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Visiting Taal, Batangas | Exploring the Biggest Church in Asia


Basilica of St. Martin de Tours

No, it’s not inVigan, and definitely not in Intramuros nor Paris … it’s just in Taal! For hundreds of years, Taal have stood humble, silent and have had existed in modesty to echo their treasured heritage internationally.

And  for those who have already witnessed this hidden treasure will surely agree to the town's captivating charm  sitting in the heart of Batangas, waiting to be exposed to the world.

This treasure in Taal is poorly recognized as the town’s name has always been associated with the smallest volcano in the world while the actual heritage town is beaten unpopular. To many, the heritage town is just a bridge municipality of Lipa and Batangas City.

Unheard and unpopular among the people, this town shelters the biggest church in Asia, the Minor Basilica of St. Martin de Tours that stands 88.6 meters long and 48 meters wide. The said church is  almost 500 year old as of this writing.

The Basilica was built by Fr. Diego Espina in 1575 in San Nicolas but was destroyed during the eruption of the Taal Volcano in 1754. The Basilica was erected  again in its current location in 1755 and is now considered as the biggest Catholic Church in the Far East. 

Inside the Basilica was a museum where some of the salvaged remnants and statues of the old church were displayed. Climbing the belfry of St. Martin de Tours is one of the attractions in Taal. By just paying   Php50 for the maintenance fee, you will be allowed to step in and climb the steep narrow staircase leading to the belfry.. This activity is not recommended for people with claustrophobia and those with fear of heights (trust me). 

The viewing deck has a panoramic view of the town, overlooking the various ancestral houses that litter the central district.  Looking from above, the view of the traffic on day light was simply amusing and far from to the usual crowded and polluted streets of the metro.

The town’s silence was deafening that you could only spot a number of pedestrians crossing the road. The town's development in terms of modern architecture was stunted and  only selected commercialized establishments were built around the Basilica. Even the facade of the famous 7 11 convenience store was constructed confirming to the Old Hispanic theme of the town. 

That is for now, more stories coming up on our Taal Series Adventure...very very soon.

How to reach Taal, Batangas?

From Manila, Taal can be reached via bus bound for Lemery. There are  bus companies in Buendia that can take you to the drop off point going to Lipa, fare is roughly Php150. The landmark is the gas station of Flying V. Just beside the gas station, there are jeepneys passing by bound for Lipa City. The fare was Php 10.00. Just inform the driver to drop you in front of the Basilica.

If you are in Cavite along the Aguinaldo Highway, you can take the bus bound for Balayan, Batangas. Just inform the bus conductor to drop you at “Palico” in Balayan, fare is roughly Php 170. Then take a bus or van bound for Batangas City and let the driver drop you at the crossing (Flying V Gas Station) leading to Taal, fare is Php 40. Take the jeepney bound for Lipa City and inform the driver that you will alight in front of the Basilica.

Photos were taken using Nikon D3200.

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