article_a-villa-resurrected.jpgWhen people think of Taal, images of its namesake volcano immediately come to mind. But there is also Taal, Batangas—a charming town that seems lost in time. Although somehow less popular than Crisologo Street in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Taal distinguishes itself from the former by being a complete heritage town, where every street corner and lane is lined with centuries-old houses, schools, churches, and government buildings.

Rows of ancestral houses, the 300-year-old Basilica de San Martin de Tours, and the munisipyo greet you when you enter the town. Street names are carved onto wooden street signs, pointing the way to narrow alleys that seem unchanged by the decades they've weathered. And along one of these stands an ancestral home-turned-bed and breakfast: Villa Severina.

Built in the 1870s, Villa Severina used to be the residence of the Noble family, one of the most prominent families in Taal during that time. "They inherited it from their aunt, Severina Atienza," says architect Robert Arambulo, the man behind the restoration and repurposing of the house.

Robert envisioned Villa Severina to be contemporary and trendy. "The inspiration here is the Singapore Black and White house," he explains, referring to an old colonial houses in Singapore, which is mostly made of wood and painted in its namesake colors. "The interiors are a blend of the East and West."

Though this ancestral house isn't an exact restoration of its former self, Villa Severina gives guests an alluring chance to stay in a charming spot in a town that has its own colonial story to tell.

(First published
as "A Villa Resurrected" in the "Real Home" section of Real Living Philippines' April 2011 issue. Photos by Miguel Nancianceno. Pictorial direction by Gwyn Guanzon. Adapted for use in Female Network.)

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