PHILIPPINES - A SWEET ESCAPE IN TAGAYTAY
January 1, 1970
by Vikay C.
Travelling on a budget? got so little time? stressed at work? Alone? Don’t have a car? Nah. Not a problem! This place is all you need in your life. This is just an hour or two from the city of Manila, Philippines and it is said to be the second (2nd) summer capital of the Philippines, called Tagaytay City.
The locals said that even back then this place is a popular travel destination of tourists, backpackers and even returning OFW’s with their families because in here, everyone will enjoy whether you are with your own, couple or by group.
I wrote this blog well mainly to tell you how I managed to travel while keeping my budget low and my hopes high. Well, as a certified DIY Queen, I usually love to organize all of my getaways in a simple itinerary mixed with adventure.
Since it is a free day at work, I and my colleagues decided to explore the beauty of Tagaytay City. The weather in here is so unpredictable, super cold in the morning and at night which can be low as 18.8 °C and has an average daily climate mean which is 22°C, way cooler compared to the bustling Cities of Metro Manila, so I might even recommend that you bring your own jacket or shawl with you once you have the place in your bucketlist.
So this is my travel itinerary for the day: (Do-it-your own set-up)
ETD 0900 Ayala, Makati City (ride a Bus with a signage “Tagaytay City”)
ETA 1100 Olivarez Terminal, Tagaytay (ride a Jeepney with a signage “Tagaytay-Mendez” going to Sky Ranch)
1130 Entrance Fee and explore Sky Ranch/Sky Eye Park
1230 Exit Park (ride a Jeepney with a signage “Mendez-Mahogany Avenue”)
1245 Lunch at Bulalo’s Point (a street side Restaurant in Mahogany Avenue)
0200 Mahogany Avenue (ride a Jeepney with a signage “Olivarez Terminal”)
0230 Back to Olivarez Terminal (ride a Jeepney with a signage “Picnic Grove/People’s Park”)
0300 Options: Go to Picnic Grove/Eco-Trail Adventure Park
We skipped the Park (we went there many times before) and directed to People’s Park
0400 Exit at Park (ride a Jeepney with signage “People’s Park”)
0430 Entrance Fee at People’s Park in the Sky
0500 Exit Park (ride a Jeepney going to Olivarez Terminal)
0530 Options: Ride a Bus going to Manila or have dinner at a local diner
(Dinner at Charito by Bag of Beans)
0700 ETD Bus bound to Manila (with a signage “Ortigas-Ayala Ibabaw)
0930 ETA Ayala, Makati City/Manila
My itinerary in here only costs me below P1,500 peso budget (35USD) inclusive of transportation, food and entrance fees. Just a run through my itinerary, here are the pictures that I got a chance to take while strolling at the places.
FIRST STOP : SKY RANCH PARK
It is said that this Ferris Wheel (Sky Eye) is the tallest one in the Philippines with a height of 63 meters (207ft) with 32 Gondolas and has a great view of the mountainous and sea side view of the Luzon Area. I admit, I am afraid of heights and had to pass to take this ride. The ride costs I think was 200+ and as you roam around, you can try the rides out there (they have horse back riding, zipline, roller blades,carousel, etc.). The park is open Mondays to Sundays. For more information, you might want to check their website:Sky Ranch, Tagaytay .
SECOND STOP: BULALO’S POINT
You can never go wrong on food here in Tagaytay, you should try their infamous cuisine called “Bulalo” (a Filipino beef dish), described as a light colored soup that is made by cooking beef shanks and marrow bones until the collagen and fat has melted into the clear broth mixed with chinese cabbage and served with rice. Since I am fond of eating, which is not so obvious in my body 🙂 , I researched reviews about where we can taste this mouthwatering cuisine on a budget, that led us to this restaurant and it never failed us.
The restaurant is located street side of the main road which is a good marketing strategy. They cater Filipino cuisine which are serve in big sizes (2-3 good for sharing). It has also a great view of the Taal Lake and has an open air sitting and can accommodate walk-in customers (around 100+ people) and has parking too.
We ordered Special Bulalo (P350.00/8USD), sweet and sour Lapu-Lapu (grouper) and bagoong rice (fried rice).
All our meals only costs P800+/17USD for three (3) people. A satisfying lunch indeed.
THIRD STOP: PEOPLE’S PARK (PALACE IN THE SKY)
One of the top tourist destination in Tagaytay is this incomplete mansion on top of Mount Gonzales. It is a historical urban park and known as the Palace in the Sky built during the Marcos Era. You can see the incomplete scaffolding of the mansion which still remained intact. You can see their the The Shrine of Our Lady, Mother of Fair Love and a doppler weather radar station maintained by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). As always, the climate here was foggy and in our visit, it was raining. You can view from the top the Taal Lake and the whole Tagaytay, Cavite and Batangas.
On the ground floor, there were lots of souvenir item shops and has also a indoor restaurant. The entrance fee costs P30.00. You should visit the place while summer time, that’s when you can fully see the surroundings not covered by fog and to avoid getting wet on the rainy months. Also, there are few gazebo’s where you can bring your own food and take some time to chill and see the view. There are parking at the entrance of the park and has commuter Jeepneys going to Olivarez Terminal.
Take note: Keep track of the time. It is advisable to get out of the park before it gets dark, if you don’t want to get stuck (if you don’t have a private vehicle) because only few Jeepneys are going up there to pickup commuters after 0500 PM
LAST STOP: CHARITO BY BAG OF BEANS
One of my favorite thing about Tagaytay is their Barako coffee (made from a coffee bean that can only be seen in the Philippines) and I highly recommend to have it on a local cafe/restaurant named Bag of Beans (“BOB”). The first time I went in the BOB was last 2013 in their main branch along E.Aguinaldo Highway, Mendez Crossing West where you can feel this cozy and homie ambiance while you are sipping your coffee and having your buffet breakfast.
This time, we went on their other branch which is called Charito by Bag of Beans. located also along E. Aguinaldo Highway near Rotonda, right after Balay Dako and Cliff house, and just before Villa Ibarra. You may want to check out this review: Charito by BOB .
Its dinner time but we are still full by what we eat in Bulalo’s Point, instead we try to checkout their desserts.
When we get there, we all thought that it might be a fine-dining like that of Antonio’s where they are strictly be in formal attire but thankfully! it is not. The place has a balcony over looking Taal Lake, but since it was raining, customers are only set up on indoors but I got a few shots of the interior of the place which I can rate as double thumbs up!
The place has a parking space and has three floors to accommodate guests. I believe walk-in customers is okay since they accommodate us even without reservation.
Here are the desserts we picked: blueberry cheesecake, apple pie ala mode, banana walnut cake, black forest frappe, strawberry milkshake, cafe mocha and my favorite Barako coffee.
One of the most satisfying desserts I had. All are sinful yet delightful taste of life. Aside from desserts, they also serve Filipino cuisine, pasta and alcoholic drinks. They have an indoor shop where you can purchase pastries and coffee bean.
Well, as you can see, the owner got a fancy taste for their interiors. All are instagrammable indeed!
You can ride a bus bound to Ortigas/Makati/Manila right outside the restaurant to avoid the crowd in the Olivarez Terminal.
BEAR IN MIND: When you are coming from Manila and alighting at Olivarez Terminal, people will keep on offering you certain things about Island Hopping and will offer lots of things that wasn’t necessary. Just see my itinerary and you’ll be good to go. A courteous way of saying “No” to these offers is always enough.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my blog and feel free to email me if you have question/s and suggestions in my blog account.
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September 11, 2018
THANKS FOR VERY HELPFUL INFO....PLS WRITE MORE ABOUT YOUR DISCOVERIES AND TRAVELS...HAVE MRE FUN