Last Sunday, we agreed to have a long drive farther South and attend a mass somewhere in Batangas. Just a whole day escape from the City and to have a glimpse of the greens and seas—Batangas is filled of such sceneries.
We went to Taal Basilica, around 65km far from BF Homes, Paranaque. And yes, it is worth the drive. Truly amazing to see the old-majestic facade of the church with intricate exterior designs. The history and the initiatives to preserve the holy structure is also very interesting to know. The struggles and the will of the Church to stand firm despite many trials is so inspiring. Here are some great historical information worth noting.
· It takes pride as the oldest church in Asia; it started construction beginning 1575—3 years after the founding of Taal town in its old site near the shores of Taal Lake with Saint Martin of Tours as Patron Saint.
· The church was rebuilt and improved in 1642 using stronger materials but in 1754, it was destroyed along with the town of Taal in the largest recorded eruption of Taal Volcano. This event led to the transfer of the town and the church 7.5km west away from the volcano to its present site atop an elevated hill facing Balayan Bay. The ruins of the previous church can still be seen in San Nicolas, Batangas.
· The construction of the new church started in 1755 to 1782 but yet again damaged by a natural calamity by a strong earthquake on September 16, 1852.
· Construction of the present church began in 1856 and was completely finished in 1878.
· A small tower on the left side of the facade contained the large church bell, which in 1942, was destroyed by an earthquake.
· The church was then restored in 1953 and then the following year on December 8, 1954, the church was declared as a Minor Basilica, the third in the country to be given such honor.
· The church was again restored in 1972 by the Taal Quadricentennial Council for the 400th anniversary of the town’s establishment and on January 16, 1974 was declared a National Shrine.
· In April 4, 2017, the Basilica was damaged by a 5.5 earthquake that struck Tingloy, Batangas. The Basilica was significantly damaged again caused by twin earthquakes (magnitudes 5.6 and 6.0) that struck the neighboring towns of Mabini and Taysan that occurred on April 8. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines is undertaking some precautionary measures in order to preserve the Basilica.
The Taal Basilica canonically known as the Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours (Filipino: Basilika ni San Martin ng Tours; Spanish: Basílica Menor de San Martín de Tours) is a Minor Basilica in the town of Taal, Batangas in the Philippines, within the Archdiocese of Lipa. It is also considered to be the largest catholic church in the Philippines and in Asia, standing 88.6 metres (291 ft) long and 48 metres (157 ft) wide. St. Martin of Tours is the patron saint of Taal, whose fiesta is celebrated every November 11. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taal_Basilica)
Visit their small gallery, light a candle, attend a mass, enjoy the sudden blow of wind at the entrance door, or just simply pray. Coming here is spiritually uplifting.