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November 21, 2011

taal town: a smugmug photowalk

Basilica de San Martin de Tours

Though I've been to Taal a couple of years ago, I welcomed the chance to revisit it with old and new friends. So when the local SmugMug group organized a photowalk I did not hesitate to sign up.

Taal is one of the places to get a glimpse of Philippine's colonial past. Old colonial houses seeped in history and centuries old churches are well preserved and are accessible to the general public. Taal's advantage over Vigan (another heritage town far up north in Ilocos) is that its only a few hours away from Manila (Vigan is a good 9-10 hours bus ride).

Our first stop was the Taal Basilica (Basilica de San Martin de Tours). Through I had taken photos of this grand church before, it still offered lots of nice angles to keep our group occupied.

Side Altar
one of the side altars

We went up the bell tower to get a spectacular view of the town and its surrounding vistas.

Basilica Rooftop
Basilica rooftop

After lunch we made a quick detour from the usual destinations to a "panutsa" factory. It was something which was new to all of us in the group. Panutsa is a sweet Filipino delicacy made of caramelized brown sugar and peanuts. Its very common in this region and you'll see vendors selling this in bus stations, churches, and almost all public places.

Related: Panutsa Factory

Panutsa Factory Shooter
peek at the panutsa factory

We also made a quick stop at the miraculous Our Lady of Caysasay church. Just like the Basilica, it offered a few more nice POVs just when you think you've seen it all.

Our Lady of Caysasay Church
Our Lady of Caysasay facade

view of the altar from the pulpit

After Caysasay church, off we go two of the popular old houses in Taal: the Agoncillo house and the Villavicencio "Gift House" (both houses are being maintained by the Villavicencio family). Whats great about these places in Taal is that they are within very short distances from one another, usually just a few minutes walk. I did not shoot much in the Villavicencio house due to lack of time (besides I was able to take photos of the interior during my previous visit).

Agoncillo House
house of Gregorio Agoncillo

We were back to the Basilica just before sundown. The church directly faces the west so its corral stone facade turn golden a few minutes before the sunset. Unfortunately the sun hid behind clouds just as it was nearing the horizon.

Taal Basilica at Sunset
Basilica at sunset

The upside was that the clouds exploded in amazing hues of orange, red, and pink.

Merry go round at sunset

The small fair in front of the church (practically at the Basilica's doorstep) came alive as the last colors in the western sky faded.

Night Market after sundown (in front of the Taal Basilica)
night market comes alive

We posed for the requisite group hug before darkness finally win over and necessitate the use of ridiculously high ISOs. Tired but happy of our "keeper shots", we made our way back to our van and settled in for the trip back to Manila.

Pieces of History
  • Gregorio Agoncillo is the nephew of Felipe Agoncillo, a lawyer who took part in the Treaty of Paris negotiations that resulted to the sale of the Philippines to United States by Spain.
  • Felipe's wife Marcela Mariño was the seamstress of the first Philippine flag. Their family mansion later became known as Agoncillo house. So there are two Agoncillo houses in Taal.
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Bonzenti [Con Tour] said...

Congrats Allan. Voted for you bai.:-).

Dexter | The Best of Taal Batangas said...

You should have tried our famous Tapang Taal :) maybe next time

Lantaw said...

@Bonzenti, thanks bai!!

@Dexter, we had that for lunch, plus tawilis and bulalo :)

bendan said...

Nice photos you have. =]

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog. Great shots! Instant fan here. And sir, waht lens are you using? thanks!

Lantaw said...

Thanks bendan!

Lantaw said...

@Anonymous, im using Sigma 10-20mm

Anonymous said...

I just want to know how to get to the Basilica de Tours and Our Lady of Caysasay. I will come from Tagaytay side. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Please show me how to reach Our Lady of Caysasay by way of Tagaytay. Thanks.

Lantaw said...

From tagaytay, go to lemery, then from there taal town is just a few minutes. If you have private transportation its easier but I'm not sure if there are buses from tagaytay that go to lemery. Option is to ride a bus heading to nasugbu then ride a bus heading to lemery

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