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Arts & Culture

Visit These Filipino Heritage Spots This Weekend

Some of these 6 Filipino culture and heritage hubs might be in your neighborhood!

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Photography: Glenn Martinez & Jilson Tiu (Main Photos)

Looking for something to do this weekend that is not only fun, but also culturally enriching and educational? Then go on a tour of heritage spots around the country. These hubs will give your family and friends an authentic taste of that region’s culture, history, and food. A lot of them are easy to visit, and some are right within Metro Manila!

Taal, Batangas


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Located about three hours away from Metro Manila, Taal isn’t called the “Heritage Town” for nothing. Its poblacion was declared a National Historical Landmark, and it has hundreds of mostly well-preserved heritage structures.


A few of the more popular ancestral houses that could be visited are the Villavicencio Gift House (a wedding gift from Eulalio Villavicencio to his bride), the Marcella Agoncillo House-Museum, and Villa Tortuga, where guests can dress up in period Filipiniana costumes and dine like an Ilustrado.

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READ: Why This Town Is More Popular Than Its Volcano

Laguna


This southern province has proven to be a popular and accessible heritage destination. One of the less-traveled spots is Nagcarlan, where you can visit the eerie but amazing Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery (above), where stairs in a Baroque-style chapel lead to the underground crypts.

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READ: Go On a Day Tour of These Off-The-Beaten-Track Laguna Towns


If you want a day tour that combines culture, heritage, and food, then head to San Pablo, Laguna. One place that combines all three is Sulyap Gallery Café (above), which serves San Pablo specialties such as Pinais na Kabute; it also has a museum that is a treasure trove of antiques and old house parts.

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READ: 7 Things To Do In Laguna and Quezon

Quezon


If you’re already in San Pablo, Laguna, might as well drive straight to the bucolic and culturally rich province of Quezon. The most charming town in Quezon is Sariaya, which is full of confection-like Art Deco and Art Nouveau houses built by famous Filipino architects like Andres Luna de San Pedro, Juan Arellano, and Juan Nakpil.

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READ: Learn More About Quezon Province In This Amazing Weekend Tour

Negros Occidental


Negros’s rich sugar industry gave rise to its booming towns and many beautiful ancestral mansions. Silay City alone has approximately 31 ancestral houses that are dutifully maintained by the descendants of the hacendero families, and many are open to visitors.

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While you’re in Silay, don’t miss out on buying pasalubong at El Ideal Bakery, which is housed in the ancestral home of Cesar Lacson Locsin.

READ: 8 Cultural Spots in Negros You Can Visit This Summer

Intramuros, Manila


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Manila’s famed Walled City dates to 1590, and its accessibility has made it one of the most popular heritage (and school field trip) destinations in the country. You’ll find many things to do while walking its cobblestoned streets, from the standard Fort Santiago tour, to bisita Iglesia at Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church (you should definitely visit their museum), seeing how ilustrados lived in the past at Casa Manila, to checking out cultural Spanish-Filipino events at the newly minted Instituto Cervantes.

READ: This Quick Intramuros Trip Will Take You Back A Hundred Years


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One of the “newer” destinations in Intramuros is the Destileria Limtuaco Museum along San Juan de Letran Street. The beautifully curated museum traces the history of one of the biggest and oldest liquor distributors in the country (Destileria Limtuaco is 166 years old!). Don’t miss out on the optional “liquor tasting” session at the end of the tour.

READ: This Museum In a Bahay na Bato Is a Lesson in Pinoy History

Escolta, Manila


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Want another quick heritage tour? Escolta has since become a heritage hub with a uniquely creative and youthful vibe. The street of Escolta was the main CBD of Manila in the 1900s-30s, but began to deteriorate after World War II, when businesses started to move to Makati.


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It now has a renewed energy with the weekend markets and events of 98B in the restored First United Building. Whilw you’re there, have coffee at The Den or knock back a beer at Fred's Revolucion, check out the cabinets of curiosities at the Calvo Museum, and visit all the lovely prewar and midcentury buildings, as well. This Saturday, see how The Den is transformed into a "Zodiac Cafe" by Anton Belardo.

READ: 7 Fun Things To Do in Escolta

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