Thursday, 28 October 1999

Hotel and Inn Feature: Casa Punzalan (Taal, Batangas)

Casa Punzalan

Jandy at Casa Punzalan
Casa Punzalan, Taal's first pensionnne, is the ancestral home of the prominent Punzalan family. It was leased by Mr. Jesus Samala Punzalan, Jr. and Capt. Nieto Punzalan, at no cost, to the Taal Heritage Foundation.   
The foundation is tasked with promoting heritage awareness and appreciation among Taalenos and, under the overall “Think Taal” theme, organizing and integrating related efforts and activities for the preservation and development of Taal.  It was organized on January 1992 as an arm of the Taal Arts and Culture Foundation, Inc. (TACFI), with Taal's tourism development as the primary objective, and was duly registered as a non-government organization (NGO) with the  Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 7, 1996. 

Graciano Room
The foundation was, together with the Department of Tourism and in close coordination with the municipal government, in the forefront of Taal's recent failed campaign to be included in the World Heritage List of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).  They also organized the Taal Heritage Tour (or Taal Walking Tour), an educational, enriching and entertaining guided tour that allows the visitor to experience the lifestyle of the town; its culture, arts, crafts and the warm hospitality of the people. 
The inn has 7 rooms, all named after owners (Graciano and Juliana) and their children; 5 of them fan-cooled (PhP600) and 2 airconditioned (PhP1,00-1,200), all accessed by a grand staircase.  It also has common baths (mens and ladies), a living room (sala), a coffee shop and a gift shop.  We opted to stay at the corner and well ventilated Graciano Room with its excellent view of the basilica and park from its capiz windows.   
Casa Punzalan: cor. C. Ilagan and P. Gomez St., Brgy. Poblacion 7, Taal, Batangas.  Tel: (043) 408-0084.

Museum Feature: Felipe Agoncillo Mansion and Monument (Taal, Batangas)

Felipe Agoncillo Mansion and Monument

Agoncillo Mansion dining room
The 2-storey Felipe Agoncillo Mansion and Monument is the birthplace of Felipe Agoncillo, the husband of Marcela  who was appointed by Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo as ambassador to the U.S. to campaign for recognition of Philippine independence.  He is considered as the first Philippine diplomat.  In the well-manicured front garden is a prominent brass statue of Felipe.
Known as the White House, this mansion is also known as the Don Gregorio R. Agoncillo (nephew of Felipe) Museum and is now a National Historical Landmark.  As we were accompanied by the store caretaker, we were allowed passage.  On the second floor are Edwardian and Spanish-inspired antique, 1800s to early 1900s furniture and choice period items plus busts of the Agoncillo ancestors.    
Felipe Agoncillo Mansion and Monument: J.P. Rizal St., Brgy. Poblacion 13, Taal, Batangas