Tag Archive: Tagaytay City

“And if travel is like love…it is mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” ~ Pico Iyer






As I’ve earlier blogged, I never grow tired of Tagaytay. Neither of Taal Volcano. Whether it’s viewed from the lakeshore in Talisay, Batangas or from the Tagaytay Ridge. With guests, we drove south from Manila at exactly 8am and back by 1pm. Just a short 5 hour day trip to view the world’s smallest active volcano.






The lakeshore scene from Club Balai Isabel included men fishing out seaweed from the waters by the shore. And then plunking them back down somewhere farther. Don’t ask me why. But it made for a lovely morning vista for city people like us. The men were still there even while we had a simple lunch of bulanglang soup and club sandwiches at the Club’s Terraza Cafe.







It’s always good being back here. I so love the place here I’m longing to spend a long weekend with my family here again. Yes, again. And again.



Soon after lunch, we negotiated the 9 kilometer uphill drive towards Tagaytay City. This time, we entered the Taal Vista Lodge for the view of the same volcano from the ridge. Hard to imagine this ridge used to be part of the volcano which collapsed in a major eruption centuries ago. By this time, so much has changed in Tagaytay. I long for the rustic feel which is fast fading — what with all the high rise structures under construction.







So, let’s hope the local authorities in Talisay, Batangas and Tagaytay City remember to preserve the charm of these small city and town. I’d be terribly saddened to see these places ruined as they are being “built up”. Taal Volcano may look the same, but the “old charm” adds to the ambiance, the romance of viewing this small monster from the lakeside and from the ridge.




Tagaytay has always been a favorite day trip and weekend destination. Just an hour and a half drive south of Manila. What new things can we do here? It wasn’t like we needed a new adventure. Perhaps we just needed to be someplace cooler where we can be together and be a family.






We booked ourselves at Tagaytay Crosswinds Resort Suites. There are other new hotels in the area but we liked the idea of having our own condo-like suite where we can actually cook in. That meant doing our groceries in a nearby supermarket to buy steaks and chops, corn and rice. The not-so-little ones loved our steak dinner much and the idea that we can actually cook in!






The suites are complete with kitchen essentials from rice cooker to frying pans. The elves watched TV while we prepared dinner. There isn’t much to do after, so we got busy with our iPads and iTouch after 😊. I skipped breakfast the morning after, choosing to have an extra hour of sleep. Breakfast was served in a hall in the next building. Hopefully, Crosswinds will have a new dining destination within its complex the next time we visit. That, plus wifi INSIDE the suites.







You don’t get a view of Taal Volcano from your room nor anywhere within Crosswinds area, but you may enjoy an early morning walk around. Pine trees everywhere and the cool breeze make you feel you’re somewhere near Baguio. Since the hotel is right within Crosswinds (the subdivision), it’s more quiet and peaceful here. Of course you can always drive out to dine in any of the many bistros and cafes along the Ridge.





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.