Every now and then, we need a break from the busy and fast-moving life in the city. Sometimes we need to go somewhere peaceful where we could just walk, shoot, and breathe fresh air. Going to an old town would be the perfect departure from the overloaded work waiting at the office don’t you think? Jump in and see what a relaxing place is waiting for you in the heritage town of Taal!
Taal Heritage Town is located in the province of Batangas, it is a 3-hour ride from Manila, you only need to ride a bus and a jeep. It was once hailed as the capital of the said province. The town also shares a big part in Philippine history because some of the country’s bravest national heroes once lived there. Some of them were Don Felipe Agoncillo, a revolutionary hero and diplomat, and Doña Marcela Marino Agoncillo, best known for making the Philippine Flag. Up to this date, well-preserved ancestral houses still stand, showing visitors a glimpse of the lifestyle of people living there at those times.
I was given a chance to go to Taal because my friends from Shutter Revolution planned a 1-day lomowalk there, and fortunately I was able to join them. We arrived in Taal at 9:00 am and ate our breakfast there, we ate at a Lomi house. For the price of 35 pesos (that’s less than a dollar) you get to taste their special Lomi (a kind of noodle soup dish), which was very filling. After eating, we excitedly proceeded to the main attraction of the town, because everyone’s hands were itching to click some shutter buttons, especially because the weather there was great; the sky was at its bluest, a perfect day for slide films I say.
The Basilica de San Martin de Tours was the main attraction of the town, towering as the biggest catholic church in the orient. It was a Sunday when we went there, so the place was a bit crowded, it also wasn’t that surprising that the weddings in the church seemed to be one after another. Who wouldn’t want to get married in a beautiful church like this? For the price of 50 pesos (1 dollar and a quarter) you get to climb to the top of the church where a great view is waiting for you.
Our next stop was the Galleria Taal, it’s a camera museum. It holds a collection of different cameras, from large format, TLRs, stereo cams, brownies, even spy cams, and a whole lot of SLR cameras. Some of the cameras that I remember most were the Gold Nikon and Leica cams. Also included in their collection are old photos which included some historical ones. A copy of the photo of Rizal’s assassination hanged on their wall as one of the main attractions. This gallery is a must-see for analogue photographers who are planning to go to Taal.
We then ate our lunch at a restaurant named Don Juan BBQ, and had Taal’s specialty dishes like Tapang Taal (a sweet beef dish), and yellow adobo (yellow because yellow ginger is used in the dish). It was a wonderful lunch as I was enjoying it with friends. After lunch, despite the blistering heat, we continued our adventure. We arrived at this place where people believed that something miraculous happens almost every night. Apparitions of the Virgin Mary were said to happen in this church’s ruins.
After visiting the church’s ruins, we decided to just walk around town and feel its nostalgic aura. I can imagine people in the old times living their simple life in their houses, and I kind of envy them. Anyway, after walking around town, everyone was tired and decided to go back to the Basilica to have a rest and wait for the sun to set. The day won’t be complete without shooting in the golden hour.
All in all, It was a tiring day trip but it was worth it, especially because I got to bond with my friends as well as shoot great photos. Also, nothing beats that feeling of being ready again for another day of work, being ready the busy city life.