Text and photos by Paola Navarette
More famous for its heroes than its cooks, Batangas is a province whose cuisine encompasses the
stretch from coast to mountain, influenced by geography and politics.
Located at the southernmost edge of western Luzon, a cultural mash-up of Spanish influence and
Filipino tradition make this province unique.
Exploring Batangas’ Taal Town, home to hundreds of heritage structures dating from Spanish
colonial period, may be a long work. But travelers who find their time limited to hours rather
than days will not be disappointed.
A reasonable two hour drive from Manila via Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway,
which runs from Santo Tomas, Batangas to the Batangas Port, makes its easier for guests to visit
the heritage town.
Take a stroll down memory lane with these picturesque destinations in Taal:
1. Museo nina Marcela Mariño at Felipe Agoncillo
With numerous ancestral homes, it can be said that Taal is the shy sister of other heritage towns
like Vigan. One of the town’s oldest houses is the Museo nina Marcela Mariño at Felipe Agoncillo, built
Relieve that patriotic feeling upon seeing the home which was owned by Marcela Mariño
Agoncillo, the woman who designed and hand sewn the first Philippine flag while in exile in
Mother of the Philippine Flag, Marcela Agoncillo
It features seven galleries explaining the life of Marcella Mariño Agoncillo and his husband and
the first Filipino diplomat Felipe Agoncillo, history of Philippine sovereignty, symbols of the
and the evolution of the Philippine flag.
2. Taal Basilica
The Taal Basilica, also known as The Basilica of St. Martin de Tours, is a must-see in Taal, especially for those interested in design and architecture.
The baroque-style basilica, built in the 18th century, is also touted as the largest church in
Southeast Asia, standing 88.6 meters long and 48 meters wide.
The chapel’s grand adobe interiors and intricate mosaic floors will leave you in awe. Its choir
loft also offers magnificent views of the sanctuary.
For ₱50, you can go up to the Basilica’s bell tower and be rewarded with the serene views of the
3. Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay
Home to the 17th century image of the Virgin Mary, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of
Caysasay is visited yearly by thousands of Chinese and Catholic devotees.
According to the town’s tale, the church’s image was found by a fisherman named Juan
Maningcad in 1603, in the Pansipit River in Barrio Caysasay, Taal.
Its shrine is well-reserved and exquisitely made with coral stones, rarest and most-valuable of its
4. Well of Sta. Lucia
A 10-minute walk in San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps beside the Caysasay Church will lead you to the
miraculous well of Sta. Lucia.
The historical site is known for its miraculous events. Devotees who return to the site donate
flowers, rosaries, and dresses that can be worn by the saint.
5. Goco Ancestral House
Located at Calle H. Castillo, The Goco Ancestral House is one of Taal’s earliest bahay na bato,
dating back to year 1876.
It was formerly resided by former Ambassador Raul Goco and his father Juan Cabrera Goco, the
treasurer of the Katipunan.
The house now offers mouthwatering array of Taaleño dishes such as Tapang Taal, Sopas a la
Pobre, and Sinaing na Tulingan.