Aside from the Taal Basilica found at the heart of Taal Town, there is another church worth a visit nearby barrio Labac (also known as Caysasay). From Villavicencio House, we followed the ancient steps called Hagdan-hagdanan built by Father Celestino Mayordomo that led us to a smaller but charming butter-colored walls of Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine. Petite but full of character, the church was was built on the foundation of miracle by the image of Our Lady of Caysasay.
Gift is such as special word. And in this holiday season, gift giving even becomes a more popular practice. From small items, to shiny gadgets or expensive clothes, people have different ways to express their gratitude or love by giving gifts. And for a man during the Spanish times like Eulalio Villavicencio, it is giving a house was the perfect gift for his bride Gliceria Marella for their wedding. Built in 1871, the symbol of their love surely stood the test of times.
Barely a month when I last visited Taal Town, I found myself there again. It is such an interesting place that it’s worth exploring the second or the third time around. It’s only a few hours bus ride from Manila which makes it a nice weekend getaway. I wrote about the Taal Basilica before but it was just a cursory visit. This time around join me as we explore the grounds up to the bell tower.
Often mistaken as being part of Cavite or Tagaytay than Batangas because of its name, Taal Town is a heritage town, much like Vigan that showcases heritage houses and structures dating as far back as the 1800s. I’ve been to this town south-west of the Taal Lake before but have never really explored the place yet. So when an invite came to tour Taal Town again with Nokia and test out its latest Nokia N86 8MP on field, I thought it would a great time to explore further. It’s a full afternoon of exploration and all photos and video here are taken with Nokia N86’s 8mp camera-phone with a whopping 28mm wide angle Carl Zeiss Tessar lens.
The Taal Basilica Minore of St. Martin of Tours, is the biggest catholic church in South East Asia.
This is to continue the Taal Discovery. After our hike at Taal Volcano, we were off to the Taal Heritage town, which is 45min to an hour long drive from San Nicolas. It was already pass 5 in the afternoon when we reached the town itself. It was a very interesting town, quite small in contrast to Vigan but you could easily see the historical houses being towered by the gigantic Taal Basilica at the town center park. The Basilica is huge, and what a perfect timing that I forgot to bring my wide angle lens in times like this. I have to get really far just to take a shot of it.
A devotee lighting a candle and offering a prayer.
A bit unfortunate that it was already late and there was a mass on going inside the church. We couldn’t get up to the bell tower and view the whole Town of Taal from the top. So we just looked around the church. I’m really impressed by the huge columns that support the second level of the church. It looks very Roman and reminds me of the church pictures I see in Rome. Probably inspired?
This is the island in a middle of a lake, at the center of an active volcano in the middle of an island right at the center of a larger Taal Lake. Whew! Also known as the 1911 crater.
Taal viewed from the highlands of Tagaytay has never failed to mesmerize people. I for one am enchanted everytime I’m in the area whether to just pass by or to eat at one of my favourite restaurants overlooking the Taal volcano.
The imposing view of a dead Volcano while docking on the island
I’ve always have been interested in trying to hike the crater of the volcano. Finally I was able to do this. The Taal Discovery tour was supposed to take place November last year, but was cancelled due to volcanic activity at that time. Well it pushed through with the help of Miss Ruby of MFPI and 27 participants from Accenture. I was surprised at the sheer number as I was not used to leading such a big group and was keen more into taking photos and not having to worry about them. Well Miss Ruby did well in organizing with me on the background for support and Benjie of Accenture overlooking his invited participants. I also thought it would be ok since this is only a daytrip so it pushed through.