The Basilica de San Martin de Tours or simply known as Taal Basilica is located in a most prominent area. It is easily visible in most major streets in the town of Taal. Typical of the hispanic influenced towns in the Philippines which considered the church as the center of town life. :) Standing on the top of the stairs leading to the Basilica you...more
This is a MUST SEE in the heritage town of Taal, Batangas. Not only because of its imminence in the history of Philippine Revolution but also as a proof that Filipinas were also actively involved in the fight for Philippine independence. Blogger Traveler on Foot wrote an informative piece about the...more
Visiting Villa Tortuga is a treat for history buffs. Not only do they have period pieces galore but they also have a studio where you can slip into period costumes and be photographed with a backdrop just like you see in antique portraits. Entrance to the heritage house is P50/pax. if you are going to don costumes then add P200/pax to the basic...more
We made the Basilica our first stop in our trip to Taal Batangas. Being "The Biggest Catholic Church in Asia", we were intrigued by its size. The church dates back to the 1800's and is definitely big. As we were going around the church, a security guard suggested that we go up the bell tower, which was 96 steps up. We were led to a small door where...more
The "Taal Burda" is famous for its craftmanship and unique design, but I never knew they also did beadwork. I'ved tried doing beadwork in my recent gown project and I am awed at the creations I found in the Taal Market. Had I seen this place 18 years ago, I would've bought my wedding gown here. They have package deals which includes the bridal gown...more
The Church of Our Lady of Caysasay is one of Taal’s distinct cultural structures housing some priceless relics dating back from the Spanish colonial period. Caysasay enshrines the 400-year-old 27-centimeter image of the Virgin fished out by a resident from the Pansipit River in 1603. Legend has it that the image enthroned in Taal Church used to...more
This national landmark is the birthplace of Marcela Agoncillo, known as the seamstress of the first Filipino flag. Located in a street aptly named in her honor, the museum prominently displays the different flags used during the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonialization. A mounument in her honor stands at the right side of the historic...more
One of the basic considerations in declaring Taal a UNESCO Heritage Site is the existence of well preserved ancestral homes. We didn't get to see all the ancestral homes, but we managed to see some on the way to Caysasay. It is amazing how such ancestral homes can give us a good time-warp feeling of Taal's glorious past, not to mention a deeper...more
Since you are on a pilgrimage anyway, consider it a sacrifice to use the "Hagdan-hagdan" route to Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine. It is some 125 steps down from the road, and that would be x2 including your going up. There are level areas between flights where the faint of heart can pause for rest.I suggest that pilgrims pray the rosary or mentally...more
While in Taal, visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, and lift up your personal prayer intentions to her.Our Lady of Caysasay has an interesting story that even the young or old Taaleno would be happy to relate to pilgrims. Local folks still remember how in 1603, a fisherman named Juan Maningcad found a small image, about 6 inches tall (which...more
My most unforgetable experience in Taal was when we went to the original site of the first miracle of Our Lady of Caysasay. To this day, the remains of the arch still stands, and below it are 2 wells from which pilgrims may get miraculous, healing water. Local folks say that one well is for healing body ailments, and the other is specially for...more
Your Taal visit wouldn't be complete without passing by the the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours. For a more solemn prayer, I suggest you set your pilgrimage on a weekday where there are less tourists and churchgoers. Aside from being a symbol of spirituality in Batangas, what is so special about the Basilica? It is an architectural masterpiece,...more
:) Go down to Talisay and rent a boat which seats seven (P800/boat, FY 2008 price) . A 15-min boat ride will be followed by a 30-45 minute hike/walk to the volcano crater. They have no restaurant on the island nor do they have lodging that caters to visitors. There is a Department of Tourism Office but with the state of the trail and the general...more
This volcano is popularly viewed from Tagaytay, with the postcard perfect, cone-shaped mountain being the main attraction. This postcard favourite however is just a pinch of the Taal Volcano. The whole island is Taal Volcano.We rented a banka (small boat) for P1000 to go to and from the island. The hike to the crater does not require a guide nor a...more
There is no restaurant on the island but residents on the island are willing to kill, dress and cook a chicken for you for the right price. There is also one who is willing to scoop up tilapia from his fish pen and cook it for you for a fee (P100/kg + P100 cooking fee-price negotiable). You will have to order your food before ascending to the crater as it will take them an hour to prepare your food.
We opted to give this so-called privilege a miss as the people there started to get pushy when we wanted to have some fish cooked for us. The aggro was just not worth the experience of eating on the island.
I would suggest that you pack a sandwich, some fruits and drinking water with you when you visit the volcano.
This type of vehicle is very common in Taal and in the Philippines in general. This is actually existing a long time ago in every part of the archipelago. This is built by vehicle manufacturer in the Philippines. If I remember it right, this type of jeep is available only in the country. Jeep like this made of stainless steel is the most expensive...more
Taal is overcrowded with tricycle. This resulted to heavier traffic on busy streets. Tricycle is a major means of transport in getting around the town. Before boarding, ask how much is the fare. You can also bargain for the fare if you are going to specific tourist destinations.Personally, I do not have problems with tricycle drivers. Most of them...more
If you feel like buying the local crafts of Taal, come wander around the public market. There are so much to buy. Taal is noted for Longganisa or Local Sausage, Taal Beef, Suman or Rice Cake, embroidered clothes, and fan-knives. These are their specialties so we can make sure they are done in such a way that you will treasure or like it.Also, find...more
Philippine Barong and Saya (Gown) are very famous in Taal, Batangas. Barong can be worn by either women or men depending on the style. Available for men are dress shirts and for women are gowns with intricate cutwork and crochet insertions. Obviously, most of them are embroidered and handmade. Although nowadays, manufacturers paint them with...more
Batanguenos (local people of Batangas) have a reputation of being brave because of the 'Balisong'. This is a Philippine handmade fan-knife that is supposed to be found and purchased in Batangas and Taal is no exception. Being a former resident of the province, I know for a fact that women carry them in their bags for protection. I know that women...more
As in other provinces I've been to, locals have a different concept of distance. What may be NEAR for them can be already FAR for us; what could be walking distance for them is actually many blocks away and tiring for us :(
Specifically in Taal, we were advised to just leave our Fortuner in the Cathedral's Parking lot, as it might be difficult to traverse the narrow roads going to Caysasay. We were told that there was a shortcut anyway that is walking distance only. We realized only later that what locals considered a shortcut and walking distance to the place was actually some blocks away and about 125 steps (I didn't really count, but that's what the security guard told me) locally known as "hagdan-hagdan" down the road.
The locals can't be blamed though; they are used to the route so perhaps it is very easy for them. Unless you are used to hiking, better take a tricycle going to the Caysasay Church.
When hiking up to the crater of the Taal Volcano, do not check if the sides of the cracks in the ground scattered all over the volcano island are hot. They are! I found that out to my sorrow!I got curious to prove to myself if that small fissure on the ground is really connected to the center of the volcano and if that whitish stain on the ground...more
If you do decide to walk/hike to the crater of Taal Volcano, please use a little common sense to avoid getting hurt. Here are some points to remember:1. Bring drinking water with you so you can replace what you lost through sweating.2. Dress appropriately. Wear clothes that will vent sweat and let cooling air circulate to cool your body down. 3....more
The weather in Tagaytay can sometimes be deceptive. The air might be cool and the sky overcast. But if you plan to visit the Taal Volcano, I suggest that you apply a lot of sunscreen to avoid getting that so attractive "boiled lobster look". Since you will definitely sweat the lotion off, please do remember to re-apply.more
Do not be fooled by the touts on the Taal Volcano Island who tell you that the trail to the crater is difficult and too long to walk.
First off, the trail up is only 4-kilometer gradual hike up. Any reasonably healthy/fit person can walk the whole way although the final hundred yards to the crater is steeper than the rest of the trail. The downside to walking is that the trail is dusty and sometimes the soil loose beneath one's feet. So watch where you put your feet.
Second, if you do decide to ride a horse, the owner of the horses will quote you a prohibitive price for rental of a horse e.g. P700. Do not snap this up (even if you can afford it!) The actual price is way lower than that, say P400, but you can definitely make a better bargain than we did.
Third, the way down is easier to manage so you can take a look around and get photos that you might not have time for on the way up.
Unique Suggestions: The trail is full of fissures with hot steam rising from the center of the volcano. You can then experience the thrill of being on top of one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines.
This fact alone can make you forget all the aggro that the mob of touts subjected you to. :D
Just by driving someone along the Taal streets and roads leading to the town, you will encounter fruit bearing trees like Coconut, Mango, & Banana. You will also find sugar cane plantation and bamboo everywhere. The latter two are abundant in any part of Batangas including Taal.I am posting all the pictures of trees I mentioned above for those who...more
I am posting pictures of local people of Taal who actually do the hand embroidery and bead insertions in a jusi material. Making them by hand is no secret. Stores would let you watch them. Afterall, this kind of business is an art and......needs a lot of patience!When you visit Taal, take a look, they will show you how 'easy' it is to finish a men...more