Located in southwestern Luzon, Philippines, Batangas has 31 municipalities and three cities. Most of the towns are surrounded by water, thus it is famous for its beaches, marine life and flora. About 2 to 3 hours from Manila, there are many things to see and do in the province from its many significant landmarks to its many water sports and activities. The people are friendly and festive. It is no surprise that there are lots of festivities that each town celebrates all year round.
Visitors to Batangas will find many things to do and see in the history of the province. Visit the towns of Taal, Mabini, Lipa City and Batangas City to see the architecture representative of the Spanish colonial era in this region.
1. Mabini Shrine
Mabini Shrine, located at Barrio Talaga in the town of Tanauan and around 15 minutes drive from the town proper, is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. The shrine contained some of the writings and personal stuff of Apolinario Mabini, the late revolutionary hero and “Brains of the Katipunan”. He is also known as the “Sublime Paralytic”. Visitors can see a reproduction of the house where he was born and his tomb.
2. Gen. Malvar Museum and Library
This museum and library serves to commemorate the last Filipino general to surrender to the Americans. Donated by the family of the late general, the museum houses oil paintings and personal belongings of Gen. Malvar. The museum is located near the municipal hall of Sto. Tomas, at Gov. Malvar Street.
3. Jose Laurel Memorial Library
The Jose Laurel Memorial Library is a tribute to the dear departed President Jose Laurel and houses his personal belongings and memorabilia. It is located at the town proper of Tanauan, at A. Mabini Avenue and is open to the public every day from 8 AM to 5PM.
4. Punta Santiago Lighthouse (Calatagan Lighthouse)
The lighthouse was built during the Spanish times in 1890. Built from slabs with a touch of Spanish architecture of the 18th century, the lighthouse still works as a guiding light for forthcoming vessels. It is one of the oldest functioning lighthouses in the Philippines. Punta de Santiago Lighthouse is located 20 minutes from the town proper of Calatagan.
5. Malabrigo Lighthouse
During the Spanish colonial regime, many lighthouses were ordered built in key maritime routes throughout the archipelago to protect the growth of maritime traffic that time. Faro de Punta de Malabrigo is one of the 24 lighthouses, along with the Calatagan Lighthouse, erected during that period. The upper part of the tower has already been renovated but it still uses the old round brick tower as its base. A halogen light and solar power replaced the original lantern.
The century old lighthouse can be seen at the top of a cliff in the town of Lobo, Batangas, overlooking Verde Island and Mindoro.
6.St. John The Evangelist Cathedral (Tanauan Church)
One of the spiritual places to see and drop in is the Tanauan Church situated at the town proper of Tanauan. The church was constructed in 1881, with a typical early European architectural style. It has an extraordinary wide-open middle nave and rounded niches. The church can be found at A. Mabini Ave., Brgy. 1, Poblacion, Tanauan City, Batangas.
7. Taal Heritage Town
The town of Taal in Batangas is a great contrast to the cityscape of Manila which is only 2 hours drive away. Taal used to be the capital of Batangas and was located in the present day town of San Nicolas, but the town was forced to move to a safer elevated location after the biggest eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754.
Aside from producing some of the country’s bravest national heroes, the town was able to preserve many ancestral homes which give visitors a glimpse of the lifestyle of the rich and famous during that ear. Although commercialization is evident in the old heritage town, the overall character of the city remains.
Visitors will find souvenir items from the Taal Market such as Barong Tagalog and other products made from the leaves of the pineapple plant (piῆa) and Taal delicacies like panutsa (peanut brittle), suman and empanada. Taal is also known as the balisong and Barong Tagalog capital of the Philippines.
8. Basilica of St. Martin de Tours
At the center of Taal Park is the towering Basilica de San Martin de Tours, the biggest church in the orient. Standing at 95 meters long and 45 meters wide on a plateau in the heart of Taal, this church resembles the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church is surrounded by other cultural landmarks such as the Hall of the Municipal Government of Taal and several ancestral houses.
9. Taal Volcano and the Freshwater Taal Lake
Taal Volcano, which can be found in the interior part of Taal Lake, is recognized as the smallest active volcano in the world. The physical structure of the volcano itself is very distinctive. The volcano was made through one main eruption at the center of the lake, and the lake itself is the crater of a very old volcano.
Taal Lake is the third largest lake in the Philippines. The lake is very rich in natural resources and many types of fish thrives in the river.
For the best view of the volcano and the lake, visitors can either go to Tagaytay City because of its high altitude. To have a closer view, go to the lakeshore towns of San Nicolas, Agoncillo and Talisay in Batangas.