Hotel Review: Paradores del Castillo (TAAL BATANGAS)

Are you looking for a place to stay in  Taal Batangas, Philippines? If yes, there’s a unique place which is far different compared to thousands of chain hotels out there. It is also strategically located within a walking distance to various attractions where you can visit. Paradores Del Castillo is the place. This is a perfect place for families, couples, and friends to stay which has a relaxing environment and historical ambiance.

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Paradores Del Castillo
is an ancestral house which has been restored into a bed and breakfast. This hotel has 7 air-conditioned rooms with free internet access.

They have done extensive renovations and yet retained the Filipino colonial architecture and historical charm by combining contemporary and traditional styles to create an eclectic, quirky and unique space for guests to embrace and enjoy.

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The hotel structure is mainly made of wood, thick old brick walls and has interesting craftsmanship from the 19th century. This place would definitely take you back in time.

Paradores Del Castillo is located in the heritage town of Taal. The hotel is within a walking distance from the largest church in Asia which is Basilica St. Martin de Tours and Taal public market.

Here is a short recap of my stay recently. I arrived at the hotel at 12:30 pm. The staff are just waiting to welcome and prepare guests to step into an impressive lobby. I arrived early before the check-in time which is supposedly 1:00 pm. I asked the receptionist whether I can check in early because I really wanted to take shower as the weather is terribly hot during that time. Fortunately, there’s a room available at that time and the receptionist helped me to check in early. Warmly welcomed, that’s how I felt. While she’s preparing for my room, another staff came to me and offered a welcome drink. I couldn’t ask for more. ❤️

I headed up to room 06 on the second floor, my home away from home. I have to go through the huge dining hall on the second floor before entering my room. Quirky additions are not just lost spaces but are useful, such as relaxed seating area to perhaps read a book, or browse online with their free internet access.

dining hall

I’ve chosen the standard room which can accommodate 2 persons. The room had a flat-screen TV with cable channels and the traditional styling cues followed by the traditional solid wood furnishings, wood wardrobe, and wood seating chair. All complimented each other well. The bathroom was well presented with heated shower and traditional fittings with complete set toiletries. The whole room was well kept and clean.

Bedtime was bliss, I had a very relaxing sleep, waking up refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Went down and had my leisurely breakfast.

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There’s a huge balcony to enjoy the fascinatingly beautiful garden with a panoramic view of the historical town scenery.

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This hotel provides homey and comfortable dining facilities such as
The Porch, Bamboo Lounge, The Grove, Blue Note Bar, Garden and View Deck.

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Another added bonus of staying here was the complimentary private parking for the guess, they also have a shuttle service but this subject to availability and not forgetting the water dispenser on the second floor to fill up your drinking bottle.

Other nearby places that you may want to visit:
The historic Casa Villavicencio is 78 m away.
Fantasy World is 20.6 km away
Puerto Galera and Tagaytay City are about 42 km away.
Ninoy Aquino Airport has situated 70.7 km away.

I promise you won’t be disappointed if you stay here! The hotel staffs are very friendly and hospitable. I will be returning back to review their dining facilities and update here.

Thanks for reading.
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The Duomo in Milan, Italy

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Duomo di Milano view at night

The Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral is the most famous landmark in Milan, Italy. It is made of pink-veined white marble. The largest church in Italy measuring 520 feet by 302 feet. It is also the 5th largest church in the world, big enough to accommodate 40 thousand people. No wonder the construction works were prolonged over nearly six centuries.

This is me and the central door behind me. It’s a “stories from the life of Mary” and it was carved with floral Gothic reliefs in 1906 by Ludovico Pogliaghi.

It’s very impressive, inside and outside. Needless to say, it is really astounding. The Duomo sits on the grand Piazza del Duomo and it’s just beside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is right in the middle of the city and easy to get to. The Duomo is on the grand square so you can really see the physical of the structure which may surprise you when you stand outside.

It’s free to enter if you just wander around inside. There will be a charge if you want to enter the Treasury or Crypt (located inside the church) or access the Duomo roof (lift and stairs access is located outside of the church).

There will be a queue outside the church to go inside, there are police guarding the doors who have to ensure you’ve dressed appropriately, no off shoulders, mini-skirts, and shorts so remember to take a scarf or have your shoulders covered otherwise you will not be allowed in. They will check your bags, food or drinks are strictly prohibited too. I also noticed the signboards to advise people to turn off cell phones or lower down the volume and not to take photographs with flash inside the church.

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Statue of “St. Bartholomew flayed” wrapped in his own skin, by Marco d’Agrate.

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Once you get in, you will see the church’s magnificent sculptures in the frames and windows, decorations on the facade, beautiful layers of architecturally detailed pinnacles and huge patrimony of statues approximately 1,100 on the inside and  2,300 outside, massive paintings and several tombs of archbishops.

To access the rooftop terrace of the Duomo, you can either use stairs to the top for 5 euros or take the lift for 8 euros, open daily from 9:00 AM  to 5:30 PM.

You can admire and take a wonderful panorama shot of the entire city of Milan from the rooftop terrace, you would be able to see more details sculptures and marble carvings. The number of statues at the roof and the craftsmanship is absolutely breathtaking.

Beautiful Milan is a big city and attracts attention for its rich history and devotion to fashion. We as a traveler we want to make sure our journey to the heart of northern Italy is as safe as possible. You have to be extra careful as you are more exposed to pickpockets and sellers especially in Piazza Duomo.

There are 2 types of the seller in this place that you need to be aware of. One is the corn seed seller and another one is the bracelet seller.

Pigeons are everywhere and they’ll be flocking around the Piazza Duomo and this is where the corn seed sellers come in, they are everywhere too! They tend to grab your hand and when you open your hand they will drop the corn seed and whistles. Next thing you’ll know your arms are covered by pigeons and the seller will offer to take pictures of you while the pigeons are busy eating corn seeds.
Your camera will be given back to you of course but they will charge you 20 euros for the experience, clever isn’t?!

Here come’s the bracelet seller. There will be men who will try to put a leather bracelet or some kind of string bracelet on your arm and when he’s tying the bracelet on you they will tell you it’s free. The moment you start leaving they will start chasing you and ask you to pay 20 euros. They are very sneaky!
They can be very pushy and demand you to buy, so beware of these sellers.
A polite no is normally enough for them to leave you alone.

I hope this would help to give you some ideas and not ruin your experience. You just need to be aware of the pitfalls of traveling but relax and enjoy.

Final thought: I’m glad that I experienced and visit this place and I would love to come and visit again.

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