Writer Xue Yao in the essay “Stories of the Little Streets” compared an old house to a book. Yao writes, “The old house is like a book, enter and read it, and you will find yesterday, today, and tomorrow written on the page.” The essay appears on the book titled “Lugar: Essays On Philippine Heritage And Architecture,” which examines how Philippine architecture embodies the culture that created it.
In the heritage town of Taal in Batangas province, tourists can learn about the town’s glorious past, present and future as well as the culture of Taaleños through the rows of Spanish-era houses and similar structures that still stand today in the area. Situated just 2 to 3 hours south, Taal is now an emerging tourist destination for those wishing to learn about the history of the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period.
Your tour of the Taal Heritage Town should begin at the Tourism Office located at the foot of the Taal Basilica (near Escuela Pia). At the Tourism Office, you may get free brochures and maps that would help you navigate through the town. It would be a nice opportunity to chat with tourism officers and ask them for travel tips. The Municipal Tourism Office also offers guided tours and sells souvenir items.
The best way to explore the town is on foot although tricycles also ply the area.
Taal, Batangas Tourist Map
Download and print this map when you visit the Heritage Town of Taal. You may also save it on your phone or portable media player for easier access.
The map is from taal.com.ph although I added some attractions that were missing from the 2013 version.
Best Time to Visit Taal, Batangas
The best time to visit Taal, Batangas is during the El Pasubat festival which celebrates the town’s delicacies and craft products. The El Pasubat coincides with the Taal Town’s founding anniversary during the last week of April. While this is a festival, the town remains calm and not too crowded. It is actually the perfect time to check out the old houses within the town because entrance fees are waived during the festival. You may also interact with the homeowners or the caretakers during the festival.
Operating or opening hours of houses and galleries vary although houses managed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines are free and open to the public.
Must Do Things in Taal, Batangas
- Visit the largest Catholic Church in the Philippines and possibly in Asia — Taal Basilica.
- Shop Taal food and craft products at the Taal Public Market.
- Try period-appropriate costumes at Villa Tortuga.
- Venerate the Our Lady of Caysasay image.
- Visit the Sta. Lucia Well and drink from it.
- Take the San Lorenzo Ruiz steps (125 granite steps) leading to the town center.
Commute Directions: Manila to Taal, Batangas
City dwellers can easily reach the municipality of Taal, Batangas by bus.
- Take a bus (JAM Liner) headed to Lemery, Batangas at the Buendia, Pasay Bus Terminal.
- Tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Flying V gasoline station where jeepneys bound for Taal, Batangas pass by.
- Take a jeep to reach Taal, Batangas.
- Get off at the Taal Basilica.
First Trip from Buendia, Pasay Terminal to Lemery: 04:00am
Interval: 30 minutes to 45 minutes
Commute Directions: Taal, Batangas to Manila
- From Taal, Batangas, take a bus headed to Lemery.
- Get off at the Lemery Bus Terminal of JAM Liner.
- Take a bus bound for Buendia, Pasay Terminal.
Taal, Batangas Travel Expenses
P 180/pax – Bus Fare (Buendia, Pasay to Flying V en route to Taal)
P 8/pax – Jeepney Fare from Flying V to Taal Town
P 70/pax – Admission Fee to some ancestral houses (rate varies from one house to another)
Taal, Batangas Contact Information
Office of the Mayor
Phone: (043) 740-2483
Telefax: (043) 408-0577
Credit: Original Taal Poblacion Map from taal.com.ph