1905 Excerpts from the Report of Chief of the Bureau of Agriculture Concerning Batangas - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore 1905 Excerpts from the Report of Chief of the Bureau of Agriculture Concerning Batangas - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

1905 Excerpts from the Report of Chief of the Bureau of Agriculture Concerning Batangas

The report below contains excerpts particular to Batangas from the Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Agriculture for the year ending 31 August 1905. This report is part of Part 2 of the Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission. Parts of the report not relevant to Batangas are not included. For citation purposes, pagination as they appeared on the original document are provided.

While the source PDF document had OCR (optical character recognition) properties, not all the text could be extracted accurately. Thus, large parts of this report had to be manually transcribed for the purposes of accuracy.

Farm scene American Era Philippines
A rural scene in American-era Philippines.  Image digitally extracted from the 1905 publication "An Observer in the Philippines, Life in Our New Possessions."


[p. 429]



Manila, P.I.
September 5, 1905.

[Skips to paragraph 4.]

It is planned to abolish the Batangas experiment station, because the conditions there are almost exactly the same as at Manila, where the same class of work is being done, and to abandon the stock farm at Culion, distributing the animals now at that place between the dairy farm at Manila and the Baguio stock farm. It has been planned to transfer the San Ramon farm to the Moro government, which has large schemes for growing abaca and cocoanuts for distribution to planters throughout Mindanao. These changes, it is believed, will affect a further saving of appropriations for the bureau to the extent of about ₱30,000.

[p. 430]

beef cattle.

[Skips to paragraph 3 of this section]

I repeat what I said a year ago, that raising cattle in a large way in these islands will become one of the prettiest business propositions in the world, if only the one question of contagious disease can be settled. During a trip I lately made through Batangas Province, I was amazed at the superb appearance of all the cattle there. They are of the Chinese type, but looked 200 pounds per head heavier than Chinese cattle coming in to Manila. They are invariably as fat as an corn-belt cattle I have ever seen, and this without any food except native grasses and a little green corn forage given to those that work. The province of Batangas has 15,331 cattle 8,858 carabaos. These figures show the great relative importance of the cattle interests in Batangas as compared with the number of carabaos

[p. 431]

kept. The large Batangas bulls and oxen pull the same plows and draw the same loads as the carabaos; they work much faster and do not have to spend half their time wallowing in the mud and water. It is a great pity that cattle of this class have not been substituted for carabaos in all parts of the islands.

[p. 482]

Experiments with cotton have, in almost every instance, proved a complete failure. Last year, a good crop was raised at the Batangas station, but this year no crop at all was gotten. Every trial so far made at Manila, extending over two years, has been a failure. The small supply grown in the islands is of inferior quality an by no means certain in amount. The persistent attacks of insects are largely responsible for this failure.

[The rest of this section is skipped.]


I had been very hopeful that the jute plant, which produces the sacking material (gunny cloth) of the world, would succeed here. A trial was made last season, but the growth was too small to be profitable. I felt sure the reason of this poor growth was that the seeds were sown too late in the rainy season. The plantings this year were made at the beginning of the rainy season. The yield was only about 700 pounds per acre, and this would seem too small to prove profitable. At Batangas, where the land is better, and had been manured, the results appear to be not quite so good, even. There is another variety of jute which is growing wild in the islands that is much taller and may give better results under cultivation. It is probably well worthy of a trial. If a yield of 1,500 pounds of jute per acre could be gotten, it would no doubt be a profitable crop, as it would be worth for export about 3 cents gold per pound.

Exhibit C comprises the report of H. J. Gallagher in charge of the Batangas station. This station has had marked success growing corn, sorghum, teosinte, velvet beans, giant beggar weeds, peanuts, and most forage and garden crops.

[p. 433]


A test was made at this station of cassava (Manihat utilissima), which was discussed in the last annual report. The roots of this plant make excellent starch and are the sole source of the tapioca of commerce. The yield at Batangas on a small plot indicated 14 tons per acre. This is probably higher than could be expected on a larger area. Ten tons per acre would be a safer estimate. The samples we have had analyzed generally show about 28 per cent of starch, which means that a starch factory may be expected to recover 24 or 25 per cent of the weight of the roots in starch or tapioca. Considering the high price of starch and tapioca in the Philippine markets, this should be an inviting field for investment. One gentleman in Mindanao is now planting it on a large scale and is negotiating for starch-making machinery.

Mr. Gallagher has recently been caring for the little coffee plantation of the bureau at Lipa. I visited this place lately. The young trees are loaded with fruit, and while they are suffering to a certain extent from fungus disease, they are much more nearly free from it than other trees not so well worked and cared for. It is yet a question as to whether the once prosperous coffee business of Batangas can be built up again. The effort should not be abandoned until more of the varieties found to be resistant to disease in other countries shall have been tried...

[The rest of this section has been skipped.]

[p. 436]

corn growing.

Corn in the islands is generally allowed to get too hard to suit Americans for roasting ears. It is half parched and partly burned over coals of fire, and is eaten from the cob.

I found one mill in Batangas grinding corn into a coarse grit and mixing it with rice. Two small corn mills have been received by the bureau for making corn meal. These will he loaned to the bureau of education to be operated in certain corn-growing districts in connection with industrial school work.

[p. 437]

The sorghums and teosinte as forage crops have continued to make large yields, but the sorghums are decidedly superior under most conditions. The kaffir corn makes a grain approaching rice in composition. It is, we understand, used as the principal food of millions of people. We find a large and inferior sorghum growing everywhere in Batangas and its seed used as human food. The kaffir corn which we have introduced is greatly superior to that and is evidently a larger yield. It will be distributed over Batangas particularly, to take the place of the plant of this kind in there and known as “Catad.”

[The section below is part of Exhibit B of the Bureau of Agriculture’s report and a sub-section of this same report entitled “New Introductions.”]

[p. 448]

Liberian coffee is offered as one of the varieties which experience has proved to be immune from the attacks of the destructive leaf spot disease. Standing testimony of this is to be seen in the thrifty Genato plantation of Liberian trees near San Jose, Batangas, which is untouched by disease in a center of the worst contamination found in the Philippine Islands.

[Also included in this document was the report of Hugh J. Gallagher on the Batangas Experiment station. The full contents of his report are to be found in the link provided below.]

Notes and references:
1 “Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Agriculture for the Year Ended August 31, 1905,” by W.C. Welborn, part of the “Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission 1905, Part 2,” published 1906 by the Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, in Washington D.C. by the Government Printing Office.
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