Tagaytay. A favorite weekend getaway for Metro Manila residents. A day trip for tourists tired of polluted Metro Manila.
Over the years, Tagaytay has progressed from being this rustic town to a busy city. Gone were the days when families simply had picnics along one of the nipa sheds by the road. Most of the land overlooking Taal Volcano are now laden with commercial establishments, and worse, skyscraping condominium buildings. Traffic is bad during the weekends, and the crowds are just plain too plenty.
But, let me fill you in on a little secret. Tagaytay is best visited on a weekday. Seriously, file that leave and take the day off. It’s so much better than going with a flock of burnt-out office bees who do not have time except for the weekend. Here’s one great way to relax in Tagaytay. Have fun!
Caution: For best results, bring or hire a car. I’m sure you can do this by riding the public transport, but I’m not confident you’d see a lot (or be able to relax) without your own vehicle.
Say hello to the world’s smallest volcano
Or the volcano within a volcano, as my geology instructor once taught. Though technically this volcano lies in Batangas, it is best seen in Tagaytay. Head to Taal Vista Hotel for an unobstructed view of the volcano, along with the multitude of fishing cages in Taal Lake. Just head to the balcony and you’d have the view all to yourself.
Keep warm with a bowl of bulalo
Is there anything more perfect than having a bowl of bulalo (beef shank soup with vegetables and corn) in a cool weather? Yes, a view overlooking Taal Volcano. There’s a bulalo district in Tagaytay, where rows of bulalo joints are open to serve one of the Filipinos’ favorite hot soups.
We had our lunch at Bulalo Point, though their version of the bulalo wasn’t the most spectacular taste-wise. Their servings were big, however, and their prices were affordable.
Go for desserts at Bag of Beans
The restaurant used to be just a small shop. Now, it has developed to become one of the busiest local restaurants in Tagaytay. But since you’re there on a weekday, it’s almost crowd-free. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of cheesecake while you’re there. Admire the quaint and homey feel that the resto exudes. You’re in Tagaytay after all. Relax.
Buy some freshly made bread from Sonya’s Garden
While many opt to have their lunches here, I just couldn’t bother spending that much for just salad and pasta. So, we headed to Sonya’s simply to see the garden and to buy their famous bread. Actually, the only time I heard about how good their bread was was in Biyahe ni Drew, a famous local travel magazine show.
The garden wasn’t too fancy, to be honest. It was quite small and less manicured than I expected. There were shops lining the pathway, and a spa can be found at the end — maybe that’s what draws most people here. Anyway, we just headed to the bakeshop where we bought some bread — pan de coco, raisin bread and cheese hopia. Of the three, I loved cheese hopia the most.
Say a prayer at Caleruega
Follow the steps along the hill and their polished estate until you reach the tiny chapel. The place should be devoid of crowds. The only other group there with us was a couple having their pre-nuptial shoot and some nuns who paid a visit to the chapel. The Monastery of Transfiguration sits on top of the hill, and its brick structure houses only a few pews. It is, on my opinion, best visited on the month of June, when the mountains around it are covered by the growing green croplands.
Buy some food to bring back home
Stop by the road and buy some fruits. Tagaytay is home to pineapple-growing, so buy the freshest ones while you are in town.
Got a sweet tooth? Tagaytay is your haven. Of all the pastries that Tagaytay may offer, I’d recommend Amira’s buco tart. It’s getting more expensive now, but it’s really very good. I loved the filling especially.
Hope you had a fun-filled Tagaytay trip! Happy travels! 🙂