Batangas Provincial Capitol
Map of the Philippines with Batangas highlighted
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. Poetically, Batangas is often referred to by its ancient name Kumintáng.
Batangas is one of the most popular tourist destinations near Metro Manila. It is home to the famous Taal Volcano, one of the Decade Volcanoes, and Taal Heritage town, a small picturesque town that has ancestral houses and structures dating back to the 19th century. The province also has many excellent beaches and diving spots including Anilao in Mabini, Sombrero Island in Tingloy, Ligpo Island in Bauan, Matabungkay in Lian, Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, Calatagan and Laiya in San Juan.
Batangas City has the second largest international seaport in the Philippines after Metro Manila. The identification of the city as an industrial growth center in the region and being the focal point of the CALABARZON program resulted to the increasing number of business establishments in the city's Central Business District (CBD) as well as numerous industries operating at the province's industrial parks.
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 Dynastyuntil first phase of Ming Dynasty in the 13th and 15th century. Inhabitants of the province were also trading with Japan andIndia.
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 prehistoric 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 finds was in January 1941, where 2 crude stone figures were found in Palapat in the Municipality of Calatagan. They were later donated to the National Museum. Unfortunately, one of them was destroyed during 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 'Create'). 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 dining utensils 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 Batangueños 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' or 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 excavated caves in the province. Beyer identified that the jade-cult reached the Province as early as 800 B.C. and lasted until 200 B.C.
Batangas is a combination of plains and mountains, including the world's smallest volcano, Mt. Taal, with an elevation of 600 metres (2,000 ft), located in the middle of the Taal Lake. Other important peaks are Mt. Makulot with an elevation of 830 metres (2,720 ft), Mt. Talamitan with 700 metres (2,300 ft), Mt. Pico de Loro with 664 metres (2,178 ft), Mt. Batulao with 811 metres (2,661 ft), Mt. Manabo with 830 metres (2,720 ft), and Mt. Daguldol with 672 metres (2,205 ft).
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.
According to Guinness World Records, the largest island in a lake on an island is situated in Batangas (Vulcan Point, in Crater Lake, which rests in the middle of Taal Island, in Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon, where Batangas is located).
Batangas has Abrahamic religions like Roman Catholicism, the major religion, and Islam, which can be found in Balayan, Lipa, Batangas City, and other parts. Jews are 0.02% of the population.
Batangas also has other industries. 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.
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. PrincessDiana 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 tunaindustry in the country is mainly centered in General Santos, 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 toSardinella 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.
As shown in its ancient churches, Batangas is home to some of the best architectures of the country. Along with Vigan, 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.
Together with the provinces in the Island of Panay, Ilocos Sur and Pampanga, Batangas was one of the earliest province established 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.
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 Batangas politicians are Teodoro M. Kalaw,Apolinario Mabini, Jose Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Felipe Agoncillo and Don Apolinario Apacible
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. Condensate tankers offload at Batangas in sizeable quantity.
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 kilometerSouthern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR Tollway), Stage II-Phase 1 connecting Lipaand Batangas and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) road widening, expansion and the STAR Tollway development projects in Batangas.
SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batangas #mce_temp_url#