Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tagaytay: More than the Lake and the Volcano

Some friends have asked me to write some guides on Tagaytay. So here goes.

Tagaytay is the closest tourist destination from Manila. It can get a bit crowded on weekends, as many locals go there mostly because of its cooler weather (second coolest in the Philippines, next to Baguio).

Tagaytay is the home to the famous Taal Volcano (a volcano within a lake) but aside from the volcano, there are a lot of nice places to explore while in Tagaytay.

Getting There

Tagaytay is a one hour to one and a half hour drive from Manila or Makati. It is best to take a car when going to Tagaytay to be able to explore the place without the hassle of waiting for buses when going from one place to the next, as the places are spread apart. However, if it is not possible for you to take a car, you may take the bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas from Baclaran.

By car, you may take the Sta. Rosa exit or alternatively take the Coastal Road to Silang, Cavite. For the map going to Tagaytay, you may browse this site:

Where to Go/What To Do

For those who are just going there for a day trip, you may visit the following:

If you get to Tagaytay early, try having breakfast at Breakfast by Antonios. When I went to Tagaytay with some high school friends, that was our very first stop. They serve a variety of food, along with Filipino breakfast (tapsilog, longsilog and such) with hot chocolate or coffee. With its country ambiance, a view of the volcano, and not to mention good food, it is a good place to have breakfast and spend the early part of the morning. The place can be a bit pricey though, but worth the money.

After breakfast, you may opt to visit the renovated Taal Vista Lodge where you will get the best view of Taal Volcano. You can just hang out at their viewing deck.The Resident Inn has a zoo, and this would be a good place to visit if you have children with you.

If you have friends with membership at Tagaytay Highlands, try to ask them for a pass. There you can experience the cable car ride, the only place in the Philippines with cable rides. They also have this well kept zoo inside Highlands.

For lunch, I would recommend Leslie's. They serve the best Bulalo in town. They also serve other Filipino food, and grilled food. There you can dine, with a view of the volcano and the lake. You may get in touch with them at 63 46 4131065.

If you are a health buff, try the buffet lunch at Sonya's Garden. They serve fresh salad, freshly picked and grown in the Garden. After lunch, you are free to roam the garden where you will see not only vegetables but flowering and ornamental plants. I particularly like their sunflower garden. They also offer accomodation and spa services. For more information, check out Sonyas Garden website.

Before leaving Tagaytay, I would advise you to visit Caleruega Church, a church which has became famous for couples-to-be, which is just in the next town of Nasugbu. It's a good place to wind down, after a day of visit in Tagaytay. Who knows, you might also end up planning your wedding there :-).

If you have more time, or if youre spending more than a day in Tagaytay, you will enjoy having a picnic with family and friends at the Picnic Grove, or if you want a more private place, at the Nature's Discovery Camp. They rent out cabanas and they have places where you can grill. It is fun to play and frolick, or simply just lie down lazily, at its green rolling terrain. You may also pitch a tent, if you wish to. You may call 7213971 or 0918-4116510.

Or better yet, take an adventure and hike the crater of Taal Volcano. At Brgy Talisay, there are boats for hire to take you to the Volcano. When you get there, you and your friends can take a hike to the crater. There you will find a sulfuric lake (which is called a "lake within a volcano within a lake"). But be sure to bring lots of water with you as the heat from the crater can dehydrate you.

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