Agoncillo is home to beautiful people as it nests culturally inclined characters, national athletes, and award-winning celebrities.
The Everyday life of An Agoncillian
The day of an Agoncillian starts off way before sunrise.
Fisherfolks would wake up at 4:00 am to ready themselves to scour the Taal Lake for fish to be sold; while the others would wake up a little bit later to peddle goods at the public market.
The thick, rural breeze of Agoncillo embraces every woken being and a mug of kapeng barako demands itself to be rustled up.
Then the day lends itself for corporate transactions to transpire—the LGU functions, the carinderias smell of fried tawilis meals, and the suburban streets of Agoncillo are filled with people ready to go merrily about on their 8-4 day jobs.
Just before sunset, the employees return to their residences, and the boats come back to shore with a bountiful harvest gifted by the generous lake.
The low, droning sound of the approaching boats signifies that the day is about to end, and that the Agoncillians are to spend to rest of the night with their beloved families.
Agoncillian Slugger Tell Tales of Laureled Career
When Apol Rosales, now one of the fabled names in the national softball scene, thinks of that opportune intertown game witnessed by hawk-eyed scouts from the RP Blu Boys, the National Softball team of the Philippines; he quips, “Nakita nila siguro ang disiplina ko (They might have noticed my discipline).”
Softball scouts would normally seek players with exceptional arm strength, fielding range, and foot speed.
Albeit the then 17-year-old having an above-average sprint, what stood out was his discipline (not a drop of alcohol in his bloodstream nor a puff of smoke in his lungs) and his indubitable feel for the game.
He started out as a utility player - one who could backup multiple roles—a testament that his well-rounded set of softball skills is vital on his stints at Adamson University, Philippine Air Force, and his early days with the Blu Boys.
Also, that role might have given him a better understanding of the game, setting him up as a sought-after coach once he hangs up the proverbial gloves.
The Pook, Agoncillo, Batangas native has been playing competitive softball since 1993 and has represented the Philippines numerous times in international arenas.
His playing career spanned more than two decades—enough time to be teammates with his son, Justin, for the Blu Boys in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
True enough, Rosales continued to be a part of the softball community and coached little league teams in Florida and Michigan.
He also headed one of the regional teams in Indonesia and even got an invite to coach its national delegation.
But Apol's heart remains deeply rooted in his home soil.
After his retirement in 2019, he chose to swing his bat as one of the organizers of local softball development programs and as the head coach of the Blu Boys.
"Hindi naman kami tulad ng mga basketball players (we aren't like basketball players), he said hinting that softball isn't as revered nor as widely broadcasted in Philippine TV.
"Kapag nakikilala kami ng mga magpapalamig - okay na kami do'n (if the street vendors know our names, then we're okay with that)," he kids while rolling a familiar Batangueno accent.
The tables have turned for Mr. Rosales.
He is now one of the hawk-eyed scouts scouring the entire Philippines looking for athletes trying to make a name for themselves.
And maybe, with Apol calling the shots for the Philippine Team, we have a chance at witnessing another homegrown talent creeping his way up the international sports scene.
Marianito, a Master of the Subli
Marianito Buno, a 72-year-old retired local government personnel, has been performing the Subli since he was 19.
"Sa tagal na namin itong ginagawa, hindi na kami nag-eensayo (we have been perfoming this for so long that we don't feel the need to rehearse)," he tells when asked about the preparations before staging the subli.
His devotion to the Holy Cross and the Subli did not wane a bit despite the almost everyday invites of sponsors from Agoncillo among other places in Batangas and Luzon.
"Halos araw-araw kaming naiimbitahan dati, pero dahil sa pandemya, syempre nabawasan na (we got invites to perform almost everyday, but because of the pandemic, invites become infrequent)," he furthers.
Marianito takes joy in the fact that the Subli, a stark contrast to today's modern and westernized ways, remains ingrained in the life of Agoncillians especially in that of the younger generation's.
The devotion to the Holy Cross has been passed down from one generation to the other, a salinlahi, so to speak.
True enough, kids as young as seven and eight can be seen participating in some performances. "Kapag nakakakita kami ng batang interesado, talagang tuturuan namin sila para maipagpatuloy ang kultura at debosyon sa Sta. Cruz."
It can also be observed that there is also a good mix of teenagers and adults dancing in pairs amid the hours-long ceremony, implying that the Subli is an indelible parcel of the Agoncillian culture practiced by people across genders and generations.
Charlie Dizon personifies Magandang Agoncillo
Charlie Dizon’s (born April Rose Dizon Matienzo) acting career debuted in the 2017 romantic flick “Finally Found Someone".
The 25-year-old stunner also had feisty performances in Seven Sundays (2017), Parasite Island (2019), A Soldier’s Heart (2020), My Sunset Girl (2021), and Viral Scandal (2021).
But none enthralled the Agoncillians more when she and her father (former Barangay Pansipit Captain Ramon Matienzo) were casted as actors in ABS CBN's primetime show Bagani.
The Star Magic talent, although still relatively young in her acting career, has already won the MMFF Best Actress Award in 2020 for her lead role in "Fan Girl", besting Nora Aunor (Isa Pang Bahaghari) and Iza Calzado (Tagpuan) among other veteran nominees.
Carolino Volleybelles: From Pook Elem to the National Team
Sisters Mayeth and Michelle Carolino started their volleyball careers as varsity players in Pook Elementary School in Agoncillo, Batangas.
The sisters, now in their early 40s, said that they perform better as teammates rather than rivals.
They also had outstanding careers in Agoncillo College, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Philippine Army, and ultimately, the Philippine national team.
The sisters had respected and laureled careers that they were invited as guest players for La Salle and the University of Sto. Tomas in the Shakey's V-League among other teams in commercial leagues.