01 May 2016

Finding Ferdinand: the Search for the Irish Ancestor of the Mayo Clan of Lipa

Image credit:  It's Xiaotime!

After I posted my previous article about the escapades of the British army in Batangas in the 18th century on social media, my former boss Brother Manual Pajarillo, a De La Salle Christian Brother, left this comment: “I am a 7th generation Mayo, who trace their roots to an Irishman Ferdinand Mayo, who married a lady (named) Pantoja of Lipa. In my rough estimate of about 40 years for one generation, that places him being of a young marriageable age between 1762 and 1770. Which means that if there is any truth to the legend, he would have been a mercenary soldier who went AWOL when his British employer (the Army) withdrew from Lipa at the end of the war.1

27 April 2016

British Troops Chase after Treasures in 18th Century Batangas

Image credit:  Ayala Museum.

Most Filipinos are vaguely aware from high school History lessons that for a brief period in our nation’s storied past, the British ruled over the entire archipelago. This was, at least, in principle. In reality, direct British control was really just over Manila and some parts of Cavite1.

25 April 2016

Bus Travel to, from and Around Batangas, Then and Now

Manila bound BLTBCo, circa 1962.  Image credit:  History of Batangas on FB, c/o Jigger Gilera, MD.

These days, one can travel to Metro Manila in airconditioned buses with decent enough leg room and head rests high enough to be comfortable for Filipinos of above average height. The roads are also well-paved, so the days of bumpy rides are long gone. As everyone knows, however, there is always a trade-off; and these days, despite the pampered comforts of bus travel, the downside is that the roads are frequently jam-packed with vehicles.

20 April 2016

The “Cruel” Koreans of the Japanese Army in the Philippines in World War II

Image credit:  Wikipedia.

In the midst of a discussion about Japanese atrocities committed in the Province of Batangas during the last world war, a former player of mine with whom I was having the discussion mentioned offhandedly that the Koreans in the Japanese army, or so he had heard, were actually nastier than the Japanese themselves.

19 April 2016

Taal Volcano: Lying in Wait like a Booby-Trapped Postcard

Taal Volcano always looks picture-perfect, but has a violent past.

It is always easy when one drives along the Tagaytay Ridge to simply forget that the postcard picture perfect scenario below of Taal Lake has in its midst a midget of a volcano the size of which belies its violent temper.

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