What to Expect in Tagaytay City in the Philippines

Tagaytay is situated next to Silang, a primarily agri-business based municipality, in the province of Cavite, where I lived for over 8 years. It is less than 15 minutes by car from the place where I lived. The growth of this city has flowed over the other outlying municipalities, including Alfonso, Mendez, Amadeo, Indang, in addition to Silang. From our vantage point of view, where we can view the outlines of Tagaytay Ridge that is highlighted by peak of Mt. Sungay (translated literally to “Mount Horn”), we have seen how our neighboring city, Tagaytay, has virtually acted like a magnet for tourists and other kinds of visitors who have been on the lookout for varied opportunities along the way. Some of them have decided to purchase property, invest in the booming local economy in the area, and explore what this City has shown them in their previous visits for possible profitable ventures. Most of them have paid visits, even for a half-day trip, and get rewarded with grand vistas afforded effortlessly by going away into this travel destination. You will observe most visitors are local tourists, mixed with guests from other countries (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indians, Middle Eastern people, plus Caucasians all over the world).

Without doubt, what appeals to most about Tagaytay is its natural attractions. But it is being observed by locals that these attractions are now quickly being harnessed to serve as natural backdrops to more recently built-man made attractions. You will seldom see old structures in Tagaytay of over 100 years old (you see them in the municipalities mentioned earlier, in old family houses, as well as in churches built during the Spanish period). For the past 50 years or so, in stages, Tagaytay is becoming more and more turning into a typical urbanized city. You would see fastfood places, branches of expensive restaurant chains, low rise condominium buildings, a zoo, amidst private residential houses and a big number of religious buildings. But, still, there is more about Tagaytay than what a typical tourist or visitor may look forward to when visiting this part of Luzon, the Philippine archipelago’s largest island.

It is known from people who have lived in the area that Tagaytay was seriously considered by investors and businessmen who built the Hong Kong Disneyland, but which did not push through due to vague reasons (we like to think it could have been due to failure to agree on the terms and conditions of the lease or the purchase, of which those parties involved could not reduce the gap of their negotiating differences — but anybody’s guess may be correct!). And still, the city remains to be one of the most visited sites outside of Metro Manila, the national capital region that is around 55 kilometers (34 miles) away. Some people even believe it could serve as a summer capital closest to Metro Manila (though Baguio city located 250-km up north deserves to be called such, being higher in elevation).

A visit to Tagaytay is best done by private car, that can be negotiated faster through the South Super Highway, and existing on its Sta. Rosa exit that will then lead you to a local highway that passes by Sta. Rosa, parts of Cabuyao, and Silang until reaching the city itself. You may choose to commute by taking any of the buses (mostly in Pasay City) and jeepneys (depending where you will alight from your bus) plus tricycles (expect them plying in the city’s streets) to reach Tagaytay. You will pass by roads with coffee tree farms, cut flowers farms, and many number of fruit stands. There are other routes, depending where you are starting your trip. But beforehand, it is best to do a Google for more updated webpages on your route to shorten the time you may spend on your trip.

From the elevation (640 miles or 2100 feet above sea level) that Tagaytay affords its visitors much open available space, one can take pleasure from one of the most serene natural views that can behold one’s eyes. I have seen old black and white pictures of Spanish Capuchin monks with their wards at the early years of the 20th century, before World War II, that looked like they were having a lovely picnic as they were standing on the ridge of Tagaytay. Upon closer look of the pictures, I recognized Taal Volcano, (which is actually in Batangas province) the world’s smallest most active volcano that is located within a lake (Taal Lake) that has been formed from the continuous eruptions of the temperamental volcano in the past centuries. I have been intrigued by the pictures. There must be something about the scene or the place why people, including the religious, to stay and build their residences in Tagaytay.

After having lived within close vicinity of Tagaytay, I can venture to claim that what makes people always come and visit again more often as they could is due to the wonderful, salubrious air that they get to breathe in up there in Tagaytay City. It is not the man-made parks, golf courses, medium density residential houses, boutique hotels, exclusive residential villages, restaurants and other food places, a few medium sized shopping malls, or even the Casino being run by the Philippine government that make people always come back to Tagaytay. It is the experience of being filled around with a healthier whiff of naturally cool air that encases you whenever you are in Tagaytay.

I remember visiting Taal Vista Hotel many times, and have had late lunches there with friends and relatives. It is a vacation place that offers horseback riding, dining, entertainment, and other hotel facilities. I recall having smelled scent of pine that I sourced to be coming from its huge fire place in the hall of its low rise main building. Even outside of that building, the same natural scent follows you. I soon recognized how the scent strongly reminded me of San Francisco in the USA, particularly its many gardens lodged around by pine trees. I would tell my friends that this is so far the closest place that will bring back to you memories of some places you have been to, in case you have visited that part of the West Coast in the USA.

Still, there is more. Depending on your interest and budget, you can find something that will fit in your requirements when you find yourself traveling to Tagaytay. You can actually visit Tagaytay any day of the year, even when it is raining, or even during a storm. You may certainly be missing the Taal Volcano view, as it may be covered by clouds, but you would be refreshed, invigorated by the quality of air up there. I once found myself joining friends when I still did not live close to Tagaytay one stormy day. We went by car. We took the longer route coming from Manila via the Aguinaldo Highway. Tagaytay beckoned to us as we drove closer. The whole city was covered by low lying rain clouds. But we persisted. We parked the car in front of a local coffee shop, and ordered our snacks and beverages. From our view, part of the clouds slowly parted away like drapes gradually being drawn out. We soon could see rays of the sun. Tiny arcs of several rainbow formations could be viewed from the far distance. Soft showers still continued to drop in one part of the scene that was unfolding before us. It was like that for some time. We knew we did not make a mistake showing up here at this time. Scenes like this in Tagaytay bring in warmhearted magical moments in our minds.

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