Tag Archives: Batangas

#330 Chicken Binakol

Photo: Our Awesome Planet blog

There are several types or versions of a chicken binakol recipe in the Philippines depending on place or region. 

In Batangas province, Luzon, the famous Batangas native chicken is used for their Chicken binakol and is cooked in a bamboo tube to seal in the juices. In the Visayas region their version of Chicken Binakol is to simmer the chicken with tanglad or pandan leaves in the coconut shell itself. A popular native dish, chicken binakol is popular in the provinces where coconuts are abundant. The combination of coconut juice and ginger gives this stew a flavourful and unique taste.

Chicken Binakol ingredients are one dressed chicken, chopped onions, minced garlic, young coconut water or juice, a node of bamboo tube and salt to taste. The shell of a young coconut is also used to serve this tasty dish.

Bon appétit!

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#214 Kapeng Barako

Kapeng Barako (Barako coffee) is a Philippine coffee variety grown  in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite. It belongs to the species Coffea liberica. The term is also used to refer to all coffee coming from those provinces. 

Barako is Filipino for a male animal or stud and in the vernacular means ‘tough man.’ Barako coffee has a strong taste and flavor, and has a distinctively pungent aroma. All coffee grown in Batangas is generically called Barako. In the 1880s, the coffee industry in the Philippines collapsed due to an infestation dubbed as “coffee rust” and the tough competition from coffee growers in South America and Vietnam. This has caused Kapeng Barako growers to shift to other crops, which has threatened the variety with extinction. Currently, organizations such as the Figaro Foundation, seek to revitalize the Philippine coffee industry. (From Wikipedia)

Long live Philippine coffee!

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#207 Basilica de San Martin de Tours

Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal Cathedral) is considered as the largest in Asia and the biggest church in the Philippines. San Martin de Tours is the Patron Saint of Taal with the feast day celebrated on November 11.

The church was first built by the priest Diego Espina in 1575 in present day San Nicolas but abandoned in 1754 due the eruption of Taal and rebuild in 1755.  An earthquake severely damaged the chruch in 1849. Construction of the present church was started in 1856 supervised by architect Luciano Oliver.

The Taal Basilica is famous for its high ceilings, ornate chandeliers and unusual baroque facade which consists of a single mass of stone shaped into rich complex designs. The church, however, is a fusion of styles with arched openings, alternating segmental canopies and arches of assymmetric shapes. It stands 96 meters high and 45 meters wide and is situated on a plateau in the heart of Taal in Batangas province.

Mabuhay ang Basilica de San Martin de Tours!

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#109 Calatagan

Sunset at Calatagan

Calatagan in Batangas province, Luzon island, is a peninsula located between the South China Sea and Balayan Bay. The peninsula’s white sand beaches are popular vacation and leisure sites for Manila’s rich and famous.

There are several beach resorts including the art-filled guesthouse called Banak House Calatagan, the Ronco Beach Resort,  the Playa Calatagan in Sta. Ana, the Golden Sunset Resort in Uno and the Lago de Oro Resort where one can go wakeboarding.

An extremely rare example of pre-Spanish Philippine script was found in Calatagan. The script is called Baybayin in Tagalog, and was derived from Javanese writing, which in turn is derived from Brahmi. This writing survives on an earthenware burial jar dated approximately from the early 13th or 14th centuries.

Known as the vacation haven of elite Philippine families with its posh resorts and golf clubs, the main town of Calatagan has retained its old Spanish provincial charm and laidback ambience. Beach bums, nature lovers, or those with a taste for archaeological adventure will enjoy Calatagan for its historical relics and religious folk art.

Mabuhay ang Calatagan!

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#108 Balisong

Balisong, also called butterfly knife or fan knife, is a folding pocket knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles (From: Wikipedia).

It is sometimes called a Batangas knife, a province in southern Luzon island where the natives were formerly known for manufacturing these handmade and deadly weapons. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations, called “flipping”, are performed for art or amusement.

The balisong is commonly used by Filipinos as a pocket utility knife. It is so popular in the Philippines that an urban legend exists about every Batangueño (native of Batangas) carrying it everywhere he goes as a form of self-defense. There are speculations that the balisong knife was used by Filipinos way back in 800 AD, and was probably employed as an ancient weapon in the Filipino fighting system of eskrima.

The urban legend and nasty reputation of the balisong was further reinforced during World War 2 when  US soldiers deployed in the Philippines or the Pacific returned home with handmade balisong knives and tales of horrific duels among so-called ‘savage’ Filipino tribes who used the balisong to redeem lost honor.

Mabuhay ang balisong!


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#35 Taal Lake and Volcano

Taal Lake and Volcano is one of the most accessible sights that first-time visitors to the Philippines can visit. The lake and volcano can be viewed or reached from the towns of Talisay and San Nicolas in Batangas province, Northern Luzon island.

The volcano complex, one of the most active in the Philippines, consists of an island in Lake Taal, which is situated within a caldera formed by an earlier, very powerful eruption. Taal Volcano has erupted violently several times over the last 300 years with the current death toll (ref: Wikipedia) estimated at 5,000 to 6,000 people. The volcano was once considered as “a volcano inside a volcano” because people believed that the lake that circles the volcano was once a crater or mouth of a volcano.

One of the most popular views of the lake and volcano is from the Tagaytay Ridge which is about 50 kilometres south of Manila. The best viewing times are at early morning or late afternoon when the morning mist or the afternoon sunset impart a breathtaking, panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and shoreline. Tagaytay Ridge is also known for its roadside fruit vendors where native fruits and sweets are arranged and sold to passing tourists.

For the more adventurous and those with plenty of time, a trek or a donkey ride to the volcano itself is worth the effort. Hiring an outrigger boat from Talisay or joining a group excursion to the volcano are the most convenient options. Visitors will be rewarded with a fun  donkey ride and an awesome view of the volcano’s caldera.

Mabuhay ang Taal!

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