Life was a lot like better during this time (half of 2015), everything seems in order –my finances were good and I worry less. I remember being worried only on how I can flee the office during the first day of Bluecross Sale. Hehehe. Seriously tho, my life was so easy before and I’m caught unprepared about getting old and all its limitation. Life hacks, I failed.
As I sum up 2015, it’s been a roller coaster ride and it run-ups to so many episodes. And because I’m still tiding up my files and getting this blog up-to-date, let me take you to another Batangas getaway during Holy Week of 2015.
I’ve been to Batangas many times, beaches in majority and this trip on a Holy Week was of many firsts. This time we visited the western part of the touristy Batangas.
On our way we passed by the abandoned Fantasy World in Lemery, stopped for a while and took souvenir photos from afar. At the course of my reading, Fantasy World was supposed to be a Philippine version of the famed Disneyland but it was never completed. And visiting Fantasy World according to many is not really worthy especially if you’re coming from Manila because there’s no point of interest and the most you can do here is take a lot of photos. Plan your visit here as a side trip only to a bigger trip so you don’t end up disappointed and exhausted from Tagaytay traffic.
We continued our drive to Taal which was our absolute destination that day for the annual Visita Iglesia. Getting to Taal Basilica you’d pass by the heritage town and a lot of it brings back memoirs of Ilocos and its ancestral houses –truly it can be named Vigan of the South.
The Basilica de San Martin de Tours or commonly referred as Taal Basilica remains to be the largest Catholic church in the Philippines and in South Asia and wow, it was such a beauty and majestic. Its façade baroque structure stands tall in an elevated hill facing Balayan Bay and from atop it overlooks the historic town and its neighboring town of Lemery.
Its interior is even grandeur –it’s vast and airy and well-lit, wide aisles and its ornate ceilings is similar to my hometown’s very own parish church.
After praying the Station of the Cross led by Nanay we left and explored the heritage town on foot.
From the vicinity of the church stands Escuela Pia. This old structure is a school supervised by the church and was named after the congregation established by San Jose Calansaz during the 17th century. Agustinian priests constructed this convent which later became school for the underprivileged Taal youth.
It is considered also as one of the oldest educational institution in the country.
From Escuela Pia, we wandered and passed by one of Taal’s recognized ancestral house. The Villavicencio Wedding Gift House, but it was closed already so I snapped a photo of its opulent bordering. The house was given as a gift by Eulalio Villavicencio to his soon to be wife Gliceria Marella.
While still getting around we also chanced San Lorenzo Ruiz steps –125 granite steps dedicated to the memory of San Lorenzo Ruiz.
Down the stairs you’ll find the Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine believed to be miraculous.
The image, which depicts the Immaculate Conception is also believed to be one of the oldest in the country, having found in 1603 by a man fishing in Pansipit River. The subsequent Marian apparitions documented by Spanish colonial church leaders were first in the country.
On our climb back at San Lorenzo Ruiz steps, halfway through there were plenty of people leading to a pathway. We followed just like that and was surprised to find another sacred site.
Sta. Lucia Well is a pilgrimage site known for its miraculous healing waters. About 500 meters off the steps past a dried creek and gloomy undergrowth are the twin wells of Sta. Lucia. The present site used to be a brook where the Virgin of Caysasay performed miracles and where a church was built by the townsfolk. The violence of the 18th century earthquake sank the church but its half immersed facade remains intact. After the quake, spring water gushed out of the twin doors. (source: read HERE)
I was all observant all along our stay at the miraculous well, there were people who collected waters and some even took a quick bath. I cannot reasonably explain the rationality behind the waters, at the end it’s all faith.
After all the climbs and walks, it’s very probable that everyone was so tired and hungry. We looked everywhere around the heritage town for the famed Batangas Lomi but unfortunately every stall we went was sold out. How disappointing eh? We ended at this unpretentious eatery in Lemery which serves Batangas Lomi and home-cooked meals, I don’t know what happened next because I felt really drained. P.S. I did not really touch the meat and innards from my lomi bowl, the kids ate pork sinigang because the church says they’re exempted.
Oh, the following day is Good Friday and we’re back on the road with no itinerary on hand. This time we drove passing Maragondon, and the tough magnetic hill of Ternarte. It was ze husband’s first time to drive at this route and I did not mention any about the seeming magnetic field that strains the engine until he complained that our car might be broke. Hehehe.
Anyhow, we reached Kaybiang Tunnel in one piece. Kaybiang Tunnel is the Philippines’ longest subterranean road tunnel at 300 meters that links the towns of Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas.
Of course we stopped by like most tourist and had a quick photo op.
The next turn after Kaybiang Tunnel offered a very scenic view of Patungan Cove, the long drive was so worth it. And what better way to kill the blistering summer heat, beach! We drove at the access road but eventually stopped by uniform men because it’s not open to public, but with the right connections we were allowed in due course.
Patungan Cove is a fishing village and I can still recall my Tatay’s struggle when he was still the Municipal Agriculturist of Maragondon. There was no access road back then and the only way to reached Bgy. Sta. Mercedes is by boat. My Tatay spent nights at this village for so many times especially when waves get bigger at late afternoons. I know he made friends with many village folks here and it’s sad that because of legal issues some were forced to abandon the place.
Anyhow, if you’re visiting I read somewhere that there are boats from a spot off the highway that can be rented and get you at the beach.
The coastline here is not a white sand beach instead is light brown in color and clean and you get the hilly part as backdrop. It was a nice breather because the beach is not crowded. Before sundown we left and drove to Nasugbu-Tagaytay gateway. Had a quick dinner at Jollibee Mendez Crossing Tagaytay before heading home.
Easter Sunday. It’s perhaps the most unforgettable and the most I will always cherish. We had a widespread of home-cooked meals. I told you how we celebrate Easter like Christmas, it’s merry and we have extended families coming over to lunch with us. Tatay was so alive then, there was no sign of any sickness or pain. Why he was taken shortly? I know it’s nearly four years and yet I’m still talking like it happened only yesterday. I really wanted to move forward and evolve from it but many times I caught myself still shattered beyond recovery. Sigh!
I still have tons of kwentos and trips to document but I need more time and I don’t know what’s next.
Please stay tuned. ♥