Two days in Tagaytay

Since my husband was in town for a short visit. We decided to go out of town to celebrate our anniversary and the nearest place I thought we could visit was Tagaytay. A city not far from Manila but has amazing views of Taal Volcano.

We thought it was easy to go to Tagaytay just by ordering Grab but since it was on a weekday and on rush hours, nobody wanted to take us there. So we decided to research of how to get there. We ended up in in Parañaque and got a bus going to Nasugbu which is in the same route to Tagaytay.

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Service was fast and smooth, but getting to Tagaytay was longer than what we expected.  We dropped off at Sky Ranch and then we took a tricycle to the hotel where we booked to check in.

Thanks to technology, I asked the tour guide and service to wait for us while we check in and leave our stuff before going for our Taal tour hike to the volcano. The hotel is one of the newer hotels in Tagaytay. Escala has a magnificent view of Taal volcano and a relaxing infinity pool.

We wanted to rest after getting there but our chauffeur was waiting for us at the entrance of our hotel. In all our travels together, we want to go as local as possible. We rented a tricycle to take us to the port of the boat that will take us to Taal Volcano.

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To cut the story short. Sometimes cheaper rates mean that you get to a destination slower. We got to the boat to meet with the person doing the tours in Tagaytay. We were introduced to our boat captain and we were briefed on the geography of the volcano. Everything was well explained, they gave us mask and was given the option to rent straw hats. Since we had our own hats, we declined the offer.

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The port is in Talisay, Batangas. It wouldn’t be a place I’d normally take a date but there we were. We were in a small boat we had to squeeze in. My husband was such a good sport, he doesn’t ride many small boats so it was a great experience for both of us and it was reasonably cheap.

It was comfortable and breezy during the ride, one can definitely feel the humidity in the air. Since it was almost lunch time when we were there, the heat was much stronger. Aside from the heat, I was also worried about fumes. Luckily our gas mask came on time and we were ready to go for the hike.

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There were not a lot of tall trees. I asked my husband to wear light breathable clothes. It was 35°C (95°F), we were dressed well for the occasion.  It was a gradual uphill climb with nipa huts built for people touring the volcano. One can also see stations of the cross. It was a desert scene, imagine the movie “There will be Blood”.

We were so hungry once we reached the top of the volcano, and the crater’s fumes were so strong, the masks were definitely a great idea. The heat and the fumes made me feel uncomfortable. Luckily there is a small cafe on top of the volcano. We decided to rest and had lunch there.

We had a generous feast of tilapia, rice, pancit and coconut juice. Simple and delicious, or maybe it was the hunger talking! Either way, we were fueled enough to go back to the port where our boat is and head back to Tagaytay.

Since it was a hot summer day, the soil and sand were powdery that it covered our legs and shoes. We definitely felt we needed a shower and a relaxing time at the pool, and we did.

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Tagaytay has some nice quaint places to have dinner. That night we went to El Cocinero at La Bella Residences which offers cuisine from Ibiza, Spain. We had tapas and wine which was enough for the two of us. We didn’t want to overeat like we did last time we were in Turkey at an Ethiopian restaurant. We became mindful diners since then.

The temperature dropped to 25°C and breezy, we chose to be seated at the balcony. We had an exclusive experience since we were the only customers dining. It was peaceful and delightful, my husband’s smile says it all.

The next day, we rented a car for the whole day to take us to the rest of the town and back to Manila. We had lunch at the famous Balay Dako. We didn’t just go because of the view but because we’ve seen many reviews of how good the Filipino food is.

The restaurant looks like a big ancestral house, the interiors looks more contemporary than what I usually see in Instagram. People seem to make it look old. It has an old Spanish feel to it but you can still feel the Filipino vibe. My husband immediately ordered Dinuguan and I went for the Lengua.

After lunch we went to see Museo Orlina which looked like a house turned museum. It has a beautiful view of the Taal lake and a collection of artwork from the artist Ramon Orlina who was internationally recognized for his contemporary glass sculptures. Also on exhibit is his own art collection from different artists, the most famous one is his Volkswagen Beetle painted by the National Artist Ben Cab.

Museo Orlina is a creative space for all artists both old and emerging. Aside from exhibits, they also host concerts.

The trip to Tagaytay surely brought up lots of memories of my childhood, road trips with family, my aunts, uncles and cousins in my Dad’s side of the family. It will always be one of my most fond places in the Philippines.

Lessons learned from this trip:

  1. Get a car, it’s more convenient to go around.
  2. The cheaper the tour package, the less convenient it is. Go for a package tour and ask the inclusions. Compare the price between doing it on your own and opting for a package tour.
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