This photograph is part of a series showing mostly construction projects undertaken by the Bureau of Public Works during the American colonial era. All photographs have been digitally extracted from the Quarterly Bulletins1 of the bureau and processed using graphics editing software to improve quality. It goes without saying that the eventual output of each extract was always going to be dependent on the quality of the original scan.
Road building was among the developmental projects undertaken by the American colonial government almost immediately after they took over from Spain in the administration of the Philippine Islands. The new government was intent not only in improving the quality of life among native Filipinos but also to stimulate economic growth.
The construction of a road network within Batangas stimulated not only the movement of people but also of products. In fact, a bus service was even started, the would-be iconic Batangas Transportation Corporation, to generally known within the province simply as BTCo.
Road-building was a continuous process, however, and the Americans, through its arm, the Bureau of Public Works, sought to keep improving travel from the main municipalities of Batangas with the ultimate aim of connecting the entire province with the capital city of Manila.
Below is a portion of road under construction within the then-town of Santo Tomas. This section was pegged at Kilometer 67, which made it just a kilometer from poblacion Santo Tomas, which at this time was at Kilometer 68 according to the Bureau of Public Works’ Road System Map.
According to the July 1917 edition of the bureau’s Quarterly Bulletin, “The cut-off on the Manila-Batangas Road near Santo Tomas has been completed and the old road straightened and resurfaced as far as Kilometer 65. It is hoped to have that section as far as the Laguna boundary all resurfaced within the near future. The changes made have greatly improved the alignment and grade.”
|Portion of road under construction in Sto. Tomas. Image digitally extracted from the July 1917 edition of the Bureau of Public Works Quarterly Bulletin.