1903 Excerpts from the Report of the Philippine Commission Related to Batangas Part III - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore 1903 Excerpts from the Report of the Philippine Commission Related to Batangas Part III - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

1903 Excerpts from the Report of the Philippine Commission Related to Batangas Part III

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.

Not all the pages were correctly interpreted by OCR (optical character recognition) scanning so had to be painstakingly retyped from the original documents, which is why Batangas History, Culture and Folklore refers to pages similar to these as “transcriptions.” The 1903 Report of the Philippine Commission came in 3 parts, and this page contains excerpts from the third and last part containing information about the Province of Batangas.

Insular Normal School Philippines
An insular "normal school" during the American colonial era.  Image digitally extracted from the 1903 Report of the Philippine Commission.


[This section is an excerpt from the Report of the Secretary of Commerce and Police.]

[p. 17]

[From the Report of the Bureau of Engineering.]


Surveys have also been made looking to the improvement of the Pansipit River, which flows from Lake Taal, in the province of Batangas, a distance of about 6 miles, where it empties into the China Sea at the towns of Taal and Lemery. It is contemplated to deepen this river so as to permit boats of at least 6 feet draft to pass from Lake Taal to the sea. The lake itself is a considerable sheet of water and its watershed contains several hundred square miles of fertile and beautiful country. At present the only outlet for this section is by means of ordinary roads, which are extremely rough, and, indeed, are little more than mere trails. The improvement of the harbor of Batangas, which is the capital of the province, and the construction of a wharf to which vessels of a considerable draft may come, are also being provided for.

Batangas Province, prior to the insurrection, was perhaps the wealthiest province in the islands. It has suffered, however, very severely from the destruction of its coffee plantations, from the misfortunes of war, and loss of horses and cattle by disease. While the intended improvement of the Pansipit River would be well warranted because of its value as an internal improvement, it will be at this time of an especial benefit to the masses of the people of Batangas, as it will furnish them a much-needed means of livelihood. These works will be paid for out of the Congressional relief fund.

[The section below is extracted from the Annual Report of Brig. Gen. H.T. Allen, U.S. Army Chief of the Philippine Constabulary. Presented are Inspectors, officers and men of the constabulary in several towns of Batangas.]

[p. 27]

Town Inspectors. Men. Officer.
Batangas 4 43 Capt. B.L. Smith. (S.I.)
Third Lieut. F. Johnson (S.O)
Third Lieut. N. Gonzales.
Third Lieut. C.V. McCoy.
Taal 1 50 Second Lieut. C.M. Pendleton.
Tuy 1 80 Sub. Inspr. H. Concepcion.
S. Juan de Bocboc 1 24 Third Lieut. M. Castillo.
Cale --- 18
Tanauan 1 80 Sub. Inspr. L. Babiera.
Rosario 1 27 Third Lieut. F.L. Dunham.
Total 9 222
In arrest in Tayabas

[The section below is taken from the “Report of the First District, Philippine Constabulary, For the Year Ended June 30, 1903.”]

[p. 53]


Senior Inspector Capt. BEN L. SMITH.

The authorized strength of the province is 225 men, with 7 stations and 9 officers. There were 18 expeditions during the year, regating 1,118 miles. Engagements, 14; outlaws kill, 21; wounded, 14; captured, 132. Constabulary killed, 1; wounded, 1. Arms captured, 18 Remington rifles, 1 Mauser, 4 Krags, l8 shotguns, 67 bolos, 32 revolvers, 2 sabers, 2 daggers, and 1 bamboo cannon. Arms lost, 4 Remington rifles, 2 shotguns, 1 carbine. Police wounded, 3; deserted, 3.

The police of the province are at present worthless. The governor has asked that they be placed under the constabulary.

Stolen animals recovered: horses, 43; carabaos, 123. There have been no desertions from the constabulary.

about all the fight was taken out of them durin the last days of the insurrection. They were compelled to get off the fence, and they generaly chose to accept cheap rice and American Government. In this way, most of the ladrone element fell in line with the better class of people and so far have not returned to bandit life. A few however, have joined the outlaws in Cavite, mostly those living along the border of the two provinces. The senior inspector has submitted a list of 10 who had taken the oath of allegiance but have since joined the fraternity of cutthroats under Montalon in Cavite. He also sub-

[p. 54]

mitted a list of 88 names who were insurgent officers in the province with marks as to their present status and hearing. The following are remarks opposite Malvar’s name: “Makes effort to help no one but himself and loses no opportunity to condemn anything American. He wields an enormous influence over the people of Santa Tomas, and often hampers the municipal authorities in the perrformanoe of their duties.” The better class of people is of the province discourage ladronism, and only those who tasted some authority during the insurrection cannot go gracefully has to their former occupations as cooks, muchachos, etc.

There are no organized bands of ladrones in the province, but bands from Cavite occasionally raid into Batangas.

There have been numerous arrests of gamblers during the past year, aggregating more than 250. It is very difficult to convict this class of offenders before the courts, owing to the disinclination of witnesses to testify.

At a mass meeting held in Batangas in February of the present year, a society was organized to discourage and prevent ladronism; funds were subscribed, and a man is employed by the various barrios whose duty it is to give immediate information of existence of ladrones. An interesting description was given me by the senior inspector of the use of a decoy carabao to identify a band of carabao thieves. The secret-service man sold a carabao to a suspicious character, and then watched it pass through the hands of three different owners until it was sold for 50 pesos to the leader of the band; as a result, 11 out of the 15 were killed, and the remainder of the band, except 1, captured. The system in vogue generally lands the animal far from the scene of theft in one of the larger towns, where it is sold for a round sum. The association above referred to seems to be doing successful work.

The senior inspector reports that his native inspectors have rendered excellent service in breaking up small bands and capturing outlaws.

Recently, 13 men were captured in the vicinity of Talisay, who were collecting for Montalon in Cavite. The senior inspector reports that great interest is taken in school work in the province. The rovince is blessed with having a governor who takes much interest in his work, is loyal beyond question, and is ever ready to assist in any work looking to the advancement of is people and province.

The work of supplying the constabulary in the province has met with several setbacks owing to the worthless supply officers sent there. Out of five that have been tried, but one has been satisfactory; the others were drunkards, who were compelled to leave the constabulary service.

Agricultural interests in the province are much improved and most of the cultivated land is now being tilled. The government is stil selling rice at a reduced price to the people. There is some apprehension that when this is stopped, some ladronism may develop. However, it is not a matter of any serious moment.

[The excerpts below are taken from the “Annual Report of the Bureau of Engineering for the Fiscal Year Ending August 31, 1903.”]

[p. 211]

Pansipit River improvement, Batangas. — Surveys for improving the Pansipit River were authorized by the honorable the civil governor January 23, 1903. A survey party was organized and, under the immediate charge of Mr. A.H. Perkins, assistant engineer, began field work the latter part of March, completing field work early in May. The proposed project was submitted to the Commission under date of July 22, 1903.

[p. 212]

[The] Pansipit River is the outlet of Lake Taal, or Bombon. Its length is 6 miles, and its width varies from 60 to 500 feet. During the dry season, it has a moderate current. except at three slight rapids, and a discharge of about 20,000 cubic feet per minute.

Lake Taal has an area of 359 square kilometers. Located in the north-central portion of the lake is the Taal Volcano, still slightly active. Eruptions occurred in 1647, 1709, 1716, 1731, 1749, and 1754. Tributary to this region are the fertile plains easterly from this lake, containing about 200 square miles. Calamba, on Lake Laguna, and Batangas, on the coast, are the seaports for this region.

The principal feature of the proposed project consists of a dike and jetty construction at the mouth of the river; the dredging of the river to a depth suitable for vessels of 6 feet draft up to a lock and dam site about 1 mile from its mouth; the construction of a lock, dam, and spillway, and the construction of necessary embankments above the lock site.

This improvement would lead to the development of a few of the lake harbors and involve an annual expenditure for maintenance and operating expenses. It would relieve the present heavy expenses for the marketing of agricultural products for a tributary area of about 200 square miles.

This project has been presented to the Commission, and is now under consideration.

The surveys and examinations for this project cost $1,460.98, which sum was paid out of the general appropriations for this bureau.

[p. 230]

Batangas. — Supervisor: Amount expended for roads was $22,797.73 local currency, and for bridges, $6,748.08 local currency. This province has 210 miles of highway and 150 miles of secondary wagon road. Of these, 90 miles are now improved and graded for wagon transportation, and with the completion of bridges now projected, 40 miles will be added to this. The work during the year was widely distributed in order to give employment to the needy, payments being made semimonthly, and laborers changed frequently in order to benefit as many as possible. Native foremen were used. Laborers are willing and are reported as competent and efficient. Labor is 40 cents local currency per day. Good timber for bridges is scarce and expensive, due to the difficulty in and lack of transportation.

[Below is an excerpt from the “Second Annual Report of the Secretary of Finance and Justice to the Philippine Commission for the period from September 30, 1902 to September 1, 1903.]

[p. 314]


[Skips over to the paragraph about Batangas.]

Batangas (organized May 2, 1901). — Balance on hand July 1, 1902, $12,216.64 U. S. currency; provincial and municipal taxes collected, $34,476.93 U. S. currency and $63,263.99 Mexican currency; receipts by warrant from insular treasury, $10,034.58 U. S. currency and $38,945.48 Mexican currency, of which sums $10,000 U. S. currency and $38,250 Mexican currency were insular loans, the balance being

[p. 315]

refunds; balance in the treasury June 30, 1903, $4,183.47 U. S. currency and $32,961.56 Mexican currency. Owing to the depressed condition of agriculture due to war, rinderpest, cholera, and locusts, this province was exempted from payment of land taxes for 1902 by Act No. 457, and by Act No. 907, the payment of the 1903 land taxes was postponed until January 1, 1904.

[The item below is taken from the “Report of the Auditor for the Philippine Islands for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1903.]

[p. 452]

Act No. 448 of the Commission provided for taking over to the insular treasury the sum of $65,965.65 Mexican currency, profits arising in connection with sales of rice, etc., by the military authorities to the inhabitants of Batangas and Laguna provices during the so-callcd reconcentration period. The act named provided that the sum so depoosited should be treated as a reimbursable appropriation, expendable in the discretion of the civil governor for the benefit of the inhabitants of the provinces named.

[Below is an excert from Exhibit No. 6, “Second Report By W. Morgan Shuster, Collector of Customs for the Philippine Islands, from September 1, 1902 to October 8, 1903.]

[p. 535]


[Skips over to the part on Batangas.]

4. The “Batangas” coast-inspection district shall include the coastline from Point Restinga to Point Bondog, island of Luzon; the northern coast of the island of Mindoro, from Point Calavite on the west coast to Point Dumali on the east; the island of Marinduque, and the small islands adjacent to the island of Luzon and the north coast of the island of Mindoro. The coastwise ports of this district are Balayan, Batangas, Bauan, Catanauan, Lemery, Loboo, Lucena, Nasugbu, Pitogo, Taal, and Unisan, island of Luzon; Calapan, Naujan, Pola, and Puerto Galera, island of Mindoro; Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, and Torrijos, island of Marinduque; and the port Lubang, island of Lubang.

[The “Report of the General Superintendent of Education for the Philippine Islands for the Period September 1, 1902 to September 30, 1903, with Accompanying Reports and Papers,” prepared by M.A. Colton, the superintendent for Batangas Province, is to be found almost in its entirety in a separate page. Please click on the link below to read the report.]

Notes and references:
1 “Fourth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission, 1903, In Three Parts, Part 3,” by the Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, published 1904 in Washington D.C. by the Government Printing Office.
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