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Nasugbu History

There's more to Nasugbu
than its natural attractions.
It is a town where history comes alive.

Historical Background
Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, this coastal town of Nasugbu had a population of one thousand people. Founded in 1899, the municipality now has an estimated population of 98, 558. The townsite was situated a kilometer East of the present site. Historians recall that in 1896, about five hundred people (who had taken up arms against the Spaniards) perished from the hands of enraged Spanish soldiers. The livelihood of the Filipino residents then was to work for the hacienderos who owned practically the entire town of Nasugbu. When the Americans came the town people eventually built a new town. The new town dwellers were to become the forebears of the community who resisted the Japanese invaders, four decades hence. The end of the second world war saw Nasugbu back to its normal way of Life, slowly but imperceptibly accepting the modern changes brought about the process of urbanization. In the early 1970’s, the hacienda owners decided to sell to the people, a majority of their landholdings, over a period of ten years.
These lands became the abode of the adobe of the ever-growing population
now living in 42 barangays throughout the municipality.

Nasugbu was part of the Tagalog region thu Chinese historians referred to as "Mai" with the present-day Balayan as the center. This region from Nasugbu and Balayan to the eastern part of Laguna up to Paracale in the Bicol Peninsula was said to be the most civilized and prosperous during
pre-Hispanic times. Together with Lian, Calatagan, Tuy and Calaca, Nasugbu became a part of Balayan when Balayan was officially founded as a pueblo in 1578. Nasugbu was thus under the jurisdiction of both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of that mother pueblo. The curacy of Balayan and the other newly installed curacies in the newly colonized islands were under thedirect administration of the Archbishop of Manila. The influence of the Catholic Church in Nasugbu has been pervasive; the cultural fiber of Nasugbu is indelibly entwined with the townspeople's religious faith. The Jesuits arrived in the Philippines in 1628 and many of them were assigned to the newly created Balayan Province. They took possession of large tracts of cultivated lands and ranches in Balayan and Nasugbu.
Nasugbu's patron saint is a Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier,
who is also the patron saint of missionaries.

The Central Azucarera Don Pedro
After the Jesuits' departure 140 years later, vast haciendas of Nasugbu, Lian and Calatagan were leased by the King of Spain to Don Fernando de Araya, a Spaniard. Upon the expiration of the lease, the Nasugbu Estate was sold by the King to the Isaac family, the head of which was a Spanish mestizo. When Isaac died, his widow Isabela sold the estate to Don Jose Bonifacio Roxas, also a Spanish mestizo, in the 1830's. Don Jose foresaw the commercial potential of sugar cane and planted large areas of the estate to produce it. His only son, Don Pedro Pablo Roxas, managed the estate during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution. Don Pedro's son, Don Antonio Roxas saw the need for a modern milling plant for centrifugal sugar. A sugar mill was thus constructed in 1912 in the barrio of Looc, which was transferred in 1920 to Sitio Campo. That mill, named after Don Pedro, was transferred to Barrio Lumbangan where it has since grown to become the Philippines' largest manufacturer of refined sugar. Central Azucarera Don Pedro (CADP) has continued to be a dominant presence in Nasugbu. It has also donated the lands on which now stand the Plaza de Roxas, the town plaza; the church of the parish of St. Francis Xavier; and the munisipyo (municipal building).

The Discovery of the San Diego
French marine explorers led by Franck Goddio first excavated the sunken merchant galleon San Diego with its treasure trove in 1992. The San Diego sank in Dec. 14, 1600 after a battle between Spanish forces led by Antonio de Morga and Dutch naval forces led by Olivier van Noort off the waters of Nasugbu Bay. The ship's discovery was hailed worldwide as one of the greatest archaelogical finds of the past century. A trading ship hastily converted into a war ship, the San Diego's astounding number (over 34,000) of artifacts is a veritable showcase of the known world at the time, as seen in its trove of Chinese porcelain, Celadonware, Japanese katanas, Spanish casques, Portuguese cannon and Mexican coin. With the discovery of the shipwreck, historians refuted the claims made by Antonio de Morga in Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas where he has apparently glossed over his failures in the tragic event. To commemorate the discovery, former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste and his wife, Sen. Loren Legarda opened the MV San Diego warship museum in Fortune Island, some 14 km. from Nasugbu's Wawa Pier.

The Burning of Lumang Simbahan
Hundreds of men, women and children of Nasugbu were gathered and killed by Spanish troops who set the Lumang Simbahan (Old Church) on fire in 1896. In his Batangas y Su Provincia, Manuel Sastron, a Spanish historian, briefly described the church as he saw it in 1895, a year before it was destroyed. Sastron wrote that the church, which was then 43 years old, was well-attended to by the zealous parish priest, Don Leocadio Dimanlig, who was intimately called by the townspeople as Padre Kadio. He served as parish priest of Nasugbu from 1895 to 1900 and was destined to see his church and the town destroyed during the first phase of the Philippine Revolution. Pilgrims, many of them from distant provinces, come especially on Fridays to light candles and pray in the church ruins.

The Liberation of Nasugbu
On Jan. 31, 1945, the four-kilometer strip of Nasugbu Beach became the site of a historic landing that helped turn the tide of war in favor of American forces in the Philippines. This amphibious landing of troops and tons of military equipment and supplies was ordered by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to "establish a line of advance on Manila from the southwest." Lt. Gen. Robert Eichelberger, Commanding General of the US Eight Army, personally led the landing of 8,000 men of the 11th Airborne Division commanded by Major Gen. Joseph Swing. The landing began at 5 a.m. that day with the boom of a naval gun awakening Nasugbueños fro their sleep. The cannonade continued as almost a hundred ships, big and small, dotted the waters of the bay. By afternoon, Nasugbu was completely liberated and there was along procession of people who returned to their homes in the poblacion. The 11th Airborne Division, aided by guerilla units (ROTC Hunters, Blue Eagle, Fil-American, LICOPA and CAGALAC guerillas) raced on the national road to Tagaytay Ridge almost unopposed, for the remnants of the Japanese forces in the area hastily retreated to eastern part of Batangas. Together with the Sixth Army and Eighth Army forces that had earlier landed in Lingayen and in Zambales, respectively, and with the invaluable help of the Filipino guerillas, the 11th Airborne Division launched a double-pincer drive that liberated Manila and its suburbs in February 1945.

How Nasugbu got its name
According to legend, a group of Spanish soldiers was allowed by their commander to go on a sight-seeing tour
of the friendlier villages on the western coast of Batangas.
The group chanced upon a native couple cooking rice in a palayok whose lid rattled over the steaming rice. In Spanish, the group leader asked the woman, “What is this place called?” As he spoke, the Spaniard’s eyes followed the woman’s hand as she tried to remove the excess water from the pot. The woman who knew no Spanish thought that the stranger was asking about her pot of rice.
Nasubo na po iyan, eh, kaya ganyan,” she replied. The Spaniard repeated the word “nasubo” and nodding his head towards his companions, introduced the word to them. Together they chorused, “Nasubo…Nasubo,”
and the village began to be called by that name.

The Central Azucarera Don Pedro
The Discovery of the San Diego
The Burning of Lumang Simbahan
The Liberation of Nasugbu
How Nasugbu got its name

Nasugbu is a montage of verdant fields, hills and mountains that stretch westward into the
South China Sea.

According to the National Historical Institute, the big acacia tree at the corner of Plaza de Roxas is the oldest in Asia.

The Central Azucarera Don Pedro continues to be a vital contributor in Nasugbu's economic
and social progress.

An engraving by Theodore de Bry depicts a sinking San Diego as the Mauritius fires on the survivors. The Dutch are hurling lances at the survivors attempting to climb aboard.

A tangle of balete roots and stones in the
ruins of the Lumang Simbahan.

American and Filipino soldiers re-enact the historic Nasugbu landing on the fiftieth anniversary of the event.

Basilica Minore of St. Martin de Tours


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Nasugbu celebrates the feast of their beloved patron saint.

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St. Francis Xavier,
Patron Saint of Nasugbu
Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines