RESTORATION. There are two ancestral houses in Taal that were dedicated to patriotic couple Don Eulalio Villavicencio and Doña Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio. The older one is a pre-1850 bahay-na-bato referred to as Casa Villavicencio. The adjoining house is called the Villavicencio Wedding Gift House because it was built as a gift to Doña Gliceria from Don Eulalio on their nuptials.
Both ancestral houses have been restored to become habitable and as private dwellings. However, we owe it to Gliceria’s and Eulalio’s descendants that at this age where the past are sometimes forgotten, they are allowing the public to experience history and the old world charm of Taal through these ancestral houses.
CASA VILLAVICENCIO. Casa Villavicencio is one of the oldest ancestral houses in the country that still has its original decorations. As we climbed up the wooden stairs to view the living quarters on the second floor, we immediately noticed the original tin ceiling and art nouveau murals in the antesala. In the olden days, metal sheets with embossed designs covering the ceiling became fashionable.
It is perhaps in the antesala where Katipuneros who disguised themselves as sabungeros or as merchants conferred with the house matriarch –Doña Gliceria or as she was fondly called, Aling Eriang.
PATRIOT COUPLE. Casa Villavicencio belongs to the same league of the ancestral houses in Taal where its original owners took an active role in the revolution against the Spanish rule and as a place where important activities were held regarding the revolution.
While Don Eulalio was known to have donated substantial amount of money to finance the printing of Jose Rizal’s novels and by-laws of the La Liga Filipina, Doña Gliceria provided financial aid to the Katipunan. Portraits of the patriotic couple by Juan Luna hang on the main sala.
GRACEFUL INTERIOR. Found all over the sala are bentwood chairs and tables referred in the olden days as Vienna because they were imported from Austria. The elegance of bentwood furniture matches the sinuousness of the art nouveau flowers and boarders on the walls attributed to artist Emilio Alvero.
THE BULUSAN. In one corner of the sala, a pair of durungawan or high chairs are set by the huge window. This spot might have given Aling Eriang a commanding view of her ships anchored in Balayan Bay. She donated one of her merchant ships to the revolutionary movement. This became the first warship of the Katipunan, which was named the Bulusan. The Bulusan ferried revolutionary troops to different parts of the country and carried the arms and ammunition from Hong Kong.
AH-TAY BED. A double door in the sala opens to a bedroom that has a kamagong reproduction of the famous Ah-Tay bed. This status symbol was also called calabasa bed because of the squash-shaped design on the bedpost. A bigger bedroom has a four-poster bed, an art nouveau tocador, and aparador, more bentwood chairs, and a huge door that leads back to the antesala. A portal in the antesala leads to the dining room and the kitchen.
COCINA OF THE OLD. The kitchen has been recreated to look like a busy cocina of the olden days complete with a bulbous pugon and a collection of black earthen palayok.
KATIPUNAN MEETING PLACE. The dining room has an extra-long dining table and an informal comedor for everyday dining. In a secret room below the dining room, revolutionary leaders like Andres Bonifacio, Miguel Malvar, Vito Belarmino, and Felipe Calderon have plotted strategies and made important decisions regarding the revolution. Arms and ammunitions for the Katipunan were also distributed in this secret chamber as well as coded letters from Katipunan leaders. All these activities were never discovered by the Spanish authorities who occupied the nearby and adjoining houses.
For all of her patriotic deeds, Aling Eriang was given the honor as the General Sponsor of the Revolutionary Forces of 1896 by General Emilio Aguinaldo during the proclamation of Philippine Independence in 1898.
-National Heroes Day 2012