Sunday - December 15, 2014
At 7 o'clock in the morning, we arrived in Taal Heritage Town. It felt good to be walking down the old streets of this old town on a perfect sunny day. At long last, I'll see and experience heritage in this side of the country. The thought of visiting old houses, and old folks with old stories, as well as the old big church. Oh, speaking of that church, everyone seemed to be heading there that morning. It was Sunday nga pala, the day of worship.
|We're both Catholics, so might as well just attend the mass that morning inside the Basilica of St. Matin of Tours. And besides, a part of me tells that I need to be connected again to Him. Now, someone's starting to sound so holy.|
As we walked out of the massive basilica, the first building we indulged our eyes in is the old Casa Real found just across plaza. Being the second most prominent structure in town, it will surely not go unnoticed. Then there's also Escuela Pia, a classy stone building that used to be a school (now, the Cultural Center building).
The heritage town of Taal displays a typical Spanish town setting—a central plaza surrounded by more important civic buildings such as town hall, church, public market and school.
|Another important building found along the plaza is Escuela Pia. The building initially served as a place to hold masses while the basilica was under construction, but later on, it became a school. Now, it houses the Cultural Center of Taal Town.|
|Batangas Lomi in Taal Town. Believe it or not, this is one of the best that I've ever tasted. Hindi ako nagbibiro! I'd like to recommend it to you when you visit Taal Town, the karinderia is located beside Casa Real, on its left side.|
Soon after that delectable encounter with a bowl of lomi, we proceeded to our walking tour of the town. Using only a map, which I downloaded online, as our guide, we were able to locate most of the heritage houses. Actually it's not difficult to find these houses since most of them are concentrated in just one side of the town.
From the central plaza, the first house we spotted was Casa Villavicencio. It's a heritage house owned by the influential Villavicencio family (yup, owner of Flying V gasoline company) that has been converted into a museum.
|The museum was open when we got there, so we might as well give it a go.|
The tour inside Casa Villavicencio (P100) basically tells the story of Gliceria Marella Villavicencio, the unsung heroine of the Philippine revolution, and lets you have a glimpse of the typical Spanish house setting. Richard would also throw in some trivia and interesting stories about Taal Town, so I really find his tour much enjoyable.
|The casa has retained its original Spanish colonial ambiance with its old yet classy furnishing.|
|the proper way of using the "chismosa" chair.|
|With Richard, the energetic museum guide of Casa Villavicencio. I commend him for his job well done.|
|The museum tour includes a merienda of a suman, 2 bread, and a cup of sweet tsokolate. San ka pa!|
|Bust of Gliceria Villavicencio, the Godmother of the Philippine Revolution|
|Church of the Our Lady of Caysasay|
|the image of the Our Lady of Caysasay was discovered by a local fisherman on Pansipit River. It is believed to be one of the oldest Marian image in the country.|
|Sta. Lucia Wells|
|Pilgrims would visit the place to collect the healing waters of Sta. Lucia Wells|
|Galleria Taal, or the Ilagan-Barrion Ancestral House|
|more vintage cameras|
|another old type of camera that uses a small table to work like a tripod.|
|Don Leon Apacible House|
Walking further down the street, we found the heritage house Villa Tortuga. It was unfortunately closed by the time we were there.
Anyway, standing next to Villa Tortuga is the house of another prominent individual during the establishment of the First Philippine Republic, the Marcella Agoncillo Heritage House. Marcella is the one who sew the first Philippine National Flag.
|A bronze statue dedicated to the maker of our national flag.|
|With the help of her daughter Lorenza, and Rizal's niece Delfina Herbosa de Natvidad, Agoncillo completed the Philippine National Flag in Hong Kong in 1898. The flag that was later on waved on the day of Philippine Independence.|
|the neglected Gen. Ananias Diokno Heritage House.|
|Ylagan-Dela Rosa Ancestral House|
|Gregorio Agoncillo Mansion|
But wait there's more. There is one more thing that both of us yearn to do in this heritage town—that is to climb up the heights of St. Martin of Tours Basilica. So before we left, we headed to the church and did the thing.
|a tour of Taal Heritage Town is probably not complete without reaching that spot on top of the church.|
|We were charged P40 each to be able to go up the church.|
|It's pretty dark en route to the viewing deck.|
|Finally, on top. Overlooking the heritage town from Asia's biggest Catholic church|
|Hurrah to my victory.|