Monday, November 16, 2009

Basilica de San Martin de Tours and revisiting the heritage town of Taal

It’s easy to overlook the town of Taal in Batangas since most people associate the name with the volcano. But this small town located three hours away from Manila has its old world charm – with old ancestral stone houses and churches that date back for centuries. The last time I was here was almost five years ago when I didn’t even have a point and shoot camera and we had just like half-a-day to explore which is nowhere near enough to scratch the surface.
Our first stop for the daytrip is the centerpiece of the town – the Basilica de San Martin de Tours. With a height of 96 meters and width of 45, it is virtually impossible to miss this towering stone edifice as its imposing size seems to stand guard over the town. First built in 1575, it was rebuilt at its present site in 1755 after being destroyed by the volcanic eruption of its namesake. An earthquake in 1849 required another round of rebuilding in 1856. What’s even more interesting to note is the resemblance of the fa├žade to St. Peter’s in Rome.
We were in luck as the amiable guard took us up to the belfry where one can have a panoramic view stretching to Balayan Bay to the west and Mount Maculot in Cuenca to the east. Last time I climbed this belfry, it was full of guano so it came as a pleasant surprise how clean and well-tended the church is now.

Inside, the altar beckons with its intricate designs and the silver tabernacle, which wow.batangas.com said makes it unique among churches in the Philippines. The side altars are equally interesting while the floor, well beaten in some places, wear the patina of the passing years.

The church faces the west so we knew we had to come back before sunset to catch the beautiful light. And oh, we were besieged by vendors of panutsa (sweet treat made from peanuts and brown sugar) and other local delicacies but I must say, the panutsa really tastes as good as I remembered it.  We also bought some familia candles (candles shaped like a family and offered for the family among other intentions) from Lola Nora and said our prayers before stepping out of the church to explore the town. 

Info: To go to Taal town from Manila, ride the bus (Jam, Tritran, et al) headed for Lemery at the terminals located along Buendia in Makati. Tell the conductor you’re boarding off at San Nicolas. • Fare: around P180 • Travel time: 3 hours • Last trip going back to Manila is at 6pm

13 comments:

Lawstude said...

it was a fun and hilarious weekend with you guys. sa uulitin. hanep ang mga og shots, aww!

lagal[og] said...

Bai, salamat. Nag-enjoy din ako sobra dun sa lakad natin kahit na walang tulog. Hat-awww! kasi :D

Lantaw said...

awwwwww! ganda ng mga [OG] shots!

Raffy Pekson II said...

Nice one, Oggie. I love the photo of the church facade with the leafless tree. Awesome shots!

I didn't even know this kind of "old world" town existed below the hilltops of Tagaytay. Another to add in the bucket list!

the donG said...

i like taal. i didn't appreciate it when i first visited it way back 2004 but during our trip last saturday, i saw how beautiful this town is. saya pa ng mga kasama. mapapa awww ka sa saya!

dodong flores said...

Nice shots, Bai. I'd been here in 2007 and was also able to climb up to the belfry. At that time, ang daming guano sa dinadaanan namin. It feels good to know na malinis na siya ngayon...

lagalog said...

Raffy, you're too young to make a bucket list :D In any case, this is a nice place to visit.

Dom, I also visited this place in 2004 but I really appreciated it more this time around.

Dodong, salamat sa pagdalaw. Oo, nagulat din ako at napakalinis at well-maintained niya ngayon which is good.

Chyng said...

beautiful! eto siguro yung event na nakatag sina Doms at Oman sa FB! ;D

lagalog said...

Hi Chyng, yep, this is the same trip with Oman and Dom. Thanks for dropping by :)

Ferdz said...

Love the first shot. Very moody ad it looks like a slice of rome nga. Sana lang we see active measures being done to preserve the church. Sayang kasi maganda sya.

lagalog said...

Thanks Ferdz. Sana nga ma-maintain nila yung church. That it is clean and guano-free is a good sign.

lino said...

ngayon talaga ako nagsisisi kung bakit ako di nakasama... next time talaga... inggit ako sa mga photos nyo...

lagalog said...

Lino, next time...

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