25 November 2012

The Heritage Town of Taal: San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps and the Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia

Taal, Batangas is the quaint town known as the Balisong and Barong Tagalog Capital of the Philippines. But not only that, it has many ancestral houses turned museums and fascinating old churches. It truly is a dream come true to have been here.

One of the famous places to visit is the San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps and the Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia. And that's what we did.

Check out our story in photos:
The San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps. Photo taken from below. It is a total of 125 steps all in all. I would have wanted to climb all the way to the top but we decided not to because when you reach the top landing, it will lead you once again to the Taal Basilica (Basilica de San Martin de Tours) so we opted to just head straight to the Miraculous Well of Sta. Lucia
It is just a short walk so travellers/visitors needn't worry much about this.
This was a sight for sore eyes! There was garbage everywhere and it isn't tourist-friendly.  Local caretaker said that it was just because of the recent rain but based on other blogs that I've read, it was the same concern for them. Tsk tsk. Really sorry. 
There it is! It was very unassuming but this structure holds a significant history that is a part of the Taal town's  contribution to our historical faith.  
The beautifully carved arch that signals people that this is finally the site.
Candle offering for my prayers

A bucketful of water from the miraculous well. A caretaker will fetch this for you and in return, one can give them a small token of  coins for their effort. It was refreshing to wet our faces, necks and arms with the cool water. It was said to have miraculous healing powers that were confirmed in accounts of Fr. Pedro de ArceBishop of Cebu, and Governor of the Archbishopric of Manila that were ordered to be drawn up and prepared by Fr. Juan Bautista de Montoya, Prior of Taal, together with Fr. Gerónimo de Medrano and Fr. Juan de Rojas.
The 'Banal na Pook where the Banal na Tubig' is, waiting for anyone who is ready to believe what the sacred site represents. 

Check out my Taal, Batangas tour: 

12 November 2012

The Heritage Town of Taal: The Shrine of Our Lady Of Caysasay

Another must see on this Taal trip is the historic Shrine of the Our Lady of Caysasay. Per Wikipedia, the Our Lady of Caysasay is a 17th century-old image that was found by a fisherman named Juan Maningcad who chanced upon the image as he was casting his net in the nearby Pansipit River.

The feast day of Our Lady of Caysasay is December 8 & 9. And many pilgrims visit the shrine to pay homage to the image who has given miracles to the people. Filipinos are very religious and firm believers in their faith and annual pilgrimage to this site is a clear testimony to that fact.

I was in awe of what I saw inside the shrine. Certainly not grandeur, but of a clear sign of the town's devotion to the image and all that it symbolizes. Here is what I have captured during the trip:

The Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay. The facade is very simple and when you get to see the side of the shrine, the walls are different in texture and color. I wonder why they did not make it similar to the front exterior .. Hmmm.  
Another church/shrine to add to my ever-growing collection of churches that I have visited. I love it!
From L to R: The daily schedule and the painting of the depiction of how the fisherman Juan Maningcad got hold of the image. 
I really love the ambiance of places such as this. It reminds me of how time flies so fast and also of my religion.
The image painted on the ceiling near the back entrance of the shrine
The ceiling art! A must-see! From the outside of the shrine and upon entering the back, it was all about simplicity but when you reach the front and see the altar and the ceiling, it is a different story. 
I got to pray for 3 wishes as this was my first time to visit here. I hope it comes true. I believe! 
The altar

The floors look very..vintage? Uhmm, not the right word I guess. Antiquated? Maybe. Oh well, it's very old. That's it.
There it is! The image of Our Lady of Caysasay. Only about less than a foot high. At first I thought it was an image of the St. Niño but I was so wrong. But there is a resemblance. 

If you go this quaint town, please do not forget to include the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay in your itinerary. It is a must-see! Definitely! =)

Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay
Brgy. Labac, Taal, Batangas

Check out my Taal, Batangas tour: 

04 November 2012

The Heritage Town of Taal: Don Leon Apacible Museum

Just a few meters away from the Galleria Taal, is the declared ancestral house/museum of Don Leon Apacible and wife Matilde Martinez. Based from history, Don Leon was the Finance Officer of General Emilio Aguinaldo. This ancestral house is one of the oldest in this heritage town of Taal, Batangas.

Theirs is a collection of many antiques dating back to the 18th century and kept in pristine condition. It is a very old structure but once you set foot on it, it does not feel like it because it was kept in such tip-top shape. A great thing because our generation and also the future ones will still be able to visit it and have the chance to personally appreciate our history.

There is no entrance fee but a donation box is present so visitors can give any amount that they are comfortable parting with.

Welcome to one of the oldest ancestral homes in Taal!
The Apacible Museum, right across the Galleria Taal. 
Open only from Wednesday to Sunday from 8:00am up to 4:00pm only. Keep note! 
Formally pronounced a historical shrine on January 16, 1974.
This was one of the disturbing photos that I've seen. This man's lips were cut off because he was  suspected to be a traitor. Barbaric but definitely was a reality from the old  days. 
The group! Obligatory group photo first before embarking on the house tour. We were the only visitors when we came up so we  had the place to ourselves and we liked it. 
From L to R: The portrait must be of Doña Matilde Apacible y Martinez. And that is one big oyster shell or whathaveyou. It was really huge.
Spacious, well-kept and well-to-do people lived here..those were my first impressions. And it was!
Definitely not one of those other ancestral houses that seems to be so dark and brooding. The Apacible ancestral home is the exact opposite. It has an airy and "cheerful" disposition. I just don't know why. Weird! =)
I liked this spot the best! I can just hang-out here, it was breezy. By the way, outside the window, that was where they place their dishes to dry back in the days.
Rows of old houses. The town of Taal is one of the best places that I enjoyed the most. Laid back vibe with a lot of history in its midst.

Location: Marcela Agoncillo St., Taal, Batangas
Tour Days: Wednesday – Sunday
Tour Hours: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Entrance Fee: Free (Donations accepted)

Check out my Taal, Batangas tour:

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