“Tara, Tagaytay!” — as someone who spent her teenage years in Metro Manila, I looked forward to the day I could sincerely speak these words myself. The day I could finally visit Tagaytay spontaneously.
Many of us Manila folk look at Tagaytay with starry eyes. For many of us who grew up in relatively sheltered homes, that first spontaneous trip to Tagaytay symbolised freedom, exciting escapades, and boundless opportunities. The road trip to this holiday town in the South marked the beginnings of independence; hence, the inevitable exhilaration among us.
Now that I’m a bit older, with a driver’s license and a monthly agenda of my own, I continue to enjoy random visits to Tagaytay. But now that non-essential travel is discouraged, spontaneous trips aren’t really possible. For now, we can only reminisce about our favourite quick getaways — and obviously, Tagaytay will always make that list. Here’s everything we love about it.
1. It’s so easy to visit Tagaytay from Manila
As much as we love Manila, we certainly need a break from it from time to time. And, Tagaytay is one of the easiest escapes we can get. Granted, the traffic going there hasn’t been ideal these past few years — many people love the city, after all. Still, on a good day, it takes only a two-hour drive from Manila to visit Tagaytay. For that, we ain’t complaining.
2. It has the cool climate we all need
Although a great deal of urbanisation has reached Tagaytay, pine trees continue to sprawl across the area. That and the fact that the city reaches over 700 metres above sea level add up to how Tagaytay remains cool climate all year round.
Racing behind Baguio, Tagaytay is actually considered as the “Second Summer Capital of the Philippines.” Its instant palamig factor definitely keeps us coming back for more.
3. Tagaytay’s breathtaking views are unbelievable
Tagaytay’s altitude blesses us with an abundance of marvellous landscapes. Who doesn’t know about the beautiful Taal Volcano view that’s visible from almost all parts of the city? Scenic viewpoints — like People’s Park in the Sky, Taal Vista Hotel, and Balay Dako — always make the Tagaytay itinerary; any trip there isn’t complete without relishing in its panorama, after all!
4. One word: Bulalo
Many people from Manila visit Tagaytay just for a piping hot bowl of bulalo. It’s a fact: Whether you prefer fancy bulalo or simple bulalo, this savoury soup oddly tastes ten times better when we slurp it amid the breezy Tagaytay weather, against the backdrop of the Taal volcano.
That said, here’s a special shoutout to all our favourite bulalo places in Tagaytay: the bulalo strip at the Mahogany market, the family-favourite Leslie’s restaurant, the impressively scenic Balay Dako, and the absolutely sophisticated Pamana bistro.
5. We love kapeng barako (very much!!!)
Fellow coffee lovers, you must agree with me when I say that a good cup of java is worth a road trip any time. And if you’re seeking a road trip for coffee, Tagaytay has it all: delightful barako beans (Cavite was hailed as the “Coffee Capital of the Philippines” back in 2002), a cool climate, and breathtaking scenery while you sip your brew.
Seriously, we can hardly think of any café as beautiful as those in Tagaytay. Let us know: Are you a Starbucks lover or a Bag of Beans type? Either way, we know you’re as in love with the Tagaytay coffee experience as we are.
6. The city has fun, family-friendly spaces
As I said earlier, Tagaytay isn’t just for the barkadas; it’s also for the fam! Here, there are fun attractions for all ages. For the kids, there’s the Sky Ranch, the Puzzle Mansion, and the Paradizoo. For the adventurous tourists, there’s the Zipline Tagaytay. Aside from these spots, there are also gorgeous churches and people parks for everyone to enjoy.
7. The Mahogany market has the freshest goods
Aside from having the best bulalo strip in town, the Mahogany market sells high-quality beef and fresh produce. In fact, we never leave Tagaytay without buying a few pieces of meat, veggies, and fruits from this market.
Besides food, we also love buying plants from the Mahogany market. Near the parking lot, plant vendors line up with stalls selling herbs and flowers. Chocolate mint and basil plants, anyone?
8. Tagaytay is now a shopping hotspot, too!
While many Manileños go to malls to get their free dose of air conditioning, those who visit Tagaytay malls enjoy a different kind of cool. Most malls here flaunt open spaces to maximise the city’s climate. Some even have incredible views overlooking the Taal! With their expansive areas, the malls allow tourists to enjoy the city’s natural beauty from morning till night.
Besides having fun malls to hang out, Tagaytay also has impressive ukay-ukay stores for the serious thrift shopper. And in 2018, a neighbouring town welcomed Acienda Designer Outlet, the first pure outlet mall in the country, which you can visit on the way to the city.
There are so many more reasons to visit Tagaytay. To this day, it remains one of the classic spontaneous getaways from Manila. And until it’s safe to travel again, we’ll be staying at home — and just like old times, awaiting the day we can finally say: Tara, Tagaytay!