Tagaytay City which belongs to Cavite, a province in the southern part of Manila, is considered as the other “Summer Capital of the Philippines” due to its cool temperature, high altitude location and numerous tourist spots. It is here where you can get the most picturesque view of one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, the Taal Volcano. Whether planned or unplanned trip, Tagaytay is a place to go if you are looking for a short break away from the city, or if you want to temporarily release stress, or if you are just on a road trip mission.
As stated on my previous article, I went for a short vacation in the Philippines to attend my brother’s wedding and of course, to have a family tour that we haven’t done for the past eight long years. Going to Tagaytay wasn’t actually the initial plan. We intended to take a 12 hour ride to Albay, Bicol to meet another volcano, the one with a perfect cone shape, the Mayon Volcano. But things didn’t go as planned for some unavoidable reasons, so we opted for our Option 2. Go to Tagaytay City.
Tagaytay is only a 2 hour ride from Manila, so we decided to leave after lunch. We wanted to leave before the traffic gets congested that would ultimately ruin the trip. After we checked-out from the hotel, we (total party of 9) were off to our great adventure. Unlike our other travels, we didn’t have any itinerary for this trip, because we really didn’t need it and we just wanted to go where our van will take us. That’s kinda exciting, right? The trip was surprisingly smooth considering that we were passing by the SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) which is infamous for its traffic congestion. After an hour on the road, loud music and incessant conversation, we found our first stop. NUVALI.
Nuvali prides itself to be the largest self-sustainable Eco-friendly community located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The last time I was in the vicinity, the place hasn’t been established yet, hence, I was suprised by how the place has evolved. Residential area, a call center company, leisure area, business establishments and a feel of peace and security are all surrounding the place. There are a lot of things and activities to do in Nuvali like; bird watching, fish feeding, boat riding, picnic, dining, etc. But due to limited time and it was only a stop-over, we weren’t able to do all of that except, fish feeding and eating a slice of pizza. 🙂
We were back on the road and we were almost at our final destination, Tagaytay. Familiar business establishments, such as Colette’s, Dencio’s and Bulalohan (Beef shanks and Marrow soup restaurants) accompanied with cool weather greeted us on the road and we knew that we were already in the other Summer Capital of the Philippines. Since, we were not really familiar with the place, we entrusted our route to GPS, google maps, and road signs. Road signs of famous spots were everywhere so you do not have to be afraid of being lost. We planned to stay overnight, but we haven’t booked any hotels or rest house, but, with the helped of our contact to the outside world (our friends) and google, we had some prospects so we didn’t have to worry. And there it was, the beautiful, Taal Volcano.
READ: Baguio City, Philippines
Thanks to Facebook and to the internet, a couple of years ago, we’ve known that we’ve been lied all along. You see that cone-shaped hill over there? You would think that that was the volcano, right? So did we, it must be. But apparently we were wrong. The hill that we believed to be the volcano wasn’t actually a volcano, it was an island called Binintiang Malaki. And the real Taal Volcano was actually the island in the middle. Amazing fact, isn’t it?
So we continued driving until we reached the Sky Ranch. Sky Ranch is a newly established leisure and entertainment park aimed to provide entertainment for the whole family. The park features rides suitable for kids and for thrill-seeking adults.
The entrance to the park is 50php during weekdays and 80php for weekends. Unlike other leisure parks, the entrance fee doesn’t cover all rides fee. You have to pay for the rides you will take. We were so engrossed with the beauty of Taal lake and the volcano, that gawking at the picturesque view was enough. We managed to ride at Super Vikings, while my parents took advantage of the romantic Ferris Wheel ride that gives the most amazing view from the top.
After almost three hours inside, we decided to head down to the villa that our friend recommended. We didn’t have a hard time finding it, but the thing was, though, the villa didn’t have guest, the caretaker was informed that it was already reserved, apparently not by us. We asked for the owner’s contact number so I could communicate with him. Meanwhile, it was almost dinner so we headed to one of the most popular Bulalohans in town and to finally eat what we’ve been wanting to eat all along, BULALO.
Aside from Taal Volcano, Tagaytay is also known to be the home of the most delicious bulalo in the Philippines. Bulalo is a Filipino beef dish or soup made of beef shanks boiled rigorously until the fat has melted and the bone marrow can easily come out. Two big order, soup refillable, of this was enough for a group of nine so, we ordered just an extra seafood platter with fried dried sardinella tawilis (freshwater sardine, also a local food) and of course, present in all Filipino meals, rice, lots of rice.
We were serenaded by Manghaharana (local singers) while we voraciously eat the sumptuous dinner in front of us. In the middle of all the food, laughing, and joking, we received a message from the owner of the villa that the house was available for us. We were even offered a very reasonable price. With full stomach, we headed back to the villa.
After another dose of jokes and gossips, halfway to finishing a bottle of Jack Daniels, we decided to call it a night. It was a very fun first day and we still have another day of exploring the city.
This isn’t finish yet, so, please do watch out for the second part of our Tagaytay Family Adventure. Until then! 🙂
To read the conclusion of our Tagaytay Family Adventure, please click this link: Tagaytay, Philippines Day 2.