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Batangas: Taal Basilica

Standing 315 feet long and 148 feet high, Taal Basilica is the biggest church in the whole of Asia. It is located in the heritage town of Taal in Batangas. Also known as Basilica de San Martin de Tours it was named after their patron saint, St. Martin of Tours.
Taal Basilica

The church has been damaged over and over again by powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. the present church is actually the third church of Taal. The first one was destroyed in 1754 during the largest eruption of Taal Volcano. The ruins can still be seen in San Nicholas. The second church was erected further away from the volcano but was destroyed during the devastating earthquake of 1852. The present church was constructed in 1856 and was inaugurated in 1865.
A view from the back
The altar

Trying out the pulpit

Aside from its massive size, the church is also known for one other "large" object. The King of Bells is an enormous bell measuring 6.42 feet tall and 19 feet in circumference. Sadly, the 1942 earthquake damaged and silenced it to the present day. 
Taal's giant bell
Another angle of the bell

During my first visit to Taal Basilica, it didn't actually occur to me that the establishment in front of me was actually a church. At first glance, I thought it was an old European looking school or something. Not until I entered it, that I finally realized that it was actually a very large church. During that trip, I learned from a local that visitors could climb up to the bell tower located at the highest part of the church. Wistfully, my friend has a knee problem, so we dished out the idea of going to the top. I waited another year before finally being able to climb to the top part of the church. This time I was with my wife and siblings. 
Passageway going up

Literally on the roof of the church
The view from the top was really magnificent. You will see the 360-degree view of the town of Taal and also parts of the town of San Nicolas and Taal Lake. From there, you could literally view everything in a bird's eye view. No wonder, the revolutionaries sometimes use the church as a watchtower against the Spanish forces.
Here's what you'll see from the top.

I managed to revisit the basilica during the 2017 outbound tour of our school. This time we were not able to go up the tower but we managed to tour its museum. 

Here are some photos of the things that we saw in Taal Basilica's museum:

That bamboo is the Spanish era doorbell. It creates a whistling sound when turned

Do I have to caption this?

This one is used in processions

Some very old wooden statues

Some very old furniture and mirrors

Can you guess what these are for?
An old bell and lamp
A beautifully carved wood design
A dimly lit room with plenty of antique furnitures (creepy)
The museum's sala
Look what I've found in the San Agustin Museum in Manila!

Given the chance I would visit Taal again. Next time it would be on a historical adventure.

Getting there:

From Buendia in Pasay City, board a bus bound for Lemery Batangas. Most buses pass through the town proper. It's safer to ask the conductor first before boarding. In case the bus won't pass through Taal, alight at the Taal-Lemery junction. From there, jeepneys and tricycles would bring you to your destination.

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  1. I did not think of it as a church when I initially saw it, too. Reminds me of my school UST's main building.

    1. Hahaha that was my first impression too. It looks more European that Asian to me don't you agree?

  2. Replies
    1. It is Prince. =) I hope you have visited Taal Basilica already. =)


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