Some of us have lived here in Batangas all of our lives.

And there is no doubt how great this province is.

But have you ever tried to explore the places here? Me? I was once given a chance. And that chance is one of the opportunities I grabbed that I would never-ever regret for I learn. I learn something about the festivities that the people there really look forward to and I had found out who had been the maker of the gigantic and marvelous floats that I saw during parades. No other than — Alitagtag.

Dwelling of Festivities

When the feast of Sta. Cruz, patron of Alitagtag, is at hand, Alitagtagueños are actually having a 3-day celebration. This includes the Salubong sa Mahal na Poon and Sublian festival celebrated on May 2, Binukulan festival on May 3, and the main celebration, the town fiesta, on May 7.

The Binukulan festival, a festivity of miracle, is actually a celebration wherein people from different places came to Alitagtag in order to drink a water from the Annubingo tree which is said to be miraculous.

According to the heard myth of Marasigan, a woman named Juana who is always getting water from a very far sea had been helped by the fairies of Annubingo tree. This tree produced more than enough supply of water to Juana. From then on, the place became sacred. Later on it was called on as Binukulan festival as the Annubingo tree produces the miraculous water (bumukal) every time people asked for it during its festival.

Also, Alitagtag is referred as the “Home of the traditional Parade Floats”. It is actually the only place in Batangas who make floats that are commonly use during parades. Because of this, during the end of May, from 6:00 in the evening, the Tapusan festival is being celebrated where there would be a procession of gigantic and religious floats, Carozza, in honor of Mama Mary and served as the end of the Flores de Mayo. In the morning, Kaligaya festival, street dancing, is being celebrated.

Not only would those festivities would make me come back to Alitagtag. But, the unique construction of houses —  slanted houses. Strange? Quite.

Balindis houses

Balindis is actually the term that Alitagtagueños used that refers to us as the slanted houses.

Through the hospitality of Rannie Rey Marasigan, barangay kagawad of Pinagkurusan which is one of the 19 barangays at Alitagtag, with the coordination of Diony Ilagan, executive assistant of Hon. Mayor Guillermo Reyes, and Engr. Sofronio Catanyag, Alitagtag municipal engineer, I discovered logical and classical reasons why houses are slanted.

Logical

The former national road was actually the one that would pass by Barangay Dalipit, Alitagtag, San Jose then Banay-banay. Seeing it as a long road to travel, the government tries to find a way on how travelers would reach Banay-banay from Alitagtag in a shorter period of time. It was May 18, 1987 when the blueprint of the Cadastral Map was approved by Leopoldo Ulanday, Regional Director of Region IV, with the citation of Coo.834 Case-14 CM 13 523 on 121 0130t Sec.2 and a scale of 1:200. This blueprint showed the new implemented diversion road connecting Barangay Pinagkurusan, Alitagtag and Cuenca then to Banay-banay without passing by Barangay Dalipit and San Jose anymore. The road is actually a road of Dominador East and West. Seeing it as a more accessible road, later on it was recognized as the new national road. Thus, it was also became the national road since the former national road is too narrow to the extent that when a truck passed by, it would become a single-liner road.

Before the implementation of this new national road, the lot of the houses in Barangay Dominador was already divided in a rectangular form. So, when the new diversion road was implemented, the rectangular division of lot, outdone by the division, became diagonal lot. As a result, when the owner of the lot built their houses, they followed the form of their lot so that they would be able to maximize the space of it.

Classical

In order to maintain the traditional Balindis, the rest of the owner of the houses in the Dominador East and West followed this tradition. In fact, though many of the slanted houses can be seen along the new diversion road, Barangay Dominador East and West, some houses in Alitagtag were also slanted not because their lot was also diagonal in form but rather they just want to follow the Balindis building of houses and as to be able to follow with the pattern of houses which means unity among them.

Furthermore, since Alitagtagueños believe that slanting their houses would mean good lucks and fine fortune as it does not follow the regular construction of houses in Batangas. In fact, Alitagtagueños who have slanted houses facing the east and west believe that as soon as the sun rise sets, their houses are being more and more blessed each day as an extraordinary construction of house would mean extraordinary blessings from above.

Having skewed houses

Quarters of pride

Alitagtag is a certified home of professionals. There are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals that is from Alitagtag. Thus, in fact, two of the former Chief associate justice of the Supreme Court, Angelina Gutierrez and Cancio Garcia were from Alitagtag.

Moreover, the suman, a native dish, of Alitagtag is not like any other suman since it is a ready-to-eat food as compared to other suman which needs sugar as to achieve satisfying taste. This suman is made from the four barangays of Alitagtag — Concepcion, Balagbas, Tarlac, and Pinagkurusan

Alitagtag is also a national awardee for eco-waste system under Republic Act (RA) 9003, and a hall of famer for blood letting go, 2005-2009. It also belonged to the top 10 in peace and order municipality in Region IV.

Alitagtag was actually called as Alitaptap. As time passed by, it became Alitagtag. It was in January 1, 1910 when Alitagtag was proclaimed as a municipality. On 2010, it would be a centennial celebration of Alitagtag.

Alitagtag is now a 4th class municipality. It is bordered on the north by Taal Lake, Cuenca and San Jose to the east, Santa Teresita and San Luis to the west and Bauan and San Pascual to the south.

As Marasigan said, “May okasyon man o wala, welcome ka sa alitagtag!”

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