Metro Manila · Tagaytay
Tagaytay, a popular weekend destination for Megacitizens is located two hours away from the metro. Its relatively cooler weather, themed restaurants and novelty shops, and the Taal Volcano are a few of Tagaytay's attractions.
Tagaytay City has undergone various developments in recent years. New private subdivisions, condominiums, theme parks, and entertainment areas are driving more and more city dwellers into this southern escapade. Needless to say, traffic has been getting worse, especially in the downtown area during weekends.
Be that as it may, Tagaytay remains a favorite for various reasons apart from it's proximity to the capital.
What to do
Tagaytay has a slew of activities to choose from whether you are spending the time there with family or friends. Here are our top picks:
- Taal Volcano, one of the world's lowest and smallest volcanoes. More precisely, it is a lake within a volcanic island within a lake within an island. Though geographically located in Batangas City, most Manilenos still associate Taal Volcano as part of Tagaytay City. After all, most of the city has unobstructed views of the volcano. From the lakeshore, a boat brings you to the island in about 20 minutes. You should negotiate, as a a round trip costs only 1500 pesos and some boat owners tend to demand much more from foreigners. Having arrived on the island, you can hike or ride on the horseback up to the volcano. Our recommendation would be to hike because some parts are too steep for the horses and honestly, they don't look very happy going up there with someone on their back. The hike will take 1-2 hours and is definitely worth the sweat. From the edge of the crater you can look down into the volcano. You can reward yourself with cold lemonade or fresh buko juice right from the coconut, sold by islanders on the top of the mountain.
- People's Park. Built during the Marcos era, the park was initially planned to be a mansion in 1981. Today, it has been converted into a public park complete with viewing decks for the famous Taal Lake. There are souvenir shops and a chapel here as well.
- Picnic Grove, where you can rent open-air cottages. Other activities include horseback riding, zipline, cable ride and eco trail.
- Sky Ranch theme park. If you see a huge Ferris wheel along the road, you've reached your destination. Known as the tallest Ferris wheel in the Philippines, the Sky Eye is one of the main attractions in the park, standing at 207 feet tall and overlooking the famous Taal Lake. Other rides here include a carousel, viking rides, express train, among others.
- Mahogany Market. The place is famous for the food stalls that sell the best-tasting bulalo in town. Bulalo is a beef-shank-and-bone-marrow soup with lettuce and sometimes a slice of corn. Other exotic dishes that one can try here are bull testicle, intestines and tripe.
- Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm. Tourists will find here a honeybee farm as well as a souvenir shop for those looking for products made of all-natural honey. They have items for beauty and skin care, health, household, spa, among others. The bestseller is the bottle of Virgin Honey which is produced in a very limited number. Visitors are only allowed to purchase one bottle each. No exceptions.
Where to stay
Except during peak seasons, looking for accommodations in Tagaytay is fairly easy. There are a lot of bed and breakfast, inns, boutique hotels, and rooms for rent available:
- Sonya's Garden, a bed and breakfast serving freshly baked breads and delicious meals made of organic ingredients. The charming rooms are set in a beautiful surrounding inspired by nature.
- Tagaytay Highlands. Dubbed as a mountain resort, Tagaytay Highlands boast well-appointed rooms, a golf course, and other outdoor recreational activities.
- Discovery Country Suites. The bed and breakfast offers luxury accommodations, offering seven themed suites with beautiful views of the Taal Lake. Before going to bed, guests are treated to turndown treats of warm milk and homemade cookies. Their Restaurant Verbena offers contemporary fusion cuisine made of farm-fresh ingredients. They've good selection of wine and cheese as well.
- Estancia Resort Hotel. Visitors are treated to Santorini-inspired family villas with spectacular views of the famous Taal Lake.
- The Boutique Bed and Breakfast. The establishment boasts a fusion of American, European and Asian designs. With views of the Taal Lake, each room is named after an emotion related to the process of falling in love. Their restaurant highlights Hawaiian cuisine. Spa and pampering services are available here.
How to get to Tagaytay
You can go to Tagaytay either by hired van, public bus, or your private car. Streets are good, but your brakes should be in good condition. The trip from the Megacity to Tagaytay should not take you more than two hours, depending on the traffic.