Taal Lake's Forgotten Past: How a Volcanic Eruption Reshaped It

Taal Lake was not always the freshwater inland lake geography books say it is. A volcanic eruption was responsible for its change.

Why Once There were no Chinese in Taal, Lemery and Bauan in Batangas

Taal used to be known for its not having any Chinese citizens, but Lemery and Bauan were also guilty of anti-Sinicism.

Searching for Nasugbu’s Lost Airfield

There used to be an airfield in Nasugbu which the Americans built and later reclaimed from the Japanese in 1945.

When Lipa and Batangas Merge, Will It Become Metro Lipa or Metro Batangas?

There is every possibility that one day the cities of Lipa and Batangas will become one large metropolis.

The Balisong and the Old Knife-Making Rivalry between Taal and Lipa

Forgotten with the passage of time is that there used to be a knife-making rivalry between Taal and Lipa.

15 January 2018

The Fierce Battle for the Control of Cuenca and Mount Makulot in 1945

Mount Makulot in Cuenca, Batangas.
After the landing of Allied forces on the shores of Nasugbu on the last day of January 1945, among their immediate objectives was the clearing of the so-called “Lipa Corridor” of Japanese troops. A mobility corridor is an area through which troops can be channeled due to terrain or land restrictions1. This Lipa Corridor was an area from the Bay of Batangas all the way to the southwestern shores of Laguna de Bay2.

13 January 2018

Calaca, Batangas: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

The Calaca Public Market. Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
We continue with the series of articles dedicated to resurrecting otherwise forgotten pieces of historical and folkloric trivia about the barrios of the province of Batangas. This time, we turn our attention to the town of Calaca in western Batangas.

11 January 2018

The Mariang Ilaya and Engkanto Legends of Mount Makulot as Told by Elders in Cuenca in 1922

Mount Makulot.
If you are from these parts, then you will only be too familiar with stories people tell about the “suno” (hitchhiker) who allegedly boards vehicles surreptitiously along that zigzag stretch of road in Cuenca at the foot of Mount Makulot. When I was a young boy back in the sixties, it was assumed that the uninvited passenger was Mariang Pula (Maria the Red), an “engkanto” who, it was generally believed, was the guardian of Mount Makulot in the same way that Mariang Makiling (Maria of Makiling) protected the famous mountain in Laguna.

09 January 2018

Taysan’s Relative Isolation from the Rest of Batangas in 1916

Image credit:  Sandra Plummer Collection at the Fort Worth Library's Digital Archive.
Taysan is one of the province of Batangas’ middle-sized municipalities, with a land area of roughly 9,362 hectares and a population of just over 38 thousand as per the 2015 Philippine Census. The town is completely landlocked, surrounded as it is by the neighboring towns of Ibaan, Rosario and Lobo along with the city of Batangas.

07 January 2018

Traditional Ways by which People of Lipa Estimated Time and Predicted Weather

Image credit:  Loveantiques.com.
To be perfectly honest, the methods described in this article were probably more universally used than the title suggests. Still, they will be nostalgic to readers who have personal remembrance or who used to hear from their parents of when these were still being used. For younger readers, this article will provide insights into a bygone era when wristwatches were not ubiquitous and information about the weather was not as simple as checking an Android app.

05 January 2018

Taal, Batangas in the 19th Century, as Described by a Spanish Historian

The town of Taal.
This article is part of a series that attempts to bring to modern day readers descriptive images of the towns of Batangas in the late nineteenth century as seen through the eyes of the former government official and historian Manuel Sastron. This time, we focus on the heritage town of Taal, and revisit what the conditions there were in a bygone era.

30 December 2017

Agoncillo, Batangas: Historic and Folkloric Notes about some of its Barrios

The Agoncillo Public Market.  Image credit:  Google Earth Street View.
This article is part of a series dedicated to bringing to younger readers otherwise forgotten historic and folkloric information about the barrios of Batangas. The information included here has been taken from documents submitted by Department of Education districts around the country in 1953 to the national government to help reconstruct the nation’s history. This was made necessary because of the destruction of many documents in World War II.

29 December 2017

An Old Tourist Spot in Taal Called the Pansipit Fishery

Tourists posing at a resort by the Pansipit River back in the fifties.
I still carry inside my head very hazy memories of a family trip to the Taal-Lemery area back in the early or mid-sixties. I could not have been more than 5 or 6 years old at the time. My mother used to be so fond of what she used to refer to as the “muslo,” the giant trevally which, as I understand it from people I know from Taal, is also called the “maliputong-labas” if caught outside Taal Lake.

The Balisong and the Old Knife-Making Rivalry between Taal and Lipa

Image credit:  By Iamthawalrus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30337122.
The blacksmithing industry in the Philippines likely predates the arrival of the Spaniards. A 1590 manuscript called the Boxer Codex1, which was something of an instruction manual on the Philippines and other Far Eastern countries at the time, contained textual and pictorial descriptions of the Philippine ethnic groups known to the Spaniards.