The next house we visited, just a stone throws away from the Goco House, was Glicera Marella Villavicencio’s ancestral home.
So what’s with the long name you might ask? It so happens that the owner of the said heritage house is considered to be the Matriarch-General of the Revolutionary Forces, named by none other than General Emilio Aguinaldo for her contribution in the uprising against the Spaniards and the Americans.
The house is also called the Gift House, it being a gift of husband, Eulalio Villavicencio, to his wife on their wedding.
Both husband and wife had helped the pillars of the propaganda movement in Taal, Batangas. The house served as a meeting place for the Katipuneros, attendees included legends like Andres Bonifacio, Miguel Malvar and Felipe Calderon. It even boasts of a secret trapdoor at the dining hall that served as an escape exit in case of sudden inspections by the Spaniards.
The house also served as a stockroom for Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo books, which were considered subversive materials then, and was secretly being distributed to the people.
What I like about this ancestral house is their full guided tour for guests. Starting with a film-showing (this might just be seasonal, as our visit was timed with the annual Taal’s El Pasubat Festival), documenting the house and its owner’s background during the revolution and on towards the guided house tour.
The house is a larger version of the bahay na bato (stone houses) during the colonial era, the owners being on the higher echelons of society. The thing I noticed immediately was its black tin panel ceiling, certainly something I hadn’t seen on any old houses I’ve visited. Our guide explained that it was imported all the way from Europe. Another interesting thing about this house is its hand-painted wallpaper; very unique indeed.
The house is well furnished and properly restored. It has everything a respectable ancestral house should have; rocking chairs, old rugs, antique cabinets, four poster beds, ancient chest foot lockers, clay cooking wares, plus more. I was especially impressed with the huge dining table which can probably seat twenty persons with no problem.
On the way out of the house, we passed through its garden where a huge black Plymouth was parked. The hosts were gracious enough to let guests sit inside and have their photo ops; certainly a fun way to end a historical tour of the house.
It is curious to note that while researching for some information regarding Taal’s Gift House, I’ve come across some articles that has a very different interior of the house. It turned out that it has a twin and is interconnected with it through a bridge. Check out some of Lantaw’s excellent photos of the twin here.
The Villavicencio Gift House