The annual Reports of the Philippine Commission provide a comprehensive picture of life and conditions in Batangas — and elsewhere in the Philippines — early during the American colonial era. Excerpts of these reports that are relevant to the Province of Batangas are made available in this web site for the benefit of teachers, students, researchers and enthusiasts of Batangas history, culture and folklore. For citation purposes, the pages given are as they appear in the reports themselves.
SIR: In accordance with your instructions of July 22, I have the honor to submit herewith my report of [the] Batangas experimental station for the year ending August 31, 1905.
The station is located on what may be described as lowland, the highest point being less than 20 feet above sea level. The soil may be classified as heavy loam. Previous to its being occupied as an experimental station, the land had been impoverished by repeated crops of corn, sugarcane, and rice. The trials of vegetable, referred to below, were made in well-drained soil, which had been fertilized with stable manure. In fact, everything grown here has been fertilized except the cotton.
During the last year, no help has been employed, either in cultivating the land or caring for the stock, except natives. On the whole, they have proven quite satisfactory.
Teosinte has, during the wet season at this station, grown like weeds, to use a farmer’s expression. Without irrigation, during the dry season, it made little headway. A field which had been heavily fertilized with stable manure and plowed under in January was, after thorough plowing and harrowing, planted to teosinte on the 4th of the following May. In the latter part of July, a portion of this crop, cut and weighed, indicated a yield of 30 tons per acre.
Our experience seems to indicate that the best time to cut teosinte is when it is about 4 feet high. It then sprouts up again much more quickly than when allowed to grow to full size before cutting. We found that where it grew rank and thick and was left standing until full grown, many of the roots failed to sprout again after being cut. Compared with Kaffir corn and sorghum as a dry-season crop, the advantage is entirely with the latter.
Sorghum planted at different times during the wet season has invariably produced a good crop, or, rather, good crops, for we have cut three crops from one planting. Needing feed for our stock, we cut all of these crops while green, so no estimate was made of the yield of seed.
Kaffir corn, like teosinte and sorghum, grows luxuriantly at this station, but seems peculiarly susceptible to the attacks of insects during the dry season. A crop maturing in the month of April was so infested with plant lice as to render it almost unfit for feed. This was remarkable from the fact that on adjoining plots, teosinte and sorghum were almost if not entirely free from this pest. The grain, also, of Kaffir corn seems to offer less resistance to the attacks of weevils than that of sorghum.
Comparing teosinte, Kaffir corn, and sorghum, experience at this station would point out the last named as far in the lead as a forage plant for this province.
Giant beggar weed sown in January and irrigated through the dry season produced two heavy crops, which were cut for seed. It is now growing up for the third time. Both horses and cattle are fond of this plant. If sown about the 1st of October, it would probably produce two crops, which could be cut and cured during the dry season. It seems well adapted to this soil.
In November 1904, 500 sisal shoots which had been imported from the Hawaiian Islands were received at this station. They were set out in well-drained soil in rows 20 inches apart, and 10 inches apart in the rows. As the weather following that date was very dry, they were watered by hand once a week until they became rooted. At this date (August 12), the leaves of these plants average 15 inches long, many of the more thrifty ones being 20 inches or more. With the exception of the mealy bug, this sisal seems to be free from insect enemies. Had these shoots been set out at the beginning of the rainy season instead of at its close, it is reasonable to suppose that they would have attained a far greater size in the same length of time — eight and a half months.
Planted on the 24th of June last, jute seed came up in a few days and the plants made a fine, vigorous growth. Forty days after planting, they were 3 feet high, but within the last ten days, caterpillars have made a raid on them which threatens to be very serious.
Cotton, of the variety known as Boyd’s Prolific, was planted on November 25, in soil well worked and in good condition. Following that date, we had no rainfall until February 15 and 16, when 0.83 inch fell. What with the drought, plant lice, and a small boll weevil, this cotton was practically a failure. Other cotton planted in the neighborhood by Filipino farmers was an equal failure.
Velvet and Soja [Soya] Beans.
Velvet beans, planted in drills 4 feet apart and 8 inches apart in the drills, covered the intervening spaces to as to choke out grass and weeds. Having been planted in June, a small portion of this crop of seed was lost by becoming mildewed, they having matured while the wet season was still on. Notwithstanding this loss, we harvested 1,600 pounds per acre of good beans. This been seems to be at home in this soil and climate, and at this station is an entire success.
Japanese soja beans, like the velvet beans, were planted too early in the season. Maturing before the velvet beans, a large percentage of this crop was spoiled by wet weather. These vines grew in symmetrical bunches and appeared healthy and strong, but the yield of seeds was much smaller than that of the velvet beans.
Peanuts of a small Spanish variety, which had been grown at this station, were planted in August. Although the soil in which they were grown was a heavy loam, we gathered 18 bushels per acre. The vines were fed to the horses and mules, both of which seemed to prefer them to imported hay.
The results of two lots of sunflower seeds planted in July and September were practically the same — fine, large stalks, from 6 to 8 feet high, with an abundance of large flowers, some 10 inches in diameter, full of hollow seeds. Probably not more than 10 per cent of the seeds were well filled.
Sugarcane seems well adapted to this soil. A few seeds of a variety imported from the Hawaiian Islands were planted in January 1904. A year from that time, they had produced some splendid samples of cane, which were distributed as seed among the local cane growers. A few of these seeds planted at this station March 9, 1905, are now all a cane grower could wish for.
On December 13, two varieties of string beans — Golden Wax and Red Valentine — were planted in adjoining plots. The former was entirely destroyed by insects. A portion of the latter survived and bore some fair fruit. On July 13 of this year, another lot of Golden Wax beans was planted in another part of the station, a considerable distance from the former plot. This lot will probably not survive, for at this date (August 12), they look very bad. A dipterous insect appears to have deposited its eggs in the stem, the usual point of attack being just above the surface of the ground. When these eggs hatch out, the maggots burrow through the stem and usually destroy the plant.
Cabbage could be successfully grown at this station, if it were not for caterpillars. From the Early Summer variety, we got a few heads, which, while small, were of a very good quality. Caterpillars attacked them at all stages of development. Even after the head was half grown, they would in some cases honeycomb it in a few days.
Tomatoes, like cabbage, would have been good had it not been for the insects. Of two lots planted from boxes in October and November, the results were the same — fine, large plants with correspondingly large fruit. Probably half of this fruit was destroyed by worms before reaching maturity. These worms were of both dipterous and lepitopterous insects.
The following vegetables were successfully grown at this station: asparagus, beets, carrots, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, radishes, onions, and okra.
While the above vegetables can be grown during every month of the year, they all do better during the cooler months, and, of course, must be irrigated in the dry season.
In January 1905, about half of the coffee plantation at Lipa was turned over to the owner of the land. This left about 5 acres, which have been cared for by one man with a bull, a plow, a cultivator, and a hoe. On July 15, native mongo seed was sown broadcast among the coffee trees. It is expected that these vines will not only enrich the soil, but very materially aid in keeping down grass and weeds.
The result of cultivation can easily be seen when this 5-acre lot is compared with the other portion, which is somewhat neglected during the dry season. While these trees show some few indications of the presence of the leaf miner, they are making a vigorous growth, and will bear some fruit this year. They give every promise of making fine, bushy trees.
Rainfall, beginning January 1, 1905.
Two stallions — a full-blooded Arabian and a Morgan — were received at this station on September 16, 1904. One month later, a Kentucky jack arrived from Manila.
Through the courtesy of the governor of the province, information was sent to all the municipal presidentes of the province to the effect that these animals were at this station, and that anyone wishing to breed mares to them could do so free of charge by bringing his mares to the station. The number of mares brought in was disappointing. Consequently, the stallions were taken out to the outlying barrios. The greater portion of the mares of this province are owned by poor farmers. It was found that those who had one or two mares — usually only one — were willing, even anxious, to breed their mares to either of the horses or the jack, but in spite of all solicitations to bring their mares to the station for breeding, they failed to come in. Why this was so, I am unable at this time to say.
The Arabian, being more easily handled than the Morgan, was taken into the country a greater number of times; consequently, more mares were bred to him. Unfortunately, this stallion died April 18 of colic.
The Morgan stallion and the jack have been in good health and condition since their arrival. These animals have been fed almost entirely on feed produced at this station. The mares bred being scattered over a good portion of the province, I am unable to report the number pregnant.
Mares bred to the Arabian stallion
Mares bred to the Morgan stallion
Mares bred to the jack
A record of all the mares bred has been included in my weekly reports.
A colt from the Morgan stallion was foaled last night by a small native mare 5 years old, ten months and eleven days after service of horse. Both mare and colt are in good condition.
The Chief of the Bureau of Agriculture,