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Batangas, officially known as the Province of Batangas (Filipino: Lalawigan ng Batangas) is a province in the Philippines located in the Calabarzon region in Luzon. Its capital is the city of Batangas and 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 well-known Taal Volcano, one of the Decade Volcanoes, and Taal Heritage town, a small town that has ancestral houses and structures dating back to the 19th century. The province also has numerous beaches and diving spots including Anilao in Mabini, Sombrero Island in Tingloy, Ligpo Island and Sampaguita Beach 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 is seen in the increasing number of business establishments in the city's Central Business District (CBD) as well as numerous industries operating in the province's industrial parks.

The first recorded name of the province was Kumintáng, whose political center was the present-day municipality (town) of Balayan. Balayan was considered the most progressive town of the region. An eruption of Taal Volcano destroyed a significant portion of the town, causing residents to transfer to Bonbon (now Taal), the name eventually encompassing the bounds of the modern province.

The term Batangan means a raft which 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.

History

Archaic epoch

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 the first phase of Ming Dynasty in the 13th and 15th century. Inhabitants of the province were also trading with Japan and India. The Philippines ancestors were Buddhists and Hindus, but far from India and intermixed with animistic beliefs.

Archaeological findings show that before the settlement of the Spaniards in the country, the Tagalogs, especially the Batangueños, had attained a semblance of high civilization. This was shown by certain jewelry, made from a chambered nautilus' shell, where tiny holes were created by a drill-like tool. The Ancient Batangueños were influenced by India as shown in the origin of most languages from Sanskrit and certain ancient potteries. 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[3] 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.[4]

One of the major archaeological finds was in January 1941, where two crude stone figures were found in Palapat in the municipality of Calatagan. They were later donated to the National Museum. One of them was destroyed during World War II.

Eighteen years later, a grave was excavated in nearby Punta Buaya. 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 extensive contact with people from as far as China.

The presence of dining utensils such as plates or "chalices" found with the remains also suggest that prehistoric Batangueños believed in the idea of life-after-death. Thus, the Batangueños, like their neighbors in other parts of Asia, have similar customs of burying furniture with the dead.

Like the nearby tribes, the Batangan or the early Batangueños were a non-aggressive people. Partly because most of the tribes in their immediate environment were related to them by blood. Some weapons Batangans used included the bakyang (bows and arrows), the bangkaw (spears), and the suwan (bolo).

Being highly superstitious, the use of agimat (amulet or talisman) showed that these people believed in the presence of higher beings and other things unseen. The natives believed that forces of nature were a manifestation these higher beings.

The term 'Tagalog' may have been derived from the word taga-ilog or "river dwellers" referring to the Pasig River located further up north of the region. However, Wang Teh-Ming in his writings on Sino-Filipino relations points out that Batangas was the real center of the Tagalog tribe, which he then identified as Ma-yi or Ma-i. According to the Chinese Imperial Annals, Ma-yi had its center 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 had a special affinity with the precious stone known as the jade. He 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.

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 named after the name that was given to it by the Muslim natives who inhabited the area.

In 1581, the Spanish government abolished 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) for fear of further eruptions where it has remained to date.

In the same years that de Goiti and Salcedo visited the province, the Franciscan missionaries came to Taal, which later became the first Spanish settlement 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). The Augustinians, who were the first missionaries in the diocese, remained until the revolution against Spain. Among the first missionaries were eminent men which included Alfonso de Albuquerque, Diego Espinas, Juan de Montojo, and others.

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, and had written the first Tagalog grammar that served other missionaries who came.

Foundation of important parishes followed throughout the years: 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.

The town of Nasugbu became an important centre of trade during the Spanish occupation of the country. It was the site of the first recorded battle between two European Forces in Asia 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.

Batangas was also among the first of the eight Philippine provinces to revolt against Spain and 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, which bears a sun with eight rays to represent these eight provinces.

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.

Japanese occupation

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese sent their planes to attack the Philippines, launching major air raids throughout the country. The bombings resulted in the destruction of the Batangas Airport located in Batangas City, of which nothing remains today.[5] 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 December 12, 1941 when 6 Filipino fighters led by Capt. Jesús Villamor engaged the numerically superior enemy of 54 Japanese bombers and fighter escorts which raided the Batangas Airfield. Capt. Jesús Villamor won the battle, suffering only one casualty, Lt. César Basa who was able to bail out on a parachute as his plane was shot down only to be strafed by machine-gun fire from the A6M Zeroes.[6]

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.[7]

As part of the Philippines Campaign (1944–45), the province's liberation began on January 31, 1945, when elements of the 11th Airborne Division under the U.S. Eighth Army went ashore on the beaches of Nasugbu, Batangas.[8] However, Batangas was not the main objective of the invasion force. Instead, most of its units headed north to capture Manila and by March 3, the capital was completely secured.

Liberation of Batangas proper by American forces began in March 1945 under the 11th Airborne Division and the 158th Regimental Combat Team (or 158th RCT).[9] The 158th Regimental Combat Team stationed in Nasugbu was tasked to secure the shores and nearby towns of Balayan and Batangas. The 11th Airborne Division from the Tagaytay Ridge would attack the Japanese defenses north of Taal Lake and open the Lipa corridor. By March 11 the 158th RCT had reached Batangas City.[10] In order to secure the two bays, 158th RCT needed to capture the entire Calumpang Peninsula near 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.[11]

Afterwards, the 158th RCT turned northward to meet the Japanese Fuji Force defenses at Mt. Maculot in Cuenca on March 19. The 158th RCT disengaged the Japanese on March 23 and were relieved by the 11th Airborne's 187th Glider Infantry Regiment. Another 11th Airborne Division task force, the 188th Infantry was ordered to dispatch troops around Batangas City and its remaining frontiers.[12] Meanwhile, the 11th Airborne Division's 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment had begun the opening of the Lipa corridor at Santo Tomas and Tanauan before being relieved by the 1st Cavalry Division and moving via Tagaytay to Bauan and San Jose.[13]

The last major offensive for the capture of the Lipa Corridor began when 188th Infantry Task Force from Batangas City left for Lipa on March 24.[14] The same that day, the 187th Infantry Task Force launched an attack against the remaining Japanese positions in Mt. Maculot. Heavy fighting continued until April 17. The final capture of Mt. Maculot came by April 21.[15]

The 188th Infantry Task Force met stiff resistance from Fuji Force's 86th Airfield Battalion on March 26. To the north, the 1st Cavalry Division attacked the remaining Japanese defenses in the towns of Santo Tomas and Tanauan and succeeded in linking up with the advancing 187th and 188th task forces from the south.[16] Lipa was captured by the 1st Cavalry Division on March 29. The final defeat of the Fuji Force came at Mt. Malepunyo at the hands of the 511th on May 2.[17]

With the capture of Lipa and Mt. Malepunyo, organized resistance ended in the province. Some elements of the 188th Infantry Task Force were left to clear the Batangas mountains located southeast of province from the remaining Japanese.[18]

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 of which 90 were killed. The Japanese however lost 1,490 men.[19] By the end of April 1945, Batangas was liberated and fully secured for Allied control, thus ending all hostilities.

The movements of the military general headquarters and military camp bases of the Philippine Commonwealth Army happened from January 3, 1942 to June 30, 1946 and included the province of Batangas in southern Luzon. During the engagements of the Anti-Japanese Imperial Military Operations in Manila, southern Luzon, Mindoro and Palawan from 1942 to 1945, (including the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Mindoro, and Palawan), units of the Philippine Constabulary, with the local guerrilla resistance joined with the U.S. liberation military forces against the Japanese Imperial armed forces.[clarification needed]

Under the Southern Luzon Campaign, local Filipino soldiers of the 4th, 42nd, 43rd, 45th, and 46th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 4th Constabulary Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary joined the battle for the liberation of Batangas.[clarification needed]

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.[citation needed] This historic landing is remembered by the people of Batangas every last day of January, a holiday for the Nasugbugueños.

After the Philippines was freed from America, statesmen from Batangas featured prominently in the government. These include the legislators Felipe Agoncillo, Galicano Apacible (who later became the Secretary of Agriculture), Ramon Diokno, Apolinario R. Apacible, Expedito Leviste, Gregorio Katigbak, Teodoro Kalaw, Claro M. Recto, and José Laurel, Jr.

It is also notable that when President Manuel L. Quezon left the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese government in the Philippines chose the Batangueño José Laurel, Sr. as the de jure President of the Puppet Republic.

Geography

Batangas is a combination of plains and mountains, including one of the world's smallest volcanoes, 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. Talamitam 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).

Batangas has several islands, including Tingloy, Verde Island (Isla Verde), and Fortune Island of Nasugbu.

According to Guinness World Records, the largest island in a lake on an island is situated in Batangas (particularly at Vulcan Point in Crater Lake, which rests in the middle of Taal Island in Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon).

Festivals & Fiestas

Average of 30 festivals held every year initiated by municipalities and cities

TOP 5

City/Municipality

Festival

Schedule

Estimated No. of Tourists

Balayan

Parada ng Lechon

June 24

8 000 – 10 000

Calaca

Calacatchara Festival

October

2 000

Alitagtag

Tapusan Festival

May 31

2 000

Batangas City

Sublian Festival

July 23

4 000

Batangas Province

Ala eh! Festival

December 8

5 000

FEBRUARY TO APRIL

Mahaguyog Festival (Sto. Tomas) – Last Week of February-March 7
Dagit (Holy Week) (Ibaan)- March/April
Yamang Dagat Festival (Mabini) – April 23

MAY

Pabitin Festival (Balete) – May 1
Sublian Festival (Bauan) – May 2
Balsa Festival (Lian) – May 8
Pastulan Festival (San Pascual) – May 14
Piyesta ng Tinapay (Cuenca) – May 15
Grand La Paz (Alitagtag) – Last Sunday of May
Sigpawan Festival (Lemery) – May 26
Regatta (Maria Paz, Tanauan City) – May 30

JUNE

Sinukmani Festival (Rosario) – June 9
Lomi Festival (Lipa City) – June 20
Bancathon Festival (Calatagan) – June 24
Parada ng Lechon (Balayan) – June 24

JULY

Sublian Festival (Batangas City) – July 23

AUGUST

Maliputo Festival (San Nicolas) – August 9
Kambingan Festival (Tuy) – August 12

SEPTEMBER

Bancaton Festival (San Nicolas) – September 10
Anihan Festival (Lobo) – September 27

OCTOBER

Eggstravaganza (San Jose) – First Friday of October
Calacatchara Festival (Calaca) – October 24

DECEMBER

Kabakahan Festival (Padre Garcia) – December 1
Mardi Gras (Nasugbu) – December 2
Ala Eh! Festival (entire Batangas Province) – December 1-8
Lambayok Festival (San Juan) – December 12

# 19 Xavierville Subdivision, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines (+63) 2-3433-5813 +63 917-824-3333 info@r33aviation.com Mon-Sat 9:00am-5:00pm