With the easing up of transport restrictions across the archipelago, travel-deprived Metro Manilans have been scouting for accessible, inexpensive, and hassle-free destinations.
And since most of the top tourist magnets require travel passes, medical certificates, the expensive anti-gen, swab tests, and what-have-yous, domestic travel has become as tough as securing a US visa.
Fortunately, Tagaytay City has discarded these stringent requirements to lure guests, never mind if you’ve been going here since time immemorial. It may have its own set of mind-boggling policies, but it is still your best bet for a staycation to soothe your mental health and get a whiff of crisp, cool air.
Mobility isn’t a problem since the mountain resort is reachable by public transport, motorcycles, and even mountain bikes. With a scenic ridge stretching from the towns of Silang, Cavite to Laurel, Batangas, there is always something new to discover in this old-time favorite.
Start your day at Fire Lake Grill which recently rolled out special power breakfast treats on Saturdays and Sundays that cater to the weekend vacationers.
Snag an al fresco table with a stunning view of the Taal Volcano and Lake, and choose from Blueberry Pancakes, Tagaytay Breakfast, or Shakshuka, a Mediterranean-style hearty, savory dish that packs a punch with baked eggs in tomato-red bell pepper sauce and toast.
You can also go for the ultimate showdown of Steak and Eggs, grilled US Angus top blade steak generously served with two eggs, hash brown potatoes, and salsa verde.
At other times of the day, the place is ideal for sipping barako coffee and munching on pastries in the afternoon, or a romantic steak-and-wine dinner with your special someone.
Situated at The Cliffhouse lifestyle cluster in Tagaytay’s central commercial district, this intimate dining haunt is a creation of corporate executive-turned-chef Paul Huang. Having turned 15 years old this March, its grand celebration was rudely interrupted by the volcano eruption and the nationwide lockdown. This time, the Fire Lake Grill is back on the groove to rekindle the fire of romance and make up for lost time.
After breakfast, you can linger around the ridge road to gaze at the surreal and evolving contour of the legendary volcano. Come lunch time, feast on the upland signature delicacies offered by the D’Bas Bulalohan Restaurant, such as the must-try steaming.
bulalo beef broth, caldereta, adobo, or sinampalukan kambing. There’s also an assortment of vegetables, seafood, freshwater catch from Taal Lake, grilled meat, and popular dishes such as the sizzling sisig, which goes well with the cool climate.
With a no-frills but comfortable setup, this native-themed resto evokes a country-style ambiance which blends well with the environment. The open-air setting and moderate visitor density ensure good air ventilation to prevent transmission of the dreaded virus. It also has individual bamboo hut cottages to provide physical distancing and privacy among diners. The best thing about it is that you need not hurt your budget to enjoy a hearty and tasty meal with your family, or friends.
And when it’s time to hit the sack, you can find refuge at View Park Hotel, a boutique lodging which exudes the charm of Asian and Neo-Italian architecture and interiors, and whose Meditteranean motifs and garden landscapes are like slices of the postcard-pretty seaside towns.
Each comfy room, tastefully painted with bits of prose and poetry, has a veranda that affords guests a view of the roadside scene on one side, and a poolside, garden, and farm on the other.
Situated literally a stone-throw away from the Tagaytay Picnic Grove, the city’s iconic recreational park, it’s also just a jogging distance away from other tourist spots such as the People’s Park in the Sky, the Orlina Glass Museum, prayer gardens, and the city’s public market, and pasalubong stores.
Meanwhile, the hotel’s cozy Siglo Restaurant takes you on a gustatory journey across the Philippines, with its menu of curated regional dishes from north to south.
If the situation normalizes next year, the View Park will be formally opening a new wing with a more contemporary look designed for special events and conferences.
Just a reminder, if you’re already making travel plans: tourist establishments in Tagaytay City are closed on Mondays for disinfection against the virus. That means you have to dine, shop, or stay in the city’s neighboring towns. Other than that, you are practically ready to take on Tagaytay again, for the nth time.
Article and Photo originally posted by Business Mirror last November 7, 2020 and written by Bernard L. Supetran.