Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Brief Tour of Taal Town in Batangas

Last month one Sunday afternoon, I decided to take my family on a roadtrip in the historic town of Taal, Batangas. I have always wanted to see their basilica and their balisong shops.

We took the Tagaytay-Lemery route, passing the castle structure of the deteriorated Fantasy Land below. We took a short break along this zigzag road for some photo ops.

It was already past 4:00 pm when we finally arrived at the town proper of Taal. So we were not able to enter the Marcela Agoncillo Museum. :(

But we were able to enter their courtyard at the right side, where we took some photos of the Marcela Agoncillo's monument, while she's carrying the first flag of the country that she had sewn while in exile in Hong Kong.

Marcela Agoncillo is the wife of Felipe Agoncillo, our first diplomat who represented our country on the signing of Treaty of Paris, after the Spanish-Filipino war. She sold her jewelries to finance her husband's expenses for that trip.

We parked the vehicle at the back of this museum, along the bank of Pansipit River, the outlet of Taal Lake that goes out to Balayan Sea.

The caretaker of the museum helped us gain access to the Leon Apacible Museum, just a few meters uphill from our first site. 

Leon Apacible is a friend of Jose Rizal, perhaps one of the illustrados. He is a lawyer, judge, and had served as right hand of Gen. Miguel Malvar during the revolution. Later, he served as representative of Lepanto in Malolos Congress, before his death in 1901.

The house has been a meeting place of Jose Rizal, Mariano Ponce, and other heroes. Its good that his descendants and the municipal government preserved their home well, so that visitors can appreciate more our history.

The furniture are really great, made from finest materials during their era, and functional despite the absence of advanced technology. We just gave Php 100 donation, plus tips to the 2 museum caretakers, for allowing us to enter the museum though they were already closed.

Early clothings, kitchen utensils, a cold storage box, and even a vault are some of the items on display as well. 

Last site we visited is the Taal Basilica, the biggest basilica in Asia. First constructed in 1575, it was destroyed by Taal Volcano's eruption in 1754, reconstructed a year after, before being destroyed by earthquake last 1849. The present church was reconstructed in 1856.

This is one site that should not be missed by visitors. Its just so grand, and there are plenty of good photo opportunities.

An old large bell made in 1840s is on display near the parking area, fronting the church.

We should have tried a local eatery and visited some balisong (fan knife) stores, but there was a power blackout as we left the basilica. Anyway, there is still next time to do what we failed to see and try on this beautiful and historical town of Batangas. 

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