For our second year (bf-gf) anniversary, Jigs and I treaded the way to breezy Tagaytay, Cavite, home to the small yet very active Taal Volcano.
Originally, we booked Club Estancia only to find out on our way there that the nasty reservation agent forgot to pencil book our reservation. As it was a busy weekend, all hotels and inns were booked and we were forced to stay instead in the expensive Days Hotel (a hefty P5,450/standard room per night with breakfast for 2; 2005 rate), which is situated in front of the Tagaytay rotonda (roundabout).
It was our first time to go to Tagaytay and with such limited budget and time, we were only able to visit Picnic Grove the following day and it’s not what I could call an extensive tour. We just sat in one of the cheap benches across the lake (within the horse back riding vicinity) and ate ice cream.
At only P20/head entrance fee, Picnic Grove offers a variety of recreational activities such as horse back riding (P300 for a 30-minute ride, the last time we went there) and zipline rides. The place tends to get overcrowded though and looks a bit unmaintained. It is best suited for families who fancy picnics and pitching tents. Picnic huts can be rented at P150.
There are a lot of other activities and places waiting in Tagaytay. Sonya’s Garden and People’s Park are recommended. For the adventurous, hire an outrigger boat from the lake to Taal Volcano. Once in the island, a donkey-ride will take you to the rim of Taal’s crater. Visitors may also head onward to the Nasugbu beaches or nearby Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa, Laguna .
How to Get to Tagaytay
This is the most convenient means of reaching Tagaytay. From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) then exit to Sta. Rosa (Exit No. 40, easiest way to access Tagaytay). Drive straight to Tagaytay Public Market then make a right turn to Tagaytay city proper. You will reach a rotonda fronting Days Hotel. Ply left for if you wish to see Picnic Grove or People’s Park, and right if you intend to visit Taal Vista Hotel or Sonya’s Garden. Most hotels, cafes and restaurants are located in the right section of the road (the path leading to Nasugbu/Calatagan/Lemery). Travel time from Manila is approximately 1.5-2 hours.
Alternatively, you may also take the Greenfields exit to avoid traffic, the Southwoods Exit or the Coastal Road in Roxas Boulevard via Aguinaldo Highway. Coastal Road is not recommended though because of the dense traffic build-up in the area.
There are buses to Tagaytay in the Gil Puyat (beneath the Buendia LRT Station), Pasay (Malibay), Cubao (in front of Ali Mall) terminals. Look for the ones with the Nasugbu, Lemery, Balayan and Calatagan signboards on them and ask the driver to drop you off at the rotonda. From the Tagaytay Rotonda ride a jeepney or tricycle to the destination of your choice.
There are also buses in Harrison Plaza, Vito Cruz and Baclaran with the signboard Mendez-Tagaytay, but these buses take the Aguinaldo Highway route via Coastal Road and again, this route is not recommended because of the many chokepoints in Cavite, adding two more hours to the travel time.