THE HUNT FOR FOOD AND ANCESTRAL HOUSES AT BALAYAN, BATANGAS

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ancestral houses of balayan, batangas

Lechon is a given while in Balayan, Batangas.  However, a day after the Parada ng Lechon Festival, nothing has been left for public consumption.  And so we made our own heritage and food trip via a chartered tricycle (at PhP150.00).

Honestly, I had no insights of what Balayan, Batangas has to offer.  And that, only then through this trip did I realize that this heritage town unknown to many has a lot of secrets that needs to be divulged.


IMMACULATE CONCEPTION PARISH CHURCH

The oldest chapel in Asia is in Balayan, Batangas.  In the early years, the town is said to be the cradle of Christianity and the seat of civilization in the region.  Balayan was the first municipality in Southern Tagalog and the first province in Southern Luzon.  It has become a Philippine province for 151 years (1581-1732).

THE CHURCH INTERIORS'
The Immaculate Conception Parish Church is one testament of cultural heritage.  It sits in the town center and served as our focal point in discovering the town.  The church is listed as a National Cultural Treasure as well since its construction was supervised by Filipino seculars during the Spanish Colonial Period.

THE ANCESTRAL HOUSES

ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
THE ANCESTRAL HOUSE OF LEO MARTINEZ
As we walked from the church towards the town’s rotunda, noticeable is the fact that commerce and religion combined flourish.  Banks, fast food chains in the likes of McDonalds, Jollibee, convenience stores and peddlers of varied merchandise is the imposing scenery.  In a few distance from rotunda is the Balayan Presidencia or the House of the President in the Spanish era, now known as the Municipal Hall.  Readings say that it was in the year 1744 when the first house of tribunal (Casa Real) was constructed in the exact location of the Municipal Hall.  There was an ongoing construction when we visited the municipal hall, thus, the façade won’t look much appealing.

ROTUNDA

ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
BALAYAN PRESIDENCIA WITH ONGOING CONSTRUCTION
Across the Balayan Presidencia is the Casa Cacao Balayan also known as the Mariano Martinez Ancestral HouseThe house painted in white sits at the corner and is owned by an affluent family who succeeded in the cacao business.

ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
MARIANO MARTINEZ ANCESTRAL HOUSE
While at the back ride of a tricycle, I took a few snap shots of the ancestral houses aligned in the town of Balayan.  One house that would never fail to get the attention of every passerby is owned by a clan of the Martinez.  Commercial spaces surround the said house with dangling electric wires yet the charm still exudes.

ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
ANOTHER MARTINEZ ANCESTRAL HOUSE AT THE TOWN CENTER
It seems that most of the functional and well-preserved ancestral houses in Balayan, Batangas are from the Martinez clan.  One of the known ancestral houses is in fact owned by a Philippine actor and now a politician, Leo Martinez.

ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
THE RELAXING VIBE OF LEO MARTINEZ' ANCESTRAL HOUSE

ancestral houses of balayan, batangasancestral houses of balayan, batangas

Across the house of Leo Martinez is owned by the Solis clan, manned by a caretaker. It is one of my favorite ancestral houses of Balayan.  The canopy of trees that surround the ancestral house emits a rejuvenating vibe that I can imagine myself peeking through the windows of the second floor as I breathe fresh air. 

SOLIS ANCESTRAL HOUSE
In a walking distance from the said houses is the famed Lopez mansion.  Known as the La Casa Grande, this is one ancestral house that marks every visitors’ list of what to see in Balayan.  Adjoining the ancestral house of the Lopez family is their rice and sugar fields.  Architecturally, it resembles a typical “Bahay na Bato” where the lower ground floors’ exterior walls is made of adobe stone. 

ancestral houses of balayan, batangasancestral houses of balayan, batangas


ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
THE WINDOWS THROUGH TIME OF LA CASA GRANDE
ancestral houses of balayan, batangas
LOPEZ' ANCESTRAL HOUSE
BALAYAN FOOD FINDS

Most of the ancestral houses have been abandoned by their owners as they migrate to other places.  Some of these houses have been converted into commercial establishments and one in the form of an Italian restaurant, the Chez Deo Ristorante Italiano.

There were no ample streetlights as we locate Chez Deo restaurant for our dinner.  Fortunately, with the less complicated road networks of Balayan, Batangas, it is easy to locate one destination from another.   

FOUR CHEESE ANYONE?
Pizza and pasta are default orders when in an Italian restaurant.  The group shared over one of its bestseller pizzas’- the four-cheese Quatro Formaggi decked with parmesan, gorgonzola, mozzarella, formaggio cremoso and the prosciutto Parma with mixed Italian cuts and Parmesan cheese.  I personally had lasagna while my friends had pasta Arabiata and the olive-oil based Cozze e Gamberoni with mussels and prawns, garlic and white wine sauce.

MY DINNER - LASAGNA

COZZE E GAMBERONI
All menu items are cooked and prepared daily to guarantee freshness.  Service is excellent as well.  They have an ongoing promo at that time where if guests reach a particular amount for the bill, a free shirt shall be given.  We did not reach the minimum but fortunately, a shirt was given to us.

Before we leave Balayan, Batangas, we were actually looking for lechon.  But most of the shops serving lechon were closed.  Our tricycle driver highly recommended that we try Rebekah’s Lechon, claiming to serve the best lechon in Balayan, Batangas.  Unfortunately, the shop was still closed for business.  Where did all the lechon go?

Across Rebekah’s is the Agot’s Bar and Restaurant.  We settled at the said restaurant for lunch and feast on Filipino favorites.  Our dining table was graced by crispy pata and chopsuey.  The crispy pata experience is even more enhanced by its dipping sauce.  But at this restaurant, even without the need of the sauce, the crispy skin and succulent meat suffices.

CRISPY PATA

ONE OF THE FEW VEGETABLE DISH I EAT - CHOPSUEY
Blueberry cheesecake is aggressively marketed with signage all over the cozy restaurant.  It comes with a very cheap price that we were left with no recourse but to try the same.  I seldom eat cheesecakes as it tastes sour for me.  But with the restaurant’s version, it has a level of sweetness that my palate can accept and I can’t even taste the sourness of the dessert.  The leche flan is also a must-try.

CREAMY LECHE FLAN

BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE

FOOD AND TRAVEL BUDDIES IN BALAYAN

CHEZ DEO RISTORANTE ITALIANO
Fe Street, Brgy. 12, 4213 Balayan, Batangas City
Contact: (043) 211-6868

REBEKAH’S LECHON
Palikpikan Street, Balayan, Batangas
Mobile: 09163571439

AGOT’S BAR AND RESTAURANT
168 Palikpikan Street corner Paz St., Balayan, Batangas
Contact: (043) 211-4306
Mobile: 0917-5058692 or 0917-8622096
Email: info@agotscatering.com


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1 comments

  1. Oooh! We'll be visiting Batangas first week of September! We'll check out those ancestral homes. And looking at pictures of the food is making our stomachs grumble.

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