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 Kumintang.
Batangas is one of the most popular tourist destinations near Metro Manila. The province has many beaches and is famous for excellent diving spots including Anilao in Mabini, Sombrero Island in Tingloy, Ligpo Island in Bauan, these areas more popularly known as Anilao. Matabungkay in Lian, Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, Calatagan and Laiya in San Juan. Batangas is also where Taal Volcano, one of the Decade Volcanoes is located. It is also where the Taal Heritage town lies, a small picturesque town that has ancestral houses and structures dating back to the 19th century.
The first recorded name of the Province was Kumintang, after the Datu who inherited the dominion from Datu Balensusa. Its centre, the present day Balayan, was the most progressive town of the Province and the traditional centre of governance. Later, as the eruption of the Taal Volcano destroyed a significant portion of the town, the provincial centre was transferred to Taal, which was then called Bonbon and the name of the province was changed after that of the town.
The term batangan means a raft, 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. Batangas is a combination of plains and mountains, including the world’s smallest volcano, Mt. Taal, with an elevation of 600 meters, located in the middle of the Taal Lake.
Batangas also has many islands, including Tingloy, Verde Island(Isla Verde), Fortune Island of Nasugbu.Although attached to the big Island of Luzon, Batangas boasts of flora and fauna that is distinctively theirs. 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 bat. In the Municipality of Nasugbu, wild deers are still inhabiting the remote areas of Baranggay Looc.
But although Batangas has these land flying mammals, marine wildlife remains 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 centre 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 once in a while, a passage of the world’s biggest fish the whale shark or the butanding, as the locals call it.
Batangas also has other industries that makes it famous not only in the country but also in the world. More than anything else, 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. This is also the reason why most Filipinos would warn never to mess with a Batangueño.
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. Princess Diana 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 tuna industry 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 to Sardinella 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.
Last May 7,2011, We, my family and my auntie and her daughter who were just here in the Philippines for a vacation went to a resort in batangas called La Virginia Hotel & Resort, it is set in 6 hectares of secluded grounds yet only 2 hours from downtown Metro Manila. La Virginia offers one of the largest privately-owned natural getaways in Lipa City.
The resort is located in the Batangas side ridge around the Taal Lake, it offers breathtaking views of the lake and the Taal Volcano Islands. It is completely surrounded by coconut groves and forests so that is is set in a pristine environment. The resort boasts of five (5) world class swimming pools and a heated jacuzzi for family and personal fun. In that day also, I with my co-vacationist saw a flying 6 jets roaming around who are just from the air based near in the resort.
There is a small chapel located inside the resort as well. The resort also offers well-appointed accomodation and picnic facilities for day trippers and extended stay visitors. Well, I will share to you the things that I experience and enjoyed on having a vacation.
First, The View of Taal Lake in this nature’s beauty never fails to amaze me. La Virginia Resort offers a generous view of Taal Lake. It brought serenity down to my soul. Naks. But seriously, it did. Second, The Buddha View Deck I had a couple of pictures in front of the huge Buddha statue and when I used one of the photos as my Facebook profile picture, a couple of friends thought I went to Thailand! Nah, it’s one of the best backgrounds there for photo, with family. Make sure you have a picture with the Golden Buddha as your background. Aha!
Third, The Ifugao Village, I’m Ilocana and that’s why I have close affinity to what’s there up north; not an Ifugao native though. This part of La Virginia features cottages which resembles the abode in Ifugao. It’s like you’re visiting the Tam-Awan Village in Baguio City. Fourth, The Infinity Pool because it gives you a good spot for the sunset. Imagine swimming in the infinity pool while the sun sets on the horizon.
Then we went to the Hanging Bridge, I like bridges because it brings that certain shake on your nerves but at the same time, it challenges you to go on keep walking until you reach the other end. And last, The Tree House, See the best features of La Virginia Resort from the top of the tree house and you’ll wonder how it was landscaped to become what it is now. It was breathtaking up there. Perfect for some more picture taking.
I wasn’t able to experience the La Virginia Zipline Rides due to its expensive price and my mother wouldn’t allow me to ride without my father due to his fear and we just went their because of my auntie’s vacation here in the Philippines and lack of time because after their we went to Laguna and explore in Enchanted Kingdom and take some rides.