Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taal Heritage Tour: Spanish Ancestral Houses

We left Taal Basilica for a tour of the old Spanish houses of the Apacibles, Agoncillos and Villavicencios. Each exude a different character. The Apacible house has the receiving area for guests and a separate one where business is conducted. Leon Apacible was a lawyer. He was also Emilio Aguinaldo's Finance Officer and delegate to the 1898 Congress.

Our next stop was the Agoncillo house where Marcela Agoncillo sewn the Philippine flag. Apparently, Marcela Agoncillo finished a masters degree in needle work. So the first Philippine flag was made by a professional of high caliber! In the Agoncillo house, we noticed the narrow passage ways that surround the living room. These passage ways are marked off by dividers from floor to ceiling. Windows of capiz shells make for light and ventilation to enter. I followed the passage ways that led to the komidor, or the kitchen. So it turns out that these passage ways were for the alipins, servants, who cater to their masters needs. I could not help but remember a piece of trivia learned from grade school history class on social classes: the existence of aliping sagigilid and aliping namamahay in noble families.

What was interesting in the Villavicencio house was the basement used as a secret meeting room of the Katipuneros. While the wives of the members of Katipunan were dancing, singing and partying in the living room, their husbands were plotting the revolution. The house was used to stock copies of Rizal's novels, the Noli Me Tangere and the El Filibusterismo.

Sa durungawan, tanaw ko ang mga bituin. Naks!
In my imagination, I see Andres Bonifacio attending one meeting disguised as a common alipin. He would have slipped in the party upstairs and passed unnoticed through the narrow passage way that led to the dinning hall and the kitchen. He opened a small trap door in one corner of the room to go down the basement and join the Katipuneros' rendezvous. What plans and schemes were they plotting against the Spaniards! And then, perhaps, after the meeting, the men must have discussed Rizal's novels.

By noon, we headed on to Villa Tortuga. By the way, we did the tour on foot as the town of Taal is very small. I'm saving the Villa Tortuga experience for my next post.

At the Villavicencio house, the trap door that leads to the basement still exist.


KhearP said...

When I was a kid we used to visit our grand parents house. But when we getting older its gradually destroyed. How I wish to conserved our ancestral house . Thank you for sharing this with us.

barbie_sunrise said...

I would like to ask if we can go to see the ancestral houses without prior appointment? Do they ask for a fee? Thanks!

barbie_sunrise said...

I would like to ask if we can see the ancestral house without prior notice or reservation? Do they ask for a fee?

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