It was a retrospect moment as we journeyed to Taal, a town that is built with its rich cultural heritage as it features well-preserved antiques and ancestral houses that date back to the Spanish Colonial period. Several of these ancestral houses are now restored as museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants that allow tourists to travel back in time.
One of the ancestral houses that is administered by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is Don Leon Apacible’s Mansion. Don Leon was a prominent individual during the Philippine revolution against Spain. He is known for being the first Finance Officer of Batangas during President Emilio Aguinaldo’s administration. Don Leon was also a delegate to the Malolos Congress of 1898. His ancestral house showcases the art-deco design in the furniture, paintings, carvings, and antiques.
Another treasure of Taal that is recognized by the NHCP is the ancestral house of the first Filipino diplomat – Felipe Agoncillo and the wife and seamstress of the Philippine flag – Marcela Agoncillo.
Indeed, Taal is a heritage town not only because of its ‘bahay-na-bato’ structures, but also because of the contributions of some Taaleños such as Don Leon Apacible, Felipe Agoncillo, and Marcela Agoncillo that has brought significant changes in the Philippine history.
Nevertheless, history is a continuous process. Though these people are no longer present here with us, it is through their silence that we must constantly remind and encourage ourselves to serve our country and our fellow Filipino people. It is something that we should live for today, and hopefully, something that we can pass on to the future generations.