I’ve been to Tagaytay countless times. I lived in Calamba City for awhile and when I needed a change of scenery to help me craft strategies for my previous work, I usually head to Tagaytay. And often than not, when friends and family from Cebu came over for a visit, it is also our go to place.
Tagaytay is near Manila, you can go there by private vehicle, and it’s also easy to go to this famous place for its cool climate by public transport. You can just take any bus in Pasay Rotunda with route going to “Olivares Plaza” or “Tagaytay”. And then there you are in this city bordering the provinces of Cavite and Batangas. It’s a wonderful getaway that is near Manila which you can do on a weekend, this summer! or on one of the many long holidays this 2012.
This year is actually a perfect time to go on travels since we have (if I’m not mistaken) 16 long holidays and lots of promo fares like piso fare so you can travel on a budget. It’s also a great time to explore and visit one of the most popular tourists spots in the country!
If you have been to Tagaytay and wants something new, you may want to consider Bamboo Rafting in Pandin Lake in Laguna especially if you want an off the beaten path kind of travels that is near Manila. I’m verging off topic here lol.
Anyhow, Tagaytay is a favorite tourist destination of many for several reasons. Aside from the chilly winds that take away the stress of your weekday office work, you can just gaze at the serene Taal Lake and at the world’s smallest active volcano and relax, or visit the churches and chapels of the area for some reflection time, food tripping is also another reason to climb to Tagaytay! Some even hails Tagaytay as a perfect wedding venue, many celebrities and stars had their wedding reception in many of the hotels in in the Tagaytay highlands like Taal Vista Hotel.
Serene Surroundings: Taal Volcano in the waters of Taal Lake
Last December Kenneth, Titus and I went all over the Metro Manila for a field trip, lol. But we also made plans to go to Tagaytay to check out the flowers and enjoy the cool weather, and yes, to dine and sip the mermaid’s special caffeine concoctions for December so my sister can finally claim her Starbucks planner for 2012. Yep, ganyan ka-pitiful at sumulong pa talaga kami sa matinding traffic sa Aguinaldo Highway hehe.
Anyhow, Kenneth also wanted to go there for ‘pictorial’, with Taal Volcano as her backdrop. If you are a new reader of Penfires, please ignore when I say pictorials hehehe. And no worries I will not be posting the more than 200 photos we took in Tagaytay alone hahahha. Anyhow, Kenneth bought a toy bubble gun from Divisoria days before to be used as our bubble maker for the pictorial kuno, unfortunately, her dreams of dreamy, bubbly pics in Tagaytay evaporated in a flash when the toy gun failed to live up to her expectation hehehe.
Kenneth planning her Tagaytay ”pictorial’ lol
Me and my sister in Tagaytay with our ‘bubbles’ effect hehehe
We went there by public transportation from Imus, bus fare was P60 per person, fare is a bit higher if you are coming from Manila. We asked the bus conductor to drop us off in the Tagaytay Ridge in the area of Magallanes, this is after the main intersection in Olivares, maybe about 5 minutes from the Tagaytay Rotonda. This is a place where restaurants and coffee shop abound like Antonio’s Grill, Dencio’s, Pancake House, Starbucks Tagaytay, Café Lupe and more. The complex is collectively called “Tagaytay Summit Ridge”.
We had lunch in Dencio’s and then transffered to Starbucks Tagaytay for a dose of caffeine. Errr my sister made it our primary reason to get to Tagaytay because of her stickers, the pictorial was secondary hehhehe.
Waiting for Lunch, Planking Muna
My sister did get her 2012 Starbucks’ Planner, she will not be using it, she just like the idea of accomplishing the needed stickers, so she gave it to me after getting pics of the Starbucks planner Yeeba!
Starbucks Planner 2012 na dinayo pa talaga sa Tagaytay
What I look forward to see and visit in Tagaytay?
I love Bag of Beans, the original establishment after the Mendez market, not the new ‘more modern’ one near the Tagaytay Rotunda. I love their hot chocolate; it’s so thick, traditional tsokolate eh! Their food is a bit expensive though; their best seller blueberry muffin cost P100 or so, but is comparable to say Starbucks. They also have this garden in the middle of their cottages. I had this favorite pic from way back in Bag of Beans that I like with my good friend Leah.
Bag of Beans Signage
Leah and I in our favorite Bag of Beans waiting for what else but hot chocolate and muffins!
I like to stop at the flower and fruit stalls of Tagaytay and see the riot of colors and the cornucopia of fruits. From the Summit Ridge, we walked all the way back to the Rotunda hehhe, it was a bit of a long walk but you will not mind because it is not hot. And along the way there are gardens and landscaping shops like the one below:
In the Middle of a Tagaytay ‘Garden’
Red and White Poinsettia in Tagaytay for the Christmas Season
Tips for First Time Visitors to Tagaytay
If you are a first timer in Tagaytay, I supposed you would want to visit the People’s Park and Tagaytay Picnic Grove. The park and their cottages have been used on many local films and teleserye. If you are commuting, you can just hire a tricycle to get you there from Olivares. There is a P50 entrance fee per head, if you are bringing a vehicle; you are going to pay for the parking’s fee of 50 pesos too. The People’s Park is where you can ride a horse to go around the round barricade. Horseback riding rate here is 200 pesos an hour. You do it for the experience, but for me, I think it’s expensive for just an hour of going around the designated horseback riding area. But if you’ve never ridden a horse before, go ahead and enjoy! The park also offer zip-line if you are into those kinds of adventure and thrills.
After enjoying the People’s Park and the Picnic Grove, you may choose to go straight to the fame Palace in the Sky. Sorry I could not offer more insight to this tourist spot since I have never been there. I was afraid to drive there as they say the road is real steeped but it’s also among the favorite things to do and see in Tagaytay.
There are many retreat house, monasteries and churches in Tagaytay. Visit the Pink Sister Chapel if you have the time. Although I would really seriously suggest now that the Holy Week and Visita Iglesia is approaching, if you do not want to be stuck in terrible traffic don’t go to Tagaytay during the Holy Week. We did once and it took us almost 3 hours just to get from the Tagaytay Rotunda to the Caleruega Chapel in Nasugbo. It seemed that day that everyone in Manila climbed up to Tagaytay and brought with them the EDSA traffic!
Fruit Stalls Along Tagaytay Road
Tagaytay is Famous for Pineapples, but this red pineapple is for decoration only
Tagaytay Food Trip Choices
Food. I talked about food trip in Tagaytay earlier. As I’ve mentioned Bag of Beans is a good place, for those who are on tighter budget you can visit another Tagaytay famous food jaunt, the Mushroom Burger, their place is almost always jam-packed especially on holidays and weekends.
The usual arrays of fast food restos are also present in the rotunda area like Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal, Shakey’s and more.
If you have the money, go to Antonio’s. Make a reservation before going, reservation is a MUST. Normally, you will be offered a high end version of a ‘set meal’; you choose your salad, your main course, your desert. They have an awesome salad, I don’t like veggies but I ate almost half of their salad. They have real good selections for your main course, and their deserts are simply, without fail, heavenly! Love, love it! But this foodie delight comes at a high price tag hehhehe, per person you’d probably shell out P1,200 and higher. Fortunately, someone is paying then (not me) hehehe. Actually it was because of work those times I was there, lucky me! If you want to impress your date big time, bring her there and watch her eyes sparkles with appreciation hehhehe
Now, if you really want to experience no frills food tripping in Tagaytay, head to the Mendez market and take spoonfuls and bowlfuls of their famous Bulalo soup. Hot soup on a cool weather – perfect!!! Or to the many restos along the road of Tagaytay like Josephine’s, Leslie’s, Dencio’s and more. You can try out Tawilis and Maliputo, two species of fish that can only be found on the waters of Taal Lake. Personally, I don’t like to order tawilis because they are so small, and nitpicking to get to the meat is such a hassle, but many visitors’ stands by the goodness of the crunchy tawilis – bone and all, as the fish can be eaten whole including the bones. So maarte lang talaga ako hehehe
We had lunch over at Dencio’s and then coffee at Starbucks Tagaytay. I enjoyed our grill foods especially Dencio’s Sizzling Bangus but not so much their version of the Sizzling Spicy Chicken.
Sizzling Pork Sisig from Dencio’s
Grilled Delights at Dencio’s Tagaytay
This is just a day trip guide and itinerary suggestions for your visit to Tagaytay, of course you can always stay on a hotel or one of the more affordable Tagaytay pension houses and inns in the area for a two days or 3 days vacation. The advantage of course is that the following day(s) you’ll wake up to cool climate and beautiful, peaceful sceneries and you won’t have to rush covering all the must see places and top tourist attractions in Tagaytay hehehhe.
Our sole group pic during our Tagaytay Day Trip
UPDATE: There is a new attraction in Tagaytay that the whole family will surely love! It’s the SKY EYE Ferris Wheel and the several rides in the amusement park complex!
Do you want to be on top of the world and looking down at Taal Volcano? Get your friends and family to ride the Sky Eye of Tagaytay! It’ll be a treat =) They got 32 gondolas which are all air-conditioned, each gondola can accommodate 3 to 4 persons. One loop approximately a ten minute ride will cost you P150. A bit pricey but you can save for it for a one of a kind experience.
Go there at night and be mesmerized by the numerous bulbs that transforms this Ferris Wheel to an amazing colorful sight! This is one sure landmark that will become a Tagaytay icon and a must see tourist spot and must experience adventure in this city.
Sidetrips to Tagaytay:
Sidetrip No 1: The Caleruega Chapel is a top spot for me as a side trip to your Tagaytay roadtrip. I don’t know if you can commute from the ridge to there because this famous chapel and a favorite wedding venue is unfortunately a few kilometers more from the national highway and follows a dirt road part of the way. You can check out my friend Edcel’s post on the Serene and Beautiful Caleruega Chapel.
Sidetrip No 2: If you’ve got kids, you can bring them to Paradizoo, they can be in the middle of sheeps, goats and other farm animals. There are also dinosaur figures dotting the farm that never fails to impress the little ones.
Sidetrip No. 3: A trip to the Taal Volcano is also a favorite among tourists. You will ride a boat that will take you across the Lake of Taal and either horseback to the volcano or hike.
How to go to Tagaytay City?
Commute: Go to Pasay Rotunda bus terminals and choose aircon buses bound for “Tagaytay”. There are non-aircon ordinary buses too but for convenience especially in case there is heavy traffic along Aguinaldo Highway, the aircon buses are more advantageous. These buses normally stops at Mendez market and you can tell the konduktor to drop you off anywhere along the way.
Private Transpo: Follow SLEX and get off in Sta Rosa Exit, Right turn as you exit and then just follow the straight road to Tagaytay. When you get to the market where you can see cut flower stalls, turn right if going to rotunda, turn left if heading to People’s Park.
Thanks again for reading Penfires’ Guide to A Trip to Tagaytay! Leaving you with my sister’s fave pic on the Tagaytay ridge.