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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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November 17, 2009

taal: basilica of st. martin de tours

St. Martin de Tours Basilica
facade of St. Martin de Tours Basilica

When someone mentions the name "Taal" the images I associate it with were those of the volcano and the scenic lake. That changed when I visited the heritage town of Taal in Batangas last weekend. For me, "Taal" is now a sleepy town of colonial houses and the facade of St. Martin de Tours Basilica, glowing in the golden light of the sunset.

I did not realize there was a town called Taal before last weekend. I don't know why I haven't heard of it before and I was glad to tag along with a group of friends on a day trip there.

What will catch your eye, and its hard not to since its the biggest of its kind in the Philippines and in South East Asia, is the basilica on a hill in the center town.

St. Martin de Tours Basilica
the Basilica on a sunny morning

The original St. Martin de Tours Basilica was built in 1575 in the present day San Nicolas town (the original location of Taal town) near the shores of Taal Lake. The town (and church) was abandoned when Taal volcano wreaked havoc in 1754. The town was relocated near Balayan Bay (that explains why the town of Taal is miles away from Taal lake and Taal volcano) and the church was rebuilt in 1755, only to be reduced to rubble by an earthquake in 1849.

The church's present form, save for the bell tower that was destroyed by the Japanese during WWII, is how it looked like when Architect Luciano Olivero finished building it in 1878.

Facade Columns
facade columns

The basilica's facade, made to resemble that of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, features Doric and Corinthian columns. The original windows, made of capiz shells, were now replaced with glass ones.

The interior of the church was designed to form a cross, with aisle on decorated with paintings and stained glass windows.

Nave of the Basilica
nave of the church

The interior may not be as grand as it used to be but the intricate altars, retablos, and painted ceilings still inspire awe.

Intricate Main Altar
main altar

Some of the original paintings on the ceilings and murals  were lost due to renovations, but one could still easily spend a couple of hours marveling various artworks inside the church.

Dome Details
dome details

The real treat was coming back to the basilica on sunset, when the facade was lighted golden.

St. Martin de Tours Basilica
looks like a European autumn scene

More photos of this church here.

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Lito Antoque said...

ang ganda ng kuha mo sa church....

escape said...

i agree with the last photo. one memorable day! awww!

Unknown said...

love how you composed these photos. i've passed by this church when i visited Taal for business, but didn't appreciate its beauty until i saw your photos.

Anonymous said...

one day, i'll bring my family to this church.
really awesone photos! ang husay! i like the first and the last one. thanks for sharing!

ALiNe said...


Lantaw said...

@lito - daghang salamat bai!

@dom - pagod pero sulit :D

@luna - beautiful church nga ito, pero sayang yung interiors nya e hinde na masyadong maintained

@docgelo - naku bro you'll love it there, parang Vigan with its colonial houses

@Aline - thanks!

Oman said...

nindot bai. tatak lantaw.

David hogard said...

Really it is very mind blowing i very much impressive you,Thanks a lot for sharing this.


bertN said...

I didn't know about Taal, the town, and its impressive church. How far is that from Taal, the volcano?

Lantaw said...

@bertN, quite far, its nearer to Lemery (few minutes) and to Lipa (45 minutes)

Reena said...

oh, i've been here! college days...:)

i agree with the last photo. it's very reminiscent of european architecture.

Ronnie Correa said...

thank you for the pictures you upload in the internet
at least kahit hindi kayo nakapunta dito
nagkaron kayo ng pagkakataon na makita ito kahit dito man lang sa internet
this is ronnie parish staff dito sa taal basilica
thanks guys!!!!
hayaan nyo pagpunta ninyo we will intertain you!!!
God Speed

lakwatsera de primera said...

I was able to see that glowing facade in the late afternoon sun. It was beautiful.

harhar said...

how to reach there in st. martin de tours?,,, i want to go there,,, please help me,,, )bus)

Dexter | The Best of Taal Batangas said...

Wow.. Great shots taken in Taal Batangas. Taga Rito po ako at dito ako lumaki..

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