Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tagaytay trip

 For this summer vacation, we decided not to fly and opt for more accessible destinations.  I had reserved a large room in Bataan (post to follow) at the end of the week but the heat in Manila was unbearable so we hied off to Tagaytay for a quick overnight stay. To avoid getting caught because of the number coding on cars set by the MMDA, we had to leave home by 6 a.m. It was just as well because this meant avoiding heavy traffic during the rush hour. To kill time, we first went to the St. Scholastica center for spirituality. Mama and her school go here for their retreats so when a nun saw us, she graciously invited us to the cafeteria for coffee and sandwiches.  That was so nice of them!

Unknown flower growing in their garden

 This is a picture of us trying to enjoy a view of the Taal volcano but refusing to pay the parking fee or entrance fee. The view was not so great and the place was kind of dangerous for sightseeing as cars sped by a lot! Luckily, I suggested we pass by Tierra de Maria, a small chapel right beside the Tagaytay picnic grove.
Another flower we couldn't identify. Mama was sad she wasn't able to buy any plants

Walang Himala!

 We also went here before after Wowo died. The place has become a little kitschy/baduy with all the blinking lights and loud praise music. I prefer silent reflection and simplicity.
 Sneaky tip: there's no parking fee and there's an opening here that will let you enter the picnic grove for free!
 And then it was time for lunch and while a lot of restos have sprung up, we still went to Leslie's

Bulalo with vegetables.
 Tip:The soup is refillable!
Tawilis is expensive here! P275 for around 10 pieces!

 After lounging around at Leslie's, we checked in at Taal Vista Hotel, a swanky 75 year old hotel. It is now owned by SM that's why SM advantage cardholders get a small discount. I booked 2 rooms with free buffet breakfast at around P4,775 per room which is part of their 75th anniversary promo.
A warning to those who do not own credit cards: They will ask for a P2,000 deposit per room for "incidentals" which  is refundable but I wish they informed me beforehand because it made it ruined my budget.
Tip: Try checking in early. If you're lucky, your room might already be available!
 The west wing has new rooms and modern amenities like  wifi, an LCD tv and to my family's delight, a hot pot for coffee! It's just too bad that I didn't mention their facebook promo which would have upgraded our deluxe rooms to junior suites.  (I emailed them about this but their reservations office is rather slow/inefficient)
 While it would have been cheaper elsewhere, I wanted to experience staying at this grand old hotel  and I must admit, their view of the Taal lake is hard to beat.
 Plus, another famous attraction is just a few meters away. Mushroom burger is a Tagaytay institution. They serve burgers and other stuff made of mushroom. Papa watched a movie that ended late so our planned merienda became a dinner instead. Fortunately, they offered rice meals, including non-mushroom meals at P80 each.
Not a fan of the mushroom burger rice meal, though. It tasted a lot like MSG.

But the Lomi was delicious! Perfect for cold Tagaytay nights!

By the fireplace. Non-guests have to pay for meals worth P150 each or a parking fee of P100/hour to stay here.

 Buffet breakfast costs P680 per person ( free for us ) but honestly not worth it. Sure there's pancakes and sausages and omelettes and salads, but only coffee and watermelon /melon juice were available. No chocolate! They had watermelon and melon fruits, but no mangoes or pineapple! The buffet at the Pearl Farm and at the Patio Pacific were better.

After breakfast, we headed to the pool. The water was a bit cold which might explain why hardly anyone was there. But we were the sulit family and we were going to get what we paid for! :D
 Soon it was time to check out and and we looked for the flower farm to look at the pretty flowers but when we got there, the caretaker curtly said it wasn't allowed. O-kay...so off to lunch we went and I suggested Bag of Beans which might not be the best place to eat when the weather outside is scorching as they do not have airconditiong! Also, it's a bit expensive and the service is slow. The food is not spectacular and they even got my brother's order for an iced macchiato wrong. They gave him a hot macchiato at 12 noon! So, only a small tip for you!
Tip: Chicken cordon bleu was good

 Our next mission was to find a place where we could cool off before going back home. We wen to Bacolod Inasal and ordered buko pandan which we ate v-e-r-r-y slowly while enjoying the free wifi of the Robinson's supermarket nearby.
  Tip: Order the banana cooler or buko pandan cooler instead on hot summer days. The shaved ice is refreshing!

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