TRIP TO PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES

Q: Are you familiar with Batangas Province?

A: Yes, of course. I've been in Batangas many times already when I was a resident in Philippines. When I was a kid, we used to go there especially in Lipa City, Tanauan, and Batangas City because my father has many friends there especially his co-workers at Bank of Philippine Islands. If they have summer outings or other events at their work, Batangas is usually the venue of their outings. Also, we went there before because we were active at San Roque Church in Caloocan City and we joined the procession of Santo Niņo (a pilgrim or image of young Jesus Christ) every month of January and the pilgrim will return to the owner in Lipa City after the procession in Caloocan City. My father's friend, Ranulfo G. Carlos, is the owner of the pilgrim and they were active at Friends of San Roque, a well-known parish organization at San Roque Church. This is my memorable experience, too when I was a kid.

Q: Could you please describe about Province of Batangas if you are familiar in that province?

A: Well, Batangas is located south of Cavite and Laguna, and west of Quezon. Batangas is also in Region 4 or Southern Tagalog Region. Batangas was derived from the word "batang" which is a term of the natives 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. 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. Batangas is a well-known province in Philippines for the plantation of coffee, cocoa, and peanut. Their coffee is very famous in Philippines and it is called Kapeng Barako. Their coffee is very strong in flavor and aroma. Almost all the provinces in Philippines are getting or importing coffee from Batangas that's why Batangas is also a rich province in Philippines. Their cocoa and peanut are also delicious and they are also a source of making chocolates, peanut butter, and candies in Philippines. Batangas is also a well-known province for farming, fishing, and agriculture. Their famous dishes are Bulalo, a soup made from beef with bone marrow, and Lomi, a thick noodle soup. Most of the foreigners, visitors, and tourist there are eating bulalo and lomi. At Taal Lake, there's a kind of fish that most of the people there are eating. Those fishes are called tawilis. Tawilis is also a small fish but is good to eat. Right now, Batangas is also a crowded province because there are many foreign investors, subdivisions, shopping malls, and resorts. Their famous souvenir weapon is called balisong, a kind of knife that you can fold like a butterfly style. Don't bring balisong at the airports and piers in Philippines because they will not allow you to take a flight or cruise.

Q: How big is Province of Batangas?

A: Batangas (Map of Batangas) consists of the following cities and towns:

Q: We heard that Province of Batangas is also a rich province in Philippines, isn't it?

A: Yes. Batangas is also a rich province in Philippines. As I said, Batangas is a well-known province in Philippines for the production of coffee which is Kapeng Barako, cocoa, and peanuts. Since this province is located at the ocean side, the province has a lot of beaches and resorts also especially the Matabungkay Beach. Matabungkay beach is very popular because of the beautiful color of the bluish ocean as well as the white sands. Farming, fishing, and agriculture are their source of income. The Taal Volcano is the main tourist spot in the province. This province is also rich in history and culture that's why there are still many old houses and churches there that are attractive to tourists, visitors, and foreigners. The Bagoong Balayan, which is made from fermented salted fish is their popular sauce. Lechon Balayan is very delicious because of their secret in roasting a pig stuffed with Paella. They are cooking Lechon Balayan mostly during the town fiestas. Tawilis is also popular there but these fishes are seasonal only and they are located only at Taal Lake. Batangas is also popular for making balisong, a folding knife like a butterfly. Also, they are making Barong Tagalog, Baro't Saya, and Bakya. Barong Tagalog is a national attire for men and Baro't Saya is a national attire for women. Bakya is a wooden slipper for women. Their popular dishes, as I mentioned are Bulalo and Lomi. These dishes are very delicious that's why most of the tourists, visitors, and foreigners are ordering bulalo and lomi at many restaurants and resorts there. Right now, Batangas is also crowded because of the resorts, shopping malls and stores, subdivisions, and industries. Most of the foreigners there are staying in subdivisions and resorts. Also, the foreigners there are working in many industries there. Batangas is also a productive province in Philippines like its neighboring provinces such as Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal.

Q: What are the main roads in Province of Batangas?

A: Well, I am not familiar with the main roads there because I am not a native resident of Batangas. Anyway, the main roads that I know are the following: Maharlika Highway, Apolinario Mabini Superhighway, Pres. J. P. Laurel Highway, AH 26, National Highway, Tagaytay Nasugbu Highway, Cuenca Muzon Road, Taal Tagaytay Road, Talisay Laurel Road, Mabini Avenue, Padre Garcia Rosario Road, Batangas Quezon Road, and Diversion Road.

Q: Is it true that there are many actors and politicians that are came from Batangas?

A: Yes. That's true. Actually, the recent governor of Batangas, Ms. Vilma Santos Recto, is a well-known movie actress in Philippines for almost 50 years since her childhood. Her husband, Mr. Rafael "Ralph" Recto, is now a senator in Philippines. There are many well-known actors and politicians who are native resident in Batangas like Leo Martinez, Olgie Alcasid, and so on. Apolinario Mabini, a well-known hero in Philippines, is from Tanauan, Batangas. Jose P. Laurel, a late and past President of Philippines, is also from Tanauan, Batangas. The Laurel families are well-known rich families in Batangas. Renato de Villa, a former Secretary of National Defense, is also from Batangas. Leandro Mendoza, a recent Philippine Executive Secretary, is from San Juan, Batangas. Ricky Reyes, a well-known hair stylist in Philippines, is also from Batangas.

Q: We heard that you were arrived in Philippines on November 9, 2009. Since you are a Balikbayan, did you have a tour in Province of Batangas?

A: Yes. I went to Batangas on November 26, 2009 with my cousin, Mark Anthony Tan, to visit the Taal Volcano in Talisay, Batangas. Taal Volcano is also a well-known tourist attraction in Philippines that's why we want to visit that place also. Batangas is also a crowded province because of many visitors and tourists. Also, there are many foreigners that are visiting to the province because of many industries there. Anyway, after we arrived in Talisay, Batangas, we didn't ride on a boat to go to Taal Volcano because the boat fare there is expensive. Also, in order to have a boat ride there, you must have a group of at least 6 people in order for you to take a boat ride because the boat fare is per boat not per person. Also, the horseback riding, cottage rent, and tourist fee are also expensive. Because of these, we were decided to see and walk along the riverside of Taal Lake and took pictures there. After that, we went to Tagaytay City to see the aerial view of Taal Volcano and have a lunch there.

Q: How's the weather in Province of Batangas?

A: Well, the weather there was good with some rains especially in afternoon that's why the traffic there was also heavy. The temperature there is 90°F during days and 75°F during nights. The waves at Taal Lake were calm although it was raining there. Although it is windy sometimes at Taal Lake, it is still nice to visit there. We got sweat there because it was sunny after a little rain but we had fun there.

Q: Do you recommend to anyone to visit in Province of Batangas?

A: Yes, of course. I am inviting everyone to visit in Batangas because it is also a nice place to visit especially the resorts, hot springs in some resorts, and Taal Volcano. If you want to visit in nature places like mountains, plantations, resorts, hot springs, and Taal Volcano, Batangas is a best place for you. The foods there are very delicious especially their dishes like bulalo, lomi, and seafoods. You can buy fresh coffee beans, cocoa, and peanuts there in a cheaper or wholesale prices.

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