Taal is a quaint little town down in Batangas filled with rich culture, nice food, and history of men and women strongly laced into the Philippine Independence. Contrary to the simple context clues that Taal is where Taal Volcano is, it really isn’t but this isn’t the only reason why you should visit the place. Sorry, I can’t say much fanciful trivial things about Taal but I got 5 things you may want to check out which I found fun and memorable during our quick 2 day visit.
Bed and Breakfast
I am what most Filipinos call the “tulog mantika”, roughly translated “sleeps like oil”. I gloriously take my mornings in my bed and not until someone wakes me up or lunch comes in. But Taal has it’s je ne sais quoi that really will make you feel like waking up early is so going back to the basics of life and a sentiment of relatives. Probinsiya style. A detox for a city dweller.
Taal has a number of houses with which retained its rustic home and feel. Houses which are two or three bedrooms and communal bathrooms (mostly) become a perfect getaway for friends and family. Have I also mentioned that the houses have wooden floors, a nice large living room for get togethers and some with nice gardens and terraces?
Most of the bed and breakfast have their own kitchen open to the public and to their tenants. This means no rush to get home to find food or to stop over the supermarket.
Because most of the bed and breakfast is from rustic houses and the great Batangeños participation in the Filipino history, you may be lucky to have a quick tour of the house such as the where we stayed at Feliza Taverna y Café. Turns out, it was owned by the first President’s secretary. We also get to see a special flag which the Batangeños have used to represent their division and a special “high tech” filing cabinet which had secret compartments.
We have visited houses of those who participated in La Solidaridad and another which housed more than 150 cameras that has captured important moments in the Philippine history.
The Largest Basilica in South East Asia
Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours. I may have gotten the title wrong. Either way, it’s so huge and historical, you can feel like you’re in the El Filibusterismo where the Spanish walk and the elite Filipinos go to hear mass.
I can’t say much on how it’s built (yes, it’s made of coral, most of it) but I do have to say their Santo Niño is quite cute.
Another thing that I particularly find interesting is for a town that is historical, they are really open for people to touch some of their antiquities like the iron and the big ass door bell.
Food, Food, Food
I’d say take a gander but really food is meant to be served fresh and with good people to dine with. Get your hands on one of Taal’s pride – tawilis and tapa. Have them a la carte or boodle serving where a huge serving on a banana leaf is presented for everyone to share. Unfortunately, we’re on a strict diet so we went for a family style sharing. Either way, it was good.
Last but certainly not the least.
You’d prolly raise your eyebrow on this. The Philippine ice kachang, or better known as halo-halo, is an all time favourite. Usually served with beans, kaong, milk, leche flan, shaved ice and so much more, this Taal home grown halo-halo is something you have to roll out the red carpet, put out your lazy boy, put on a bib, and yell out “come to my tummy!”.
After a long tiring, sweaty, dusty walk around the town, we kinda ended it with the Halo-Halo sa Carwash. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to take some photos before and after even though we had 5 cameras and phones, though it will remain in our hearts. The halo-halo is not your typical with ube, kaong, red beans and all. It’s creamy, milky and with finely shaved ice it hits the right spot for all of us. Diabetic included.
I hope the list is meaningful for you as well as it did for me. Unfortunately, I can’t say much on the butterfly knife, aka the balisong. I’m too whimpy and clumsy to handle such. Though if you intend to buy, buy them on the stores by the road in the town called Balisong. Yes, there’s actually a town by that name.
Do let me know if you have anything else to share or you find this helpful.