Last August 2017, we decided to have a road trip in Batangas which is one of the most popular tourist destinations near Metro Manila. It is known for several beaches, centuries-old churches, Taal Volcano, ancestral houses and structures dating back the 19th century.
Initially, we were just planning to visit the Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours in Taal, but since we want to make the best of our trip, we were able to visit below destinations:
1. TAAL CHURCH
Built in 1575 under the Augustinians, Basilica de San Martin de Tours is considered to be the biggest church in the Philippines and Asia’s largest Catholic Church. It is well known for its colossal baroque structure made of coral stones and painted ceilings with trompel’oeil or “trick of the eye” style, giving a 3-dimensional effect.
Fascinated by the church’s architecture, we spent around 5-10 minutes in the parking lot to find the right angle for some panoramic photographs.
After taking photos of the church’s facade, we walk towards the main entrance and welcomed by vendors selling their candles. Although we don’t have any plans to buy candles, we still decided to buy one set (three candles with two wax human figures tied altogether) at P20. We lighted our candles at the altar near the ossuary located at the left side door of the church.
2. TAAL HERITAGE TOWN
Our next destination was the Taal Heritage Town where the Taal Giant Sign can be found. We were not really sure where to find it so we used Waze application for navigation. When we reached our destination, around 2km away from Taal Church, it was too unfortunate that it wasn’t the place we were expecting so we decided to go back to the church and get more photos. It was funny when we discovered that the rest of the places we were looking for such as the Taal Giant Sign, Municipal Hall, Ancestral Houses, and Escuela Pia were all just located down the church; Casaysay Church (known for its miracles) was just a few walk away from the Taal Church. It was a really good thing that we went back to the church instead of going to our next destination.
3. TAAL BAYVIEW BISTRO
After capturing photos in the Heritage Town, we took an early lunch in Taal Bayview Bistro which we saw along the road where we got lost.This restaurant has spacious facade and garden at the back usually used for weddings and other gatherings.
We ordered Bulalo (soup made with beef shanks and bone marrow), a classic Filipino dish known in Batangas and considered to be one of the most favorite dishes in the Philippines.
4. FANTASY WORLD
Knowing that the entrance fee to this park is P1,000 (good for 10 people) and we were really on a tight budget that time, we still decided to drive to Lemery, Batangas to enjoy at least the view of the “Disneyland-scale theme park” from the road.
With all the hopes that we will find at least 1-3 persons who also wanted to visit the place and willing to divide the entrance fee amongst us, we waited for around 20 minutes near the main gate. Since we visited on a Friday, the possibility of finding one has been very low and the place was not that really accessible without a car. While we were inside the car, we felt an earthquake which lasted for around 10-15 seconds. It was a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, tectonic in origin, that shook Nasugbu town and other areas in Luzon that afternoon. Afraid of possible aftershocks, we immediately decided to drive back going to Manila.
5. MARIAN ORCHARD
It was raining cats and dogs on our way back when I remembered another destination we can visit to complete our road trip. Around 2 hours drive from Lemery, Batangas, we drove to Marian Orchard which is located in Barangay Malabanan in Balete, Batangas.
Not doing our personal research about this place, we initially visualize it to be a garden full of flowers and ornamentals. As we enter the main entrance, we were surprised that Marian Orchard is a Catholic-themed park/ pilgrimage site with shrines of various saints.
We explored the 5-hectare land for around an hour and the most interesting part of it was following the stations of the cross down the hill. Although going down and up the hill to finish the stations was really tiring, we didn’t have any regrets as the experience was truly worth it.
The Traveler’s Prayer
Below was the ticket provided by the Marian Orchard with The Traveler’s Prayer at the back.
BUDGET & ITINERARY
If you are planning to travel via private vehicle, we suggest below itinerary and budget based on our experience.
Thank you and hope this blog has been helpful. If you are interested to see more photos of our trip, you can visit this link [open in new tab to view] and/or like our page.