The Heritage Town of Taal
|Nickname(s): Balisong and Barong Tagalog Capital of the Philippines|
Map of Batangas showing the location of Taal
|Region||CALABARZON (Region IV-A)|
|• Mayor||Michael D. Montenegro|
|• Total||29.76 km2 (11.49 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Income class||3rd class|
Taal is a third class municipality in the province of Batangas, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,503 people. Taal is famous for its old ancestral houses, the poblacion was declared a heritage town designated as a National Historical Landmark. It is also known as the Balisong and Barong Tagalog Capital of the Philippines.
A dominant feature of the province of Batangas is Taal Lake. It covers an area of 270 square kilometres (100 sq mi) and is drained by Pansipit River down into Balayan Bay. Pansipit is one of the major ecological highways that allow migration of two fish species: maliputo (cranx ignobilis) and muslo (cranx marginalis) which are unique to lake Taal. Adult fish migrate to the sea from Taal Lake via Pansipit River and Palanas River in Lemery. The tawilis (harengula tawilis) is a freshwater sardine also endemic to Taal lake.
Taal is politically subdivided into 42 barangays.
- Mahabang Lodlod
- Poblacion 1
- Poblacion 2
- Poblacion 3
- Poblacion 4
- Poblacion 5
- Poblacion 6
- Poblacion 7
- Poblacion 8
- Poblacion 9
- Poblacion 10
- Poblacion 11
- Poblacion 12
- Poblacion 13
- Poblacion 14
- Tierra Alta
- Tatlong Maria
Taal has two seasons: dry from November to April, and wet during the rest of the year. The lowest minimum temperature does not drop below 20 °C (68 °F) while the highest maximum temperature of 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) occurs from March to July of each year.
The descendants of the Bornean settlers in Panay spread out to the neighboring islands, where they founded more settlements. In due time, they came to be known as Bisayans after the Bisayan tribe in Borneo, to which their ancestors belonged. The colonies founded by Datu Dumangsil and Balensuela in the Taal region prospered in the plenitude of time. The settlement was called Taal due to the presence of Taa-lan trees in the Pansipit River, formerly called Taa-lan river.
Their descendants spread out in two groups - one group colonizing the region of Laguna de Bay northwards and the other, penetrating southward settled the northern Bicol Peninsula. Those who remained in Batangas and the Laguna de Bay region became the Tagalogs ("people of the river"), which their original language (a mix of Central Philippine languages, Kinaray-a, Old Malay, Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, and other Borneo-Philippine languages before the Spanish period) evolved into pre-Spanish Tagalog or Batangas Tagalog. Taal, which means "indigenous", is considered the center or origin of the Tagalog language. Taal back then was called Bonbon alongside with the lake.
Taal was first founded in present day San Nicolas but due to the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754, the town was moved to its present site for protection. The town became the capital of Batangas until it was moved to Batangas City. Taal is also became known for its Barong Tagalog and the famed Balisong. Many of its residents became heroes such as the Agoncillo family during the revolution. The Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal), which is the biggest church in the Philippines, was first built in 1575 in present day San Nicolas but abandoned in 1754 due the eruption of Taal and rebuilt in 1755. Then an earthquake shook it down in 1849 and once again rebuilt in 1856 by Architect Luciano Olivero. Today, it is now a Heritage town and Taal is known as the Barong Tagalog, Balisong and Tagalog capital of the Philippines.
In 1955 the barrios of San Nicolas, Gipit, Bangin, Pansipit, Calangay, Sinturisan, Talang, Abilo, Balete, Bancora, Saimsim, Maabud, Mulawin, Tambo, Calumala, Alasas, Calawit and Pulangbato, then part of this municipality, were separated and constituted into a new and separate municipality known as San Nicolas, Batangas.
|Population census of Taal|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
The first census in 1903 recorded a total population of 17,525. The 2007 population was 51,459 growing at 2.44% annually over the previous 7 years, with 7,961 households. By 2010, the population slightly increased to 51,503.
- The EL PASUBAT Festival, celebrated annually during the month of April, is the conglomeration of the trademarks of Taal, Batangas. EL PASUBAT stands for Empanada, Longganisa, Panutsa, Suman, Balisong, Barong Tagalog, Tapa, Tamales, Tawilis, Tulingan — the delicacies and crafts that Taal is known for. 
- The Feast of St. Martin of Tours is held November 11 every year. Celebrations are in the form of prayer, hymns, declamation, flower offerings and big religious processions. Most houses celebrate with food and drinks for visitors right after.
- The Feast of Our Lady of Caysasay, the well known miraculous image of the Immaculate Conception, is celebrated every December 8. A joint town fiesta celebrated on December 9 honoring both Our Lady of Caysasay and St. Martin of Tours.
- Lua is a traditional declamation in the vernacular recited by a maiden to honor the Virgin Mary or a boy in praise of a male saint like St. Martin of Tours. In the procession, young girls and ladies in their pretty gowns make up the hila (pull), so called because they are supposed to pull the cord of lights originating from the Virgin’s karosa (procession carriage) bedecked with flowers.
Local products and delicacies
Since the Spanish period, the people of Taal lived by farming and commerce. The main produce are cotton, cacao and sugar which are made through the use of crude sugar mill called trapeche. Weaving and embroidery of barong and camisa (blouses) made from piña are popular home industries. Local embroidery businesses later expanded their products to include curtains, piano covers, pillow cases, table cloth, table napkins and bed covers, adding more fame already earned by Taal embroidery.
Other products produced in the town are: balisong (fan knife) and various food treats such as the panocha (peanut brittle candy) and suman salehiya (a sweet suman), tapa (cured pork product) and the local longganisa, all of which are available at the public market. Popular Filipino dishes that originated from Taal are Adobo sa Dilaw (Yellow Adobo) and Sinaing na Tulingan (Bonita Fish Soup).
Famous people from Taal
People from the Philippine revolutionary history:
- Gliceria de Villavicencio was named as the “godmother of the revolutionary forces” by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. She supported the revolution against the Spaniards, and later the Americans inflamed by the death of her husband, Eulalio Villavicencio, in February 1898.
- Felipe Agoncillo is a revolutionary hero, statesman, and diplomat Philippine Republic to the United States and to the Treaty of Paris in 1898.
- Marcela Agoncillo, Don Felipe Agoncillo, is best known as the maker of the present flag of the Philippines, first unfurled at the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.
- Vicente Ilustre was associated with other Filipino patriots like Rizal, Plaridel, Naning Ponce, Galicano Apacible and others in Madrid. He later became a member of the Philippine Commission under Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison where he served as president of the Committee for Mindanao and Sulu. Thereafter, he became a Senator in the First Senate of the Philippines. He was also instrumental in the installation of public light and water utilities in Taal.
- Ananias Diokno was the only Tagalog general to lead a full scale military expedition to the Visayas against the Spanish forces.
- Galicano Apacible, a cousin of Jose Rizal, was a co-founder of La Solidaridad. He later became a politician and co-founded the Nacionalista Party.
Other famous Taaleños:
- Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal) - The biggest Catholic Basilica Church in the Far East.
- Our Lady of Caysasay
- Our Lady of Caysasay Academy
- "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Province: BATANGAS". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- NHCP Historic Preservation Division. "Portion of the Town of Taal". National Registry of Historic Sites & Structures in the Philippines. Retrieved on 2013-07-03.
- Gregorio F. Zaide, Ph.D., The Pageant of Philippine History, (Manila: Philippine Education Company, 1979), 65.
- "An Act Creating the Municipality of San Nicolas, Province of Batangas". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
- "El Pasubat". Taal Tourism Office.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Taal, Batangas.|
- Official Tourism Website of Taal
- Taal Municipality's Website
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- Philippine Census Information
- The Best of Taal Batangas
- Filipinos in History
||Agoncillo / San Nicolas|
|Balayan Bay||San Luis|