Tagatay Philippines Travel Guide
By Angelo Castelda
Tagaytay The Chill Out City Of The Philippines
Long before tourists would endure an 8-hour long drive to the highlands that is Baguio, they have already established an affinity with Tagaytay. Dubbed as the “Second Summer Capital of the Philippines” is Tagaytay City, a small town in the province of Cavite known for its year-round cold and misty weather.
My name is Angelo Castelda and I currently live in the Philippines. I love to travel and explore the islands every so often. Today I want to welcome you to Tagaytay – a place you shouldn’t miss when you visit the Philippines.
The Philippines is a beautiful country, with 7,641 majestic islands and beaches. But, not everyone longs for the beach. In such a tropical country, most Filipinos would opt for a vacation somewhere far away from the sunny Manila, somewhere cold. Lo and behold, Tagaytay is the best place to be! Only about an hour to an hour and a half drive away from Manila, it has easily become most family and friend groups’ favorite weekend getaway spot, mainly because of its climate.
Itching to know more about this city? Here’s a complete guide for when you want to travel to the little Baguio (mountain city) of South Manila. I have included in-depth travel information at the end to give you the lowdown on how to get here!
Things To Do & See In Tagaytay
1. Taal Lake and Volcano Escapade
This is probably the most popular thing to do in Tagaytay. If you’re only starting off hiking and trekking, the Taal Lake and Volcano are pretty much easy trails for almost all beginners, as you can reach the peak in just an hour. From here, you get picturesque views of the Taal Lake with an entrance fee of just 100 pesos (around €1.50).
Also, you can ride a boat down Taal Lake, and, if you’re lucky, your boat driver might just tell you stories and myths about the place.
2. Play Golf In Tagaytay
Home to Asia’s most exciting golf course is Tagaytay Highlands, a golfer’s haven nestled just along Tagaytay’s ridges. Tagaytay Highlands’ golf club has 18- and 27-hole challenging golf courses to beat, complete with all the exciting obstacles, such as sand-traps, man-made lakes, dramatic elevations, and so much more. Unleash your inner Tiger Woods as you play through the whole afternoon with family and friends.
Oh, and did I mention they’re the first and the only mountain resort in the Philippines with Swiss cable car systems you can use as transportation from one course to another? Yes, they do have that! Bask in the cold and misty Tagaytay weather while playing golf and riding on Swiss cable cars and feel as if you’re not in the Philippines at all!
3. Embark On A Spiritual Journey
Tagaytay is also a favourite place when it comes to going on pilgrimages or cultivating one’s spiritual life. This is mainly because Tagaytay has distinguished churches, chapels, seminary, and retreat houses that you can definitely visit for when you want some peace and quiet, meditation, and communing with nature and the Creator.
One of the most renowned churches in Tagaytay includes the Our Lady of Manaoag at Tierra de Maria, where a 50 ft statue of the Virgin Mary guards the entryway of the church. Inside the church are other religious figures and images for admiration of the public. There’s also a speciality store where you can buy small trinkets such as rosaries, a cross, faith books, and a lot more.
Photo credit: The Hungry Kat
4. Go On A Food Trip
Who can say no to food? Tagaytay is undoubtedly filled with so much restaurants with all sorts of food enough to satisfy whatever you’re craving for. Choose to start the day with a hearty and healthy meal of veggies and fruits at Sonya’s Garden, wherein they serve fresh and organic picks just right at their backyard! Have lunch at Leslie’s or any other restaurant down the Tagaytay-Nasugbu highway and try looking through Filipino meals, such as sinigang, adobo, kare-kare, and so much more.
Finally, have dinner at Tagaytay’s Mahogany Market and fill your belly with the must-try Tagaytay bulalo. Enjoy the cold night breeze while sipping on a hot bowl of bulalo soup. You’ll want to keep coming back for more once you’ve gotten into it.
More than meals, Tagaytay is also filled with other food stalls and shops where you can have snacks, a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, champorado, kakanin, among others.
Photo courtesy of Ramon Reyes
5. Have A Picnic
Having been a city with such cold climate all year round, Tagaytay is also known for its excellent picnic spots. In fact, one or two places in Tagaytay are solely dedicated to picnic and adventure. Picnic Grove is a popular tourist destination in the area, where you can either rent tables and chairs or bring mats to fully experience that picnic vibe. Have breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snacks here while you enjoy the company of nature. Also, you may want to trigger a little adrenaline rush by riding on a zipline, or perhaps a cable car, which costs around 300 to 400 pesos each person.
Aside from Picnic Grove, Tagaytay also has the People’s Palace in The Sky. What once was a supposed presidential mansion awaiting the arrival and visit of a former US President has now been turned into a tourist destination – specifically, a picnic spot.
This is actually the highest point of Tagaytay, so expect higher altitude that gives off more chilly weather. Up here, the “mansion” is overlooking the entire city and some parts of Batangas. This place is basically adored for its ruins-like structure with little footbridges, tables, chairs, and gazeboes. The cherry on top? A life-sized pineapple strangely placed in the middle of it all.
A Taste Of Tagaytay
Tagaytay should definitely be in your top places to visit, especially if you’re in the Philippines for just a few weeks. Having been a favourite family weekend getaway spot, this place can never disappoint.
You can do almost anything here! Go on a food trip, cultivate your spiritual life, reconnect with family and friends, have a picnic, go on adventures, shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, hop from one mall to the other, buy flowers, and so much more. Looking for the perfect spot to unwind down South? Tagaytay is definitely the best place to be.
Photo of Picnic Grove Tagaytay by Where To Go In Tagaytay
How To Get To Tagaytay
I’ve laid out quite a few options for you for when you want to go to Tagaytay. Here, you can choose whether to take a private vehicle, bus, or van when travelling to and from Tagaytay.
Getting to Tagaytay from Manila through a bus is quite easy. From Manila, you’ll have to ride a bus from one of these four points:
- San Agustin (EDSA)
As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from, since travelling to and from Tagaytay has pretty much become a habit for most people nowadays; it’s nothing new. If you decide to ride a bus from Buendia, you’ll want to look for the DLT Bus. Meanwhile, opting for the Pasay terminal should lead you to find BSC Bus Terminal. Taking any of these buses should cost you about 80 to 100 pesos, which is fairly cheap.
Choosing to ride the bus down Cubao at the Araneta Terminal should, however, cost you around 120 pesos. The entire bus ride should take you around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the situation of traffic.
However, if you’re from the South, and you don’t want to go through all the hassle of commuting to Tagaytay, a new bus terminal has opened recently, which is the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) located along Cavitex-Coastal Road. It houses provincial buses bound for several parts of the metro, including Tagaytay. Bus fares should also cost you about 80 to 100 pesos.
Vans are always the better option as compared to buses (well, long before the existence of convenient Point-to-Point buses). Vans going to Tagaytay are located at the EGI Mall along LRT Gil Puyat Station. With vans, the same travel time should be expected. However, vans can cost you a lot more as compared to buses, which is around 200 pesos for each person.
Via Private Vehicle
Usually, there are two ways for you to get to Tagaytay via a private vehicle. First, you can take the Manila-Cavite route either through Zapote or Daang Hari Road, which means you’ll pass by several towns in Cavite like Molino, Dasma, and Silang, where traffic is usually at a moderate level.
Meanwhile, if you want a much quicker way of getting to Tagaytay, you can take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) exiting either at Santa Rosa, Laguna or Eton City.
Photo below courtesy of Lula YMB