|Basilica of St. Martin of Tours, Taal, Batangas|
We decided to take the public transport. I met Riza in Alabang and together, we took the one and a half hour commute to Taal, Batangas. From Lipa, we jumped on a jeep and reached Taal around nine in the morning. We were blessed with good weather. Mona arrived a few minutes later followed by our guide, Art B. He is a native of Taal, Batangas and an engineer by profession.
|A peddler selling peanut brittle at the entrance of the Basilica|
|Plaque by the National Historical Institute|
I wonder who did the religious art works, the fresco, the painting on its ceiling and walls, the tiled floors. Local artists, I guess, who will forever remain nameless.
We were given a tour of the kumbento as well. We were let in to see the parish office, the monsignor's study, the dinning hall and a bulwagan type area where a group of young people were practicing a dance number. It was like walking back to the colonial time because much of the architecture, interior design, furniture, furnishings and decorations are Spanish in taste and influence.
One fascinating story told to us by Art was that of Taal's patron saint, St. Martin of Tours, whose statue disappears on stormy nights. Locals believe that St. Martin rides his horse around town to guard them from natural disasters. The Our Lady of Caysasay, only six inches tall, is likewise miraculous and mystical. The statue is placed in a smaller church very near the spring of water where she was found. This spring of water leads to the Pansipit River where, in the olden days, fish, turtles and other marine life abound. The river is still alive with marine fauna and flora as well as the spring of water. It is now a grotto where devotees flock the site every Semana Santa for prayer and pilgrimage.
|Reminders of good behavior when in church. Can you read the old Tagalog?|
In my next post, I'll share pictures and insights on our visit to ancestral houses in Taal, Galeria de Taal and Villa Tortuga.