Out of all the trips I’ve arranged, this has been the most stressful. I will remember it most for the trip with the most number of people who bailed. It’s not just two people, not even three, but seven goddang people! Thankfully, one person seemed to have taken pity on me and determined to push through with the trip. Let’s all give him (Cai of Travelosyo) a round of applause, clap clap clap. Teehee!
It’s as if the universe was trying to make amends, so in exchange for those 7 people are these 7 best things that made this Tagaytay trip worth taking.
1. A Room with the View of Taal Volcano
The main reason I was completely stressed out when the 7 people bailed is because we booked a room at SMDC Wind Residences thru Airbnb. We paid over 3,000 pesos for an overnight stay and since I was hard on cash, I wanted to split the bill with as many people as possible. As mentioned above though, they didn’t go so I only had Cai to split the bill with. Anyway, I’m happy to report that despite all the stress it has caused, the room was worth the trouble. Not only is it clean and fully furnished, it offers a spectacular view of Taal Volcano.
2. Leslie’s bulalo
The reason I love bulalo is because of the soft yellowish matter inside the bone marrow, or what we call in Tagalog as “utak” (brain) even when it’s not really an “utak.” I rarely order bulalo though, not really for the fact that it’s high in cholesterol but more the fact that it’s expensive. An order usually sets you back at 599 pesos. For a cheapskate like me, that’s already too much. But on this trip, I was pretty resolute to eat bulalo at Leslie’s just to quell this curiosity brought upon by my friends who are all about singing hallelujah after dining in this resto.
As soon as Cai and I reached Tagaytay, we were off to Leslie’s branch at Sky Ranch. There isn’t much to rave about the place, but the customers are overflowing. It probably helped that there were just the two of us so a female staff managed to find us a table. We ordered the regular bulalo for PHP599, the rice is PHP49 a cup. Yes, expensive so ready your wallet when you dine here. I thought waiting time would be long because of the crowd but before we knew it, a big bowl of steaming bulalo was already being served to our table.
How was it? To be fair, the serving is big, something that four people our my size can share. But I didn’t find it as delicious as the kansi that I had at Chicken Island Inasal in Boracay. Still, it’s worth a try. [Read: Review of Island Chicken Inasal, Boracay]
3. Sky Eye
In my 10 for 2015 Goals, I included riding the MOA Eye, or that humongous Ferris wheel in Pasay on the list. But let’s consider that goal as completed because I was able to ride the Sky Eye, or that humongous Ferris in Tagaytay. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, I mean the Ferris wheel is super slow and it’s not like I’m not used to heights, in fact, I used to work in an office on the 42nd floor of a building, but for some reason, the ride scared the bejeezus out of me. But Cai seemed to be in a different place, in fact, he enjoyed it so much he spent the whole time taking selfies. Like an excited kid, he couldn’t remain still so I had to suppress the urge to strangle him to keep him from shaking the entire cabin. There is no denying that the view from the top is quite breathtaking, but I was too busy trying to slow the beating of my heart to fully appreciate it. Ticket price for this heart-stopping ride is PHP 150, by the way. Even if it was scary for me, I’d still recommend for anyone to try it.
4. La Carmencita
From Sky Ranch, we walked on the side of the road for 17 minutes to get to this café that is well recommended by Looloo reviewers, La Carmencita. Based from the pictures, we knew the place is lovely, but photographs hardly gave it justice. It goes without saying, it was worth the patintero with the passing cars. It has a well-tended garden with lush flowers and plants, a mini fountain, old furniture, old photographs of the owner’s family, and expensive food so Cai and I ordered what we could afford, cake, tea, and coffee. [Read: Travel Bug Series 1 – Cai Dominguez]
5. Bag of Beans
I didn’t want to go to Bag of Beans because I’m trying to be a hipster. The place is insanely famous, my friends were practically begging me to visit it and it’s on top of Tagaytay-related reviews. But the real reason I didn’t want to go there is because I was trying to keep myself from getting poor. Still, Cai and I proceeded with caution. We decided to just share a plate of breakfast, with Scrambled Egg, Toast, and Bacon (PHP 320). The bacon was ridiculously crisp and delicious! I know one blogger friend who is nuts about bacon, I thought if all bacon tasted like the one at Bag of Beans I’d probably go loco for it too.
For drinks, Cai had the Strawberry Shake (PHP130) while I opted for a much predictable choice, Brewed Barako Coffee (PHP 100). By the way, there are many Bag of Beans branches in Tagaytay, the one that we went to is in Silang Junction, Silang Crossing East Tagaytay.
6. Puzzle Mansion
On our last day, we still had enough time to make the trip to the Puzzle Mansion, or the place that houses the puzzle collection of the woman who clearly has more available time than the rest of us. Imagine, she won the Guinness Book Record for having the largest puzzle collection in the world. In fact, the biggest puzzle and the second biggest puzzle are on display in this house. I love puzzles too but the most number of pieces I’ve completed and that’s on a website is no more than 500, but this woman, her largest jigsaw puzzle is a whopping 30,000 pieces. I kid you not, thirty-thousand-friggin’-pieces, does she not sleep?
Aside from the jigsaw puzzles, there are other types of puzzles on display, such as 3D puzzle, wooden puzzle, cube puzzle, vase puzzle, crystal puzzle, and the list goes on. Never in my life have I seen such a vast collection and I was impressed despite myself. Entrance fee is here 100 bucks, if you got extra time t spare, I recommend you check out the house of puzzle yourself.
7. Creamy Buko pie
And while you’re there, why not order a slice of buko pie, which I swear to you, the best buko pie I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Before this, I didn’t know buko pie can taste like cake. Puzzle Mansion’s version is very soft and creamy and it’s only 60 pesos a slice. If you want to take home a box it’s PHP 300. I still dream of this buko pie to this day, in fact, I’d be willing to take that long trip to the Puzzle Mansion again just for this. It’s that good.
All’s well that ends well, is how I’d sum up this Tagaytay trip. On the day itself I was crying in my room when I heard that two more people backed out. That’s why I am grateful to Cai for not deserting me.
Tagaytay is one of the most frequented tourist destinations in the country, in fact, I’ve been there, several times in the past. It is only now though that I got to experience it in full despite my limited budget. On this trip, I’ve learned that even with a small budget, you can do so much by just trying a little bit of some things. We didn’t sample that many food on the menu in the café and restos we’ve been to, we didn’t take all the other rides at Sky Ranch, and we didn’t order an entire box of that uberlicious buko pie at the Puzzle Mansion. Yes, it kept us wanting more, but all in all, it made for a one hell of a trip. In our limited time and money, we were able to do so much in Tagaytay. That for me is more than what I’ve anticipated and I feel good just thinking about it.
So remember my tips in your Tagaytay trip, especially if you are working on meager funds. Also, believe me when I say that you don’t have be with a lot of people to enjoy your travel. Trust me, I know.