Basilica of San Martin de Tours


Basilica de San Martin de Tours or Taal Basilica as some would prefer to call it is one of the oldest church in Philippine History. It is also considered as the largest church in Asia, situated in the heart of Taal, Batangas. I always admire the glamour of its facade every time I pass by going to other towns close to it. I've attended several weddings and baptismal in this church but haven't gone further its premises apart from the altar. 

I had the opportunity to join an exclusive tour to this historical town when I saw this deal on a buying site few weeks ago. I was getting addicted to groupons, acquiring trips and gift certificates at discounted prices through vouchers sold online. Actually, I was just expecting a plain tour inside Taal Church itself, but then I was startled when our tour guide started acquainting us to the different areas of the church which is beyond my expectation. 

The church is undergoing some renovations during the time of our visit so I wasn't able to take a photo of the nave which was glorious.

Before we formally start the tour, Fashion Designer Lito Perez greeted us inside the Basilica. He used to facilitate the heritage tours in Taal, unfortunately he cannot join us that day.

With Designer Lito Perez 

As we start the tour, Sir Rogie Reyes served as our tour guide (the man in umbrella). He has rich knowledge about the history of the church and the town. Along with us are some other visitors from Manila. 

The huge round chandelier was an antique one. It used to be hanging at the church's ceiling for centuries, now they had to replace it with a new one because it's decaying.

Century Old Chandelier 

Then we were introduced to The Adoration Chapel, a newly built edifice which architectural design follows the old facade of the church. This spot brought me back some thrilling moments with my hubby seven years ago when I said "yes" to him. The chapel doesn't exists yet, only a huge bird cage with a few species of birds, entertaining us while waiting for the baptismal ceremony to start! :-D

Adoration Chapel 

As we move along there are a few pieces of artifacts that caught my attention. The original carosa which is centuries old, preserved inside the Basilica's convent.

An antique bell (sorry for the blurry effect of my poor camera)...

The convent...

Outside it was raining so hard, I wasn't able to come closer to this area, the old shower room of the priests. Long time ago when showers are not available yet, the water down there used to be a lagoon where they take a bath and there was loose water from the craggy walls- up north, constantly flowing just like a waterfall.

Some of the furnitures are new already, but still there are some that has been preserved like the vestments of the priests where they put and pile their vests, some wood carvings, as well as the old wooden settee and the long wooden floors.

The vestments of the priests long long time ago... 

The original confessional...

Some areas were already refurbished but they tried to maintain and still follow the architectural design of the old church. 

Then we went to the comedor or the dining hall...

Beautiful capiz windows 

The long conference table is being occupied for special meetings of the church people, and visitor priests from different parishes.

The Pantry...

The long narra table below is a century old table (the main table) but the legs has been replaced recently. You cannot lift the whole table even if you are two or three. It's really very heavy.

Other charming interiors inside the Convent...

We went further into the Function hall where some parish seminars are being held and sometimes a reception area for weddings and other programs...

Back to the main premises of the church was a staircase, not so noticeable, but according to them during the colonial time, this serves as a hidden passage for priests from the altar leading them out going to the comedor and some other areas of the church.

Then we noticed a painting at the ceiling of the basilica which was explained to us that it has undergone some revisions because according to them the private part of the man on the left is quite big that it was so obvious, so many of the visitors and other parish priests suggested to modify it.

While uncovering the upper level of the church, we stumbled upon a small cave which was according to them is a passage going to the bell tower, about a hundred steps going up the peak. We went inside just to see what it's like, and a super stinky smell welcomed us. Bats invaded the place!

The view from the top should've been nice if not with those piles of bamboo upstanding by the middle of the church. Currently, it is undergoing some repairs and renovations... 

After discovering a lot from the historical church we went to another destination. I was highly favored having the opportunity to discover a lot more about the church's great days of yore, its significance and how well it was maintained all these years, despite the forces of modernization. 

I would like to stress that historical and heritage tours like this should be fostered not just to students but to everyone. After all, every generation was and will always be a product of history. Having a rich knowledge about our history and culture will help us develop a strong sense of nationalism and active participation in performing our roles as citizens of our country. 

“If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.” 

Check out my Taal Heritage Tour:

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