Travel Guide: Accommodation, itinerary and places to see when planning a trip to Taal Batangas – Best Things To Do in Taal Batangas
Are you planning for a weekend getaway to visit the heritage towns of Taal Batangas? The best way to capture Taal Poblacion is to bring your backpack and itchy feet, to walk along the old roads leading to 19th century ancestral “bahay na bato” houses, cultural sites with historical events from Philippine revolution heroes during the Spanish colonial era, artefacts and heirloom from prominent families, and Taal culinary recipes. Best Things To Do in Taal Batangas depends on your travel curiosities.
CULTURE IMMERSION. Heritage towns turned into museums gain an understanding of the past traditions, arts, humanities and the old ways of life. There are a number of museum exhibits in Taal Poblacion, close proximity to each other. Don Gregorio Agoncillo White House is full of historical facts from the daughter of Don Gregorio to being a wife to Emilio Aguinaldo; in modern days, the chair beside the window is said to be the resting place of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago while waiting for her bespoke clothes. The door entrance is PHP70/person. Other museums with fascinating architectural heritage that are worth visiting are: Galleria Taal, Leon Apacible Museum, and Marcela Agoncillo Museum.
GET LOST IN THE LITTLE VIGAN OF THE SOUTH. Ancestral homes are said to be over 180 here in Taal.
Some notable residences are: Casa Punzalan, Casa Recuerdos, Paradores del Castillo, Casa Villavicencio, Casa Herencia, Ylagan Dela Rosa Residence, and Villa Tortuga. These restored ancestral homes are converted into hotels and some bed and breakfasts. They also turned the old houses into makeshift museums. Door fees are charged depending on the establishment.
KEEP THE FAITH AND APPRECIATE THE OLD RELICS. This heritage site is usually the first on the list, the glorious beauty of Basilica of St. Martin of Tours popularly known as Taal Basilica, according to people’s belief it’s Asia’s largest Catholic Church with 96 meters long, 45 meters wide, and 96 meters tall. The original structure was destroyed by the Taal volcano eruption. Today, the Baroque edifice was made of adobe and coral stones. Get up close with the oldest bells of Taal Basilica – – the Belfry View Deck. Donate PHP50 and face your fear of height and tight spaces. Scaling on the staircase is extremely tight but once you reach the top, a view of the old heritage town proper is visible. A 15-minute stay is allowed at the Belfry. Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine is a small chapel with murals in honor of the 17th century old miraculous image of Virgin Mary. Just meters away is the Balon ng Sta. Lucia (considered the old Caysaysay Church), the water from the twin wells is said to have a healing effect. During lenter season pilgrimage visit the rural area, it has a bath area where you can take a bath from the waters of the well. You can chip in a small amount of donation for the upkeep of the site. This chapel was ruined by Taal volcano eruption. Around the area is the giant staircase of San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps known as pilgrimage’s “hagdan-hagdan,” the stairs are made of granite material with 125 steps circling the town proper on both ends.
LEARN FROM THE MAKERS. Batangas are widely known crafters of balisong, some call it butterfly knife or fan knife. Visit the Barangay Balisong to complete your Taal adventures. Tips when buying from original makers: the balisong should have markings like this: “IXI” and the blade should be thicker on top. You can also buy balisong keychains and necklaces as your travel souvenirs. From Taal Public Market and artisan shops, visit the original makers and embroideries of gowns and Taal barongs. They are known as the major suppliers for gown/barong shops nationwide.
DISCOVER BATANGUEÑO CUISINE AND DELICACIES. As a DIY traveler, we want your experience to be enjoyable, and as much as possible fulfilling. Honestly, we regret to say there are a few commercialized foodies here in Taal that are not worth mentioning. But there are good deals to choose from. We recommend buying your pasalubong in Taal Public Market, they have Ka Biko’s Taal Tamales (PHP20) an heirloom secret recipe of the family of the late Ka Biko which was passed on to his children as part of Taal’s legacy. These tamales are sold every morning before sunrise at Ka Biko’s place. But here at Taal Public Market you can buy them for PHP25 even in the afternoon. The tamales have a month-long shelf-life as long as it’s kept frozen. Other authentic Batangas pasalubong are: kapeng barako (ground coffee), tablea or tsokalate, atchara, kalamay, ube halaya, dried tawilis, dried biya, dried kamias, squash shingaling, Taal tapa sold by the grams, suman sa lihiya – say “pahiling” so vendors can give you a sample, Taal empanada in pork, chicken, or vegetable, minatamis na kundol, panutsa sa Batangas, pinindot or bilo-bilo, macapuno sweets, lambanog. If you’re in the sides street “kainan” or restaurant order these: Taal Lomi, Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinaing na Tulingan, Taal Tapa (TapSiLog type), halo-halo, Batangas Tilapia (they say tilapia here are “manamis-namis”), minatamis na saba, and fried tawilis.
The lomihan right across Taal Basilica sells lomi overload and halo-halo for a rock-bottom price. We haven’t tried the Tampuhan Café but heard positive feedback about it. At Don Juan Boodle House make sure to make a “panimpla” (seasoning) to add that extra kick. Ride a tricycle going to Leo & Gie, the Lomi Overload (PHP60) topped with spring rolls, chicharon, crispy kikiam, fried siomai; while the Lomi Special (PHP70) has all the ingredients with overload except that it has Sisig. Their halo-halo (PHP75) is served with buko. The dramatic ambiance deserved a place in your social media though.
ENJOY THE RESORTS AND ACCOMMODATION. Family-oriented hotel resort Abby’s Garden Resort is the best possible place to stay with its Mediterranean inspired interiors, facilities and value for your money. It can accommodate traveler’s up to 12 backpackers for a family suite for just PHP5,000 ++ for an overnight stay! And as low as PHP3,500 for 5 persons. Enjoy the nature, birds chirping, blooms with their Instagam-worthy Victorian garden and pool beside the European gazebo. Located in Aroma, Butong, Taal. You may inquire thru Sir James of Abby’s garden Resort and mention this blog to get extra ordinary lodging, ciao!
A friendly reminder to all travellers, don’t just visit a place for social media posts, make sure you don’t leave a mess/garbage behind as well. Travel responsibly.
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