Batangas Tourist Attractions
True to its Provincial Tourism tagline that says "It's all here, it's so near!", the Province of Batangas offers an array of activities ranging from heritage stops and religious sites to a more action packed hiking opportunities and island escapes.
Located roughly 2 to 3 hours from Manila by land, you need not board a plane in order to enjoy all these.
Taal Heritage Village
Make your way to Taal's Heritage Village and travel back in time. Its streets are lined with ancestral houses with many having been converted to museums, galleries, gift shops, and inns. We had an exhausting yet educational time going around on foot. Getting lost is not a problem as locals would usually point you to places of interest if you ask them.
The highlight of the walk is definitely the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours (Illustre Avenue, Taal) which is the biggest Catholic Church in Asia. The facade is really beautiful and the interior is simply magnificent with its three naves, wonderfully painted ceiling and dome, and its Doric style altar. There was a bell tower which should be perfect right around sunset but we were not able to go up due to time constraint.
Galleria Taal (60 Calle M.Agoncillo, Taa) was a really nice surprise too. It's an ancestral house turned into a one of a kind camera museum. As heavy users of DSLR and mirrorless cameras, we were in awe of their huge collection of vintage cameras.
Other stops worth noting are Museo Nina Marcela Marino at Felipe Agoncillo (14 Calle Marcela Agoncillo, Taal) , Museo Nina Leon at Galicano Apacible (Calle Marcela, Marino Agoncillo, Taal), Goco Ancestral House (Calle H. del Castillo, Taal), Villa Tortuga (Calle Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, Taal), Shrine of Our Lady Of Caysasay (Taal - Tagaytay Rd, Agoncillo), and Villavicencio Wedding Gift House (Calle Gliceria Marella, Taal). Some of the museums offer guided tours, some are free while others collect a minimal fee or donation.
Batangas is also one of the best provinces to go on a pilgrimage tour with plenty of religious sites and century-old churches. There's Caleruega Church in Nasugbu, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church and San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa City, Saint Padre Pio Parish and Shrine in Santo Tomas, and the Immaculate Conception Church in Balayan. Wherever your feet take you, you are never too far from a place where you can deepen your spirituality or just kick back and have some peace and quiet.
If you're into romantic, old lighthouses, you're in luck as Batangas has two of them. Malabrigo Lighthouse in Lobo and Cape Santiago Lighthouse in Calatagan. The former is the stuff postcards are made of – a charming white structure that sits atop a hill. We greatly enjoyed the drive along the coastline on the way there as well as the view of the sea and the surrounding islands. You can also go down some steps leading to a picturesque and pebbly beach.
The latter is not to be outdone as the quaint old lighthouse is believed to be a hundred years old but still functional. Be warned though that you cannot simply walk in as it’s fenced off, you'll have to contact the caretaker before your visit. Admission is free but you can give him a tip afterwards.
Milea Bee Farm
For a different kind of adventure, visit the Milea Bee Farm in Lipa City (Kurba Road). Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, admission fee is only PHP150 and children below the age of 12 are free. Starting with a refreshing welcome drink made from edible plants, herbs, or fruits with honey, the beekeeper/owner will have you wandering through lush gardens and beehives while learning the importance of these insects into the ecosystem. It was a great time to connect with nature while surrounded by the sound of birds singing, bees buzzing, and cicadas chirping.