Batangas is a popular destination from Manila and nearby cities. This is so because of the many beaches lining its coast, the rolling hills that are ideal for day hikes, and spots where you can go scuba diving for the first time or get more reps.
The province has more to offer visitors in terms of culture and history. It has many centuries’ old churches, old towns, and beautiful traditional houses and structures that provide a glimpse of the country’s past and heritage. If you plan to visit Batangas, here are some of the historic attractions you may want to include in your itinerary.
Taal Heritage Town
Taal is one of the oldest towns in Batangas. It comes as no surprise that this place has a number of traditional houses and is home to the biggest church in the country, Taal Basilica. The town transferred from its former location because of the devastation caused by Taal Volcano’s explosion. After relocating, the town thrived during Spanish times and produced some national heroes such as Gen. Ananias Diokno, Don Felipe Agoncillo, and Dona Marcela Marino Agoncillo just to name a few.
While exploring the heritage town, you’ll see beautiful traditional houses such as Dona Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio’s ancestral home, the blue ancestral house of the de Villavicencio’s and the Goco Heritage House. The heritage area is easy to navigate, but if you don’t want to walk too much, there are plenty of tricycles to take you around.
The Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours or Taal Basilica is recognized as the biggest church in the continent. It has a history that spans more than five decades. Initial construction took place in 1575, a few years before Taal town was established in its old location in San Nicolas. The church underwent reconstruction in the early 1640s to reinforce it. However, the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754 destroyed it and the town nearby. Locals decided to move the church to atop a hill when its reconstruction began. Its façade is one of the most beautiful in the country.
More info about the church here: Taal Basilica (Mass Schedule + How to GetThere)
Balayan is one of the oldest towns in Batangas; in fact, there is evidence that people lived in the area since the 11th century. However, Franciscan friars founded the town in 1578. During that time, Calaca, Nasugbu, and Calatagan used to be part of Balayan’s district. While exploring the town, you’ll see the beautiful Balayan Church (Immaculate Conception Parish Church) which is a National Historical Landmark and National Cultural Treasure. Other than the old church, you’ll see many traditional houses scattered all over town.
The Immaculate Conception Parish Church
The Spaniards left their mark on the country; Catholicism is its primary manifestation. The majority of the population in the Philippines is Catholic on paper and in practice. Batangas has many heritage churches that are more than a century old. One notable structure is the Immaculate Conception Parish Church located in Balayan. The church has four centuries of history and is one of the oldest churches in the province. It has survived natural and man-made disasters. The structure also acted as a fort to protect the town from Muslim invaders.
More info about the church here: Balayan Church (Mass Schedule + How to Get There)
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish Church
This church in Calaca is more than a century old. It was part of the history of the town when Calaca was established in the 1830s. The local government deemed Calaca ready for its own parish when it separated from Balayan. They subsequently had the St. Raphael the Archangel Church constructed. The construction of the church became a community undertaking with locals gathering materials needed for completion. Construction finished in 1861.
More info about the church here: San Rafael de Arcangel Parish Church (Mass Schedule + How to Get There)
Basilica Menor de Inmaculada Concepcion
Since its initial construction more than four centuries ago as a wooden church during the time of Padre Diego Mojica, it has undergone fortifications and reconstructions over the centuries. The third and current church is stronger than its predecessors. Its consecration took place in 1857 and Pope Pious XII recognized the church as a Basilica Minor in 1948. The church you see in Batangas City is more than 150 years old!
More info about the church here: Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception (Mass Schedule + How to Get There)
St. John the Evangelist Church
This church has a history that spans more than four centuries, all the way back to 1584 when it was still a wooden structure. In the 1730s, the townspeople finally built a stone edifice for the St. John the Evangelist Church. The eruption of Taal Volcano in the 1750s leveled not just the church, but most of the town. The locals decided to move inward to the current location of Tanauan. They then rebuilt the church and expanded it in the 1860s and 1880s. The church suffered extensive damage during World War II but was later rebuilt after the war.
More info about the church here: St. John the Evangelist Parish Church (Mass Schedule + How to Get There)