When you think of Taal, your mind immediately flies to a viewing deck somewhere in Tagaytay with the Taal Lake in full view. That, or a grainy textbook picture from elementary school.
But if you have a day to explore, you should definitely head over to Taal Heritage Town. Known as a historical landmark, it is home to hundreds of buildings from the Spanish colonial era, many of which have been preserved and used as museums and cafés, or repurposed to accommodate the modern lifestyles of Taal locals. Here are some activities we recommend for a Taal Heritage Town day trip.
Travel Back in Time
Galleria Taal is an ancestral home converted into a vintage camera museum and café | Photo courtesy of Nhoel Bristol on Instagram
Photo courtesy of Aisa Ipac on Instagram
Photo courtesy of Janelle Sy on Instagram
There are countless ancestral homes that are open to the public, kept in pristine condition. Keep in mind that these houses were once homes of notable Philippine heroes and revolutionaries such as Felipe Agoncillo, Marcela Agoncillo, Gliceria Marella del Villavicencio and more—meaning that revolutions were planned in these houses!
Taal is also home to the Taal Basilica, the largest church in Asia (climb up to the belfry for a winning view of the sunset). Other cool sites to visit are the Lady of Caysasay Shrine (there have been reports of otherworldly apparitions here), as well as the healing well of Sta. Lucia. You can plan a walking trip on your own, or take part in a tour.
Gorge on Traditional Batangas Food
Head on over to the market to sample some meals that locals love to eat like the famous Taal tamales and panutsa, or drop by any of the restaurants in the city center to sample unique Batangas fare such as Taal Tapa, longganisa, authentic Lomi (it’s different from Lomi everywhere else in the country), Adobong Dilaw (they use turmeric for added coloring and flavor), Tawilis, Maliputo, and finish it off with some suman and warm bonete doused in good old hot tsokolate.
Shop for Balisongs and Barongs
Taal isn’t called both the Balisong and Barong Tagalog capital of the Philippines for nothing. You can find a couple of Balisong shops in the market, or dozens lining the roads leading into town.
You can also get fitted for a traditional, custom-made pinya barong with delicate embroidery in specialty shops near the market; if you have no time to wait, you can buy the fabric and have it made elsewhere.
Share your Taal day trip itinerary in the comments!
Article cover photo courtesy of Eric Banes
Header photo courtesy of Jeric Pena