Travel bug

4 Things I Loved About Being A Tourist In My Own Province


Taal is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines, and it is home to the oldest church in Asia. Recently, I had the chance of joining Mr. Pio Goco’s Taal Heritage Town Food and Walking Tour.


Before the Taal Tour

I did not ask too much about its details. I guess I was not too interested in what the tour was exactly. I was simply too excited about being a tourist in my own province.

A day before the tour, however, I learned that around 28 Japanese exchange students will be joining the tour with us. Kevin, a former schoolmate who happens to be a friend of our tour guide, Mr. Pio Goco, asked me how my Nihongo was. I only know very little of it from my dad’s blue Nihongo book when he lived in Japan to study for a few months. 😂 On the day of the tour, I discovered that two of Mr. Pio Goco’s friends will be joining as well. The more, the merrier, as they say.

Things I loved about being a tourist in my own province

Seeing old houses again may have been my motivation of joining the tour but at the end of the day, I realized that Taal gave me more than just another peek at old, wooden structures. With Mr. Pio Goco’s tour, I experienced Taal’s history, food, faith, and heritage. Here are 4 things I loved about being a tourist in my own province.

1. I got the chance to know the place better.

Remember those scenes in a romantic film where couples would go on a few dates to get to know each other better before actually falling in love? Well, that is exactly what this little and humble town did to me.

I know Taal. I am quite familiar about the old houses there, that longganisa is a specialty, and that people get the best fabrics from the town but I guess I have not yet fallen that deeply in love with the place yet until that tour on a Sunday. I learned a few more stories I have never heard of before, and experienced things I have never done in Taal before.

2. I got to discover new things.

The tour allowed me to discover stories passed down from generation to generation from our tour guide who was the perfect man for the job. He does not simply tell stories about Taal. He also lets you imbibe the culture in a simple day tour.

Pio Goco was a descendant from the family of Illustrados, the elite ones during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. He is the son of Raul Goco, the state’s Solicitor-General during former President Fidel V. Ramos’ leadership. His family owns the Goco Ancestral House at the heart of Taal.

Here is one of my favorites among the tales he shared:

  • Old houses in Taal do not always have mumu (ghosts). Back then, the garbage of every house is kept in an imburnal, the area near the house where trash is kept and covered in soil. At the lower part of the house, there is a door going to the imburnal. To prevent children from going into that dirty area, adults say there are ghosts in there. Hence, old houses today are depicted as always having.
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Waiting for lunch to be served at the Goco Ancestral House

Another thing I discovered in this tour is the development the museums-old houses had. Most of them now have air conditioning units, and informative and engaging pieces on the walls.

3. I made new friends.

It was my first time to join a tour where I really do not know who the other joiners are. The adventurous part of me has always wanted to do that. (Thank you, Kevin and Kabatang, for booking the trip!)

The tour introduced me to Ms. Lisa Bayot, founder of BINHI English Literacy Foundation Inc., Ms. Miles Po, founder of Pixel Media, Inc., Japanese students from Sōka University in Japan, and professors from University of the East.

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4. I experienced the town anew.

One more thing I loved about being a tourist in my own province was the chance to experience Taal one more time.

Our tour began with a trip down memory lane. We had lunch in a manner Illustrados dined during their time sans the Filipiniana costumes and slavery. We used the Goco family’s precious tableware. Yes, the ones his mother displays in the aparador (cabinet). I was so scared that I would drop them at the buffet. 😂 We also visited the houses of Apacible, Agoncillo, and the Basilica de San Martin de Tours. Purchasing some of my favorite foods at the market completed my tour of Taal.


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It was such a fantastic experience! Have you ever tried being a tourist in your own town or province? Comment below or drop me an email at 😊 See more pictures here.

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Taal Heritage Town Tour by Pio Goco
Mobile: (+63) 917-373-7346
Length of Tour: Around 6 hours (11AM-5PM)

TOUR FEES: (inclusive of lunch and museum entrance fees)
Php 1500 per pax (7 pax and below)
Php 1380 per pax (8 pax and above)
Php 1300 for students and seniors



22 thoughts on “4 Things I Loved About Being A Tourist In My Own Province

  1. I have passed by Taal many times in the past and had barely taken time to stop and look around the small town. Just like here in Manila, where I ignore basically everything that is right in front of me. You see, this is basic human nature. We take things for granted.

    Take photography for instance. Take a shot of the outdoor area of a garden, say, one with flowers. We tend to ignore the flowers. But when a photographer takes a macro photo of the flower, only then do we see the details and admire its beauty.

    And that flower is Taal, your hometown. Glad you had the opportunity to look at the finer details of Taal.


  2. Experiencing the town anew is a nice way to deepen your love to that place. Sometimes, we arent that fully aware of what our province could offer and are left surprised by its beauty and the kind words coming from others. Im glad you were able to tour the place and meet new friends.

  3. Your post reminds me of the small brgy where I grew up. I wonder if there’s anything to know there! hahaha. ‘coz it’s really just a small town, and most of the people know each other, it’s amazing! I should do more “gala” when I visit our home town again! 🙂

  4. Sometimes we’re too busy with our own lives what we never really had a serious time exploring our own hometowns. It’s nice that you took your time and got to be more of a local in your own home. It’s also equally interesting that your get to experience and discover its quaint, historical side. 🙂

  5. Being used to your place sometimes has its down because you don’t find the urge to discover it more but glad you did. I can see that you learned a lot from your trip and I never thought that taal has those things as well. It is so new to me.

  6. The only thing I know about Taal is the lake. Poor me! But i enjoyed reading this post as I got to know that there’s more to Taal. I am now considering having a historical tour too! I love vintage stuffs, but not history. Hehehe! And that info about mumu, that enlightened me and somehow removed the fear that I have about ancestral houses. 😀

    1. Hahaha it did the same to me, Elle. Oh, you should join the tour. You will learn a lot of things off books 😊

  7. The first time I visited the provice of Taal I was really impressed. Aside from having the largest churhc in Asia. I love the town Coz it’s giving me a vigan vibes. I love seeing the heritage houses and feeling of traveling back in time is awesome.

    1. Hi, Cai. Well, it’s called Vigan of the South for nothing although I really dont prefer that. Yes, both places have the same spanish colonial atmoshere to them but they differ on a lot of things too 😊 by the wY, the province is Batangas. Taal is a small town in it 😉

  8. Haven’t been there really, just pass by when we used to drive or take the bus going home (Albay). I’ve always felt like a tourist in my own province especially after college. So many changes have been happening and also so many new places improved and discovered. It’s just great that you have been given the chance to join and explore your province! That surely makes me feel like I’m a kid again. 😀

  9. I’ve never been to Taal. I was thinking about Tagaytay when I’ve read the first few sentences of your post. But then I realized that Tagaytay is different from Taal Province. Lol. Silly me. Anyway, I think it’s a good idea to visit your own province in the view of a tourist. It excites you somehow because you will discover a lot of things you thought you already knew, right? Because of this post, I now look forward to visiting my province as well in Visayas and Bicol Region. Soon! 😀

  10. I’ve only been to Taal twice. First was during my couple’s prenup shoot. Second, during their wedding day. I’d say it’s a really nice place where old houses from the spanish colonization era still existed. What I just didn’t like about the place was how hot the weather was during that time and we had a morning wedding. I also loved their famous Church where Yaya and Sir Chief got married, if I was correct 😛

    1. Naku, I don’t watch that Yaya and sir Chief thing 😂 yes, it’s terribly hot in Batangas. I hope you get to tour the town and capture more of its personality in your photoshoots 😊

  11. One of the perks of being a tourist in your own place is that you really get to know a lot of things you thought never exist in there in the first place. Though I haven’t tried doing that yet but perhaps, there are a lot of things to be discovered when you technically want to explore.

  12. I like the idea of having a “staycation” instead of a vacation because most of us don’t even know what’s really out there in our own backyard! Thank you for sharing your adventure. I’m looking forward to being a tourist in my own province!

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