An hour’s drive from Metro Manila will take you to a cool place. In fact, in my beginning Tagalog textbook it shows up often in connection with coolness, as in, “Alin ang mas maginaw, ang Tagaytay o ang Baguio?” (Which is colder, Tagatay or Baguio?) Both are mountainous areas known for providing relief from the summer heat. Both have terrific views. From many parts of Tagaytay, you can see the Taal Lake its volcanic crater, as well as the mountain ridges and forests where revolutionaries hid out during the 1896 the war against Spanish rule. Tagaytay is popular with tourists and recently also with new residents. Real estate prices are rising. Many upscale restaurants are available. It’s also a great place to just hang out.
On one trip we visited the guesthouse originally built by Imelda Marcos, reportedly for Ronald Reagan, who never show up. After the 1986 overthrow of the Marcos regime, it was named the People’s Park in the Sky.
Another place well worth visiting is the Daughters of Divine Zeal, a community of sisters which maintains well-tended fields, a restaurant with Italian food and a bee farm. We have gotten into the habit of going there to pick up natural productions like cosmetics containing honey, which are available in the showroom. There’s also a shelter for abused women. (Update: The farm appears to have been taken over by Ilog Maria, which was producing the farms honey products. Ilog Maria also has a place in Silang.)
On one visit we stayed in a vacation home surrounded by flowers.
But I fell in love with this traditional Filipino house with its various woods and very relaxing mood, inside and out.
Another time we did a retreat at the Angel Hills Retreat Center (below). Always we ate well, including local dishes like bulalot. Fruit from Tagaytay is well known, so we often stopped to take some home.