Monday, June 9, 2014

Taal Heritage Town: Anniversary Date

Another Aniversario Especial! This is a long due post btw. XD 

Last year, we spent our anniversary at Cafeno (by my request) and we had a lovely date! 

For this year, we spent it in the nearer-in-Manila Vigan: Taal! 

Welcome to Taal - the balisong and barong capital of the Philippines!


Our first stop was the biggest church in Asia - Basilica de San Martin de Tours - aka Taal church.
J posing with the majestic church
It was grand outside. I applaud the management for not painting it with horrid colors (Basilica in Batangas looks horrid with the paint). Inside, I felt it was just like every other church in Batangas, but wider. THOUGH, you can really feel that it is managed better.


Back of the prayer room
The picture below is adjacent to the comfort rooms. Sad to say, it's smelly near it. Maybe they should put many sampaguitas around the CR or fix the pipes or whatever that is causing the stench. 
Look how huge this structure is!

Colored version

Antique-looking building adjacent the prayer room
The church is famous for weddings, of course. Perfect metaphor with that structure to say vows to.

Posing time again!

Photo of me and the church. Grand, it is.

Left side angle of the church. 

The magnificent church
We also walked around near the area. 

Saw a not-so-maintained Jose Rizal statue. Please, if anyone with power in Taal is reading this, please please repaint this statue. Jose Rizal, being our national hero, should have a more dignified statue. It partially reflects on how we view our culture. 
Buntong-hininga. Going back... The town is filled with ancestral houses. 
Interesting old houses nearby
The common two-storey house type during the Spanish colonial period.

For refreshments, we went to Taal Bistro. 

With the menu
Obligatory light photo
It's lunch time but the food there was a little pricey for our budget so we just bought gulaman (for J) and buko juice (for me).
The drinks were good, though still pricey in my opinion.

We also visited the bridal shops and the market! I didn't take pictures of the market, though. 
Bridal Shops
Home of barong tagalog, Taal is famous of its gowns and barong for rent/sale. Most of my pang-abay (gown to wear as bridesmaid/flower girl. The word has no gender, actually, so it can be used for the menswear too.) were rented there actually.

Taal visit would not be complete without the museums.
Our first destination is the Galleria Taal

Galleria Taal
Aka Ilagan-Barrion ancestral house. 

Galleria Taal is an ancestral house turned into a camera gallery. Entrance fee is Php70 per person.

Inside the house. 

This photo was controversial during the time it was published because it was said to be provocative.
Find out why during the tour! :)

View from the outside. Cat siesta.

She's holding a panorama film. 

Golden camera - limited edition.

Don Leon Apacible Museum

Next stops were Don Leon Apacible Museum and Dona Marcela Agoncillo Museum (though I didn't take photos from the latter. :( Battery problems). They didn't charge fees, but there's a donation box near the registration book. (We did donate but I won't say how much. XD)

The great man behind it all. Miguel Malvar's right hand, Emilio Aguinaldo's finance officer ad a delegate in the Malolos Congress.
Near the entrance displays pictures of what happened before our ultimate liberation, most of them are war photos. 
A haunting picture. Look, until the cost of our freedom sinks in.
Upstairs was the living quarters, as is common with the houses during that time. 
Up we went.

A couple pic (Ray Ban, hi future sponsor please) inside Don Leon Apacible Museum
Intricate metal artwork. 

Excuse my blurry photo, but I have to show you this because classy mosquito net holder. Yes, that's why.

Another classy metalwork. Toothpick holder. 

Us, with a copy of The Malolos Congress. Rayban, please sponsor our trips please please! :D
Because I don't have a photo from the Dona Marcela Agoncillo Museum, here's a trivia from their ever jolly and lively guide:
Trivia: You know about aliping sagigilid (gilid - corner)? They were called as such because they were only allowed to step on the corners of the house. They can only step on the middle if they're called for by their masters. The house turned into museum has those corners. 


My favorite find in Taal is Tampuhan Cafe. We took lots of pictures using J's phone, but sadly, most unfortunately for me, they were all deleted due to formatting. :(

Anyway, Tampuhan Cafe got its name from a painting of two lovers having their tampuhan. The painting was in the shop, and it really depicts its title. 

My love, feigning tampo.
The cafe is full of artworks - paintings, books, even the tables and chairs! Please check their FB page out for the pictures. Such beautiful (though tiny) place. I would go back just to take pictures that I lack here, promise.
They have cheap coffee and free wifi. What more can you ask for?
One of the tables was a capiz window. It was an ingenious way to recycle a beautiful antique thing.
As for the food, they offer cheap but good coffee. I tried brewed coffee and lava cake. It's an awesome combination. 

As for the last stop, we went again to the church, because we can't get over with its beauty. I also had to take the photo below.

J, the moon (the white dot above), and the church. 

Overall, I truly enjoyed the heritage town. Allow me to state it like this: the Filipino culture and history were overflowing in the town, that I as a visitor had to take some to be rooted in my system. 

Looks like we didn't get to taste any of Taal's delicacies like tapang Taal, so we should go back! :)

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