A Walk around Taal Heritage Town

A Walk around Taal Heritage Town

By  | Pinay Solo Backpacker – Sat, Dec 14, 2013


Taal volcano and its caldera lake may be the poster boy of Batangas, but unknown to many, the province is also home to a municipality of the same name. Hailed as the Heritage Town, the Grand Lady of Batangas, the Tagalog Capital as well as the Balisong and Barong Tagalog Capital of the Philippines, the tranquil town of Taal is about two and a half hours away from Manila, a perfect destination for those wanting to temporarily escape the bustling metropolis.

Originally founded in 1572 along the bank of the Pansipit River which traverses to Balayan Bay (now known as San Nicolas town), Taal was moved to higher ground to what is now its current site in 1754 when Taal volcano wreaked havoc. It has proudly established itself as one of the most progressive and powerful municipalities during the Spanish colonial period.

Today, the preserved old town is a delight to tourists. Its narrow streets exude a graciously laid-back atmosphere dappled with elegant old houses with the highest concentration found in M.Agoncillo Street where the eponymous seamstress of the first Philippine flag once lived. Marcela Agoncillo was raised in Taal, Batangas in their 17th century ancestral house, now turned into a museum. Visitors can enter the Doña Marcela Agoncillo Museum without admission fee but donations are highly encouraged for its upkeep.

Nearby are the beautifully restored houses of Casa Gahol and Villa Tortuga. They were closed during my visit, but you may try to book ahead at Camp Suki website for a private dinner in full colonial ambiance. Guests will be provided period costumes and take home personal antiqued sepia photos as souvenirs.

(Doña Marcela Agoncillo Museum)

A few meters away is the imposing heritage house of Don Leon Apacible which also doubles as a museum. He is General Emilio Aguinaldo’s finance officer. Don Leon Apacible Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday at 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Galleria de Taal is another colonial house turned into a museum, entrance fee is Php 50. Here you can find Daguerreotype cameras dating back to the 18th century as well as a collection of old photographs. Meanwhile along Agoncillo Street, is the eye-catching old house of the Agoncillo Family where a bronze statue of Felipe Agoncillo, the husband of Marcela Agoncillo proudly stands.

If you are planning to stay here overnight, the grandiose Villavicencio Wedding Gift House has rooms starting at Php 3,000. For a more budget friendly room, consider staying at Casa Punzalan, a colonial house turned into a hotel, rates starts at Php 600.

(Basilica de San Martin de Tours)

The most prominent structure in this serene town is the massive Basilica de San Martin de Tours situated in front of the Taal Plaza and the 18th century Casa Real. It is dubbed as the largest Catholic Church in Asia. The church also houses one of the largest bells in the country.

(Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine)

Also make time to visit the Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine which houses one of the earliest Marian images in the Philippines. Based on anecdotes, it was found by a fisherman named Juan Manicad at the nearby Pansipit River. At the back of the church is the San Lorenzo Steps named after the first Filipino saint. Nearby is the trail to the ruins of the old chapel built beside the spring where the image of the Our Lady of Caysasay was originally found.

Do not go home without visiting the Taal Public Market. Be amazed at the wide array of Barong Tagalog and hand-embroidered bridal dresses sold at the shops here. Buy Taal longganisa andtapang Taal as pasalubong. On your way back, drop by at Brgy. Balisong to check out the shops making balisong (fly knife) lined up along the highway.

Gael is the author of the blog http://thepinaysolobackpacker.com/.

Prelude to Mutya ng Batangas 2013: Looking Back at the Past Mutyas

Prelude to Mutya ng Batangas 2013: Looking Back at the Past Mutyas



In a country where beauty pageant is considered like a Manny Pacquiao boxing match, there is such a strong wave of fanaticism in ladies contending for a beauty queen title.

Winning a beauty pageant comes with fame in all forms, a bragging right, an extended title before your name instead of just “Miss”, and at times the challenge to prove to everyone that you’re more than just a pretty face.

For the countless times that we have featured beauty pageants around the province, we have witnessed quite a lot on Batangas pageantry. With that, we know how Batangueños take precious time to rummage on the photos we publish and voice out their no-holds-barred comments. We’ve seen a lot of those, particularly in the province’s much awaited pageant each year, the Mutya ng Batangas.

Formerly known as Mutya ng Lalawigan ng Batangas and Mutya ng Batangan, the pageant is where ladies from different cities and municipalities of the province vie for the crown and be hailed as Batangas’ finest lady. This is where pageant veterans and amateurs contend in various competitions that may lead them to grab at least a spot in the finals.


In 2009, we witnessed how Disayrey Sayat of Batangas City outwit the rest of her co-candidates. It seemed like the stars were aligned in her favor that night as her beauty and intelligence got the people cheering. The Mutya ng Lalawigan ng Batangas title went to the much deserving, Disay.

The following year, a towering beauty from Balayan proved that even though she was born to a foreigner father, a true Batangueña lives within her. Juliana Kapeundl was among the candidates who gave us strong recall because of her last name and her stature. All of the finalists gave each other tough competition but Juliana brought home the crown as Mutya ng Batangan 2010.

More Batangueñas continue to live the dream of becoming a beauty queen. In 2011, 28 candidates vied for the Mutya ng Batangan title. But Rose Pujanes of Sto. Tomas stood above the rest and won the pageant. Earlier this year, she competed in Bb. Pilipinas, the same batch as Miss Universe 2013 3rd Runner-Up, Ariella Arida.

In 2012, the pageant officially became Mutya ng Batangas. It was the year when San Pascual’s darling, Darlene Reyes, won the crown. Throughout the competition, Darlene showed her grace, confidence, and intelligence, which made most people believe that she might bring home the title. And she did.

This year, 23 candidates are vying for the Mutya ng Batangas 2013 crown. The swimsuit competition is done and Miss Padre Garcia, Janna Erra Perez, won Best in Swimsuit.

Meanwhile, catch the talent competition scheduled on December 5, 6pm at the Batangas City Convention Center. Who will be the Best in Talent this year? Any bet?

And of course, you wouldn’t want to miss the coronation night on December 6, 7pm at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum. Be there as a new Mutya ng Batangas takes the crown.


mutya ng taal

Results of the Beauty Pageant –

Congratulations to Mutya ng Taal Lyza Dianne Hernandez for taking home the 2013 crown of Mutya ng Batangas.  She is really gorgeous and it was a well-deserved win!  Bakit kaya magaganda ang mga binibini sa Taal?

1st Runner-up – Padre Garcia – Janna Erra Perez
2nd Runner-up – Agoncillo – Aziel Joy De Sagun
3rd Runner-up – Lipa – Louisa Mae Laylo
4th Runner-up – Lobo – Krissandra Marie Abel



RBT’s 50th Anniversary

RBT’s 50th Anniversary


Rural Bank of Taal, Inc. celebrated their fifty golden years of efficient service to the Taaleños last December 5, 2013 at Escuela Pia, Taal Cultural Center.  It was on December 5, 1963 when the Rural Bank of Taal, Inc. was weaned from the original Rural Bank of Taal-Lemery, Inc. founded in 1957.


For more photos, please visit:


Mutya ng Batangas 2013

Mutya ng Batangas 2013

By: WOWBatangas.com

Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152028385233643&set=a.129632948642.103090.128882273642&type=1&theater

Congratulations to Mutya ng Taal Lyza Dianne Hernandez for taking home the 2013 crown of Mutya ng Batangas. It was a well-deserved win!

1st Runner-up – Padre Garcia – Janna Erra Perez
2nd Runner-up – Agoncillo – Aziel Joy De Sagun
3rd Runner-up – Lipa – Louisa Mae Laylo
4th Runner-up – Lobo – Krissandra Marie Abel

Stay tuned at http://wowbatangas.com/ for our write-up, complete coverage photos and some video clips of the pageant. Good night and good morning Batanguenos!


On the occasion of Maria’s 120th birthday anniversary, November 29, let’s recollect her life’s history.  Who is Maria Orosa?

On the occasion of Maria’s 120th birthday anniversary, November 29, let’s recollect her life’s history. Who is Maria Orosa?

Essay by Mario Orosa, nephew of Maria, 12/9/11


Maria Y. Orosa


Maria Y. Orosa was a pioneering food technologist and inventor.  Advances in modern Filipino food technology owe a great deal to the creative researches and salutary inventiveness of a woman chemist and pharmacist from Taal, Batangas.  The now-commercially available thirst quencher, the calamansi juice, is just one of the popular native food products in whose preparation and preservation she had a hand.  She produced the “calamansi nip,” the desiccated and powdered from of the fruit which could be made into juice.

The most notable of her food inventions, of course is “Soyalac,” a powdered preparation of soyabeans, which helped save the lives of thousands of Filipinos, Americans, and other nationals who ever held prisoners in different Japanese concentration camps during World War II. It became known to them as the “magic food.”

She is also credited with the making of the banana ketchup; wines from native fruits, like casuy and guava; vinegar from pineapples; banana starch; soyamilk; banana flour; cassava flour; jelly from guava, santol, mango, and other fruits, as well as the invention of rice cookies, known as ricebran or darak, which is effective in the treatment of patients with beri-beri.

Aside from making food preparations, Miss Orosa taught Filipinos how to preserve such native delicacies as the adobo, dinuguan, kilawen and escabeche. Together with her associates in the Bureau of Plant Industry, she invented “Oroval” and “Clarosa.”

This outstanding Filipina was the fourth child of Simplicio Orosa y Agoncillo and JulianaYlagan. She was born on November 29, 1893 in Taal, Batangas. Her brothers and sisters were Simplicio Jr., Vicente, Sixto, Felisa, Jose, Nicolas, and Rafael. Captain of the S.S. Bulosan, her father joined the Philippine commission that lobbied in Washington and Paris for the recognition of Philippine independence by the United States. Her mother operated a general store in Bauan, Batangas, in 1900.

Maria Orosa had her elementary and high school education in her province.  In 1915, she studied at the college of pharmacy of the University of the Philippines. In 1916, at the age of 23, she left for the United States as a government scholar. She was in Seattle in July of that year.  With the help of Frank Crone, the American director of education, she was able to stay at the YMCA. Through the YMCA, she landed a job as household helper of Mrs. Wrentmore, the mother-in-law of Governor-General Harrison.

She enrolled at the University of Seattle as a partial government scholar in 1916. She earned the degree of bachelor of science in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1917; the BS degree in food chemistry in 1918, the BS degree in pharmacy in 1920, and the master of arts degree in pharmacy in 1921. To support her studies, Orosa worked as assistant to Dean Charles Johnson at the college of pharmacy of Washington University for a monthly salary of $100. In the summer, she earned $80 per week at a cannery in Ketchican, Alaska. Upon finishing her studies at the University of Seattle, she was appointed assistant chemist in the State of Washington on the basis of her impressive academic records.

She returned to the Philippines in 1922, and taught home economics at Centro Escolar University. A year later, she transferred to the Bureau of Science as chemist with a salary of P1,800 per annum. Accompanied by six food demonstrators, she traveled throughout the country to promote public and private health through a nutrition program. In 1923, she helped organize the food preservation division under the Bureau of Science. On June 3, 1927, she became the acting division head.

Orosa also tried her hand in improving household wares. She invented the “Orosa Palayok Oven” for cooking various dishes.

In 1928, the government, recognizing her dynamism and strong leadership, sent her to various countries as a state scholar to specialize in food processing and canning. On her way home a year later, she made side-trips to other countries to observe their canning industries and
food preservation technologies. Included in her itinerary were Holland, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Hawaii, and China.

When she returned to the Philippines in 1929, she was appointed head of the home economics division of the Bureau of Science. On January 1, 1933, she became the head of the bureau’s food preservation division. (Herminia M. Ancheta, in her book, Reading the Filipino Woman, claims that Orosa, starting May 1, 1933 served as head of the home economics division of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.) As head of the home economics division, Orosa revived her provincial tour activities. She established the Homemakers Association of the Philippines which, in 1941, had a list of 537 member clubs nationwide.

In time of war, as in peace, her spirit of service to her countrymen, along with her patriotism, came to the fore. When World War II broke out, she immediately joined the Marking’s Guerillas and was designated captain. She devoted to feeding and caring for allied prisoners in enemy concentration camps in Tarlac, Pampanga, Laguna, and at the campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. With her “magic Food,” the Soyalac, she saved thousands of such prisoners who would have otherwise died of hunger.

During an intense fighting between the Japanese and American liberating forces, Orosa was hit by shrapnel while performing her job at the Bureau of Plant Industry building, located in Malate, Manila. She was immediately taken to the nearby Malate Remedios Hospital for emergency treatment. However, while being treated, the hospital was bombed and another shrapnel hit her directly in the heart, thus causing her instant death on February 13, 1945. Her remains, together with those of 70 others, were buried at the yard of the Malate Catholic School.  To perpetuate her memory, the government has named after her a street stretching from T.M. Kalaw to Padre Faura in Ermita, Manila, as well as a building in the Bureau of Plants and Industry. She was one of the 19 scientists who were conferred awards on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Institute of Science and Technology.
On November 29, 1983, the National Historical Institute installed a marker in her honor at the Bureau of Plant Industry in San Andres, Manila.