The Facebook page’s cover photo of “Ako ay Pilipino Roma” is all about the concern of the vast community of people from Batangas, who live and work in Rome, for what is happening and what might happen in the area that surrounds the Taal Volcano.
The Batangueno community is, arguably, the largest Filipino community here in Rome and I know hundreds of people from Batangas who live here.
Batanguenos have been working here since the early “80’s and many have built Italian-style homes on an once isolated hillside of the town of Mabini, which, for this very reason, has been nicknamed “Little Italy”.
Over 6000 people from the town’s total population of about 45,000 have moved to Italy.
Thousands of other taga-Batangas come from places like Balayan, Batangas City, but also from places that are very close to the volcano like Talisay or the town of Taal.
I can easily tell, when I hear them talking on a bus or in the metro, that they are from Batangas because I am very familiar with the fact that Batanguenos (like Bulaquenos) use dine instead of dito and ire instead of ito.
The Taal Volcano erupted without any warning back in January 12 and it only took it 6 hours to escalate the level of its dangerous nature, unlike Mount Pinatubo, which took days before escalating.
So the situation is highly unpredictable and the concern among the people who make up the “little Batangas” dine sa Roma is very high.