Coordinates: 13°50′N 121°00′ECoordinates: 13°50′N 121°00′E
Batangas is a first class province of the Philippines located on the southwestern part of Luzon in the CALABARZON region. Its capital is Batangas City and it is bordered by the provinces of Cavite and Laguna to the north and Quezon to the east. Across the Verde Island Passages to the south is the island of Mindoro and to the west lies the South China Sea.
Batangas is one of the most popular tourist destinations near Metro Manila. The province has many beaches and famous for excellent diving spots only a few hours away from Manila. Some of the more notable ones are Anilao in the Municipality of Mabini, Matabungkay in the Municipality of Lian, Punta Fuego in the Municipality of Nasugbu, the Municipality of Calatagan and Laiya in the Municipality of San Juan.
Found in the province is world-known Anilao (Mabini) and its many dive sites that are ideal for observing marine life, and outstanding for macro photography. Located only 110 kilometers south of Metropolitan Manila, it is very accessible by land or by sea.
Batangas is also where Taal Volcano, one of the Decade Volcanoes is located. The volcano has a water-filled crater and sits on an island in the center of Taal Lake, which geologists believe is an ancient caldera.
The town of Taal is famous for its hand embroideries, knives, and sausages; and it reigns as one of the two most culturally preserved sites of the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines.
Poetically, Batangas is often referred to by its ancient name Kumintang.
The Philippine Air Force Air Education and Training Command is located inside Fernando Air Base in Lipa City.
The first recorded name of the Province was Kumintang, after the Datu who inherited the dominion from Datu Balensusa. Its centre, the present day Balayan, was the most progressive town of the Province and the traditional centre of governance. Later, as the eruption of the Taal Volcano destroyed a significant portion of the town, the provincial centre was transferred to Taal, which was then called Bonbon and the name of the province was changed after that of the town.
The term batangan means a raft, the people used so that they could fish in the nearby Taal Lake. It also meant the numerous logs found in the Calumpang River, the body of water that runs through the northeastern portion of the town and assumes the shape of a tuning fork.
The dialect of Tagalog spoken in the province closely resembles the Old Tagalog spoken before the arrival of the Spanish. Hence the Summer Institute of Linguistics called this province the Heartland of the Tagalog Language. A strong presence of the Tagalog culture is clearly visible to the present day.
Linguistically Batangueños are also known for their unique affectation of often placing the particles eh or ga (equivalent of particle ba Filipino), usually as a marker of stress on the sentence, at the end of their spoken sentences or speech; for example: 'Ay, oo, eh!' (Aye, yes, indeed!). Some even prolong the particle 'eh' into 'ala eh', though it really has no meaning in itself.
In the recent years, waves of migration from the Visayas had brought significant number of Visayans to the province. There are also a few who can speak Spanish, since Batangas was an important centre during the colonial period.
Batangas also has one of the highest literacy rates in the country at 96.5%, wherein the males have a slightly higher literacy rate at 97.1% than females with 95.9%.
The Prehistoric Batangas
Long before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines, large centers of population already thrived in Batangas. Native settlements lined the Pansipit River, a major waterway. The province had been trading with the Chinese since Yuan Dynasty until first phase of Ming Dynasty in the 13th and 15th century. Inhabitants of the province were also trading with Japan and India.
The present Batangueños are descendants of the Bornean datus, Datu Dumangsil and Datu Balensusa, who sailed from Borneo to Panay Island as far as Taal Lake. They organized the first Malay settlement at the mouth of Taal River. They eventually set up their own settlement in the place and founded the town of Taal in 1572 . The towns of Balayan, Lipa, and Batangas were founded later.
Archeological findings, show that even before the settlement of the Spaniards in the country, the Tagalogs, especially the Batangueños, had a very high level of civilization. This was shown by some jewelry, made from a chambered nautilus' shell, where some tiny holes were drilled by some tube. The way it was drilled shows that early Batangueños had an idea of what is beautiful.
Later, the pre-historic Batangueños was influenced by India as shown in some ancient potteries. In fact, a Buddhist image was reproduced in mould on a clay medallion in bas-relief from the Municipality of Calatagan. According to experts, the image in the pot strongly resembles the iconographic portrayal of Buddha in Siam, India and Nepal. The pot shows Buddha Amithaba in the tribhanga pose inside an oval nimbus. Scholars also noted that there is a strong Mahayanic orientation in the image, since the Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara was also depicted.
One of the major archeological findings happened last January 1941, where 2 crude stone figures were found in Palapat in the Municipality of Calatagan. It was later donated to the National Museum. Unfortunately, one of it suffered a bad fate and was destroyed during the holocaust of the World War II.
Eighteen years later, a grave was excavated in the nearby Punta Buaya. Once again, it showed that early Batangueños have an appreciation of art, since pieces of brain coral were carved behind the heads of the 12 remains that were found. The site was named 'Likha' (meaning 'Creature'). The remains were accompanied by furniture that could be traced as early as the 14th century. Potteries, as well as bracelets, stoneware and metal objects were also found in the area, suggesting that the people who lived there had an extensive contact with people from as far as China.
The presence of believed also suggested that prehistoric Batangaueños believed in the idea of life-after-death, since someone might need a plate where he would eat or chalices where he could drink. This also related the Batangueños to its neighbors in Asia, where it was a custom to bury some furniture with the dead.
Like the nearby tribes, the Batangan or the early Batanueños were non-aggressive people. Partly because most of the tribes in the immediate environs are related to them by blood. However, when there is no choice but to defend your life, Batangans would use the bakyang (bows and arrows), the bangkaw (spears) and the suwan (bolo).
Another proof of civilization from the Batangans was the presence of religion. Though it was highly superstitious, such as the use of amulet (talisman), it showed that these people believed in the presence of higher beings and other things unseen. Thus, there is a strong connection between the Batangans and nature.
Although it is widely accepted that the term Tagalog came from the word 'Taga-Ilog' o river Dwellers, (referring to the Pasig River), Wang The-Ming pointed out in his writings that Batangas was the real centre of the Tagalog Tribe, which he then identified as Ma-yi. According to this Chinese Annals, Ma-yi had its centre in the Province and extends to as far as Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, Bataan, Bulacan, Mindoro, Marinduque, Nueva Ecija, Some parts of Zambales and Tarlac. However, many historians interchangeably use the term Tagalog and Batangueño.
Henry Otley Beyer, an American archaeologist, also showed in his studies that the early Batangueños have a special affinity with the precious stone known as the jade. In fact, the named the Late Paleolithic Period of the Philippines as the Batangas Period in recognition of the multitude of jade found in the excavarted caves in the province. Beyer identified that the jade-cult reached the Province as early as the year 800 BC and lasted until 200 BC.
The Pre-Hispanic Period
According to legend, 10 datus from the Isle of Borneo travelled northward to escape the tyranny of a Sultan, known as Makatunaw from the 13th Century history of the Sri Vaishaya Empire. In a book entitled 'Kumintang, the Creation, Development and Demise of a Civilisation', Sultan Makatunaw not only did grab the lands from the other datus, he even took away their wives. This led Datu Puti, together with 9 other datus decide to leave to seek for a more peaceful abode.
The group landed in the present day island of Panay where they met a tribe of Negritoes led by Marikudo. Being skilled in diplomacy, Datu Puti convinced the negritoes to give them a place where they could settle. Marikudo and his tribe agreed to give the Malayans a place in exchange of the golden sukud (also called a salakot, a head dress worn by noble men during those times). From then on, the negritoes went back to the mountains where most of them settle until today.
After the purchase, Datu Puti founded a confederation of three dominions, which came to be called the Madia-as Confederation. The confederation was composed of the dominions of Hantik (later Antique) led by Datu Sumakwel, Aklan led by Datu Bankaya and Irong-irong (later Iloilo) led by Datu Paiburong. The dominion easily became a thriving centre, which is proven by Chinese chronicles saying that their ships pass this Dominion for trade. According also to the said chronicles, the Madia-as Confederation was already in existence in 1252.
It was not long when Datu Puti realised that the Dominion became too crowded and decided to find another place where he and his dominion could find a greener pasteur. He then left the Confederation under the rule of Datu Sumakwel (said to be the wisest among the three rulers of the Madia-as Confederation) and sailed further North with Datu Balensusa and Datu Domangsil. There, they found a place of many rivers that drained into the prsent day Taal Lake. Here, Datu Puti founded the Kingdom of the Tagalogs, with its centre in the present day Balayan and extended up to the present day provinces of Quezon, Rizal, Cavite, Minodro, Marinduque and even some parts of Romblon and Palawan. Later, studies suggested that the Kingdom included the present day Metropolitan Manila, Bulacan, Bataan, parts of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Zambales. Today, all of these provinces have a significant population of Tagalogs.
As the Kingdom became more and more complex, Datu Puti decided to decongest Balayan by making two other centres for different important aspects of the lives of the Tagalog. He founded the Town of Lipa to be the centre of worship as he was also the founder of a religion called Bathalismo. Led by a Babaylan, Lipa was the most important centre of religion until the foundation of the Diocese (later Archdiocese) of Manila. According to the chronicles of the priests who first came into the town, they saw temples where people gathered in worship.
Datu Puti also transferred the centre of governance to Tanauan. Being near the lake, it is a very good place to rule the Kingdom. Edicts could easily reach all the other parts of the Kingdom through the Lake. He could also easily go to Lipa when it is time for him to attend his religious duties.
The Commercial Centre, however, remained in Balayan since it is near the sea. This is also because this town was an established trading route as Chinese Vessels were known to pass this path as early as the 10th Century.
It was also under the rule of Datu Puti when the people of the Tagalog Kingdom built the first national highway (in its sense). All around the lake, the Tagalogs made an even road by putting stones (called sapaw). The road streched up to 40 kilometres and greatly facilitated the travel to the nearby towns. However, the Taal Lake grew older and was filled with water and the sapaw became submerged under water. There, it was forgotten for more than half a century and only discovered in the late 1970s by an underwater archeologist.
Though great was the Kingdom Datu Puti founded, he still could not forget the Island from where he came. He still dreamt to liberate Borneo from the tyranny of Sultan Makatunaw. So in 1234, he left the Kingdom he founded to sail back South and fight the Sultan. He divided the Kingdom among the six other Datus (namely Domangsil, Balensusa, Bankaya, Paduhinog, Dumalogdog and Lubay). These datus selected Datu Balensusa to lead them and Datu Puti went on to liberate Borneo. And that was the last account that pertained to the Great Datu.
When Datu Balensusa came to age, the Kingdom over which he ruled was inherited by Datu Kumintang, that part of the Kingdom was named after its chieftain. During that time, the island of Luzon was identified as May-I in the Chinese annals. The Kingdom of Kumintang remained to be one of the most progressive towns when the Spaniards arrived.
The Spanish Colonization
In 1570, Spanish generals Martin de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo explored the coast of Batangas on their way to Manila and came upon a Malay settlement at the mouth of Pansipit River. In 1572, the town of Taal was founded and its convent and stone church were constructed later.
Officially, the Province of Bonbon was founded by Spain in 1578, through Fr. Estaban Ortiz and Fr. Juan de Porras. It was so named after the name that was given to it by the Muslim natives who inhabited the area.
In 1581, the Spanish government abolished the Bonbon Province and created a new province which came to be known as Balayan Province. The new province was composed of the present provinces of Batangas, Mindoro, Marinduque, southeast Laguna and Camarines. After the devastating eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754, the old town of Taal,present day San Nicolas, was buried. The capital was eventually transferred to Batangas (now a city) in fear of further eruptions where it has remained to date.
The history of Batangas as a province can never be separated from the history of the Christianization of the Islands. In the same yeas that de Goiti and Salcedo visited the province, the Franciscan missionaries came to Taal. The place later became the first settlement of the Spaniards in Batangas and one of the earliest in the Philippines. In 1572 the Augustinians founded Taal in the place of Wawa, now San Nicolas, and from there began preaching in Balayan and in all the big settlements around the lake of Bombon (Taal). Indeed, the Augustinians did a very good job. Not only did they make Batangas the second most important religious centre of the Archipelago, they did it in a mere 10-year period. In fact, up to now, Batangas remains to be one of the most 'Christianised' and even the most 'Catholic' Province in the Philippines.
The first missionaries in the diocese were the Augustinians, and they remained until the revolution against Spain. Among the first missionaries were eminent men like Alfonso de Albuquerque, Diego Espinas, Juan de Montojo and others.
The first centers of faith were established in Taal, then in Balayan, Bauan, Lipa, Sala, Tanauan, all around the lake of Bombon (Taal).
The first missionaries were the Augustinians. And during the first ten years, the whole region around the lake of Bombon was completely Christianized. It was done through the preaching of men who had learned the first rudiments of the language of the people. At the same time they started writing manuals of devotion in Tagalog,such as novenas. What is more, they wrote the first Tagalog grammar that served other missionaries who came.
The year of foundation of important parishes follows: 1572 the Taal parish was founded by the Augustinians; 1581 the Batangas parish under Fray Diego Mexica; 1596 Bauan parish administered by the Augustinian missionaries; 1605 Lipa parish under the Augustinian administration;1774 Balayan parish was founded; 1852 Nasugbu parish; and 1868 Lemery Parish.
Nasugbu became a very important centre of trade during the Spanish occupation of the country. So important was this town that the first recorded battle between two European Forces in Asia was in Fortune Island, Nasugbu, Batangas. In the late part of the 20th Century, the inhabitants of Fortune Island discovered a sunken galleon that contained materials sold in the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade. Today, the Galleon stands majestically in the islands as a reminder of the grandeur of Batangan Past.
Batangas was also among the first of the eight Philippine provinces to revolt against Spain and also one of the provinces placed under Martial Law by Spanish Governor General Ramon Blanco on August 30, 1896. This event was given distinction when Marcela Agoncillo, also a native of the province, made the Philippine Flag. Indeed, the official Philippine flag has a sun with eight rays to represent these eight provinces.
Another notable hero from this era is Apolinario Mabini, also known as the sublime paralytic and "Brains of the Revolution.
The American Colonization
The struggles of the Batangueños did not end when the Spaniards left the Philippines. Batangas was also in the watch-list of the Americans when they occupied the Islands.
When the Americans forbade the Philippine flag from being flown anywhere in the country, Batangas was one of the places where the revolutionaries chose to propagate their propaganda. Many, especially the revolutionary artists chose Batangas as the place to perform their plays. In an incident recorded by Amelia Bonifacio in her diary, the performance of Tanikalang Ginto in the province led not only to the arrest of the company but all of the audience. Later, the play was banned from being shown anywhere in the country.
General Miguel Malvar is recognized as the last Filipino general to surrender to the United States in the Philippine-American War.
The Japanese Occupation
After the attack in Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, the Japanese switched their planes to attacking the Philippines, launching major air raids throughout the country. The bombings resulted into the destruction of the Batangas Airport located in Batangas City, of which nothing remains today. Batangas was also a scene of heavy fighting between the Philippine Army Air Corps and the Japanese A6M Zero Fighter Planes. The most notable air combat battle took place at height of 3,700 metres (12,000 ft) on Dec 12, 1941 when 6 Filipino fighters led by Capt. Jesus Villamor engaged the numerically superior enemy of 54 Japanese bombers and fighter escorts which raided the Batangas Airfield. Thus, Capt. Jesus Villamor won the battle, suffering only one casualty, Lt. Cesar Basa whose plane was shot down by seven intercepting enemy fighters which eventually died when he was strafed by machine gun's fire came from the A6M Zeroes.
When Gen. Douglas MacArthur ordered the overall retreat of the American-Filipino Forces to Bataan in 1942, the province was ultimately abandoned and later came under direct Japanese occupation. During this time, the Imperial Japanese Army committed many crimes against civilians including the massacre of 328 people in Bauan, 320 in Taal, 300 in Cuenca, 107 in San Jose and 39 in Lucero.
Battle of Batangas World War II
Date: January 31, to August 15, 1945
As part of the Philippines Campaign (1944–45), the liberation begun on January 31, 1945 when elements of the 11th Airborne Division under the US Eighth Army went ashore of the beaches of Nasugbu, Batangas. However, Batangas was not yet the target of the invasion force but instead, most of its units switch north to capture Manila and by March 3, the capital was completely secured. XIV Corps of the US Sixth Army continued its drive south of Luzon and by March 4, the 11th Airborne Division together with 158th Regimental Combat Team (or 158th RCT) were passed under its command. 158th Regimental Combat Team stationed in Nasugbu would have to secure the shores and nearby towns of Balayan and Batangas Bays while the 11th Airborne Division from the Tagaytay Ridge would attack the Japanese defenses north of Taal Lake and by then reaching the Lipa Corridor. The same that day, 158th RCT had captured the town of Balayan and by March 11 had reached Batangas City. In order to secure the two bays, 158th RCT would have to capture the entire Calumpang Peninsula of the town of Mabini which was still held by some elements of the Japanese 2nd Surface Raiding Base Force. Fighting continued until March 16 when the whole peninsula was finally captured. After that, 158th RCT's turn northward to meet the Japanese Fuji Force defenses at Mt. Maculot in Cuenca on March 19. Finally, 158th Regimental Combat Team capitulated on March 23 for Bicol Operations and 187th Infantry Task Force of the 11th Airborne Division was assigned to relieve their positions in the mountain. Another 11th Airborne Division task force, the 188th Infantry was ordered to dispatch their troops around Batangas City and its remaining frontiers. To the northern section, 11th Airborne Division's 511 Parachute Infantry Regiment positions in Santo Tomas and Tanauan City were all relieved by the 1st Cavalry Division. By now, 11th Airborne Division's 187th and 188th Infantry Task Forces holding the southern sector and the 1st Infantry Division to the northern sector were on their way to secure the Lipa Corridor, the last major part of the Province of Batangas to be taken.
The last major offensive for the capture of the Lipa Corridor begun when 188th Infantry Task Force from Batangas City left for Lipa on March 24. The same that day, 187th Infantry Task Force launched an attack against the remaining Japanese positions in Mt. Maculot. Although still heavy fighting continued until April 17, the bulk of its forces headed also for the invasion of the Lipa Corridor. The final capture of Mt. Maculot came by April 21.
188th Infantry Task Force on the other hand engaged a stiff resistance against Fuji Force's 86th Airfield Battalion on March 26. Meanwhile to the north, 1st Cavalry Division attacked the remaining Japanese defenses in towns of Santo Tomas and Tanauan City and by then meeting up with the advancing 187th and 188th Infantry Task Forces from the south. Lipa City was captured by the 1st Cavalry Division on March 29. Fuji Force's 86th Airfield Battalion retreated and makes their last stand on Mt. Malepunyo where they were besieged by the 187th Infantry Task Force and 1st Cavalry Division from both north and south positions.
With the capture of Lipa, 1st Cavalry Division, 187th and 188th Infantry Task Forces continued their drive towards the Quezon Province. Only some elements of the 188th Infantry Task Force was left to clear the Batangas Mountains located southeast of province from the remaining Japanese defenses. Throughout the battle, recognized Filipino Guerrilla fighters played an important key role in the advancement of the combined American and Philippine Commonwealth troops, providing key roads and information for the Japanese location of defenses and movements. The 11th Airborne Division and attached Filipino Guerillas had 390 casualties in which 90 of it were figured dead. The Japanese however lost 1,490 men. Soon afterwards, by the end of April 1945, Batangas was liberated and fully secured for the Allied control, thus ending all the hostilities.
Local Filipino soldiers of the 4th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 45th and 46th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 4th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was started the Battle for the Liberation of Batangas under the Southern Luzon Campaign from the Allied and Japanese forces in January to August 1945 and helping the local recognized guerrillas and American forces against the Japanese Imperial forces and ended in World War II.
The Post-American Period
After Douglas MacArthur made his famous landing in the Island of Leyte, he came next to the town of Nasugbu to mark the liberation of Luzon. This historic landing is remembered by the people of Batangas every last day of January, a holiday for the Nasugbugueños. And if Leyte is proud of the bronze statues of McArthur, Batangas can is also proud of their own version of that.
After the Philippines was freed from America, the Batangueños once again entered the picture. Statesmen from Batangas became famous in the government. These include the legislators Felipe Agoncillo, Galicano Apacible (who later became the Secretary of Agriculture), Ramon Diokno, Apolinario R. Apacible, Espedito Leviste, Gregorio Katigbak, Teodoro Kalaw, Claro M. Recto, and Jose Laurel.
Most of these legislators became well known not only in the country but also in the world as many of them held executive offices afterwards. some of them were even sent as Philippine Envoys to other countries.
It is also notable that when Quezon left the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese government in the Philippines chose the Batangueño Jose Laurel to the de jure President of the Puppet Republic.
Photo: Lipa City after being Liberated by the Allied Forces
Photo: XIV Corps of 158th RCT, 11th Airborne Division and 1st Cavalry Division campaign in Batangas and nearby province.
The 1986 People Power Revolution to Estrada Administration
The 1986 People Power Revolution in EDSA marked another time where Batangueños enter the picture. When Corazon Aquino was inaugurated as president by the bloodless revolution, the Batangueño Salvador Laurel is no less than her Vice-President.
She also appointed Renato de Villa as the Chief of Constabulary and Director-General of the Integrated National Police, and later the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was under his leadership that the Military remained loyal to Aquino despite the many coup d'etat attempts of Gregorio Honasan. He was also one of the influences behind the Second People Power in 2001.
During the Presidency of Joseph Estrada, he also chose four Batangueños to be his closest advisers. The group was composed of Domingo Panganiban (Department of Agriculture), Benjamin Diokno (Department of Budget and Management), Dong Apacible (Legislative Liaison), Tony "Lepili" Leviste (Board of Investments Governor), and Ped Faytaren (Economic Intelligence Chief). This is not to mention Dennis Hernandez, special assistant to Alfredo Lim of the Department of Interior and Local Government. During the Estrada Impeachment trial, Hernando Perez, a known lawyer from Batangas City served as private prosecutor.
The Second People Power Revolution (Arroyo Administration) and the Present Administration
The Second People Power in 2001 also became an important event for the Batangueños. After Joseph Estrada was thrown off from power, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced him and chose De Villa as her executive Secretary. He was replaced by Eduardo Ermita, another Batangueño, whom she first appointed as Secretary of the Department National Defence.
Three other Batangueños were in the Original the Arroyo Cabinet namely, Noel Cabrera from the Office of the Press Secretary, Renato Corona who was the Presidential Spokesman then later became a Supreme Court Justice, and Hernando Perez who was the Secretary of the Department of Justice.
Leandro Mendoza, who was also chief of the Philippine National Police, was appointed Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication upon his retirement, while Lauro Baja, former Undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs was appointed the Philippine Envoy to the United Nations.
Since June 29, 2010, President-elect Aquino, at that time, appoint Br. Armin Luistro FSC as the Secretary of the Department of Education.
Batangas is a combination of plains and mountains. Not to mention the wide shoreline, being at the Southwest of the Philippines' biggest island. It is very just fitting that the writers of yore called it the 'Land of the Rolling Hills and Wide Shorelands' Some the most famous mountain in the province is the world's smallest volcano, Mt. Taal with an elevation of 600 meters. It is at the centre of the Taal Lake, famous for its endemic fish, the tawilis.
Other important peaks are Mt. Makulot with an elevation of 830 m, Mt. Talamitan with 700 m, Mt. Pico de Loro with 664 m, Mt. Batulao with 811 m, Mt. Manabo with 830 m, and Mt. Daguldol with 672 m. All of these mountains are considered level 1 mountains, meaning one can easily climb them with little training.
The Municipality of Nasugbu is the home of the plantation of Central Azucarera Don Pedro, the Philippines' largest producer of sugar and other sugarcane products.
Batangas is also known for its many islands, which include the municipality of Tingloy, Fortune Island of the Municipality of Nasugbu, and Sombrero Island in the Province of Mabini. And of course, Mt. Taal itself is an island.
Being at the southwest of Luzon, a lot of sea turtles visit the place. but due to the massive hunting that takes place, the Provincial Government has passed a law prohibiting the killing of this marine reptile.
Flora and fauna
Although attached to the big Island of Luzon, Batangas boasts of flora and fauna that is distinctively theirs. The local tree malabayabas is endemic to the province alone while the endangered flying fox thrives there without fear. Batangas is also home to the kabag, one of the world's smallest fruit bat. In the Municipality of Nasugbu, wild deers are still inhabiting the remote areas of Baranggay Looc.
But although Batangas has these land flying mammals, marine wildlife remains to be the province's crowning glory. In fact, in the second half of 2006, scientists from the United States discovered that the Sulu-Sulawesi Triangle has its centre at the Isla Verde Passage, a part of the province. According to this study, made by the American Marine Biologist Dr. Kent Carpentier, Batangas Seas host more than half of the world's species of coral reefs. It is also home to dolphins and once in a while, a passage of the world's biggest fish the whale shark or the butanding, as the locals call it. The Municipality of San Juan, as a matter of fact, has a resident marine turtle or pawikan. Pawikans were also prevalent in the Municipality of Nasugbu during the 1970s.
Batangas also has other industries that makes it famous not only in the country but also in the world. More than anything else, Batangas is known for its fan knife, called balisong by the natives. This industry has become so famous that an urban legend exists about every Batangueño carrying a balisong everywhere they go. This is also the reason why most Filipinos would warn never to mess with a Batangueño.
Pineapples are also common in the province. Aside from the fruit, the leaves are also useful that it becomes an industry of its own. In the Municipality of Taal, pineapple leaves are being processed to be a kind of cloth known as the gusi. This is further processed to become the Barong Tagalog, the National Costume of the Philippines. In fact, the Barong Tagalog that was used by the heads of states in the last Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation in 1995 was from Batangas. Princess Diana Spencer was also known to possess a scarf made of gusi.
Batangas is also known for its livestock industry. Cattle from Batangas is widely sought throughout the country. In fact, the term Bakang Batangas (Batangas Cow) is actually synonymous to the country's best species of cattle. Indeed, the cattle industry in Batangas is so famous, that every Saturday is an auction day in the Municipalities of San Juan, Bauan and widely-known and famous Padre Garcia every Thursday and Friday.
Being near the sea, it is only expected that fishing plays a very important part of the Batangan Economy. Although the tuna industry in the country is mainly centered in General Santos City, Batangas is also known for the smaller species of the said fish. The locals even have their own names for the said fish. Some of them include the term, Tambakol,yellow-finned Berberabe, tambakulis, Tulingan, Bonito and another species also called Bonito but actually the Gymnosarda unicolor. There is also an important industry for the Tanigue.
Aside from the South China Sea, Taal Lake also provides a source of fresh water fishes to the country. The lake is home to Sardinella tawilis or simply tawilis, a species of freshwater sardine that is endemic to the lake. Taal Lake also provides farmed Chanos chanos or bangus. There is also a good volume of Oreochromis niloticus niloticus and Oreochromis aureus, both locally called tilapia. It is ecologically important to note that neither bangus nor tilapia are native to the lake. Thus they are considered invasive species to the lake.
As mentioned in the section of culture, Batangueños are indeed fond of drinking. This is of no surprise as it lies in what is called the coconut belt that is the raw material for the local liqueurs, the lambanog (with 90% proof) and the tuba (which is made of 5.68% alcohol and 13% sugar).
Sugar is also a major industry. As a matter of fact, after the Hacienda Luisita, the country's former largest sugar producer, was broken-up for land reform, the Municipality of Nasugbu has been the home of the current largest sugar producing company, the Central Azucarera Don Pedro. This also means that Batangas is also a home for a wide industry of sweets. Rice cakes are also a strong industry.
Although Batangas has already lost its distinction as Asia's largest producer of coffee, this industry is still thriving, especially with the boost of coffee shops all over the country,one of which is Cafe de Lipa.
Blankets and mosquito nets are also widely available anywhere in the province. If you are lucky enough, you can buy it from peddlers.
Saplot Batangenyo,Batangas novelty shirts, “For the first time, the Batangueños had something they can wear and show off a shirt that they can show the world who they are, that they are Batangueños through and through, and they are proud of it, That’s because we define the message ourselves. The goal was to have religious, intelligent ridiculous, and gross message presented with class and style.(likhang sining ng Emmanuel's tatakan @ibp.)
And as the mythology of the Philippines say that from the bamboo came men and women, Batangueños learned to make a living out of it. Some towns (those that are adjacent to Laguna) have a very prosperous bamboo based industry. Here, you can see houses that are made of bamboo, furniture made of bamboo, and even food cooked in bamboo. Natives say that food cooked in bamboo has an added scent and flavour.
But if the locals cook in bamboos, some also eat bamboos. Baby bamboos to be exact. In these towns also, labong or the baby bamboo is cooked with coconut milk or even with other ingredients to make a truly Batangas delicacy.
One must also remember that the Capital City of Batangas hosts the second most important international seaport in the Island of Luzon. Next only to that of Manila International Port, Batangas International Port is a primary entry point of goods not only coming from the Southern part of the country but from everywhere in the world.
Way of life
Maria Kalaw Katigbak, a Filipino historian, was quoted to call the Batangueños the Super-Tagalogs. One particular custom in the Batangan culture is the so called Matanda sa Dugo (lit. older by blood) practice wherein one gives respect not because of age but of consanguinity. During the early times, the custom of having very large families are very common. Thus, it may be expected that the someone's uncle could be of the same age, or even younger than himself. In this case, the older one would call the younger one in an honorary title (such as tiyo or simply kuya if they can no longer establish the relationship), not the other way around. This often draws confusion to those from other provinces who are not accustomed to such practices.
Batangueños are very regionalistic. When one learns that a person in the room is also from Batangas, expect them to be together until the end of the event. It is also expected that those in office would favour their fellow Batangueños as long as the rules could allow it. Thus the running joke, the Batangas Mafia came to existence.
They also tend to live in a large extended family. It is but common that a piece of land remains undivided until the family connection becomes to far-off related. Marriages between relatives of the fifth generation is still restrained in the Batangan culture even if Philippine laws allow it.
Most Batangueños are either farmers or fishers who sell their own products in the market. Although most of them have also finished a degree, a lot of the people prefer to not use what they have studied and put up their own small businesses instead. This is perhaps due to the subconscious idea that he who has no land to cultivate or trade to make is a lazy person.
Batangueños are known for being religious,where devotees pay respect in such way that they make rituals,like dances and chants(Luwa) to please them,one of these is the Passion in which it is a common sight to hear these chants during the Lenten season ,a religious act still practice today. During the month of May the people of Bauan and Alitagtag celebrate the feast day of the Mahal na Poon ng Sta. Cruz ,a ritual dance called the Subli is made to repect to the Poon .In the town of Taal they celebrate the feast day of the Our Lady of Caysasay and San Martin de Tours a two day celebration where procession from the shine of the Virgin towards the Pansipit River where the fluvial procession and another procession towards the Basilica are made in honored of the Virgin Mary.Fiestas in other towns usually start in the month of May and last up to the first day of June, usually the plaza near the church becomes the center of attraction.
Since Batangas has long been declared a tourism area by late President Ferdinand Marcos, people from other places could find a very hospitable culture in the Batangueños. They will feed you more than the usual with the food they eat. Actually, these folks would appreciate it greatly if they see that you are trying to be one of them.
Batangueños, being mainly descendants of the ancient Tagalogs, speak a distinct dialect of the Tagalog language..
The vocabulary of the Batangas dialect is more closely related to the ancient Tagalog. Rarely do Batangueños use Taglish, as is the custom in Manila. In fact, when you ask someone from the Commission on the Filipino Language to describe the Tagalog spoken in Batangas, it will easily be labelled makaluma (old-style).
Although much can be said about the way a Batangueño speaks his or her Tagalog, the high literacy of the locals means English is also widely spoken in the province. Spanish is also understood up to some extent. In fact, some towns like Nasugbu, Taal and Lemery still have a significant minority of Spanish speakers. Visayan is also spoken by a significant minority due to the influx of migration from the Southern Philippines.
Mythology and literature
Scholars also identified that the ancient Batangueños, like the rest of the Tagalog Tribe, worship the Supreme Creator, known as Bathala. Lesser gods like Mayari, the goddess of the Moon and her brother Apolake, god of the sun, were also present. And although people would not easily connect it with mythology, the Northeast Monsoon is still called Amihan, while the Southwest Monsoon is called Habagat.
For literature, Padre Vicente Garcia came to be known when he wrote an essay to defend José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere.
In 2004, the Province of Batangas gave its Son Domingo Landicho (familiarly called Inggo be Batangueños) the 'Dangal ng Batangas Award' (Pride of Batangas) for being the 'Peoples' Poet'. He, together with Ambassador Lauro Baja, former Executive secretary Renato de Villa, Current Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona, and Transport Secretary Leandro Mendoza received the award in a ceremony which highlighted the celebration of the 423rd year of the founding of the Province.
Batangueños have always been visible in the Philippine music scene, whether it is in the field of traditional music, popular music or even popular music.
Musicologists identified Batangas as the origin of the kumintang, and ancient war song, which later evolved to become the signature of Filipino love songs the kundiman. From the ancient kumintang, another vocal music emerged, identified as the awit. The huluna, a psalm-like lullaby, is also famous in some towns, especially Bauan.
During the Lenten Season, the Christian passion-narrative, called Pasyon by the natives, is but expected in every corners of the province. In fact according to scholars, the very first printed version of the pasyon was authored by a layman from Rosario named Gaspar Aquino de Belen. Although de Belen's version was printed in 1702, it is still debated whether there were earlier versions.
Debates may also be done while singing. While those from the Province of Bulacan are known for their Balagtasan (a form of debate done in poetry), Batangueños are famous for the duplo (a sung debate where each lines of the verse must be octosyllabic) and the karagatan (a sung dabate where each lines of the verse must be dodecasyllabic.) The latter, whose literal meaning is the ocean, got its name from the opening lines. Always, the karagatan is opened by saying some verses that alludes the depth of the sea and comparing it to the difficulty of joining the debate. And as mentioned above, the debate must be sung.
Batangas is also the origin of the Balitao (although Cebuanos may argue.) Aside from being a form of vocal music, the Balitao is also a form of dance music. The Balitao, together with the Subli is the most famous form of dance native to Batangas.
In the field of serious music, no one can underestimate the contribution of Batangas. Batangas is the birthplace of the famous Filipino soprano Conching Rosal, dubbed as the First Lady of the Philippine Operatic Stage. Lorenzo Ilustre, a local composer, also became famous for his wide array of religious and liturgical music.
The well-known Conductor and Violinist Oscar Yatco was born in Tanuan, Batangas on November 23, 1931 to a family of music lovers and musicians.His career in music is multifaceted, having served as conductor, concert master, professor and music consultant for local orchestras such as the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Cultural Center of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra; and overseas National Theater Orchestra, Wagner Festival Orchestra and State Academy of Music in Hannover, Germany.
On the other hand, the Maestro of Philippine Music, Ryan Cayabyab is no less than a Batangueño, whose mother Celerina Pujante was in her own right a well sought operatic soprano in the 1950s, about the same time as Conching Rosal. Cayabyab composed almost every kind of music, from popular to heavy classical. He also won the Onnasis Awards for best score for theatre. Aside from that, he also composed music for Katy! at Rama at Sita, two of the Philippines most famous Tagalog musicals.
Ogie Alcasid, known to fans as Mr. Composer, also hails from this province. A fomer member of the De La Salle University - Kundirana, he became one the Philippines' composer of popular music. He's composed for almost every major figure of Philippine popular music, aside from singing some of his compositions himself.
Also, aside from being politicians, the Laurel Family is a well known patron of the arts in the province. Hence there was no doubt that an entire generation of them (pioneered by Cocoy and followed by Franco and now by Denise became known in the industry. In the moment, Franco, together with his wife Ayen holds the copyright of Rama at Sita, a Filipino musical based on India's Ramayana.
Architecture and sculpture
As shown in its ancient churches, Batangas is home to some of the best architectures of the country. Along with Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Batangas has the best preserved colonial architectures. This is very evident when one visits the Municipality of Taal.
Though not as popular as the carving industry of Laguna, Batangas is still famous for the sculptures engraved on the countless furniture that came from their Province. Often, altar tables coming from Batangas was called the friars' choice because of its delicate beauty.
According to Milagros Covarubias-Jamir, another Filipino scholar, the furniture that came from Batangas during the colonial times was comparable to the beautiful furniture from China. The built of the furniture was so exquisite, nails of glues was never used. Still, the Batangueños knew how to maximize the use of hardwoods. As a result, furniture made about a hundred years ago are still found in many old churches and houses even today.
Museo ng Katipunan * Barangay Bulaklakan, Lipa City Web: museongkatipunan.ning.com
Apolinario Mabini Shrine * Marcela Agoncillo Historical Landmark, Barangay Talaga, Tanauan City, Batangas
Miguel Malvar Hospital * Leon Apacible Historical Landmark, Sto. Tomas, Batangas
Museo ng Batangas at Aklatang Panlalawigan * Dr. Jose P. Laurel Library, Tanauan City, Batangas
Tourist Information and Assistance
Batangas Tourism Office * Batangas Museum and Provincial Library Bldg., Batangas City 4200, Tel. No.: (63-43) 723-0130
Office of the Governor * 2nd Floor, Provincial Capitol Bldg., Batangas City 4200 Tel. No.: (63-43) 723-1905, Fax (63-43) 723-1338
Together with the provinces in the Island of Panay, Ilocos Sur and Pampanga, Batangas was one of the earliest encomiendas made by the Spaniards who settled in the country. It was headed by Martin de Goiti and since then it became one of the most important centres of the Philippines, not only the Tagalogs. Batangas first came to be known as Bonbon. It was named after the mystical and fascinating Taal Lake, which was also originally called Bonbon. Some of the earliest settlements in Batangas were established at the vicinity of Taal Lake. In 1534, Batangas became the first practically organized province in Luzon. Balayan was the capital of the province for 135 years from 1597-1732. In 1732, it was moved to Taal, then the flourishing and most progressive town in the province it wasn't until 1754 that the capital was destroyed by the Great Taal Eruption of 1754. It was in 1889 that the capital was moved to the present, Batangas City.
The Provincial Capitol Hall of Batangas
Batangas is also known in the Philippine History as the Cradle of Noble Heroes, giving homage not only to the heroes it produced but the statesmen that came to lead the country. Among the luminaries of Batangas politics are Teodoro M. Kalaw, Apolinario Mabini, Jose Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Felipe Agoncillo and Don Apolinario Apacible.
Batangas is subdivided into 31 municipalities and 3 cities.
Batangas Port and STAR
The Batangas Seaport Terminal, a modern passenger terminal, is owned by the province of Batangas.
Batangas City is the principal port for ferry access to Mindoro, Tablas, Romblon, and other islands. Montenegro Lines is the largest of a number of passenger shipping companies operating out of Batangas.
The STAR Tollway that connects Lipa City to Batangas City
Liquid natural gas and petroleum tankers offload at Batangas in sizeable quantity.
On January 19, 2008, Phase 2 of the Batangas City International Container Port was opened by the Philippines President, and is operated by the Philippine Ports Authority).
On the same day, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also inspected a major road project in Southern Tagalog. She then inspected the P1.5-billion, 19.74 kilometer Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR Tollway), Stage II-Phase 1 connecting Lipa and Batangas and theSouth Luzon Expressway (SLEX) road widening, expansion and the STAR Tollway development projects in Batangas.
Batangas Bay is a semi-enclosed body of water located in the Philippines. The municipalities of Mabini, Bauan, San Pascual, Tingloy on Maribacan Island and Batangas City are located on the coast of the bay. The water surface area of the bay is about 220 km² (85 mi²), and the coastline has an approximately 470 kilometres (290 mi). The bay has a maximum depth near the entrance of 466 metres (510 yd), and includes a number of private and government ports.
The deepwater port at Batangas Bay is expected to become the nation’s second largest within a few years. The bay is lined with industrial plants ranging from oil refining to food processing to ship building. Many fishermen thrive around the area. The bay is also boasts of valuable environmental resources, such as coral reefs that attract thousands of tourists every year.
Isla Verde Passage (Verde Island Passage)
Isla Verde Passage (Verde Island Passage) is one of the busiest sea lanes in the Philippines. It is located between Batangas and Oriental Mindoro. Commercial and industrial ships pass through this passage to reach Manila from their port of origin in the south. They also use this sea lane to reach the southern part of the country from the Port of Manila.
Verde Island Passage is a popular domestic sea route connecting Batangas, Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental and Romblon.
Verde Island is one of the best diving places in the Philippines due to its pristine clear waters and nice under water view. Daily trips for scuba divers are made from Puerto Galera.
The wreckage of a Spanish galleon that sunk in 1620 was found in the southern part of this passage. It was heavily salvaged in the late seventies and again in the early 80s. Nothing remains of the wreck except for a few shards of porcelain and some larger pieces of terracota jars. The keel was removed to Puerto Galera for conservation. The conservation was not properly carried out and the remaining timbers were left to rot at a depth of 6 meters in front of Sabang Beach.
Center of the Center of Marine Shorefish Biodiversity
A team of marine conservationist declared in 2006 that the Philippines is the Center of Marine Biodiversity in the world and Verde Island Passages as the "Center of the Center of Marine Shorefish Biodiversity".
Many threatened species which include sea turtles like hawksbills, olive ridleys, and green turtles; humphead wrasses, giant groupers and giant clams are present in the Verde Island Passage. However, there are no enforcement of ordinances and over-fishing is common. A short-lived 'park fee' scheme for the Verde Island drop-off dive site was soon dropped when it was discovered that the revenue was being used to buy better fishing gear and hence removing fish at a higher rate. Humphead wrasses are especially threatened and divers often go years without spotting a single individual. It was particularly noted the rare red fin wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubripinnis) thrives in Verde Island.
The area has more than 300 species of corals, which is considered one of the largest concentrations of corals in the country or even in the whole world. Coral health is generally good, though the effects of global warming and increased pollution, may still lead to drop in diversity. The Verde Island passage is located next to Batangas Bay which is rapidly becoming a major refining and petrol chemical center in the Philippines. Until now, no infrastructure is in place to contain a major oil, or chemical spill.
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This webpage was updated 13th April 2011
Main Photographers Matthew Laird Acred
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