Not too far from the capital of the Philippines, specifically 56 kilometres south of Manila, is a picturesque and invigorating city that is located on the highest point of Cavite Province- Tagaytay City. Seated 2,500 feet above sea level, this popular tourist site overlooks the world’s smallest active volcano, the Taal, and the serene Taal Lake. It is the closest getaway destination from Metro Manila for those seeking tranquility and relaxation.
Taal volcano is a wonder in itself, as it originally rose out of the lake, thus being labeled as the tandem, “lake within a lake and volcano within a volcano”. Tagaytay’s cool climate, milder temperatures which generally lasts throughout the year, abundant rainfall and lower humidity compared to Manila explains the abundance of vegetation and wildlife, thereby earning it the title, “Garden City of the Philippines.” The various dwellings, recreational and leisure conveniences that comprise Tagaytay all contribute to building the overall splendid setting, each contributing to the city’s status as a world-class destination.
Often visited by foreign and local tourists seeking a nearby holiday spot from Manila, Tagaytay is known for offering a gastronomical experience to all, with all sorts of food and cuisines, the most popular ones being “bulalo” (beef marrow stew), mushroom burgers, luscious desserts and the aromatic coffee from Bag of Beans. This is located in Twin Lakes Shopping Village in Tagaytay, which is also known to have the most beautiful branch of Starbucks in the country, and is overall a very famous food destination in the city that offers a wide array of cuisines.
A trip to Tagaytay is often completed by a spa treatment and a walk in one of the numerous man-made parks available. Activities such as picnics, zip-line and horse-riding are done in Tagaytay Picnic Grove. It has cottages where families and/or friends stay to enjoy the magnificent views and cool weather. In the same place are also several souvenir shops for tourists to buy Tagaytay’s famous food treats and souvenir items.
For a spiritual retreat, Tagaytay boasts of many churches, chapels and seminary houses for those seeking moments of meditation or reflection. Tierra de Maria is an ideal place for this and spiritual healing. It is famous for its 50-foot tall gigantic statue of the Virgin of Manaoag, and at the statue’s foot, visitors can find a wishing well with candle holders.
Art buffs can visit Museo Orlina, which is a museum that showcases the works of the world-renowned glass artist Ramon Orlina, who pioneered the art of glass sculpture in the Philippines.
For visitors who tag along their kids, Tagaytay offers Sky Ranch Theme Park, which is just beside Taal Vista Hotel. Apart from the Ferris wheel, carousel, Super Viking Ride and others, it also has what they call the “Sky Eye”, a Ferris wheel that stands 207 feet tall and dubbed as the tallest of its kind in the Philippines. Another go-to place that is ideal for kids is Paradizoo, which combines the concept of a farm and mini zoo, wherein visitors may interact with the animals like llamas, camels, ponies ostriches, greyhounds, Labrador retrievers and an albino carabao in a backdrop of vegetable and flower gardens.
Adults also enjoy the entertainment and games in Tagaytay’s Casino Filipino which is just across the Sky Ranch Theme Park.
Along the roads, there are several vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, souvenirs, and local delicacies, which are normally stopped for by tourists before leaving the city.
It usually takes roughly two hours to drive to Tagaytay City from Manila via the South Luzon Expressway, sans heavy traffic flow. It can also be reached via the Coastal Road Expressway and then taking the Aguinaldo Highway heading south towards Tagaytay. There are several boutique and classy hotels available within the city to cater to the relaxation needs of each tourist.