Heritage Town : Taal, Batangas

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The town of Taal in Batangas is only 2 hours away from Manila, and the escape from the city to this heritage village can be really dramatic. Almost like night and day. Imagine leaving the skyscapers and the humongous malls and then allowing yourself to travel back in time to something like 300 years ago. After a very short land travel.

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Taal was once the wealthiest town in Batangas and the grand mansions are a testament to its glorious and historic past. Many of the homes have been preserved and are open to visitors. A few have been transformed into cafes and restaurants, while some have opened their doors to visitors for bed and breakfast.

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The most noteworthy of the mansions are Casa Villavicencio, built as a wedding gift of a wealthy shipowner to his lady love who was belatedly acknowledged for her role in the Philippine revolution. There is also the Gregorio Agoncillo mansion, from where his uncle Felipe Agoncillo was born. The house is now famously known as the White House. There is Villa Tortuga where visitors can relive the past complete with period costumes. A visit to the Marcela Agoncillo house, probably he oldest of the famous houses, is so informative and is recommended for history buffs. The Apacible mansion allows visitors to see balisong actually being crafted. Across from the road is an old house where antique cameras and photographs are exhibited.

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Casa Villavicencio, the grandest of the Taal heritage homes

the Agoncillo "White House"

the Agoncillo “White House”

dress up and get yourselves photographed in period clothes and setting at Villa Tortuga

dress up and get yourselves photographed in period clothes and setting at Villa Tortuga

the diorama depicting the sewing of the Filipino flag at the 1700s Marcela Agoncillo house

the diorama depicting the sewing of the Filipino flag at the 1700s Marcela Agoncillo house

you may chance upon "balisong" making at the Apacible House

you may chance upon “balisong” making at the Apacible House

old photographs and antique cameras in still another old mansion

old photographs and antique cameras in still another old mansion

There are also the two most famous Taal churches – – Taal Basilica, the largest catholic place of worship in Asia. And the shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, a charming church with an interesting wishing well at the rear section, a few steps up a hill thru the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps.

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Taal Basilica

I did not expect such ornate design in a church of this modest size

I did not expect such ornate design in a church of this modest size  : Our Lady of Caysasay

and finally, go to the wishing well and sprinkle/pour yourself with the water believed to be miraculous

and finally, go to the wishing well and sprinkle/pour yourself with the water believed to be miraculous

There is also the old Escola, now a center of Taal culture, the Casa real (town hall) plus the nearby town of San Nicolas, the site of the first Taal town and its basilica,

the old escola, now a cultural center, right beside the basilica

the old escola, now a cultural center, right beside the basilica

Casa Real: the town hall

Casa Real: the town hall

the ruins of the original Taal Basilica in the nearby  town of San Nicolas

the ruins of the original Taal Basilica in the nearby town of San Nicolas

Truly, Taal is a most interesting destination. I have made at least 6 trips in as many months and it seems I will be making some more. Such is the effect that this town spells on visitors who love history.

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I have also written separately about all these destinations within Taal, including a recommended cafe with bed & breakfast facilities (no, I am not paid to plug this place – – – I went on my own and paid the full amount for the lunch I ordered).

the common area for the Tampuhan B&B guests  - -  dine here or laze around

the common area for the Tampuhan B&B guests – – dine here or laze around

Come visit Taal. And maybe find a piece of yourself thru its past.

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11 thoughts on “Heritage Town : Taal, Batangas

  1. Hi! when you visited Taal Basilica.. have you noticed a Hall named “Casa Saint Martin II Jubilee Hall” fully built at the left side of the basilica? its less 5-away from the basilica and its part of the church’s property. it was said that it was ordered for demolition by the supreme court for some heritage preservation issues. i just want to know if its still there when you visited it…. looking forward to your reply. thank you.

  2. Good evening sir, can we use this blog of yours as our reference for our project.
    Your truly,
    Katherine Espina

    • Yes, by all means. I never even indicate any copyright on my photos, not like most friends who are into photography. I take photos and write with the sole purpose of promoting tourism, in my own little way. Thus, others using my travel stories and my photos in effect help propagate travel, too.

    • Apacible Mansions and the Marcela Agoncillo houses are run by the National Historical Institute and do not charge entrance fees, but you are expected to make a small donation. Casa Villavicencio and the White House charge P70 per visitor. You may opt to pay P100 per visitor at Casa Villavicencio and get a merienda of suman, chocolate-eh, and bonete (just for P30 more than the P70 entrance).

  3. Hi, may I ask how do I go to Tagaytay from Taal Heritage town? I will spend a day here then move to Tagaytay on the day after. I will just do the commute, thanks!

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