Rediscovering Batangas’ hidden gems

posted August 17, 2019 at 06:40 pm
by  Angelica Villanueva
Urban warriors seeking a quick getaway, a respite from the craziness that is Metro Manila, often take the two- to three-hour drive to Batangas—usually for three things: beaches, Taal Volcano, and warm bowls of lomi. 

But more than those aforementioned, Batangas has more hidden gems up its sleeves—attractions and experiences made for either adventure-seeker, beach-goer, or foodie. 

We know lomi’s great and frolicking on the beach sounds like a great plan, but here are some other things you can do when in Batangas. 

Experience heart-stopping activities

This is not your usual sporting event: experience the thrill and excitement of horse racing at Malvar’s Metro Manila Turf Club.

The 45-hectare horse racing field can accommodate 3,000 horse racing fans and bettors. It hosts races twice a week together with two other horse racing venues in the Philippines—San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona and Saddle & Clubs Leisure Park in Naic.

Try your luck by betting on horses called llamado starting at P2.

Relive history

One of the great things about Batangas is that it maintains and preserves its ancestral houses. 

Among them is Casa de Segunda in Lipa City, where Dr. Jose Rizal’s first love, Segunda Katigbak lived.

Rediscovering Batangas’ hidden gems
Inside Casa de Segunda in Lipa City with some of its furniture pieces that survived World War II.
Katigbak’s great-granddaughter, Lileth Dimayuga-Malabanan said that it was common for Batangueños to have big houses during that period since Lipa was once the only supplier of coffee beans in the world, and buyers would give sacks of gold as payment.

Built in 1880 by Segunda and her husband, Manuel Luz, the house and some of its furniture survived World War II. It was declared a National Heritage Site by the National Historic Commission of the Philippines.

One of the historical sites in Taal is the house of Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo, the “Mother of the Philippine Flag.” It was where Doña Marcela together with her eldest daughter Lorenza and Rizal’s niece, Delfina Herbosa de Natividad sewed the first flag of the Philippines.

The residence has been turned into a museum that relives the life of Doña Marcela and the creation of our country’s most important symbol.

Revel in the beauty of nature

For those who want to have a closer look of Taal Volcano, the best place to witness its beauty is at Lima Park Hotel, whose Sunset Tour comes with an island tour and picnic, with a side of a great view of the sunset.

But if you are having an overnight trip, Nayomi Sanctuary Resort offers traditional hotel rooms and glamping tents that can accommodate up to 10 persons.

Strengthen your faith

Among the tourist attractions that you should see in Batangas are its old churches—Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal Basilica) and Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay.

Rediscovering Batangas’ hidden gems
The Basilica de San Martin de Tours, more popularly known as Taal Basilica, is said to be the largest church in Asia. 
Completed in 1878, the Basilica de San Martin de Tours is made of adobe and coral stones. Standing  95 meters long and 45 meters wide, it is considered the largest church in Asia. Its patron is St. Martin de Tours, the patron saint of soldiers and horses.

Meanwhile, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay is known for its miraculous Sta. Lucia Well, whose water is believed to heal sickness and grant wishes.

It opened in 1640 in honor of the image of the Virgin of Caysasay.

Indulge in Filipino cuisine

There is no shortage of establishments in Batangas that serve authentic Filipino cuisine, such as Hotel 1925’s in-house restaurant, Imprenta Modern Filipino Cuisine in Lipa.

Built in memory of Rufino “Pinong” Mojares, father of the hotel’s president Michelle Fabie, Imprenta uses local food items like dulong, pajo, and tulingan as ingredients in its dishes. Among its bestsellers are White Cheese, Tinapa, and Paho Lumpia; and Kamote Churros with Tablea Tsokolate.

Meanwhile, in Taal, there is the Goco Ancestral House.

Previously the residence of Juan Cabrera Goco, the Katipunan’s treasurer, and his wife Lorenza, it is now a restaurant managed by his grandson, Pio Goco.

Rediscovering Batangas’ hidden gems
Imprenta Café’s Beef Bulalo (left) and Goco Ancestral House’s Suman with Taal Tablea Tsokolate paired with Kapeng Barako. 
Goco House offers Taal specialties served on plates owned by Pio’s grandparents and parents. Among its dishes are Taal Panutsa with Sea Salt; Turmeric and Calamansi Juice; Tapang Taal, a pork rendition of tapa native to the town; and Sinaing na Tulingan. For dessert, Suman with Taal Tablea Tsokolate paired with Kapeng Barako is a perfect ending to a meal.

Get there fast

Travelers coming from Metro Manila can easily reach Batangas through the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway. 

“Because of faster travel, easier access, and added convenience, more people are encouraged to visit different provinces outside Metro Manila more frequently,” says STAR Tollway president and chief executive Manny Bonoan.

Topics: Taal Volcano , Batangas , Metro Manila Turf Club , Casa de Segunda , Lima Park Hotel , Basilica de San Martin de Tours , Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay , Southern Tagalog Arterial Road Tollway , Manny Bonoan
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