01 May, 2014

Falling in love with colonial Philippines. Part 2.

Hola! This is the second installment of Falling in Love with Colonial Philippines. If you liked the post about the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours and the heritage house of the Villavicencios, you will surely find Villa Tortuga interesting, too.

The Villa Tortuga Experience
This beautiful heritage house located along Calle Marcela Agoncillo, is a popular tourist attraction in the charming town of Taal, Batangas. Dressed by fashion designer and Camp Suki's Lito Perez, Villa Tortuga is also a B&B. A lot of tourists make this their home when they're in Taal. Like most colonial houses that I've been to, Villa Tortuga was reconstructed for adaptive re-use. Knowing this, it's okay to set expectations. These bahay-na-batos do not disappoint, at least the one's that I have been to. Stepping inside Villa Tortuga was a lot different compared to other heritage houses that I've visited.

You will fall in love with the fabulous dining set-up and meals prepared — Colonial Philippines' style! Think of beautiful colonial furniture, old school table ware, ceramic plates with intricate details, plateras, and heavy silveware. I thought it was cool.

You will enjoy the experience of wearing period clothes: baro't saya, a friar's vestment, etc. I had a lot of fun doing this even if the clothes we wore were not appropriate for our tropical weather. It made the colonial period vibe close to authentic. Now it all made sense why bahay-na-batos had huge windows, ventanillas, and calados.

Elaborate Spanish Era Table Set-up

Ceramic Hand-Painted Plate

Lunch Villa Tortuga Style
My friends and I changed into our period clothes before having lunch. Villa Tortuga has a studio at the ground floor that rents out the period clothes. It's part of the package that we availed and yes, Villa Tortuga allows their guests to walk around and dine in these. I chose between a patadyong & a baro't saya and decided to go for the latter because it had more character.

Vicks, Mac, and I dined in our period clothes and feasted on Chicken Broth with Malunggay Leaves ( Tinola for short ), Blanched Okra and Kang-Kong with Diced Ripe Mangoes, Adobong Dilaw, Sinaing na Tulingan, Tawilis, Diced Pork with Pineapple, and Batangas' very own Pork Tapa.

For dessert, we had what has to be one of the best Batangas Sumans I've ever tasted. Suman is a rice cake that's really popular here in the Philippines. It is made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, steamed, and wrapped in buri palm. I liked the suman at Villa Tortuga because it had the right sweetness and didn't have to dip it in sugar.

With the yummy Suman, was Tsokolate-e. It was both comforting and unforgettable! A little trivia here, If I remember my Philippine History right, during Spanish times, the rich class and the friars were the only ones who could have tsokolate-e.

Trivia: Jose Rizal mentioned Tinola in his book, Noli Me Tangere :)

Blanched Okra & Kangkong w- Diced Ripe Mangoes

One of my favorites: Batangas Pork Tapa

If I remember my facts right, back in the Spanish Times here in the Philippines, the rich class and friars
were the only ones who could enjoy tsokolate-e.

Colonial Snapshot
We all had fun dressing up and trying to get into character. It made the Taal trip memorable and the Spanish period experience somewhat real. I called Vicks Dona Victoria, Mac was Padre Damaso, and I'm Maruja. Of course, the three of us knew that we couldn't laugh our asses of if we actually lived in the 1890s and the years after that. We all know what happened back then.

On a lighter note, I really really enjoyed the Taal Heritage Trip and would gladly bring friends & relatives to the beautiful places in Taal to experience Colonial Philippines one more time. Kudos to Lito Perez & team and all other individuals who devote their time and effort to restore these houses that reflect much of our culture and history.

For just PHP1,500 ($34) per person, you get a hearty Colonial lunch, wear period clothes, and
take photos in it. It's an experience that you should not miss.

This is not a paid post.
☮..Peace + _Love + Good Vibes.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

✎  Villa Tortuga
  +63 927 9751683
  Calle M. Agoncillo, Taal, Batangas, Philippines


Phillip Dews said...

That Colonial snapshot looks awesome Russ!
I am hoping to one day goto the Philippines so will deffo try that out it looks like a great deal of fun!
All the best
- PD

LLoyd FErnandEz said...

Oh that's my favorite tapa! and I felt like nostalgic about vintage places thank you for posting this

Kung Phoo said...

That is kinda cool! My brother in law travels there for biz allot and says the food in great!

Ave T said...

I would love to try the Blanched Okra & Kangkong w- Diced Ripe Mangoes, looks really delicious! Sounds like you had a lot of fun. Great photo!

Patranila Jefferson said...

That hand-painted plate is exquisite!

Aisha Kristine Chong said...

Wow that is awesome - I'd love to experience this one myself, too!

EmmaT said...

Looks like a fun time getting chance to dress up.

Payal Bansal said...

Was that plate hand painted??? This is so so so amazing and beautiful.

Boonie said...

You are such a fun person! This post is awesome because I love how you're experiencing life and sharing it with us. The images are always wonderful, and the one of you in period clothing is my favorite.

Amanda T said...

That looks like really great food. I would also love to visit the Phillipines one day!

Kath Rivera said...

Oh how cool is that! Beef tapa and colonial clothes :) I would love to wear colonial clothes and experience the life during colonial times.

Joanna Sormunen said...

The table, the setting, everything is so exquisite. And the handpainted plate, they shouldn't let anyone eat from it, it's geourgeous! What an unique experience!

Russ R. said...

Yes please, and when you do ... please let me know.

Lexie Lane said...

I love anything cultural. When I go to the Philippines, I like that people embrace it.

Katherine Bartlett said...

Wow, I want to go there!