid during the auction sale. The greater part of the annual income of the municipality is derived from this fishery. In July, 1948, the municipal governments of Taal and Lemery ran the fishery and because of the entry of a good school of fish, the following is the monthly income for the past three months:
July ₱5,230.30
August   3,776.50
September   5,118.30
From the above figures, one can deduce that the Panisipit Fishery is a great asset to the two municipalities of Taal and Lemery besides being a place of beauty.

LOCAL CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS

Taal, like all other towns, has some practices, rites and customs inherited from ancestors to posterity. This transmission of opinions or practices left no written memorials, but instead, they were delivered from forefathers to descendant by oral communication., The succeeding paragraphs will depict the traditions and beliefs in the locality and foremost among them are the marriage customs.

These customs and traditions are really changing and many have disappeared or are disappearing to give to those brought by foreigners which are adopted without question for us Malays, [the] adoption of things foreign is one of our weaknesses.

These are some of the changing customs:

Religion:
1. Kissing the priests’ hands.
2. Making the sign of the cross when going down the stairs or when passing by a church.
3. Giving money to the priest for a mass in honor of the family’s dead member.
4. The habit of confession among women.
5. Throwing water at one another on St. John’s Day.

Social Life:
1. Kissing the hands of elder relatives.
2. Girls are always chaperoned.
3. Holding big feasts whenever a member of the family dies.
4. Young women eat as little as possible when in [a] social gathering.
5. Serenading.
6. Not cutting nails on days with an “r” [such as] Martes, Miercoles, and Viernes.
7. When a man wishes to marry a certain girl, he goes to the house of the girl and works for the family.

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Unlike modern courtship by which it is an exclusive affair between a man and a woman, courtship during the days of our ancestors was an affair between the families of the two parties. It was not the man who did the courting, but his parents. The moment a man’s parents began to like a certain woman, they (the man’s parents) convinced him to go to the girl’s house every afternoon. He, however, couldn’t go upstairs, but instead, he had to help in all outside work, like pounding the rice, gathering fuel, getting water from the well and the like. This man’s sacrifices lasted for two years. If, during this length of time, the girl’s parents found out that this man possessed the qualities suited to their daughter, they (the girl’s parents) asked the man to take his parents with him. In this case, the parents of both parties tried to analyze the man and the woman. The parents of the girl analyzed well the man, while the parents of the man analyzed well the girl. After thorough examination and [it was] found out that there was not a single defect, the man informed the woman that his parents would take food to her house and settle the dowry question. If both parties had agreed upon the dowry or bigay-kaya, the man’s parents took with them fuel to be distributed among the girl’s relatives and cousins. The biggest bundle, of course, was given to the girl, the length of each piece depended upon the height of the floor from the ground. This fuel was not used but would be given away when a brother of [the] girl courts somebody. The next step was for the man and the woman to appear before the priest. It was the right of the priest to ask the two whether they believed in God and in His doctrines. In case these two new nothing of prayers, the priest's part was to teach them. After learning the prayers, their names were called in the church three times. After all of these, the man’s parents sent two persons a boy and a girl, to render services to the girl and her parents.

On the wedding day, the man’s purse and even his extremist means remained unlocked for the occasion. Before this day, both parties talked about the sponsors. For the girl’s part, the man’s parents had to choose and vice-versa. The night before their wedding, food was sent to the sponsors by the man’s parents. If the approximate value of the food sent was thirty pesos (₱30.00), the sponsors had to give to the couple sixty pesos (₱60.00), thus, doubling the amount. After the church ceremony, there was continuous eating. After dinner, a mat was spread at the center of the sala where the newly wedded couple dance. During the course of their dancing, money was thrown at the couple. The one throwing had to shout the amount thrown. The male spouse had to pick up the money from the mat to be given to his wife. After the affair, both parties were lined up in such a way that they could see every female visitor going away. Each female visitor received wrapped food from these lined up folks. When the visitors had gone away, the woman had to go with the man’s parents to their house while the man was left in the girl’s house. The newlyweds could see each other the next morning, and this was the time for them to talk about the money they had collected. The amount collected was reviewed to the man’s parents and they, in return, give advice to the couple as to what had to be done with the money.

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The first child must always be delivered in the girl’s house. The one in charge of the baptism was always the girl’s parents. When a child was born, the materials used by the mother during the course of her delivery, together with the placenta, were thoroughly washed. The placenta was placed in a dipper. If the child was a boy, the said placenta was to be buried with a letter, a cartilla and a pencil. In the case of a baby girl, the placenta, a needle and thread and a piece of cloth were buried together. This practice, according to our forefathers, would make the child [a] talented student when he or she grew up.

Living Conditions – Meantime that the woman is childless, she does no work save cooking. The man does all the work. Any cent earned by the man is submitted to the wife and the wife is held responsible for its disposal. It is a man’s insult to his wife if he asked her how much money they have on hand. The only chance for him to know the amount is when there is something costly which they are planning to buy, as for example, working animals for the farm.

In case death comes to any of them, the man can never remarry until after five years. During the course of his mourning, he has a black hairband around his head. When it comes to the mourning of the wife, she wears a wide black veil or the so-called widow’s veil. She can’t go out for one year. Like at present, nine nights of prayer are offered for the soul of the departed. When All Saints Day comes, [the] favorite food of the departed soul in prepared on the table. All favorite things of the dead are also included in the coffin. As the dead leaves the house, all windows are closed and to peep out of any hole is forbidden. A dipper of water is thrown in a place where nobody will get wet.

When the first year of his or her death comes, all black things are wrapped and thrown out at the eastern window. This is done at twelve o’clock at noon with the words, “Don’t come anymore.”

In places where people are not too modernistic, the practices mentioned above are taking active parts in their lives. Thus, elopement, misunderstanding between husband and wife, misunderstanding among in-laws and the couple are minimized. Peace, harmony, and good family connections reign over the house, making it a real home where everyone’s heart can rest.

As years pass, changes may make our customs and traditions more and more alike as a result of better communication, widespread education, and intelligent public opinion. The changes which will be brought about by education will be the result not only through the schools but through other agencies like the home, the church, the government, the newspapers and magazines, the movies, and the radio.

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SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS

Anywhere, reverence for and belief in the supernatural becomes a part of one’s life, especially during the days of our ancestors. They even worshipped things not worthy of being so. Because of these beliefs, they became over-scrupulous, thus keeping themselves too exact in all their ways, for they might go against certain beliefs which might give them unfavorable results. The following are the superstitious beliefs which at present some people are giving attention to.

1. When the fire in the stove is making too much noise, it is believed that visitors are coming to your house.

2. When a crow perches twice on the windows, making a sorrowful sound, it is believed that somebody among your cousins or relatives died.

3. A black butterfly flying in and out of the window, especially at noon, is a sign of a bad omen.

4. Don’t build fire in such a way that the fuel you are using has small branches placed against the stove. It is believed that everything good is against the family, whether it be financially, physically and morally.

5. When you see a small snake in your house, especially on Friday, it is said that money is coming. The same is true when the palm of your hand becomes scratchy.

6. When the wedding gown of the bride is given to her, never permit her to fit it because death will come soon in her married life.

7. In transferring to a newly-built house, a jar must be filled up with water though it spills out of its mouth. It is believed that everything will be in abundance. In case there is a party for a new home, never give food to the neighbors, but instead, invite them to eat.

8. When one sees a cat crossing the street, it shows that danger will happen in the family.

9. When a newly-wedded couple arrives home from church, a new pot is thrown away so that the couple may not become childless. When it breaks into many pieces, the couple will have many children.

10. A woman on the family way most not stay at the door because it is believed that she will encounter hardships in her delivery.

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With all frankness and sincerity, must, to begin with, offer an apology for being unable to cite concrete and conclusive proofs of some of the assertions that may be gleaned between the lines of this piece of work which I have prepared in order to give my readers a comprehensive idea of the organization of the local government of one of the oldest towns in the province of Batangas.

History tells us that the unit of government before the arrival of the Spaniards here was the barangay, the head of which was called the datu, hari, and the like. While there is no record to show the existence of the barangay in Taal in pre-Spanish Philippines, yet it is safe to state that there was because of the averments of the living elders of the town and of the stories handed down from generation which definitely show that such organizations really existed. During those days, a man may become the ruler of the barangay if he possessed wisdom, physical strength, or wealth. Either one of these qualifications may make him the head of the barangay. As had been advanced, records of the then existing local government of Taal are not available and nothing definite could be asserted here as to its details.

It is not amiss to state here that the laws of the barangay made by the datu with the help of elders. Laws, then, were either oral or written. The oral laws where the customs and traditions of our race which had been handed down from generation to generation.

The written laws were promulgated by the datus or rulers. The two written codes in pre-Spanish eras which were followed are the Maragtas Code and the Code of Kalantiaw.

The laws of our forefathers covered many subjects which are embraced in modern jurisprudence, a proof that our race is possessed of the originality for which progressive peoples on earth are distinguished and glorified. The early inhabitants of Taal were not exceptions to this originality. She has produced men – great men, prominent and the political, social and educational life of our country.

When the Philippines became the crown colony of Spain, the form of local government was entirely changed in line with the change of the national government. Each province was divided into pueblos. The head of the town was the gobernador-CILLO (little governador), popularly called capitan. The gobernador-CILILO was assisted by four lieutenants, called teniente mayor (chief lieutenant), teniente de policia (lieutenant of police), teniente de sementaras (lieutenant off the fields), and teniente de ganados (lieutenant of the cattle). The most well-known gobernador-Cillos or capitanes of the pueblo of Taal were Capitan Domingo Sanchez, Capital Flaviano Agoncillo, Capitan Martin Cabrera, Capitan Teofilo Atienza, Capitan Ignacio Ilagan, and Capitan Cecilio Noble.

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During the early years of Spanish rule, the gobernadorcillo and other town officials were elected annually by all married men in the pueblo. Later, the system of local election was changed. The gobernadorcillo was elected annually by a board of thirteen electors selected by lot, six from the former gobernadorcillos and cabezas. The parish priest and the provincial governor (or his representative) presided over the election. For the office of the gobernadorcillo, the thirteen electors each wrote three names on the ballots. The candidate who obtained the highest number of votes was generally named gobernadorcillo, and his election was confirmed in Manila by the governor-general. Usually, he was the choice of the parish priest, who exerted great influence in local elections. The other town officials were elected in the same manner by all members of the principalia – the privileged and voting class of the community consisting of the actual and former town officials, teachers, the intelligentsia, and rich families. The minutes of the election were written down and forwarded to the central government in Manila for approval. Municipal halls had different names then: Casa Real; Consistorial in the year 1896; Tribunal, and finally, Municipal Building or Presidencia.

For the purpose of local administration, the pueblo of Taal, as was true in all pueblos all over the Philippines, was divided into barangays (barrios). The barrio was headed by the cabeza de barangay, who received no salary but was exempted from paying the tax, and he and his descendants became members of the principalia. The position was honorary.

I shall jump from the Spanish regime to the coming of the Americans as the first Philippine Republic was but short-lived.

From the famous instructions of President McKinley to the 2nd Philippine Commission on April 7, 1900, local governments were given autonomy such that the natives enjoyed the opportunity to manage local affairs to the full extent of which they were capable. As soon as conditions permitted, regular elections of municipal officers under the Municipal Code were held. The qualified voters of each municipality elected a president, a vice-president, and several councilors for a term of two years.

The first municipal president under the American regime was Camilo Ilagan, who was selected by the barrio lieutenants and some citizens who were forced by the newcomers. But the first municipal president elected by popular vote was the late Roman Noble, who showed his capability to such an extent that he had been elected for several terms which was far more than the expectations of his political enemies. His election marked the beginning of the birth of two political parties – Partido Ibaba and Partido Ilaya – the political parties which until now are contending for supremacy.

As time went on, and as the Filipinos won more concessions from the Americans in running their own government, local autonomy was also relatively increased. In Taal, the number of municipal councilors

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was increased in order to give ample opportunity for the local lawmaking body to legislate for the people.

By the terms of a national legislation, the municipal president became known as the municipal mayor.

During the first days of the Japanese occupation, there was a radical change in the administration of local affairs, as what was true in the national government. The supposed authorities were divested of such powers as were usually enjoyed by them during the Commonwealth government. Not even the declaration of the so-called Philippine Independence during the Japanese time restored the freedom that was possessed by the citizens. Public officials acted under pressure so that nothing could be done to ameliorate the living conditions of the people.

Then came the liberation and, finally, independence. The people again became conscious of political activities that the selection of the local executive and his auxiliaries became prominent and emphasized.

Such is the development, in general terms, of the local government of Taal.

INDUSTRIES

The topography of Taal with the exception of the barrios on the coastal plain facing the volcano is rugged because of the many hills and narrow valleys; and even if the soil is volcanic, the heavy rainfall received during the rainy months has made the hills barren, hence, unfit for agriculture. Because of the soil and the dense population, people migrated and at present seldom will you find a large stone in the archipelago where there is no Taalenio. Those who remained engaged in many different home industries in order to earn a living, hence, the people of Taal are very industrious, business-minded, and even women reach Davao and Zamboanga in selling jewelry. In spite of the fact that Taaleños are found almost anywhere in the Philippines, Taal is proud of being a first class town where the volume of commerce is large without a Chinese or Chinese store. This is due to the business minded people of the place and Chinese who attempted to run stores could not withstand competition.

The many industries found in Taal are in different sections of the town distributed as follows:

1. Farming on the coastal plain.
2. Fishery
a. Salt sea fishing in Butong.
b. Freshwater fishing in the Pansipit River and in the lake.
3. Making balisong knives in Balisong
4. Sawali-making in Mahabang Lodlod.
5. Blacksmithing in Pandayan.

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6. Leather tanning in Cultihan.
7. Carpentry in Caysasay, Pook, and Latag.
8. Weaving baskets in Sambat and M. Lodlod.
9. Embroidery in every home in Balisong.
10. Panutsa-making in Seiran.
11. Commerce (peddling) [in] Buli, Mohon, Sambat, Itlog, and M. Lodlod.

SUGAR INDUSTRY

Reliable records indicate that sugarcane was found growing in the Philippines at the time of discovery and Taal was at the time already one of the producers of this crop as its name was derived from that part of the sugarcane used in planting. The sugar industry in the barrios of Taal facing the lake differs from those of the sugar centrals not only in the milling but also in the cultivation for new machinery is used in these places. The canes are crushed between iron rollers and the sap passes to a tank through underground pipes. From this tank, the sap is transferred to big vats where they are kept boiling. During the boiling process, the sap is cleared by collecting all the dirt that comes to the surface. Lime is added and when the syrup reaches a certain state, it is put in cans for sale in the neighboring towns and for local consumption. The sugar is brown but if the cans are placed upside down so as to drain all the remaining syrup, as white as the sugar produced in the central at Nasugbu, Batangas. In Taal, every land owner is a sugar producer and out of every hectare, the average product amounts to about a hundred cans each containing five gallons. In the sugar region of Taal, where the canes are milled and not sent to the centrals, there are about 45 sugar mills with an average daily output [of] 675 cans daily during the milling season. In this, the mill, gets 10 per cent of the output.

Like the centrals, we do not waste anything in the manufacture of our sugar. The leaves are used in feeding the animals at work, the ends of the canes are planted, the bagasse serves as the fuel in boiling the sap, and the molasses collected in the process of boiling is used as food for the pigs and horses.

According to the survey made in two off the most productive various, the following data are hereby given:

No. of hectares planted to sugar – 241
No. of sugar mills – 25
No. of cans produced in one year – 24100

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HISTORY OF BALISONG KNIVES

Balisong is a barrio just less than a kilometer from the town of Taal. This place is noted for knives known everywhere as “balisong.”

The very first industry of the males in this place was bolo making. They made artistic bolos with beautiful handles and shaped blades that commanded [a] large demand. These bolos were even exhibited in the Manila carnivals and the makers were awarded diplomas.



Later on, the bolo industry was replaced by the making of knives. The making of knives originated incidentally. A man by the name Perfecto de Leon happened to buy a big case made of bronze. He could not utilize this bronze in making bolos, so he thought of other means to make use of it. Fortunately, he happened to think of making a knife. After several trials, he was able to finish one which was crude at first as compared with present knives. When others sought the finished product, they bought a piece of metal and tried to make their own. From that time, the bolo industry was replaced by the knife industry for almost a quarter of [a] century now.

Many males got interested. At first, only the old people could make the knives, but now, even boys of school age can make them. At present, around twenty-five houses are engaged in this industry with an output of around sixty-five knives daily with an income of almost ₱425.00. This amount is only ⅒ of their income during and a year after liberation. Even before the war, the people of Balisong had this industry as their occupation. The knives where sold by the Manila Trading and its branches in the different provinces of the archipelago and under the Bureau of Commerce.

When the war broke out, the industry is ceased because of [a] lack of materials and, at the same time, it was prohibited by the Japanese.

When the Americans came during liberation, the natives tried to sell their old knives. The Americans were so interested that they offered very high prices. The people became enthusiastic and the industry flourished once more. But because of [a] lack of materials, if you were able to make. As time went on, the natives bartered their knives with different materials and tools that they could use in making the knives for the Americans. Because of the great demand, the prices soared higher and higher that an ordinary maker could earn from ₱20.00 to ₱30.00 a day. Had this situation lasted longer, Balisong may be one if not the most progressive places in Taal. But anyhow, there are some until now who are financially better off because of this industry. Some were able to buy tracts of land. For the present, the industry is a great help to the community many students are able to continue their studies by making knives, earning money to pay their fees and expenses in high school. Without this industry, there will be many students who will not be able to continue their studies.

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In general, the male population in Balisong has no labor problem. Some neighboring barrios are benefited, because they also learned the industry.

Materials used in making the knives:

1. Bronze for the framework.
2. Steel or bearing for the blade.
3. For decoration of the handle:
a. Deer horn.
b. Carabao horn.
c. Cow bone.
d. Aluminum.
e. Pearl shell.
f. Handle of the toothbrush.
g. Ivory, etc.

How the knives are made:

The bronze is divided into pieces according to sizes the maker likes to me.

It will be softened by putting it into the fire until it is as red as live charcoal. Next, it will be “lalad” to form the handle. It will then be smoothed with [the] use of different sizes of files. [The] Preparation for the decoration and nailing it to the handle comes next the blade is prepared by the blacksmith with the required shape and size. It may be either double blade, single blade or criz. The blade has to be softened first before they could be filled to have a better shape and to make it thinner. When the blade is ready, it will be pinned to the handle with the aid of the hand-dried temporarily at first, just to find out if it will fit exactly. Then the “trunks” will be attached at the end of the handle. The blade will be again taken off to be hardened in the process of tempering. After this, the handle and the blade will be teamed together with the use of [a] hard wire. Then, the night will be taken to the one engaged in the blade grinder to make them sharp and shiny. They used to pay from ₱25 up according to sizes. Then, this knife is ready for [the] market.

On Saturdays, the makers take them to the market. But oftentimes, merchants come to the barrio to buy knives to be taken to Manila, and the provinces, especially where navy men are coming. At present, the prices have gone very low that most of the people find other jobs which are more profitable.

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THE HISTORY OF THE SAWALI INDUSTRY

To trace the origin of sawali weaving in Mahabang Lodlod, Taal, Batangas, there is use [in] looking back across the years in order to see the light of an unwritten history [on] how the industry had its beginning.

A hundred fifty years ago, the so-called sawali was unknown in the islands, and Mahabang Lodlod was still nameless and uninhabited. One day in March 1848, there were two lovers who alone and selected Mahabang Lodlod as their temporary residence. This place is about three kilometers away from the poblacion of Taal overlooking the big San Martin Church, the whole town, and Balayan Bay. The two lovers, Guillermo and Anita, had lived in the place for only a few days and yet they were content and happy. They spent many days and nights under the trees.

The cold December king and the beast of the easterly wind, “amihan,” carried with it the cool breeze from southeastern Asia. They then felt the need for a house. Guillermo began to cut bamboos which were plentiful in the locality and a few weeks after, Anita found out that the only part missing were the walls. For these, Guillermo gathered palm leaves which were common in those days.

The people from the adjacent places came to Guillermo’s place until it was recognized as a barrio recorded in the history of Taal. Because of the topography of the place, it was named Mahabang Lodlod.

The hut of Guillermo and Anita, the first dwelling in Mahabang Lodlod, after many years, protruded to one of its sides. The palm leaf walls where the first to fall to the ground. Guillermo had a strong desire to replace the fallen walls with some durable materials. He was thinking day and night of what to use which would not only be durable but also more beautiful than palm leaves.

One day, Guillermo caught sight of a mat in a corner of the hut. He thought he could make something like it out of bamboo splits. He began to split a bamboo two meters long and begin to weave using the mat as a model and guide. It was quite difficult to weave for the splits were thicker than palm leaves. Anita, who was watching him as he worked, upon seeing the finished product, realized that it could be used as their wall. After weaving several pieces, the lovers put the woven bamboo splits in place. They found it comfortable and more attractive than the palm leaves. They agreed to call their wall “sawali” and as to what they meant by calling it so, no record show, although some believe it might have been derived from the word “sawali.”

People of the neighborhood, upon seeing the walls of the lovers, began to ask as to how he made them and soon the walls of the houses in that barrio were all of sawali. As years past, there was

[p. 16]

a demand for sawali from the neighboring barrios and even those Taaleños who migrated to neighboring towns used it for the walls which forced the people of Mahabang Lodlod to take sawali-weaving as their chief undustry.

SURVEY OF THE NUMBER OF HOUSES AND PEOPLE ENGAGED IN [THE] SAWALI INDUSTRY

One hundred ten houses and almost three hundred fifty persons are wholly dependent on the industry for their livelihood. They begin their work early in the morning using kerosene lamps when it is still dark until late in the evening. The weaving is mostly done during the nights.

A fast worker can make four or five pieces of sawali two by two meters in a day. Each piece, which contains four square meters, costs two pesos. A fast worker, after deducting the cost of the material, earns at least five pesos a day.

SALT-SEA – FISHING INDUSTRY IN BUTONG, TAAL, BATANGAS

A large part of the fish eaten in Taal, Batangas is supplied by the industrious fishermen of Butong. These fishermen are not largely dependent on [the] fishing industry; they divide their time between the farm and the sea. Much salt-sea fishing is done during the dry season or when they are not engaged in planting rice.

Commercially speaking, basing, a new method of fishing introduced in Butong, is the most profitable of all the methods employed. This fishing method was derived from the Visayan method of fishing. This method of fishing has a total worth of ₱4,400. By employing basing, the average worth of catch is ₱3000.00 per annum.

Let us have a clear picture of this method of fishing. Basnig are [of] two kinds. One kind is made of net which is used for catching large fishes and the other one is made of sinamay which is used for catching small kinds of fish. The lights seen at night along the coast are indicative of the equipment needed in the operation. Aside from the lights which are usually two is a big boat operated by at least fourteen men or more, a small patrol boat, and another boat manned by at least four men to carry the catch. Cars, paddles, anchor, and ropes are also needed.

There are two kinds of fish caught. Small fish attracted by the light are fishes which are locally called dulong, dilis, hiwas, galonggong, sapsap, muralla, etc.

Basnig is the most efficient and the most popular in the locality of Butong on account of its advantages over other methods of fishing. Basnig is operated at night. It is very handy and re-

[p. 17]

quires less time in the operation. The length of time by which a sinamay basing may continuously be employed by its owner depends on the care given to it. It may last for a year. The other kind of basing, which is made of net, lasts longer – 5 years or more depending on the care.

Other methods of fishing are dragnets, cost [cast?] net, clip net, fish trap, deep sea net, bigwas, fish corral, and hook and lines. The boats ordinarily used for dragnets are fairly large, carrying from 30 to 40 men. Like basnig, work is usually done at night, when lights can be used to attract fish. For catching small fishes along the beach and in shallow waters, the cost [cast?] net, clip net and hook and lines are used. Fish corral is made of bamboo and has been employed here from historic times. Another method of fishing which yields a good catch is the deep sea net.

[p. 18]

FAMILIES INDUSTRY IN PULO

Pulo, being an island, is surrounded by a vast space of freshwater known as Taal Lake. Taal Lake is known for palatable fishes, one of which is tawilis, unlike other fishes in the lake, is caught by nets called pukot. There are more than twenty fishing nets in the whole island. Sometimes, fishing nets are owned by one person or by corporations. Fishing nets, including boats, lights and bancas cost thousands of pesos, so it needs capital to own one.

The quality of fish caught sometimes may not be measured in terms of hundreds and thousands. They are measured in terms of big baskets, which vary in size. A basket of fish may cost twenty pesos or more depending upon the amount caught that night. There are conditions for favorable fishing. One is the stillness of the lake, the other is the absence of moombeans [moon beams?] and the absence of [a] swift current. A fish net owner may have thousands of pesos in one season depending upon the amount caught. One half of the money goes to the owner of the fishing nets and one half is divided among the persons employed by the capitalist.

The fishes caught are sold in nearly all markets of neighboring towns and provinces, even as far as Manila. In these markets, they are sold by retailers in terms of hundreds depending upon competition. When more fish are caught, prices are low or vice-versa, as a general rule in Economics.

During rainy season, drying fish remains a stagnant business, for some reasons. First, it does not find a good market. Second, it is very difficult to dry them due to the frequent rains and absence of sunshine. Methods of drying are easy. The fish are soaked in containers with considerable salt to make it salty. After twelve hours, they are exposed to the sunshine with the help of pointed sticks known as tindagan. The exposure does not get too long to make it very hard. Then, they are piled under the shades of houses especially built for the purpose. Then, they are piled in big baskets and are ready for sale in the Manila markets. A pointed stick may contain at least five fish depending upon the size of the tawilis.

[p. 19]

LEATHER TANNING

Leather tanning is a direct means of earning a living of several families in this place as signified by the name Cultihan, meaning a place where such a work is done. Not like any other work common in this locality, this work doesn’t involve the whole family. The process goes this way.

Undone leather is secured from the public market or from any individual engaged in slaughtering cattle. The price varies according to its size. The minimum price is ₱3.50 and the maximum price amounts to ₱5.00. Those hides had been previously salted by the person who skinned the cattle. The salt is always in abundance since it serves as a preservative of the leather to make them more durable.

The hides are placed in a tank which is divided into three parts. The first partition, where the hides are to be placed, is provided with enough lime so as to let the hair and particles of flesh disintegrate after a period of seven or more days. When this period of time has passed, the leathers will be taken out and cleaned by a blade especially made for the purpose. Then, the work goes on.

When the hides have passed the first process, they will be placed in the second partition of the tank called “darakan.” Here, the effect of the lime will be tested for the same length of time. Afterwards, just like the first process, the leathers will be taken out and will undergo the same cleaning for the last time.

The third process goes like this. The leather will be placed in the third partition of the tank called “tinaan,” meaning the place where dying is done. Here, the leathers will be mixed with a 50% mixture of well-pounded bark of the camachile tree. The pounded bark of the said tree must be equally and thoroughly distributed on the tops of the leathers. Water will be poured up to the level of the leathers. After a week in this mixture, the leathers will be taken out and adjusted to bamboo frames for sun drying. They can be ready for market when 100% dry.

[p. 20]

HISTORY OF
OUR LADY OF CAYSASAY ACADEMY
Taal, Batangas

The building in which the academy is housed, in an old convent which was constructed probably by the Spanish friars about 200 years ago. After the liberation of the Philippines by the Americans in 1945, it was given to the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica’s College for the purpose of establishing a Catholic School in Taal. The school was opened on April 19, 1945, first only for the Kindergarten and Grade One with the permit of the government. On July 1, 1945, all elementary grades were opened; on July 1, 1946, First Year High School was added. These courses now have government recognition, while in Second Year – begun on July 1, 1947, and the Third Year on July 1, 1948, are being operated under government approval.

The courses given at present are, therefore: Kindergarten, Primary, Intermediate and Secondary I, II and III years. In 1946, a special building was erected for the intermediate grades and also in the main building, some more apartments were arranged for classrooms. The teachers are all qualified, the library and laboratory well-equipped; [the] clinic was fitted out in which the pupils receive treatment. Teachers’ salaries vary from ₱8 to 100 monthly. The fees of the pupils in the elementary grades average from ₱3.00 to ₱5.00 monthly, while in the high school, the monthly fee is ₱10.00.

[p. 21]

THE RELIGION OF TAAL

To deal with the subject “THE RELIGION OF TAAL” is to delve into the past.

But to stick to the point, we will overstep the bounds of history of the Pagan Era. This study will originate with fairness and candor from the early days of the establishment of the Christian religion in Taal.

History shows Martin de Goiti, who set foot on our shores in the year 1570, was the one who pioneered to open the way of religion towards the province of Batangas. Yet, History failed to record exactly whether Martin de Goiti was able to reach Taal. It is presumed, however, that [the] Catholic religion in this town was introduced by his men.

In this presumption, it would not be amiss to infer that the Catholic religion in Taal is the fruit of the seeds sowed by Martin de Goiti and his followers in the year 1570.

In those dark days of religious metamorphosis in this town, masses were held in the shades of trees. Taal people had completely obliterated from their minds, nay from their souls, the traces of Paganism which was their religion before, and heartily embraced the “Cross and Saber,” the undying symbol of the Catholic religion introduced by the Spaniards.

As the days were slipping by, the people of Taal and the Spaniards were getting closer together religiously despite the bitter fact that the Filipinos were treated [as] serfs by the latter. Taal people, then, had images of different saints at the dilapidated altars of their homes and to every saint they used to proffer their prayers. But above all, they esteemed [the] Virgin Mary with profound reverence to their honest belief in her celestial highness.

In response to the ardent faith of Taal people, in the year 1603, the Immaculate Virgin loomed in one of the streams, the Pansipit River, which is still known as Sta. Lucia. The appearance of the Virgin in this legendary stream was a supernatural occurrence to the people of Taal. They had entertained the belief that the Virgin was expressly sent to them by heaven and that it was their bounded duty to build a church in her honor. History says that this Virgin was the one brought by one of the early Spanish governors which the governor himself threw into the China Sea when a terrible storm overtook them.

In connection with the advent of the Virgin of Caysasay, there is a saga which is very interesting to remember. I beg leave for a moment to re-photograph on the readers’ memory the most fortunate men who first saw her on this earth.

[p. 22]

One day in December 1603, a certain Don Juan Maningkad went out to fish. Don Juan was alone in that tranquil stream unconscious of the miracle that was being worked out by heaven in the net he held in the water. When he pulled up the net, only then and then was his spirit awakened to the event that no fish did he catch but a piece of wood. Examining the piece of wood, he came to know that the shape of it signified something strange and heavenly. It had a face which if he remembered correctly, looked like the face of the Immaculate Conception. The prodigy was overwhelmingly drawing him from a hallucination [to] the reality that the piece of wood in his net was the true Virgin herself.

Don Juan was a strong believer in the Gospel of religion. For him, the priest was the representative of heaven in this space. At this part, he went right away to the convent and sought an interview with a priest regarding the Virgin’s appearance. The priest himself went to the place where the Virgin was found. Upon glaring at the piece of wood which to his eyes became a replica of the image of the Immaculate Conception, not a particle of doubt reflected in the mind of the august prelate, thus, with his bare hands, he took with full respect and humility, the Virgin to the provisional church in Taal. He adorned the Virgin with fine garments and jewels and placed her in the ornate tabernacle of glass. Since then, [the] Virgin Mary was canonized by Taal people.

There were living two religious women, Doña Maria Baguhin and Doña Maria Talain who took [the] trouble of guarding the Virgin, deeming it was their moral obligation to do so as true Catholics. To the embarrassment of the two custodians of the Holy Image, and to the astonishment of [the] Taal populace in general, they observed that every afternoon, the Virgin disappeared from the tabernacle and was always found in the barrio of Caysasay where she was first seen. The priests and the people came to an agreement of opinion that perchance, the Virgin wanted to stay in Caysasay, that in the immediate days after, they proposed to build a church in that place which church was able to weather the years and is still in Caysasay till the present time. That was the first miracle shown by the Virgin to the people.

One more miracle that the Virgin work in the life of the people of Taal was the death of Haybing, a Chinaman who was then living in Taal. According to legend, there was an order issued by the authorities to the effect that all Chinese wear to be killed. This order was the aftermath of the Chinese rebellion in this place. Haybing was one of the Chinamen beheaded one afternoon but the next morning, he was found quick standing by the door of the church. Questioned as to why he was able to [be] revived, he answered in his naive simplicity that it was but a miracle of the Virgin. Deep in the bottom of his heart, Haybing made an avowal that he would serve the Virgin for the rest of his life in a manner tantamount to serving God in heaven. But Haybing happened to marry a beautiful woman in Taal. He devoted all his time to his dear wife. To support her, he engaged himself in Arcadian life and took up farming. One day, when he was plowing, the bypassers who saw him

[p. 23]

in the field asked him why he did not go to the church to hear the mass. With a sense of pride, he answered that he wished to forget the Virgin for he had already a wife who best needed his services. Haybing, after uttering those words, was pierced by the horns of his own cow, and died. These were the miracles of the Virgin of Caysasay in her first association with mankind in those early days of our religion. She was named Virgin of Caysasay in view of the event that when she found there was a Kasaykasay bird winging aloft her head.

It [is] also of paramount importance to recount that during that time, the town of Taal was called Bombon, the poblacion was located in what is now the barrio of San Nicolas, at the eastern shore of the lake.

Imbued with biological instinct, the inhabitants moved to a higher place for the safety of their lives and property from the shocks and mutations of time. One thing they feared was the volcano which was active then.

The religious people of Taal could not help thinking that the church of the Virgin of Caysasay was too far from them and that often, they could not get there in time to hear mass. Under the authority of religious discipline, the erection of the church of Taal was begun. According to our ancestors, who took part in the construction of this edifice, many lives of laborers, who were all Filipinos, perished because of [the] hard work and hunger they suffered during the work. For approximately one half of a century, [the] Taal church had been in the making. When it was completed, it appeared the largest church in the whole Philippines. This masterpiece of architecture is a lasting token of the Christian religion brought by the Spaniards to the western part of Batangas. It is the tangible proof of [the] predominance of the Catholic religion over all creeds in this town.

[p. 24]

At present, the various religious sects existing in Taal are [the] Protestants, Aglipayans, Sabbathists and Adventists. The followers of the different religions scattered within the municipality are considered here as but a few drops of water in the vastness of the ocean, taking into account the amplitude of the Catholic religion. A few Protestants live in Tierra Alta, a village immediately adjoining the town proper, some Aglipayans in the center of the town, some Sabbathists in the barrios of Calangay and Pansipit, and 30 members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church are residing in the outlying villages of Abelo and Talang ang Butong.

The founders of these denominations have tried their best to increase the number of their followers, but unfortunately, their preaching paled into insignificance before the greatness of the principles of the Catholic religion. In the fiasco that was the searing desire of each of these religions to reign supreme and the town of Taal, it would not, perhaps, be superfluous to have a say: that these various religious affiliations were established here [by] men who had been catholic before, thus, they could vainly lure the hordes to believe in their new doctrine.

The Catholic religion in Taal had mounted the acme of glory and grandeur that there was need of organizing other parochial branches in suburban villages and remote barrios. Presently, there is a chapel in Sambat, one in San Nicolas, and one in Balisong.

So, that is Taal and its religion.

All students of Oriental History are well aware of the limpidity of the fact that we owe the Catholic religion to the Spaniards. One cannot write the story of Taal and its magnitude without mentioning the Catholic religion which molded the feelings and built the characters of its dwellers. It is, therefore, our duty to keep aglow the flickering light of this religion in the hearts of our youth, who are easily carried by the onrushing stream of modernism that we may leave to posterity a sacred memento of the creed which made our progenitors ornaments to the society where they belonged while they were still living.

Taal, with [a] population of 25,544, is a place where six religions exist, distributed as follows:

Catholics – 24,978
Iglesia ni Cristo – 425
Saturday Adventist – 49
Phil. Independent Church – 42
Protestants -35
Espertistas - 15

[p. 25]

The specific rate is tabulated as follows:

Catholics – 97.8% or 98 per 1000
Iglesia ni Cristo – 1.66% or 17 per 1000
Saturday Adventists - .18% or 2 per 1000
Phil. Independent Church - .16% or 2 per 1000
Protestants - .14% or 1 per 1000
Espertistas - .06% or 1 per 1000

LOCAL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
SINCE THE SPANISH REGIME

The history of education in the Philippines illustrates in an impressive manner. The use of schools in a colony for the propagation and development of the ideals and culture of a ruling power; first, under Spain, later under [the] United States, and still later under Japan, Taal, being within the sphere of these influences, emanates in much the same way the same educational stage of the Philippines as a whole.

The fundamental aim of Spanish education in the Philippines was to develop moral and religious citizens and to teach the Castilian language. Hence, in Taal, missionaries who took charge of the parish began to work within the locality to carry out this objective. Local teachers were given training in order to facilitate the accomplishment of this aim. Teachers of this regime worthy of mention were: Maestra Tinay, Gertrudes Aquino, Herberto Banawa, Olol Banawa, Juan Medina, Florentino Castillo and Benito Punzalan.

There was no uniform cause of study. The textbooks and materials were in the form of questions and answers with emphasis on religion and morals. The method of teaching was purely memorization, supplemented by the use of prizes and examinations.

The sexes were separated. However, education at this time was almost just for the children of the well-to-do families of the locality only.

Hardly had the Filipino-American War ended when the American soldiers began to teach the Filipino the fundamentals of democratic ways of life which was to have sufficient influences on the political destiny of our country. The Americans embarked on an enterprise unique in the history of colonial administration. Just as Spain undertook the teaching of Filipinos in the Christian faith soon after they set foot on Philippine soil, so America ventured on a vast experiment in human enlightenment. American soldiers and their other relatives served as the early teachers.

[p. 26]

Later, feeling the need for more teachers, American teachers were imported from the U.S. and still later, a Filipino corps of teachers came about to carry on the gigantic task of education. The following teachers in Taal during this early American time were: Rosendo Paala, Jacinto Ilagan, Ananias Orlina, Gregorio Castillo, Raymundo Garcia, Eufracio Ilagan, Valeriano Cabrera, Martin Dawis, Trinidad Manalo, Casimiro Platon, and Isidro Clarin. [A] Normal Institute was held in Manila every year which gave rise to the training of more Filipino teachers. From a small bunch of teachers in 1900, Taal now has 97 teachers in the public schools and 15 Benedictine sisters in the private college. The enrolment increased, too, from a handful of pupils in 1903 to 5,000 this year, 1948. [In] The year following the inauguration of the Commonwealth, the government witnessed an expansion. The increase in appropriation was not commensurate to the increase in enrolment. From time to time, many of the teachers were laid off during the early months of every school year due to the lack of municipal funds. Due to this, [the] worst felt school crisis in 1940, the so-called Educational Act of 1940 was passed which aimed to solve once and for all this school crises and at the same time to comply with the constitutional mandate of public education. Different school plans were utilized according to the needs of the community, but Taal, needing to save not only school spaces and materials but also lacked teachers, adopted to the double-single-session plan in its schools.

Immediately after the Japanese occupation of Manila early in 1942, a Central Administrative Organization was created with the Department of Education, Health and Public Welfare as one of the six departments organized.

Changes were brought about in the school system. The primary aim of this regime was co-prosperity and to eliminate the use of the English language in due time. Hence, steps were made to put emphasis on Tagalog as the national language and Nippongo as one of the official languages. Training schools as institutes for these were founded in Manila and pensionados were sent there. Taal had Mrs. Nicolas Calanog, formerly Miss Engracia Noble, as pensionado for Nippongo, and Mrs. Mariano Pesigan, formerly Miss Leonila Mayuga, for Tagalog. Food Production was another subject given much emphasis during that time. Once more were the sexes segregated and religion was reintroduced in schools. Many books were burned as learned and only those subject matters which portrayed the Japanese ideologies were retained. Many children left school for various reasons as: difficulty in earning a living, fear of the Japanese and feeling of a possible waste of effort and credits earned during this schooling.

After 3 years [of] intellectual blackout, the schools were reorganized along democratic ideals with the reoccupation of the Philippines by the American forces. But, while the ideals and objectives were easily set, the material appurtenances of the educational system were prostrate, destroyed or absent.

[p. 27]

The reopening of the schools after liberation was beset by many administrative and instructional problems. Here, the instruction had to be conducted in many cases without the usual educational aid which was either burned to the ground or looted. For lack of available desks, boxes where used by the children; for black boards, black cloths took the place; for text books, magazines and lectures were made use of.

The serious administrative problem that beset the schools in Taal was [that] the curricular adjustment had to be made during the period of transition from the Japanese school system to the new requirement. The curriculum during the Japanese regime was radically different from the regular curriculum adopted in 1941 and in 1945. The former reduced considerably the period for the English subjects and eliminated many of the social science courses. As a result of this change, the reorganized schools in 1945 had to make certain adjustments in their requirements, otherwise, the students would be found deficient in many of the usual requirements for graduation.

Another serious problem was over-eagerness which was finally solved through acceleration. Problem after problem arose, criticism after criticism was given the present system and results of education found out [not] only in Taal but throughout all the schools in the Philippines due to the defective provisions of the Educational Act of 1940 and the 3 years educational blackout during the Japanese regime.

In end, the educational system in Taal, as in other parts of the Philippines, had a combination of influences of several streams of civilization, the original Malaya Oriental, the Latin, the Anglo-Saxon, and the purely Oriental Nippon.

The ardent desire of the people of Taal to educate your children was the reason for being the birthplace of some of the leading Filipinos both living and dead who held responsible positions in the government or shown in the practice of their chosen professions. Among the dead are the late Don Felipe Agoncillo, ambassador plenipotentiary to France of the short lived Philippine Republic under President Aguinaldo; Don Vicente Ilustre, a well-known jurist, was a member of the First Philippine Commission and of the First Philippine Senate, elected in 1916 ask where the provisions of the Jones Law; and Atty. Antonio Barrion, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1935, and many others. Among the living are ex-Secretary Antonio de las Alas of Public Works and Communications and of the Department of Finance, later was elected representative to the Philippine assembly four times, being one time Speaker Pro Tempore; Don Ramon Diokno, amego luminary [who] served as a representative, Legal Council, and was elected senator in 1946; Don Vicente Noble, a well-known political mogul of the towns of Taal, Lemery, and San Luis served for almost eight years as Governor of the Province; Judge Conrado V. Sanches of the Manila Court of First Instance was also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1935, and many others.

[p. 28]

Besides those mentioned above, Taal now has one hundred twenty nine professionals except the educators, distributed as follows:

Lawyers – 28
Doctors – 27
Dentists – 21
Pharmacists – 21
Engineers – 12

Taal, with a population of 25,544 according to the recent census, has an increasing enrollment. The pupils are housed in permanent buildings in the central and in temporary buildings in many barrios on account of the ravages of war. Most of these buildings were constructed under the auspices of the Parents-Teachers Association. With the great increase in school population this school year, there is likewise an increase in the number of teachers with 20 barrio schools, two which have Grade Five, there [are] 90 teachers in the municipality. This increase, which was not made possible in the past, was attained on account of the opening of extension classes. The enrollment from 1946 to the present is shown below.
Year Yearly Enrolment Pupils Promoted % of Promotion
1946-1947 3,479 3,067 88
1947-1948 3,290 2,845 87
1948-1949 5,002
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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Municipality of Taal,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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