A Day Trip to Tagaytay City

"A volcano within a lake, in a volcano within a lake, on an island."

It was my youngest sister's birthday and aboard their minivan, our entire family happily spent the weekend on a road trip to hilly Tagaytay City, 70 km south of Manila. The home to the magnificent Taal Volcano, an active volcano, one of the most active in the Philippines.  

Taal Volcano was formed during one of the major eruptions in the middle of the lake. The last notable one was in 1977, however there were 33 more eruptions since then.  Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) continuously monitors water temperatures and seismic activity there. They strongly prohibit people to live on the Volcano Island because it is a high risk area and it is marked as a permanent danger zone. 

Did you know?
Taal Lake is actually a crater of an inactive prehistoric super volcano.  In this lake, surrounding Taal Volcano, there were many other eruptions that formed other craters and micro-lakes. Tagaytay city is a ridge that sits on the rim of the caldera, meaning this will be the first to be hit if this super volcano comes to life. This was something that our Geology professor told us back in college. 

If adventure is right up your alley, there are boat trips with hiking trails to the volcanic crater from Talisay, Batangas. Check out advisories from Philvolcs first.

However, if you prefer appreciating the magnificent scenery from a distance, then a relaxing day trip to Tagaytay City will more than satisfy and delight your senses.

Where is it? How do we get there?

How to Get to Tagaytay and Getting Around

There are many ways to get to Tagaytay City. Above is a link showing how to get there. Like many travelers, we chose the SLEX (South Luzon Express Way)  Sta. Rosa exit where we had a quick stopover in Nuvali to enjoy the leisure park and feed the koi fish.

Tagaytay City is a memorable place for my family. When we were young, growing up in a Catholic School, we spent countless spiritual retreats here.  

This was where Yohann and I had our first out-of-town date together in 2001. We also spent days up in the hill near Taal Lake staying with my best friend and her family's mountain cottage in the middle of a forest Talisay, Batangas.

Garden Wedding in Tagaytay City in March 2006
Tagaytay City was also where we had our garden wedding in 2006   My sister (who was celebrating her birthday) got married here too in 2012.

Here we were,  making another memory in  Tagaytay City.

A Visit to People's Park
History has it that People's Park was supposed to be a Palace in the Sky, a project that former first lady, Imelda Marcos initiated, to build a mansion on the land owned by the government possessing the best view of Tagaytay.  It was rapidly pushed to be completed for the intended visit of President Ronald Reagan back in 1983.  The presidential visit didn't take place and the mansion remained unfinished to this day.  It was later converted to an urban park. The view and cold breeze up on the summit is wonderful but a lot of maintenance and renovation work are still needed. Entrance to People's Park in the Sky is Php 30 (USD$ 0.65) per person. 

If you get the opportunity, do drop by Tagaytay Highlands next to the park. We were fortunate to visit this exclusive community after our wedding back in 2006.

After a short hike to the summit of People's Park,  tummies will definitely growl afterwards.

Lunch with the Family at Dencio's
View of Taal Lake and Volcano during our lunch at Dencio's

 Dencio's Bar & Grill  is a large restaurant chain offering Filipino cuisine. Filipino comfort food at its best, wonderfully shared with the family with this amazing view. Cost would be around Php800 (USD$ 17.37) for 2 people.

Sonya's Garden
My daughter got uber excited and ran around inside Sonya's Garden
Sonya's Garden Bed and Breakfast
Tranquil landscape at Sonya's Garden Bed & Breakfast
Organic Vegetable Farming at Sonya's Garden

 I wrote about my first visit to Sonya's Garden here back in 2012. Click here for the article. It's a popular garden wedding venue. There's a Bed & Breakfast, Restaurant serving organic produce, an organic farm, landscaped gardens, greenhouse-looking function rooms, an apothecary and a bakery serving the yummiest Spanish bread that will make you forget your name and start speaking in Spanish. Just kidding. This is my Spanish-speaking brother's inside joke whenever his colleagues ask him how he became so fluent in Spanish. He always replies with, "I ate the Spanish bread from Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay."

Skyranch. We briefly stopped by Skyranch for a peek. The sun's blazing heat and large busy groups made us skip it. Perhaps next time.

We made a coffee addiction detour to Bag of Beans Coffee Shop, Restaurant & Bakery for coffee, drinks and dessert. Here, we ordered their famous blueberry cheesecake. 

Blueberry cheesecake with House Blend Brewed Coffee

Don't leave Tagaytay without trying this. Blueberry Cheesecake (Php 160 / USD 3.50 per slice) with a mug of House Blend Brewed Coffee for Php 120 (USD$ 2.60) regular / Php150 (USD$ 3.25) for bottomless. We bought a whole blueberry cheesecake and we shared it with everyone including my daughter who went hyper sugar-rush crazy after having several bites. It's not too sweet at all by the way.  It exceeded my expectations. It was smooth with the right amount of sweetness.

Herb garden seedlings and plant shopping

This is a popular destination in the south to do your plant and seedling shopping. Along Sta. Rosa Tagaytay Highway, there are fruit and vegetable stalls. You can purchase a chilli plant for Php 50 (USD$ 1.09) and a thyme seedling for the same price.  I also went crazy fruit and vegetable shopping. I got 4 fresh organic romaine lettuce for Php 100 (USD$ 2.17) and 3 pcs ripe avocados for Php100 (USD$ 2.17). I also got bananas and freshly harvested pineapples.

On the way home, a quick stop to buy buko (coconut) pie and other local sweet treats is a must for Filipino families. A popular one is Rowena's Cafe. Though we didn't try it due to the long parking and waiting queue along the main road which was causing traffic. 

Instead, we went to the Orient, The Original Buko Pie at the Caltex Station along Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road. It's always sold out and they don't accept order reservations by phone. We waited for an hour (eating fish balls at the nearby food cart) for freshly baked buko (coconut) pies and I must say they were worth the wait, nothing fancy but there's a lot of coconut meat in it. 

Which activity in Tagaytay do you enjoy best?
A food trip with the view of the Taal Volcano no doubt. :)

Love & light,

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  1. Your tidbit made me a worried a wee bit. (You see what I did there? Hahaha...) Kidding aside, I love how you incorporated some facts on this post, which to be honest I didn't really know until now. I've only see Taal from a distance, but I really want to go to the crater and explore the lake itself.

    So you had a garden wedding in Tagaytay? How romantic! You look so pretty and your husband is of course dapper.

    You're so lucky, I haven't been to Sonya's Garden, and I've wanted to go there for like forever! The steep price is discouraging me a bit hahaha... But I'm sure I can get myself there someday.

    1. Haha, Sorry, I think that part sounded scary, I suppose I felt the same way when our college prof revealed this tidbit to us. :) I've never been to the crater myself. The farthest I ever went was swimming in Taal Lake after a very bad indigestion due to an eat all you can Batangas Fiesta lol. Thank you, Yes, it was a quiet garden wedding. Sonya's Garden seems to be maintained really well. They have consistently kept the same ambience. We made our way there for their cheese hopia and spanish bread :)

  2. Such an enchanting nature and scary too! Were you ever caught by a serious damage from volcanos or storms down there, or is that too stupid to ask? I constantly worry about the people at the Philippines whenever I hear something at the news.
    And how lovely you two were at your wedding!

    1. Thanks Dezzy. I do have vague childhood memories of hiding under the table during a massive earthquake in 1990 and waking up covered in ash fall during Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1992. We were nowhere near the calamity hit areas but the effects were felt in Manila. Typhoons and storms became part of our lives as I recall,we were tuned into radio whether our classes are cancelled or not that day. I wasn't here during the last two major typhoons. I think the worst one I had was going through hip high flood walking a long way home.

  3. I will never tire of the view! No matter how many times I've seen it, it's always like the first time for me. Have you tried breakfast buffet at Balay Dako? It's good, plus, they have a good view of the lake and volcano too. We have something in common. I also got married in Tagaytay.

    1. Breakfast buffet sounds very interesting. I haven't tried Balay Dako yet. I will definitely look it up. I can imagine, Tagaytay will always hold a special place in our hearts for us.

  4. What a beautiful view! Philippines really offer so many amazing sights to behold!

    1. Hello Rosemarie, welcome to Travel Gourmande. Yes it does indeed.

  5. Wow..It's so beautiful...Pictures was great.I would love to visit this place.thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello Leorana, thank you for your kind words.

  6. WOW!!! beautiful view.I think you really enjoyed.I really want to visit this place.Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks Pardip for reading and dropping by Travel Gourmande.