Taal July 2014

Long overdue post on my short day trip to the Heritage Town of Taal!

Every year, my college barkada and I schedule at least one out-of-town road trip. This year, we intentionally picked a place that we know we’ll end up geeking about together (versus just going to the beach or pool for a swim)! We all share a love for art, history, architecture, etc. (6 out of 9 in our group graduated from Fine Arts), so we figured we might as well go all out with our geekiness and spend our time doing these kinds of tours.

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Taal is about 2 ½-3 hours away from Manila. As soon as we got there, we met up with a tour guide who brought us to Taal’s famous historical landmarks.

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My friend Drew was so ready to start the day! He’s still using the same backpack that he wore to school 8 years ago, lol #thefeels

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Villavicencio Wedding Gift House was our first stop! 

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This late Victorian-style house was built in 1870 when a certain Eulalio Villavicencio married Gliceria Marella Villavicencio. Gliceria, or Aling Eriang, is considered one of the 1898 revolution heroes. 

The house also served as a headquarters for the revolutionaries at one point in time. 

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I was never one to watch local telenovelas, but our tour guide mentioned that this place has been featured on television quite a number of times already. It has become so common for the locals to see celebrities shooting here!

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Perfume bottles.

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Bed details. Hand-embroidered.

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Printed and written prayers.

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Just me, hanging out in my neighborhood… not! You know how I live for juxtapositions, right? Suddenly, leopard print in a 19th century house.

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Art nouveau everywhere. Spent a good few minutes spazzing about it with my friends (who were equally as excited as I was!).

A barkada that geeks out together, stays together. (Can’t believe we’ve been friends for 8 years now!)

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Our tour guide served us snacks! Good timing, as we were parched from all that time we spent in the car. They served us empanadas (fave!), suman, and the best part – hot chocolate!

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Before the time of mason jars.

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Tea, anyone?

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On the ground floor, you can find a room with historical memorabilia.

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The Villavicencios supported the publication and distribution of Jose Rizal’s most famous books – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. 

These were two of the earliest original copies. Wow!

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Hand of the King? #imissgameofthrones

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Our next stop was Galleria Taal, probably the only vintage camera museum in the country.

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It’s not just an ordinary museum though – the whole building used to be owned by Domingo Ilagan and Maria Martinez. Their third child, Candida Ilagan, was married to Antonino Barrion, a Batangas delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention.

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CAMERA-CEPTION. I really enjoyed this place, being a photographer myself! 

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Vintage cameras can look this adorable…

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…or this badass! 

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These are only just about 10% of all the vintage cameras in the museum. Galeria Taal is definitely a must-see, even if you’re not into photography. It’s always interesting to see how much technology has evolved since the earliest days. There are some parts of the museum where the cameras are arranged by brand. You can clearly see the difference that time makes!

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While most of us girls preferred the Victorian-style Wedding Gift House, the guys in our group preferred the art-deco goodness at the Don Leon Apacible ancestral house. 

Leon Apacible was Emilio Aguinaldo’s finance officer. Jose Rizal and Mariano Ponce also went to this house!

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Sometimes, your mind can’t help imagining creepy figures in these kinds of photos.

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Old school kalesa.

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This glorious table…

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Anyone play sungka?

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Doña Marcela Agoncillo Museum is one of Taal’s oldest buildings! It’s been around since the 17th century.

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Marcela Agoncillo is known to be the principal seamstresses of the first and official flag of the Philippines. She is also called the Mother of the Philippine flag.

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I wish there were more houses that still looked like this! 

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*nudges Crissey* Coke, oh!

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A collection of old French books. 

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Know your flags! We actually had a black flag with a skull before!

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Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine houses one of the earliest Marian images in the Philippines. In 1603, a man named Juan Maningcad found it when he casted his net in Pansipit River.

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Many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of Caysasay. During Holy Week, this place gets packed due to the number of loyal devotees from all over the country.

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A few minutes away from the church is the supposed site where Our Lady of Caysasay was found. The locals call it Balon ng Sta. Lucia.

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The water from these twin wells is said to have healing powers. 

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And last but not the least, we went to Basilica de Martin de Tours, considered the largest and oldest church in Asia. IN ASIAAAAA

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O hai gaiz – Neil, Kim, Adi, Tep, Drew, Kiks, Tracy, tour guide, and Rg!

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One of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen. 

Thanks to Giovanni Dibella, one of the two artists who painted San Agustin Church’s ceiling, we can enjoy the ceiling’s trompe l’oeil style. 

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Looks like scenes from a movie.

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Just before leaving the town, my friends went to a balisong store. The balisong is also known as fan knife or butterfly knife.

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If you search for butterfly knife on the Internet, you’ll see that it originated from the town of Batangas (where Taal is). Cool beans!

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After spending a few hours in the Heritage Town of Taal, we had to bid farewell. Thank you to my friends for dragging my butt to this place, because I’m absolutely smitten! 

I finally know what kind of local travel posts I can do! Don’t count on me to post about bikinis and martinis on the beach, lol