Our first stop before heading Taal, literally stop for a photo at the ark, "Welcome Poblacion Taal."
The photo above is not me but my model for free, Joy of OccasionsofJoy.com.
Taal is just a few minutes away from my hometown. I frequent Taal as it is the next town from my home in Batangas but I have no idea of the story behind the heritage sites. One of the houses that we visited was Casa Villavicencio, the house that served as refuge of our heroes. It is embarrassing to say that I only got to learn the story behind the house that we visited during that quick tour. We owe a lot to our heroes who fought for our freedom that we are embracing today. I also only learned about other heritage sites like Don Leon Agoncillo Casa, Galleria Taal. Casa San Martin, Gregorio Agoncillo to name a few.
Two notable heroes from Batangas are Apolinario Mabini and General Miguel Malvar. Batangas is known as Cradle of Noble Heroes. One of those who supported the revolution was Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio, the forgotten heroine of the Philippine Revolution.
The story of..
To give you a brief history, Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio also known as "Aling Eriang" was born in Taal. The house on top of the hill, Casa Villavicencio, was a wedding gift to her by her husband Eulalio Villavicencio, also a descendant of a wealthy family in Batangas. The house was not only the refuge of battle weary soldiers but also the secret meeting place of revolutionary leaders.
We were lucky to have been welcomed and toured us around the house by Mr. Ernie Villavicencio, the fourth generation descendant and great grandson. Because of his passion to maintain the heritage site, he began to restore the house in 1994 and it took many years before it was finally done, together with his wife, Maria Rosario Ria Saldana Benedicto. The couple spearheaded the advocacy to maintain the heritage sites in Taal.
The children watch a short video of the history of the Casa Villavicencio before proceeding to a short tour.
The house materials such as Narra, Ipil and Molave were solid that were built to last many years. One of the staff told us that a group of students from Manila just visited the place for a heritage tour lately.
Mr. Villavicencio showed us a secret passage leading to the tunnel going to Taal Church. He said that there are other secret tunnels inter-connecting big ancestral houses and that also connect to Taal Basilica.
A number of Katipuneros disguised themselves as cock fighters or as merchants and secretly met in the house. Among them is the Supremo himself, Andres Bonifacio.
The old clay pot. You could just imagine the way of life back then.From the window, the beautiful view of Balayan Bay and the whole coastal of Taal and Lemery is a breathtaking site during that era. Today, that view is being blocked by different structures in town. You could see only a little view of blue sea from afar now. I could just imagine how breezy it was just facing the window overlooking the sea during that era.
I could feel a 42 degree Celsius warm that day and the children as such was inflamed too to dig more of the rich stories of Taal. The quick tour made them hunger to discover deeper of the history of town.
Other places that Mr. Villavicencio recommended us is Don Juan BBQ but we were in a hurry that day because we're rushing as the children were already sweating out at the peak of hot temperature at 12 noon time. We will definitely include the place in our places-to-visit list next.
Casa Villavicencio is open Monday to Sunday for an entrance fee of P100 and that includes photo ops, coffee and snack.
For other info about heritages site in Taal, please visit their website: taal.ph/
"You well know I am willing to shed my last drop of blood for the good of our country. I have sacrificed everything, even what is most sacred to me, my husband's life, and if necessary, my fortune and life and that of my children for the freedom of the Philippines."- Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio
33 Marella St. Taal