Being under the Spanish rule for more than three hundred years, almost every town or city in the Philippines has architectural jewels. While most houses have been sold off and changed or are already in ruins, some have survived through the centuries and are still put together and well-preserved till this day.
Taal, known for its richness in culture and history is also considered a heritage landmark.
As part of our cultural exposure trip, my classmates and I visited two ancestral houses that thankfully survived through the centuries. You will be greeted with rows of ancestral bahay na bato (stone houses) as soon as you drive or walk into the Taal Town.
It was a hot afternoon when we visited the landmarks in our list which included the Don Leon Apacible Museum and Dona Marcela Agoncillo Museum. Both museums were open on Saturday and accept donations instead of charging an entrance fee.
Our first destination point was the Don Leon Apacible Museum. As soon as you walk into the tiled mosaic floors of the ancestral house, you’re welcomed with a good vibe. Preserved antique items used by the family were displayed including centuries old furnitures and outfits for visitors to see.
Being the goofy person that I am, I added some humour in the tour and snapped some pictures.
The next destination spot was Dona Marcela Agoncillo Museum – the house where the first Philippine flag was sewn by hand by Marcela Agoncillo. Before taking the staircase you will pass sculptures of 3 women. The three women are Dona Marcela herself as the central figure, flanking at her sides the little girl is her eldest daughter and a niece.
As you walk up the staircase, you will be lead to the grand salon of the house. I wandered around the house sewing in my own imagination, thinking about how things used to be centuries ago as I pass creepy rooms and the grand antique piano by the door.
Before leaving the Dona’s grounds, the class and I sat down in the terrace side sharing our adventure stories and things we found interesting around the house as well as exchanging laughters.
These private houses turned into public museums are worth your visit for the opportunity to glimpse the lifestyle of the rich and famous of the olden days. The slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” stands true wherever you go in Philippines. Each old house has a story to tell and a charm of its own.