• THE YOUNG KATIGBAKS AND THEIR LIPA

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    Datu Dumangsil, one of the ten Bornean Datus who came to the Philippines, settled along Taal Lake near Mount Maculot up to the Tabgakin area. It was from the descendants of Datu Damangsil group that the Katigbak clan traces its ancestry.

    The Katigbak forefathers were then referred to as “ang mga kapatagan ng Tagbakin” (from the plains of Tagbakin), which later became Katagbakin and eventually Katigbak. The family eventually left the place when Taal Volcano erupted in 1754 and transferred to Lipa City’s present location in 1756.

    During the Spanish colonial era, the Katigbaks belonged to Tagalog nobility, forming part of the social enclave called the principalia or noble class. They held positions in government either as Cabezas de Barangay or Gobernadorcillos and enjoyed social and exclusive privileges. They were owners of vast tracts of land from Lipa and adjacent towns and were addressed as Dons and Donas.

    The Katigbaks expanded their wealth even more during Lipa’s coffee boom in 1886-1888, and over the years, their name has been synonymous with Lipa. Dona Segunda Solis Katigbak, who is known as Rizal’s first love, is affectionately called, is affectionately called the grand matriarch of the clan. In 1996, the National Historical Commission declared her home Casa de Segunda, as a heritage house.

    Today, Cayo, Keena, Andre, and Paolo Katigbak, represent the dynamic new generation of this prominent family.

    Juan Teodoro or Cayo is the eldest son of Johnny and Ebbot Villa-Katigbak. Their family owns the BatangasArgri Business Center (BAC), the largest dairy farm in Luzon, from which Milk Joy Corporation was founded. Apart from helping in the family business, Cayo works at UP Pahinugod in Los Banos, Laguna.

    Maria Kristina or Keena is the daughter of Joaquin Cecilio and Maria Teresa Umali-Pena Katigbak. Both the Katigbak and the Umali-Pena families are active in business – the former with the Mabini Academy, and the latter with the Bigben Complex. The reigning Mutya ng Lipa 2011, Keena is now on her third year proper in dentistry at the Centro Escolar University.

    Andre Dominic is the eldest son of Al Katigbak and May Ann Locsin Katigbak. His father’s company Katigbak Enterprises is into construction, while his mother is the present President of the Rotary Club of Lipa. Andre is a culinary arts student at Enderun Colleges in McKinley.

    Jose Paolo is the eldest son of Dindo and Princess Katigbak. His father, who is the incoming President of the Rotary Club of Lipa, is President of YCP Farms, while his mother runs My Skin Med Spa. Paolo seems to be following his parents’ footsteps in business and is now EVP and General Manager of Kia Balai, the only distributor of Kia cars in Batangas.

    Although they could very well establish careers in the metro area, they look forward to settling down in their hometown. Here is why they love their Lipa and their SM.

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    Cayo, Keena, Andre, and Paolo Katigbak at the My City, My SM launch in Lipa with SM VP for Marketing Millie Dizon.

    “The Lipenos are extremely hospitable, that’s why a lot of tourists like staying here. Sometimes guests come here to work or study temporarily, however, they end up falling in love with the place so much because people are so warm and the climate is so cool that they don’t like to leave it anymore.”

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    The young Katigbaks at the Batangas Dairy Cooperative Farm in Lipa.

    Cayo: “Growing up in Lipa has given me a sense of balance, it has made adapting easy for me because I get to experience the rural as well as the city life at the same time.”
    Paolo: “My fondest memory of Lipa is our family’s Christmas reunions in my grandmother’s house.”
    Keena: “I’ve lived in Lipa all my life. I was born and grew up here, and went to elementary and high school here.”
    Andre: “Batangas, which is well-known for its beaches, so I guess the fondest memories I have would be our family outings. These outings have been special and fun because I enjoy the fresh air, the calm environment, and great scenery.”

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    Katigbaks at the nave of the cathedral and their lighting candles.

    “The churches, like the San Sebastian Cathedral, are some of the historical must-sees in Lipa. They reflect the deep faith of the people in Lipa.”

    The San Sebastian Cathedral in the town proper is the seat of the Archdiocese of Lipa. The Augustinians administered the parish in 1605 until the end of the 19th century. Destroyed in 1754 by an eruption of the Taal Volcano, and was rebuilt in its present location and reconstructed in 1865.

    Built in Romanesque tradition, the cathedral building design used columns and arches in an upward and downward sequence, creating the effect of a light-and-shadow play. The hemispherical top of the church and the bell tower has a complex decorative strip and arched stained glass windows. The nave of the church is barrel vaulted and now decorated with modern chandeliers. Its ceilings are covered with religious paintings, and it has a spiral stairway to the choir balcony.

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    Casa de Segunda

    “If we would take visitors around Lipa, we would take them to Casa de Segunda.”

    The ancestral home of Segunda Katigbak, Jose Rizal’s first love, was built in 1880 in Calle Real. The house is an archetypal bahay na bato, and like most Spanish colonial houses, it ground floor is made of stone and the second floor, where the living room, dining room, and bedrooms are located, is made of wood. The windows are the big capiz (thin flat translucent shell) sliding windows, with ventanillas, which gives the house interior ample air ventilation.

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    Ala Fiesta Restaurant Lomi

    Paolo: “One of my favorite homegrown dishes is bulalo, because it’s very delicious with Batangas beef. I also like kare-kare, and we serve these dishes in our restaurant, La Fiesta.”
    Keena: “My favorite food here are goto, bulalo, and, of course, my favorite, lomi.”
    Andre: “The buko pie is the best here, I also prefer lutong bahay food.”

    The young Katigbak cousins enjoy their favorite homegrown food at A la Fiesta Restaurant, which is owned by Paolo. Lipa is not only known for its historical and religious sites, but also for its interesting food choices like the lomi – the city even celebrates the Lomi Festival annually.

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    SM City Lipa has made world class shopping, leisure, and entertainment more accessible to residents of this bustling Southern Luzon City.

    “ Having SM in Lipa gives you less of a reason to leave the city. As their tagline says, they truly have it all, and they have made everything accessible to Lipenos. Besides the convenience, it has created many jobs for Lipenos.”

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    The cousins at SM Department store

    Cayo: “After attending Sunday Mass here at SM, we walk around for a couple of hours and have lunch together. Sunday lunch at SM has become a family tradition and we always look forward to it
    Paolo: “If not every other day, I’m at SM about 60 percent of the week. I’m part of a civic organization, the Jaycees, and we like dining, watching movies, and shopping for clothes when we have an event or party here.”
    Andre: “I think SM has made the best impression and the greatest impact on the lives of Lipenos. Since SM has arrived, a lot of people are finding more ways to enjoy their time – appreciating high quality movies, dining out with friends, and shopping for clothes.”

    The Katigbak cousins discover a lot of finds at the SM Department Store.

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    For the Katigbaks, SM City Lipa provides fun activities with family and friends at Quantum and Worlds of Fun.

    Keena:  “One of my best childhood memories is playing patintero, habulan, hide and seek, and biking with my cousins. Although I am grown up now, the child in me loves playing games in the arcade.”