November 21, 2014

Quick Escapade in Tagaytay

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  • The weekend is looming, reminding me of one of the places from my travel list: Tagaytay.

    Located between the provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas, Tagaytay is a two-hour drive from Manila, traffic considered. If you have time to spare, spending the weekend in this nippy place is advisable. However, Tagaytay is the perfect escape after a tiring day from work, and spending the day there is also worthwhile.

    I had the opportunity to do this last April with my Finnish and Swedish friend. We explored Tagaytay from a different angle, far from the usual visits to the Picnic Grove or the Sky Ranch. We hiked going to the crater of the lake within the lake, the crater of the famous Taal volcano. Read on to find out how we managed our very fun day in this wonderful place:

    8:00 AM: Pick up from the hotel (ETD)
    We used our hotel’s service for transportation. You can do this as well.

    9:30 AM: Arrival at Tagaytay (ETA)
    We arrived at Picnic Grove where a group of tour guides gathers and offers Taal Lake tour packages. My friend, Ian, and I took care of the haggling and got was able to get a fixed price of PhP4000 for the entire trip. The package includes boat transfer, a horse for each of us and two tour guides to assis us up the crater lake.

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    10:30 AM: Arrival at the crater lake
    It takes 15 to 20 minutes to arrive at the volcano from the jump off point. We started horseback riding up the volcano as soon as we arrived. The hike goes up and down depending on how well go horseback riding. For seasoned tourists, a good two (2) hours is needed for the hike.

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    12:00 NN: Lunch(time) at the crater lake
    It was a very hot summer in April, so we did a lot of “Take 5’s” or five-minute rests before we finally reached the crater lake. We stayed and took endless number of photos. We also had fresh buko (young coconut) juice for PhP50.

    The Taal lake is mysteriously beautiful. The more that you stare at the lake the more that you realize how captivating it is. It took away all the exhaustion from my tired body. It is very relaxing. Tourists can also play golf on top of Taal Volcano, but don’t expect your golf ball to be picked up by a caddy. They also have photo services printed on the same day on top of the volcano.

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    2:30 PM: Time to go back
    On the way down at 1:00PM, we were treated to a stunning midday view of the lake. We did better this time and reached the foot of the volcano faster than our ascent. We headed back to the jump off by boat.

    The volcano has been quiet since 1977, so there is no need to worry that its an active volcano. There are also nearby resorts where the boats dock and you can have lunch or snacks served at reasonable prices. We tidied ourselves and drove back to main road, going to Sonya’s garden where we planned to dine and and to spend the entire afternoon. On our way to Sonya’s garden we passed by Puzzle Mansion, Pink Sisters Convent and souvenir shops along the road.

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    3:00 PM: Late lunch at Sonya’s Garden
    Sonya’s garden is an organic restaurant that serves breakfast and buffet. For PHP800 oer person, you will definitely go home feeling stuffed.

    Lots of tourists choose to go to Sonya’s garden because of its organic food picked straight from the restaurant’s garden and also for the countryside appeal. They are best known for their Super Secret Salad Dressing. It is also a favorite venue for wedding receptions because it assures privacy.

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    4:30 PM: Side trip to Nuvali
    Before we went back to Manila, we stopped over at Nuvali for shopping. Nuvali is just 30 to 45 minutes away  from Sonya’s garden. You can shop at the Nike factory outlet for discounted shoes and apparel. My Swedish friend, Adina, hoarded some shoes and gym clothes.

    8:00 PM: Back at the hotel
    By 8 o’clock in the evening, we were back at the hotel, safe and satisfied.

    I can definitely say that it was a quick, fun and productive day. Looking for non time consuming trips? Answered prayer folks!

    Enjoy the weekend!

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    Text and Photos by: Beth Javines, contributor

               
               
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