If you’re fond of antiques, old houses circa the Spanish era, cobbled stones on the road, and the chance to dress up in a Filipiniana and have a photo shoot, you need not go as far as Vigan, Ilocos Sur. With just a mere two-hour drive away from Manila, you can experience all of the Philippines’ rich cultural Spanish heritage in the iconic and small town of Taal in Batangas.
I made a post about Taal before when I blogged about the Camera Museum. However, aside from that interesting museum, there are also other beautiful and equally artsy places to see.
Below are some photos of interesting places in Taal that I visited with friends.
The Basilica of St.Martin de Tours is a must-see. It’s also Asia’s biggest church and with that trivia, I know you would want to know why. Aside from the huge grounds of the church and the church itself, feel free to also explore around the area. This should actually be the first stop of your visit and you cannot miss it.
The Wedding Gift House
If you want some Philippine history and a tour of one of the largest ancestral houses in Taal, visit the Villavicencio Ancestral House and the adjacent Wedding Gift House. It dates back to the 1870s. The Villavicencios are one of the most influential and richest families in the town and were known to help or aid the Philippine revolution led by our national hero, Jose Rizal. They helped to finance, publish and circulate Rizal’s novels, the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. In fact, they even claim to have the first editions of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo – which were rightfully displayed in one of the rooms that was known to be where Rizal himself stays.
If you’re not keen on history, you can at least enjoy some art appreciation of the whole house, especially the Wedding Gift House.
An upclose look and view of the iconic Taal volcano can also be seen from Taal, where you can also visit the ruins of the old Taal town.
A chance to dress up in costumes circa 1800s in Villa Tortuga should not be missed when you visit Taal. They have a ton of clothes to choose from and they even do a photo shoot for you. I enjoyed this one a lot.
We stayed at Tampuhan Cafe Gallery which is a very artsy Bed and Breakfast place. They serve some authentic Filipino food and my favorite is their tapsilog breakfast. Their brownies are also to-die-for. For tours around Taal, this is also where you can book.
You can learn more about Taal when you click on the links I provided. It’s becoming a popular tourist destination so you should visit there soon.