The day before:
Me: Ma, wala ako bukas maghapon ha. (Ma, I’ll be out the whole day tomorrow.)
Mom: Bakit? Saan ka pupunta? (Why? Where are you going?)
Me: Magsisimba. (To church.)
Mom: Magsisimba? maghapon? (To church? The whole day?)
Me: Opo, sa batangas. (Yup. In Batangas.)
Mom: Bakit kailangan sa Batangas ka pa magsimba? (Why do you have to go all the way to Batangas to attend a church service?)
Me: Eh, malaki kasi yung simbahan dun. (Eh, the church there is bigger.)
The next day in Taal, Batangas, man, the church is not just big, it is huge. Its columns are massive and the interiors are but grand. It is the biggest catholic church in the country and the whole of Asia. Fascinating!
I rarely go to church. But every time I do, I get even more fascinated with them, especially old catholic churches with all the grandeur of their architectural built. Basilica de San Martin de Tours, or simply Taal Basilica, is one gigantic old splendor standing proud in the midst of the time warp town of Taal.
The town itself is interesting. Walking around town, I felt like we have been transported back in the old times as we pass by a number of ancestral houses, the likes of those old houses I’ve seen in Las Casas Filipinas in Bataan. The difference is the authentic feel of the exquisite past of the town, not just an ambiance. It is admirable that this sleepy town, which I never knew keeps the biggest church in the country, has been able to preserve their heritage over the years.
Taaleños, also, are one of the warmest locals we’ve encountered on the road. The kids and ladies looking out from their old capiz windows flash their sweetest smiles as we were passing by, as if they knew we are not from around town and they are warmly welcoming us. Very Filipino.
Waking up at 1AM for the long road trip from Subic to Batangas for a heritage tour is all worth it. 🙂