Tag Archive: Cavite

About time we bring the kids to the Island of Corregidor. The guided tour to this historic island is among the best. Cheerful guides, a good transport system — 1 hour 15 minutes by hover ferry and then the trams called tranvia to tour you around the tadpole-shaped island — and a 3 hour tour packed with history lessons.



Sun Cruises Terminal is right between the Folk Arts Theatre and the Coconut Palace in the CCP Complex.

It’s hard to miss the Sun Cruise Terminal in the CCP Complex. Just tell the cab driver it is between the Folk Arts Center and the Coconut Palace in this reclamation area. Be sure to be there well before the 8am departure time. Worry not about missing breakfast. We took ours there. That is, if you don’t mind a Sabrett hotdog for brekkie.


Inside the Ferry, on the upper deck, is a store where you can buy breakfast fare.


Sunscreen, shades, hat. There are umbrellas inside the tranvia which you can use whenever you step off to view the sites. Just remember this is a memorial. Where many gallant men died defending our country from Japanese forces. If you don’t care to listen to the guide’s history lessons, at least wait for her to finish her spiel before you start camwhoring. Also, do try to tone down your voice. What is it about us, anyway? I feel really sorry that many of our kababayans don’t seem to have much interest in our history, much less accord the necessary respect for our patriots who died here. So sad.



Tranvias or Trams.


Map of the Tadpole-Shaped Corregidor Island. There’s the Topside, Middleside and Bottomside.



While only 48 Kms west of Manila, it is considered part of Cavite City. Corregidor, along with the tinier Caballo Island which is only 2 Kms away, partially blocks the entrance to Manila Bay and is thus very strategic in the naval defense of the capital city. Since Sangley Point is located in Cavite City, it made sense to have this island under the administration of this tiny city.



There goes the tranvia or tram which is found waiting for you as you disembark from the ferry to whisk you around the Island.



The walk through history included the Topside where the headquarters, barracks and bulk of the batteries were located. The Middleside houses the hospital and more barracks while the Bottomside connects the “head” and the “tail” of this fortress island. The Malinta Tunnel with its labyrinth of passageways is found here. So called because the place was swarming with “linta” (leeches) then. Today, the Tunnel is home to a Light and Sound presentation designed by National Artist Lamberto Avellana. For an additional P150 fee, one is transported back to that time during the Second World War when Corregidor was the last stronghold of the joint Phil-Am military forces fighting against the Japanese Imperial Army. Much like the Gibraltar of the Orient.




The Headquarters. Iconic landmark of Corregidor Island.



In sweltering heat, we walked towards the Dome of Valor. A bronze monument of a Filipino and American soldier greets the visitors before this parachute-inspired structure behind which lies the Eternal Flame of Freedom. The whole structure honors the gallant men who sacrificed their lives. Sacred grounds deserving of RESPECT. (I won’t go into that again…. But you get the drift)




Dome of Valor, behind which lies the Eternal Flame.



Story goes that every May 6, around noon, the sun casts a light right through the dome’s center where an altar dedicated to American and Filipino soldiers is located. May 6 happens to be the date when General Wainwright surrendered the island fortress to the Japanese. Another story is that the nearby pre-war movie theatre — Cine Corregidor, now in ruins — had “Gone With the Wind” as the last movie shown. At the time we visited, it looks like some restoration work is ongoing. Hopefully, the theater can be restored soon to warrant another visit.



Cine Corregidor. Now undergoing renovation/restoration work.


The tour ends with lunch at the Corregidor Inn’s La Playa Restaurant. Lunch is likewise included in the P2,200 ferry and tour package. We took ours after the visit to Malinta Tunnel and the Lighthouse. All told, it’s good value for money. Especially if you have Estela Cordova for a guide. ¬†If only it wasn’t soooo HOT. I wonder if it ever gets cooler here. You see, Corregidor is actually part of the caldera of a now dormant volcano. NOT EXTINCT, but dormant. Like Mount Pinatubo. But unlike Pinatubo which was dormant for a hundred years before its 1991 eruption, Corregidor has been dormant for a million years. ūüôā



The Lighthouse. Check out those latitudes!


Inside Malinta Tunnel. Light and Sound Show for an additional P150.


Visible is Caballo Island, just some kms away.

No, it is not a barrio in Cavite City. ¬† It is a “hole in the wall” ¬†that is better than a carinderia but at slightly higher than carinderia prices. ¬†Don’t we just love that combination?¬†

It’s been awhile since I last visited Cavite City. ¬†The new coastal highway made travel such a bliss. ¬†In under an hour, more like 40 minutes, we were there. ¬†We drove along the coast and watched the Manila Skyline fade as we reached our destination. The view would have been perfect, passing Island Cove in Binakayan and fisherfolks on bancas fishing their luck from the Bay. Until you pass shanties, and more shanties, lining the coast. ¬†Somehow I get this feeling that shanty towns will sprout here and there along this coastal highway and block what would otherwise be a perfect place to view sunrise or sunset.

Upon arrival, as always,  there is the problem of where to eat without banging the door of some relative in this city across Manila Bay. It is also just as well that Asao is hard to miss as it is located right along the Main Road of Cavite City just before the Ladislao Diwa Elementary School.

Asao has no pretentions. ¬†Just 5 or 6 small tables. ¬†A menu which has passed so many hands and direly in need of replacement. ¬†The laminated piece of paper lists some of our favorites, like some of the foodstuff we grew up with. Pancit Puso is your typical pancit but topped with chicharon, kilawing puso (yes, vinegary) and “kulao” which is what they call the “tokwa’t baboy” . ¬†They also have Pancit Palabok — so cheap for the same price of P50 a plate.¬†

Pancit Puso: Pancit with Kilawing Puso Topping!

Kulao is like "Tokwa't Baboy" but better!!!

We thought we’d take out a couple of meals. ¬†When the bill came, we were pleasantly surprised. ¬†It was sooo cheap. With 4 of us dining there, and takeouts for 2 meals, ¬†we paid like only P100 per pax. (Good thing we didn’t order any soup, which for some reason is priced at P120 a bowl!)


Pancit Palabok for P50? How can you go wrong?

A Bad Shot of Lechon Paksiw (but trust me, it tastes really good)

Now, this is my kind of restaurant. ¬†Nowhere else can I find my Pancit Puso but here in Cavite City’s few eateries. ¬†No way you’d go wrong with P50 an order of this Caviteno pancit puso in Asao. ¬†Or the Pancit Palabok. ¬†One of us ordered the Binalot which is rice with adobo wrapped in banana leaf. ¬†Not bad he says. Now, you know where to eat if you happen to be in this area.¬†

The Flip (and pricier?) Side of the Laminated Menu


It took this long for me to think of blogging about one of my favorite places in my own country. Perhaps because I visit it too often, or I took its beauty so much for granted. Tagaytay holds many happy childhood memories for me and myfamily. Both my parents are from Cavite where Tagaytay is. And many weekends were spent here, in a neighboring town called Silang, Cavite where my grandmother used to live, long before it became a favorite tourist destination. From Manila, it would take about an hour and a half traveling south for 60 km to reach Tagaytay to view the “volcano island” inside a lake called Taal Lake, or Lake Taal.

Childhood Memories


As a child, my ears got so used to many old folks’ stories about Taal Volcano where one finds a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano. Yeah, I know, it sounds redundant. Can you imagine me listening to all these stories and this line which has now become an adjective to describe Taal Volcano back when I was still of pre-school age? It appears Taal Volcano made up for its size by always threatening to erupt, as if drawing attention all the time. Records show it is the smallest active volcano in the world. And for good measure, the old folks back in the province recount to this day all their experiences with Taal Volcano’s mini-eruptions in the past until it was no longer news.


The story goes that Tagaytay Ridge where one gets a perfect view of Taal Lake and Volcano was actually part of a bigger volcano until a major eruption hundreds or thousands of years ago. Originally a huge volcano towering 18,000 feet, many people don’t realize that it used to be one of the largest volcanoes in the world. Tagaytay Ridge is the rim of the volcano! Before it was “reduced” to its present size, Tagaytay ridge would have been only about a sixth of the way to the top of the volcano!! This caldera is now fringed with many tourist inns, hotels, restaurants and picnic groves. A major golf course and upscale community (Tagaytay Highlands) and a casino hotel (near Taal Vista Lodge Hotel) can also be found along this ridge. Most tourists make day trips from Manila to this place, missing out on an unhurried day of adventure which may include a boat journey across the lake to reach the volcano island (about 1,500 pesos or US $30 for the entire boat so you can split it among the 3 or 4 of you), a trek to the top of the volcano on a donkey (most recommended, unless you are very very fit but be ready to shed another US$10 per person), as well as trying out the many fine-dining and local restaurants in the area.


A Mountain Resort? A Summer Retreat? Religious Retreat Center? A Garden Restaurant?


Many years back when Tagaytay only had picnic huts available for rent to locals bringing in their own picnic baskets, the place was famous for its many retreat houses and prayer centers. The cool climate and the now-lost “rustic innocence” of the place made for a very meaningful weekend of prayers and meditation. The retreat houses are still there. And many retreat weekends are still held there. The popularity of the place has also resulted in many foreigners deciding to stay permanently and setting up their own restaurants and shops there. These days, one can make trips to Tagaytay to try out this new Vietnamese restaurant (Bawai), or this Austrian-German bistro called Chateau Hestia, a greek taverna, or a lovely garden restaurant called Moon Garden run by a Belgian. Taal Vista Lodge Hotel is a newly renovated hotel complex , Josephine’s Restaurant with its seafood delicacies still stands attracting both local and foreign patrons, the Discovery chain of serviced apartments runs Country Suites and I must say, serves the best lamb chops, and of course there is Sonya’s Garden and Antonio’s – 2 of the fine dining establishments in the area. My personal favorite is Antonio’s though that will set you back a good US$30 to $50 per pax. For local food, one can try Josephine’s (their buffet is a steal at only US$7) and Leslie’s (try their “bulalo” which is beef stew). As for the kids, there is Residence Inn and Zoo where you can spend an entire afternoon with small children. Lunch is also served in this place, a good way to spend an hour or two after checking out the zoo. Restless kids can go to a nearby playground while the adults enjoy their coffee after lunch, or simply wait out for the sunset while viewing the volcano.


There is always something to do in Tagaytay other than just taking in the view. The more adventurous go for the boat ride and donkey trek. The prayerful spend their retreat weekends there and head back to Manila with emptied minds, restful spirits and re-energized bodies. The hedonists spend time in their favorite spas while their husbands play a round of golf in Tagaytay Highlands. The foodies try out the many food establishments, where the variety caters to every pocket range. The kids can check out the tigers, crocs, gorillas, etc in the zoo. Or simply rent out bikes or go horseback riding in the park.



I live in Makati, the financial center of Manila. This urban jungle has its advantages and disadvantages. Thank God for Tagaytay. In under 2 hours, we can enjoy its breeze and open spaces. There is just no way we will ever grow tired of Tagaytay!

This is my entry to the PTB Blog Carnival hosted by Mhe-Anne Ojeda

on the theme My Hometown.

Read also my blog on same subject in TravelBlog.