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This article is about the province. For the city, see Batangas City.
For the bay, see Batangas Bay.
For the knife, see Balisong (knife).

Batangas is a 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.

A view from the coast of Batangas.

Batangas is one of the most popular tourist destinations near Metro Manila. The province has many beaches and is 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 and Punta Fuego in the Municipality of Nasugbu, the Municipality of Calatagan and Laiya in the Municipality of San Juan.

Batangas is also the location of Taal Volcano, one of the Decade Volcanoes. 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.

Batangas is also generally accepted by linguists as the "Heart of the Tagalog Language".



The first recorded name of the province was Kumintang. Later, the Spaniards went to settle the present day Balayan, then the most progressive town of the Province. The name of the Province was changed into Bonbon.

Some time later, the capital of the province was transferred to Taal, since being near the lake, it is an easy commercial center. After the transfer, the leaders of the province decided to name the province after its capital.

Still later, the Spaniards chose to transfer the capital for the third time, to its present seat in the town of Batangan, later Batangas City. The province changed its name once more after the capital. In 1889, Batangas City became the country's 8th city.

The term "batangan" refers to a type of raft people used to fish in the nearby Taal Lake. It was derived from the word "batang," a native term for 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 term "Batangueño" or "Batangueña" is generally an adjective that describes something or someone from Batangas. However, in the recent revival of provincial identitity among the natives of Batangas, these terms is more commonly being used nowadays to mean a native of the province. On the other hand, the old term "Batangan" is being revived to describe something that is of Batangas flavor.

People and culture

Maria Kalaw Katigbak, a Filipino historian, called Batangueños the "Super-Tagalogs". This is because they are a paramount example of what one can expect from this ethnolinguistic group. If you ask someone to overact a Tagalog, they would imitate a Batangueño.

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 early times, large families were very common. Thus, it was to be expected that one's uncle could be of the same age or even younger than oneself. In this case, the older one would call the younger one by an honorary title (such as "tiyo" or simply "kuya"). This often causes confusion among those from other provinces who are not accustomed to such practices.

Large extended families tend to live together. It is common for a piece of land to remain undivided until the family connection becomes too distant. Marriages between relatives of the fifth generation is still frowned upon in the Batangan culture even if Philippine laws allow it.

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 favor their fellow Batangueños as far as the rules allow. This practice has been jokingly referred to as the "Batangas Mafia".

Most Batangueños are either farmers or fishers who sell their own products in the market. Although most of them have also finished a degree, many choose to put up their own small businesses instead of pursuing a career in their field of study. This is perhaps due to the subconscious cultural belief that he who has no land to cultivate or trade to make is a lazy person.

Batangueños are known to be very hospitable to outsiders. Visitors will be fed more than what the hosts usually eat. These folks greatly appreciate it if they see that you are trying to be one of them.

Batangueños are heavy drinkers. Men, and sometimes women, could spend long hours of drinking sessions as if there were no work the next day. This is especially true if you visit the far-flung barangays. Aside from drinking too much liquor, Batangueños like sweet food. Perhaps this is because there has never been a shortage of sugar in the province due to the presence of the Central Azucarera Don Pedro, the current largest producer of sugar in the whole archipelago.

And if they like their liquors strong and their foods sweet, Batangueños also like their coffee strong. In the barrios, people would drink brewed coffee, which the locals call kapeng barako, translated as the stud's coffee. During the early 1900s, Batangas was the largest producer of coffee in the whole of Asia. At present, steps are being taken to reclaim this position, especially in the city of Lipa.


Batangueños, being mainly descendants of the ancient Tagalogs, speak a dialect of the language with a very strong accent. Indeed, one can easily recognize a Batangueño the moment he opens his mouth.

Though generally intelligible to speakers of other dialects, such as the Manila and Tayabas dialects, the vocabulary of the Batangan dialect is more closely related to the ancient Tagalog. Rarely do Batangueños use Taglish, which is the custom in Manila. In fact, when you ask someone from the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino to describe the Tagalog spoken in Batangas, it will easily be labelled "makaluma" (old style).

Batangueños are also known for their unique affectation of often placing the particles "eh" or "ga" (equivalent of particle "ba" in Tagalog), 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 has no meaning in itself.


The most recognisable difference is the use of the passive past tense (in Standard Filipino) in place of the present progressive. In Manila, this is done by inserting the infix -um- after the first syllable then by repeating the first syllable.

Example 1:

root word: kain (to eat)
ka-in (syllabication)
k-um-a-ka-in (eating)

Example 2:

root word: tawag (to call)
ta-wag (syllabication)
t-um-a-ta-wag (calling)

In the Batangan dialect however, this form is done by attaching the prefix na- to the word.

Example 1:

root word: kain (to eat)
ka-in (syllabication)
nakain (eating)

Example 2:

root word: tawag (to call)
ta-wag (syllabication)
natawag (calling)

This conjugation of the verb becomes funny because as mentioned above, Manileños would hear it as the passive past tense. When someone asks "Nasaan si Pedro?" ("Where is Pedro?"), one might answer "Nakain ng isda," which in Batangan translates as "He's eating fish." However, to those unfamiliar with this kind of usage, the statement would mean "He was eaten by a fish." (Just imagine how big the fish must be.)

Also, stand alone verbs ending in -an bencomes -si, especially in the command form. However, when another word is put after it, Batangueños would revert to the use of the -an form.

Example 1:

Person A: May kumakatok sa pinto. (Someone is knocking at the door.)
Person B: Aba'y, buksi! (Then open it!)


Person A: May kumakatok sa pinto.
Person B: Aba'y, buksan mo!

One could also notice the use of the absolute degree of an adjective, something that is not heard anywhere else. It is roughtly the equivalent to the use of "issimo" or "issima" in the Spanish and Italian languages, something absent in the other dialects. This is done by putting pagka- in front of the word.

Example 1:

Pagkaganda pala ng anak ng mag-asawang are ah!
The child of this couple is indeed beautiful!

Example 2:

Pagkatagal mo ba.
You move so slow.

Another noticeable characteristic of the Batangan dialect is the use of the dual number for pronouns. Although this hasn't completely disappeared in some other areas, this form is almost never used in the Manila dialect.

Example 1:

(Batangan Tagalog) Kita na! (Let's go!)
(Manila Tagalog) Tayo na!

Example 2:

(Batangan Tagalog) Buksan mo nga ang telebisyon nata. (Please open our TV.)
(Manila Tagalog) Buksan mo nga ang telebisyon natin.

This grammar structure is a remnant of the ancient Tagalog grammar that persisted with very little change in the province for centuries.

Also, intonations more often than not tend to rise, especially to express extreme emotions.


Another noticeable trait is the usage of the closed syllable, a practice that has completely disappeared in the Manila dialect. The town of Tanauan is actually pronounced [tan-'a-wan] whereas it would be pronounced as [ta-'na-wan] by other Tagalogs. This is also true with words like "matamis", pronounced "matam-is".

Also, as mentioned above, the dialect spoken in Batangas is more closely related to the ancient Tagalog. Thus the merger of the phonemes [e] and [i] and the phonemes [o] and [u] are prevalent. Also absent in other dialects is the use of the 'shcwa' sound. This is simply because the Batangas dialect is spoken faster compared to other dialects.

The use of the sounds [ei] and [ow] is prevalent. However, unlike its English counterpart, this diphthong is sounded mainly on the first vowel and very rapidly only on the second. This is very similar to the [e] in the Spanish word "educaciòn" and the first [o] in the Italian word "Antonio".


Locative adjectives are ire or are (this) and rine or dine (here).

Vocabulary is also divergent. Funnily enough, the Batangueño dialect has more translations for the word 'slip', depending on how the person falls. He may either be nadulas (simply slipped), nagtingkuro (lost his balance), or worse, nagsungaba (fall on his face.)

People from Manila are also often confused why a student comes home when it's not yet time, when the teachers earlier announced that they would have to go to school. The student will just answer, "May pasok, pero walang klase." This simply means that they would have to go to school and have their attendance checked but there is really no class to attend.

To the confusion of other Tagalog speakers, the Batangueños also use the phrase, "Hindi po ako nagyayabang!" to mean "I am not telling a lie!", whereas Manileños would simply say "Hindi po ako nagsisinungaling!". For them, the former statement means, "I am not boasting!"

A panday is a handyman in Batangas whereas it means a smith in Manila. An apaw is mute (pipi in Manila). La-ang is equivalent to lamang (only) in Manila. And when they don't believe you, they would exclaim "anlaa!"'

(for more of the Batangas vocabulary you could refer to

Respectful language

Though it has largely disappeared in the Manila usage, the Batanguños still use the plural forms of the pronouns to show politeness. Normally, this is used to show respect to one who has authority either by age or by position. Batangueños have a choice to either use to second-person plural or third-person plural to show this respect.

Example 1:

Case: Someone is knocking at the door and you want to know who the person is.
[Manila Tagalog] Sino iyan? (Who is that?)
[Batangan Tagalog] Sino sila? (Who are they?)

Example 2:

Case: You pass an older person who is a family friend.
[Manila Tagalog] Kumusta na po? (wherein the particle po is the signifier of respect)
[Batangan Tagalog] Kumusta na po kayo? or Kumusta na po sila? (wherein kayo and sila are the second and third person personal pronouns, respectively)

But the use of the plural form is not limited to those of lower ranks. Those of authority is also expected to use this pluralisatrion, this time by using the first person plural "tayo", which functions like the "royal we".

This usage is very common for government officials or those who hold an important position over a certain territory like a priest or a bishop.

And of course, one cannot belittle the use of "po" and "opo" to show respect. However, the Batangueños tend to replace this with "ho" and "oho", a typical morphophonemic change. Nevertheless, Batangueños also understand and appreciate if you use the "po" and "opo" variant of the other Tagalog regions.

Languages other than Tagalog

Although much can be said about the way a Batangueño speaks his Tagalog, the high literacy rate 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 and Lemery still have a significant minority of Spanish speakers. Visayan is also spoken by a significant minority due to the infulx of migration from the Southern Philippines.

Examples of Batangan vocabulary


Abuhan -- Wood Stove
Ala (or Ala eh) --then... (as in conclusion )
Algagahumat-- unnecessary stuffs (collections, etc)
Anlaa! -- An expression of disbelief
Anlarakas -- extra stuff; unnecessary stuff
Apanas -- Small red ants
Apaw -- (accent on the first syllable) full; ex. apaw na baso (filled glass)
Apaw -- (accent on the second syllable) mute
Apuyan -- Matches
Ardaba -- Padlock
Are -- This
Asbag -- Egoistic
Asbar -- To be hit by parents
Aspike -- To be hit relentlessly by parents
Away -- A fight


Babag -- Fight
Bagting -- String used for marking
Bagul -- penny
Bahaw -- Rice that has already gone cold
Bakas -- Share in food or property
Baksa -- A small scarf used by scouts
Balagbag -- In the most awkward position
Balagwit -- To carry something very heavy using bamboo sticks put above the shoulders
Balisbisan -- House perimeter
Baliw -- Fierce (as in a fierce dog); note that this word means "insane" in Manila
Banas -- Humid weather
Banaw -- Batangas shandy made by mixing wine and local lemons
Bang-aw -- Mad dog or fool person
Baraka -- Market day, generally Saturday
Barako -- Brave
Barik -- To drink liquior
Barog -- To wrestle
Basaysay -- House
Bastag -- One of the two numbers one must bet for jueteng
Baysanan -- A wedding ceremony
Bihasa -- Expert
Biling -- Directionally confused
Biloy -- Dimples
Binit -- Slingshot
Bugok -- Rotten eggs
Bulak or Sulak -- To boil
Bukana -- Entry; ex. bukana ng (mouth of the cave)
Bulanglang -- A way of cooking meat using the water from the rice wash
Buntal -- Moderate hitting by parents
Burbur -- Something eaten with the lihiya ricecake
Busa -- A local sweets, rice pops
Busilig -- Eyes


Dag-im -- Cumulus clouds, dark sky
Dagok -- To hit from behind (especially the back)
Damusak -- Mess up real bad
Dawit -- Finger wrestling using the middle finger
Dine (or rine) -- Here
Dito -- another word for dine, which also means here
Dukwang -- To peep outside the window with almost half of your body
Dumalaga -- A chicken which is soon to be a mother hen


Gahol -- Lack of time
Gawa (ng) -- Because; note that this means "made of" in Manila meaning
Giliran -- A dipper for bathroom use
Gugo -- Shampoo; generally refers to something made from coconut bark used for washing one’s hair during early times.
Gulok -- Filipino katana
Guyam -- Small ant


Ga -- A question particle, equivalent of ba in Manila or baga in other dialects
Ganire -- Like this!
Gawi -- Manner
Gay-on -- Like that! ex. Gay-ong gawi po lamang. (In that manner, please.)


Habi -- get out of the way
Hantik -- A big ant
Halika -- to come
Hawot (in full: tuyong hawot) -- Dried fish
Hiyip -- A tube used to blow soots out of an old earthen stove
Hikap -- Vagabond
Huho -- to pour turning the container upside-down
Humba -- Left over from a festivity
Huli -- Senile
Hunta -- A small talk with someone


Imis -- To clean
Ineng -- A sweet pet name for a young girl
Ipud-ipod -- To move
Ire -- This


Kahanggan -- Neighborhood, neighbors
Kalis -- Limbs, reach
Kalamaghati -- Coconut jam
Kalamunding -- Calamansi
Kalpe -- Wallet
Kampag -- Awkward, slow
Kaputa -- a celebration or event that is half-done
Karibok -- Minor mayhem
Kasaw -- Scrambled eggs
Kasilyas -- Toilet
Kawa -- A big cauldron
Kibal -- String beans
Kitse or Tapon -- Cork
Kuloong -- Deep well
Kutal -- A very heavily soiled piece of cloth


La-ang -- Only (equivalent of lamang in Manila)
Lakit -- dark sky
Lamira -- Mess up something, like food
Lako -- To peddle
Libag -- Body dirt
Liban -- To cross the street
Liban -- Absent
Lintik -- Lightning, but has become a curse word
Lipana -- Prevalent
Lipol -- To annihilate
Liting -- A string
Lublob -- To soak in water
Luklok -- To sit


Maas -- Stupid
Malimit -- Often
Mamitig -- To have cramps
Mamulong -- Part of courtship when a man formally asks a woman's parents for permission to marry
Mangimay -- To lose sensation (like the feeling when anaesthesia is applied)
Manlilipa -- Red ants with really nasty bites
Manggagaltang-- Arboreal red ant
Maunti -- Small
Minandal -- Afternoon snack
Mura -- To be scolded; also interpreted as cheap price


Nagawi -- To be accidentally somewhere, ex. Bakit ka ga nagawi rine? (What brought you here?)
Nuno -- Ancestors; also a mythical being believed to reside in anthills


Pagakpak -- Motorbike
Pagka -- If (kapag in Manila)
Panday -- Handyman
Patak -- fall (papatak - will fall)
Patikar -- To run
Patuto -- Lot/land boundary
Perper -- Cut firewood into pieces
Pihol -- To turn
Pilansik or Tilamsik -- To squirt
Pirme -- Always
Pulangga -- A kind of bird
Pusit -- A small bird; usually hummingbirds


Salta -- To climb, to arrive
Salikungkung-- A simple kite
Samlang -- One who works or eats unneatly
Sibi -- A temporary table set for festivities
Simbar -- To target from a bird’s eye view
Sinturis or Sintunis -- A citrus fruit
Sipit -- Tongs
Sipol -- To whistle
Sumba -- Something put into the back of a kite for it to fly higher/hum like a plane
Sungaba -- Fall flat on the face
Sutil -- Stubborn
Sya na! -- Enough! or Alright!


Taking -- A young boy
Tagay -- A young girl
Talsik -- To be thrown
Tangwa -- The edge, especially where someone or something can fall
Tari' -- A wedge attached to the claws of a cock for the cockfight
Tiping -- A kind of bread
Tubog -- A stream
Tukil -- Bamboo node cut for utility
Tuklong -- A chapel
Tulad' -- To copy, as in homework
Tulyase or Talyase -- Something like a kawa but of bigger scale
Turok/Turol -- Male erection
Tubal -- Dirty clothes


Ulbo -- Pig pen made of square bamboo pile
Umay -- To get sick of a particular food or activity
Umis -- Smile
Usngal -- Misplaced tooth
Utoy -- A pet name for a young boy
Uyayi -- Lullaby, also a suspended cradle


Wari -- To one’s understanding


Yabang -- To tell a lie

Mythology and literature

According to scholars, the mythology of Batangas is closely related to the mythology of the Oaxacan Tribe of Mexico. A clear proof is the presence of stories "Why the Firefly is Noisy" and "The Race of the Carabao and the Tortoise", which both have counterparts in Mexico.

Ancient Batangueños, like the rest of the Tagalog Tribe, worshiped 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.

In the field of 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 Domingo Landicho (familiarly called Inggo be Batangueños) the Dangal ng Batangas Award 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 anniversary of the founding of the province.


See Filipino folk music for full discussion.

Musicologists identified Batangas as the origin of the kumintang, an ancient war song which later evolved into kundiman. From the ancient kumintang, another vocal music emerged, known as the awit. The huluna, a psalm-like lullaby, is also famous in some towns, especially Bauan. And during the Lenten Season, the Christian passion-narrative, called Pasyon by the natives, is expected in every corner of the province.

Debates may also be done while singing. While those from the province of Bulacan are known for their Balagatasan, 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 got its name (literally "ocean") from its opening lines -- the karagatan always opens with some verses that allude to the depth of the sea and comparing it to the difficulty of joining the debate.

Batangas is also the origin of the Balitao (although Cebuanos may argue). Aside from being a form of vocal music, it 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.

Maestro of Philippine Music Ryan Cayabyab is also a Batangueño, whose mother Celerina Pujante was a sought-after operatic soprano in the 1950's, about the same time as Rosal. Ogie Alcasid, known to fans as Mr. Composer, also hails from this province.

The Batangueña

The Batangueña is the subject of numerous traditional songs from Batangas. Perhaps the most famous of all is Princesa ng Kumintang, which tells about the pursuit of a very beautiful woman. The singer sings:

Kay ganda mo hirang, Princesa ng Kumintang!
(How lovely art thou, my Dear, Princess of the Kumintang!)
Sa ala-ala ko ay di ka mapaparam.
(In my memory, thou canst never be effaced.)
Sa kalungkutan ko'y tanglaw ka ng aking buhay,
(To my sorrow, thou art the guiding life of life,)
Ang iyong pagsinta'y langit ko, Princesa ng Kumintang!
(Thine love is my heaven, Princess of the Kumintang!)

Another song, the Mutyang Batangas, says that she is a pearl who is as beautiful as the rose and whose love is pure. However, she hates a lazy man who always gambles and drinks, because this would mean that she will be a battered wife. In the second part of the song, the singer says that you cannot easily fool her. She may appear dainty but she's fearless if she needs to protect her purity. The lyrics go like this:

Ang Mutyang Batangas, sing-ganda ng Rosas
(The Pearl of Batangas, as lovely as the Rose)
Pag-ibig sa puso niya ay wagas
(The love of her heart is pure.)

Then the lady replies what she hates from a man:

Ayaw na ayaw ko sa lalaking tamad, sugarol at lasinggero at nambubugbog
(Oh! Indeed I detest a man who is lazy, a gambler, a drunkard and a batterer)
Pagdating sa kanila, pabalibaligtad, ang pobreng asawa ang siyang binababag
(When he comes home, he justs lies on the floor, and the poor wife is battered)

Then the singer sings of her virtues again saying:

Ngunit ang mga Mutyang Taga-Batangas, di maloloko ng ganyan
(However, the Pearl from Batangas is not easiliy fooled)
Mahinhin ngunit Ay! Matapang sa pagtatanggol sa karangalan.
(She is dainty but she is also fearless in defending her honor.)

On the other hand, the song simply entitled Batangueña says that should a man want to find happiness, he would simply has to choose a Batangueña for a wife. This is because she is always dainty and would be with you no matter how hard life becomes. The song goes on to say that her smiles would bring you hope, she's a beautiful pearl, who loves purely. She is likened to a bright star, even though her heart is breaking. However, the common warning is that you must be careful not to make a fool of her or you'll end up with trouble.

Batangueña, Mutyang Marilag, sa pagsuyo ang puso'y tapat
(Batangueña, a beautiful pearl, her heart is true for the one she loves)
Katulad niya'y talang nagniningning, kahit na ang puso ay naninimdim
(She is like a star shining brightly even though her heart is breaking)
Lagi nang may panghalina sa pagsinta
(Always has she a charm for lovers)
Kung ang hanap mo ay ligaya umibig na sa Babaeng Batangueña
(If it is bliss that you are searching for, go on be a lover to the Batangueña)
Ngunit huwag kang magkakasala, magsalawahan at mapapahamak ka
(However, don't you dare sin against her, be an adulterer and you will soon be in trouble)
May taglay na hinhin sa twina at matiisin kahit na nagdurusa
(Forever is she sweet-mannered and she'll not complain even if she's having pain in her heart)
May ngiti ng sigla at pag-asa, yan ang dalagang Batangueña
(A smile and hope she'll have forever, that is the Batangueña maiden)

During the ancient times, a form of government called gynecocracy was believed to be prevalent in Batangas. Women had equal rights to succession should there be no male to lead the clan. This practice is clearly seen until now, wherein strong family clans tend to be more matriarchal in character.

Today, the wife of the town or city mayor is called the "mayora". And whenever the mayor is not around, the mayora is often expected to do his duties.

Architecture and sculpture

Along with Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Batangas has the best preserved colonial architecture in the country. 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 its sculpture and engraved furniture. Often, altar tables coming from Batangas were called the friars' choice because of their delicate beauty.

According to Milagros Covvarubias-Jamir, another Filipino scholar, the furniture that came from Batangas during colonial times was comparable to the beautiful furniture from China. The build of the furniture was so exquisite, nails or glue were 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.

Museums and tourist information

  • Apolinario Shrine *
Marcela Agoncillo Historical
Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas Landmark, Taal, Batanags
  • Miguel Malvar Hospital *
Leon Apacible Historical Landmark
Sto. Tomas, Batangas Taal, Batangas
  • Museo ng Batangas at Aklatang Panlalawigan
Dr. Jose P. Laurel Library,
Batangas City Tanauan, Batangas
  • 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


The world famous balisong from batangas.

More than any other product, Batangas is known for its fan knife, called balisong by the natives. This industry has become so famous that according to urban legend, every Batangueño carrys a balisong everywhere he goes. This is also the reason why most Filipinos would warn you never to mess with a Batangueño.

Pineapples are also common in the province. Aside from the fruit, the leaves are an industry of their own. In the municipality of Taal, pineapple leaves are processed into a kind of cloth known as the gusi. This is further processed to become the Barong Tagalog, the National Male Costume of the Philippines. In fact, the Barong Tagalogs that were used by the heads of states in the last APEC Summit in 1995 were from Batangas. Princess Diana was also known to posses 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 with 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 and Bauan.

Being near the sea, it is to be expected that fishing plays a very important part of the Batangan economy. Although the tuna industry in the country is mainly centred 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 tambakol (bigeye tuna), tulingan (Pacific bluefin tuna), and other species also called bonito (but actually the Gymnosarda unicolor). There is also an important industry for the tanigue.

Taal Lake is home to tawilis, a species of freshwater sardine that is endemic to the lake. It also provides farmed Chanos chanos or bangus. There is also a good volume of tilapia. It is ecologically important to note that neither bangus nor tilapia are native to the lake. Thus they are considered invasive species.

As mentioned, Batangueños are indeed fond of drinking. This is of no surprise as the province lies on what is called the "coconut belt" with an abundance of the raw material for the local liquors lambanog (with 90% proof) and tuba (made of 5.68% alcohol and 13% sugar).

Sugar is also a major industry. After the Hacienda Luisita, the country's former largest sugar producer, was broken up for land reform, the municipality of Nasugbu has become the home of the current largest sugar producing company, the Central Azucarera Don Pedro. This also means that Batangas is home to a bustling industry for sweets. Rice cakes are also common.

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.

Blankets and mosquito nets are also widely available in the province.

The capital, Batangas City, hosts the second most important international seaport in Luzon. Second only to the 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.



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 has since become one of the most important centres of the Philippines. 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 one of the first organized provinces in Luzon. Balayan was the capital of the province for 135 years from 1597-1732. In 1732, it was moved to Taal, then the most flourishing and progressive town in the province.

In 1889, what was then the Town of Batangas became the Philippine's 8th city, thus making it one of the oldest cities on the islands.

Batangas is also known as the "Cradle of Noble Heroes", giving homage not only to the revolutionary heroes it produced but the statesmen the came to lead the country. Among the luminaries of Batangas politics are Jose Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Apolinario Mabini, Miguel Malvar, Felipe Agoncillo and Don Apolinario Apacible.

Current officials

  • Governor: Vilma Santos
  • Vice Governor: Ricky Recto
  • Board Members: Consuelo Malabanan; Benjamin Bausas; Sergio Atienza; Godofredo Berberabe Jr.; Florencio de Loyola; Rodolfo Balba; Cecilio Hernandez; Jose Antonio "Mark" Leviste II; Rowena Sombrano-Africa; Lianda Brucal-Bolilia

Cities and municipalities

City/Municipality No. of
20px Agoncillo
20px Alitagtag
20px Balayan
20px Balete
Ph seal batangascity.png Batangas City
20px Bauan 40
20px Calaca
20px Calatagan
20px Cuenca
20px Ibaan
20px Laurel
20px Lemery
20px Lian
20px Lipa City 72
20px Lobo
20px Mabini
20px Malvar
20px Mataas Na Kahoy
20px Nasugbu 42 276.33 km² 96,113 347 persons/ km²
20px Padre Garcia 18
20px Rosario
20px San Jose
20px San Juan
20px San Luis
20px San Nicolas
20px San Pascual
20px Santa Teresita
20px Santo Tomas
20px Taal
20px Talisay
20px Tanauan City
20px Taysan
20px Tingloy
20px Tuy


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 fitting that the writers of yore called it the "land of the rolling hills and wide shorelands".

One the most famous mountains in the country 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 609.6m, Mt. Talamitan with 700m, Mt. Pico de Loro with 664m, Mt. Batulao with 811m, Mt. Manabo with 830m, and Mt. Daguldol with 672m. All of these mountains are considered level 1 mountains, meaning one can easily climb them with little training.

Batangas is also known for its many islands, which include the municipality of Tingloy, Fortune Island in Nasugbu, and Sombrero Island in Mabini. And of course, Mt. Taal itself is an island.

Flora and fauna

Although attached to the big island of Luzon, Batangas boasts of many of its own unique flora and fauna. 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 bats. In Nasugbu, wild deer still inhabit the remote areas of Barangay Looc.

Apart from these land mammals, marine wildlife seem 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 center 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 occasionally the world's biggest fish, the whale shark or butanding. San Juan has a resident sea turtle or pawikan population. Sea turtles were also prevalent in Nasugbu during the 1970s. Due to overhunting, the provincial government passed a law prohibiting the killing of this marine reptile.


Prehistoric Batangan

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 centuries. 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 has 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 moulded in bas-relief on a clay pot from Calatagan. According to experts, the image on 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.

In January 1941, 2 crude stone figures were found in Palapat, Calatagan. These 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 had 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 to 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 these objects suggested that prehistoric Batangaueños believed in the idea of life after death, where the deceased person might need a plate or chalices for eating or drinking. This also connected the Batangueños to other Asian cultures, where it was a custom to bury furniture with the dead.

Like the nearby tribes, the early Batanueños were non-aggressive people. Partly because most of the tribes in the immediate environs were related to them by blood. However, when they had no choice but to take up arms, 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 amuret (witchcraft), it showed a belief in higher beings and other things unseen, and thus a strong connection between humans and nature.

Although it is widely accepted that the term Tagalog came from the word "taga-ilog" or river dwellers (in reference to the Pasig River), Wang The-Ming points out in his writings that Batangas was the real center of the Tagalog tribe, which he then identified as "Ma-yi". According Chinese annals, Ma-yi had its center in the province and extends to as far as Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, Bataan, 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 early Batangueños had a special affinity with jade. In fact, he named the Late Paleolithic Period of the Philippines as the "Batangas Period" in recognition of the large quantities of jade found in the excavarted caves in the province. According to Beyer, the jade-cult reached the Province as early as the year 800 BC and lasted until 200 BC.

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.

Batangas was founded in 1581. Originally, it was composed of the present provinces of Batangas, Mindoro, Marinduque, southeast Laguna and Camarines. After several devastating eruptions of Taal Volcano, the old Taal town site was buried. The capital was eventually transferred to Batangas (now a city) in 1754 where it has remained to date.

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). During the first ten years of their mission, 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. They also wrote the first Tagalog grammar that served other missionaries who came.

The year of foundation of important parishes follows: in 1572 the Taal parish was founded by the Augustinians; in 1581, the Batangas parish under Fray Diego Mexica; in 1596 Bauan parish by the Augustinian missionaries; in 1605 Lipa parish, also under the Augustinians; in 1774 Balayan parish; 1852 Nasugbu parish; and 1868 Lemery parish.

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".

American colonization

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 revolutionary artists performed their plays in Batangas. 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 US forces in the Philippine-American War.

Post-American period

After the Philippines was freed from the US, statesmen from Batangas became famous in the government. These include legislators Felipe Agoncillo, Galicano Apacible (who later became the Secretary of Agriculture), Ramon Diokno, Apolinario Apacible, Espedito Leviste, Gregorio Katigbak, Teodoro Kalaw, Claro M. Recto, and Jose Laurel.

When Quezon left the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese government in the Philippines chose Batangueño Jose Laurel to be the de jure president of the Puppet Republic.

Aquino to Estrada

When Corazon Aquino took office as president in 1985, her vice-president was Batangueño Salvador Laurel.

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 uprising in 2001.

President Joseph Estrada also chose four Batangueños to be his closest advisers: 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 "Dirty Harry" Lim of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

After Estrada was expelled from office, 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 of National Defense.

Three other Batangueños were in the original 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.

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