The ridge where millions of years before was the mountainside of a volcano is now a hotbed of activity, thanks to a great climate, and a magnificent view.
At an average elevation of 610 meters (2,000 feet), Tagaytay Ridge offers a bird’s eye view of Taal Lake and volcano.
If a friend gave you a riddle that he has recently been to a place in the Philippines where the climate is cool, there are three places to guess: Tagaytay, Baguio or an ice cream factory. But if he’s wearing a souvenir shirt printed with the image of a small volcano surrounded by a body of water, then you can tell he has been to an ice cream factory where a ginormous ice cream was made and slowly melted. Nah. He’s been to Tagaytay, of course.
Like ice cream, Tagaytay never fails to make us nostalgic about our childhood; how our parents would bring us for picnics there and eat ice cream. But enough about ice cream. ¬ ere’s more to Tagaytay than the cool breezes. Here are some facts about one of the country’s favorite places for retreat.
Old folks say that the word “Tagaytay” came from “taga” which means to hack and “itay” meaning father. Stories tell of a father and son who hunted a wild boar, but the boar got angry and chased them instead. ¬The son repeatedly cried, “Taga Itay!” which became the subject of conversation for days in that place which eventually became known as Tagaytay.
But maybe a more plausible explanation would be that, since Tagaytay is cold especially in the evening, fathers and sons (of legal drinking age, that is) would guzzle alcoholic drinks to warm themselves up. So the sons would say “Tagay, ‘Tay” meaning “Pour me another, Dad.”
Tagaytay City is part of Cavite province. With its great scenery and cool climate due to its high altitude, Tagaytay is easily one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist spots. It overlooks Taal Lake in Batangas province, where the Taal Volcano is located, and can be viewed from several vantage points in the city. Because Tagaytay is close to Manila, 55 km away via Aguinaldo Highway, it makes for an easy getaway for folks who want to escape the summer heat but also want to be locked in a warm embrace.
Tagaytay is linked by national highways to the Metro Manila area and the provinces of Batangas and Laguna. From Manila, one can go there by using the South Luzon Expressway, exiting at Sta. Rosa City, Laguna; or via the Coastal Road Expressway and then taking Aguinaldo Highway. There are buses that travel to Tagaytay from Manila, should one go there via public transport.
Tagaytay City has a number of tourist destinations; some provide food and accommodation which capitalize on the scenic view of the Taal Lake and Volcano.
From Feb. 3 to March 3, 1945, Tagaytay was used as a landing site and sanctuary for the Filipino USAFFE soldiers and paratroopers on their way to liberate Manila. The 41st USAFFE marker, located adjacent to the Metro Tagaytay College of Business and Arts in Barangay Kaybagal South, is a place where one can learn more about the city’s rich history.
One of the biggest schools of theology in the country in terms of population and land area, the Divine Word Seminary is also one of the oldest religious institutions in the city. It is run by Divine Word Missionaries, also known as SVD.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, measuring 1,200 sqm., was created to instill the value of freedom, peace and international unity in the hearts of the people. It is located in front of the Development Academy of the Philippines Conference Center, in Barangay Sungay East.
The famous People’s Park in the Sky is a mix of natural and man-made attractions, placed on the highest point of Tagaytay and the province of Cavite. It is located at Dapdap West and Dapdap East, approximately 8 km east of the Tagaytay City Circle.
The equally famous picnic park features huts and tables for picnics, horseback riding, a restaurant, a zip line and cable cars, an eco-trail boardwalk and souvenir shops. It is located in Barangay Sungay East.
Complete your trip to Tagaytay by having a bite of the famous burger this restaurant was named after. Mushroom Burger Restaurant also has non-’shroom food items on the menu, but the mushroom burger is a must-try.
Residence Inn not only provides a nice view of the Taal Lake and Volcano, it also provides guests a close view of the animals in its zoo, with some you can even feed and touch. Fun activities are also offered such as horseback riding, zip line and cable cars, and wall climbing.
An exclusive, for-members-only recreational and residential complex, Tagaytay Highlands is located southeast of Mount Sungay. In 2011, a cable car and funicular rides were made available to transport guests to different parts of Tagaytay Highlands.
The Sky Ranch complex has the tallest Ferris wheel in the country, the Sky Eye, 63 meters tall with 32 air-conditioned gondolas. There are also other various activities and rides at the Sky Ranch.
The tourist hub on Tagaytay Ridge, also known as One Destination, is composed of restaurants and bars. As a nightlife hot spot—or in Tagaytay’s case—cool spot, most establishments offer the city’s signature dish Bulalo, a stew made from beef shanks and bone marrow, with that warm broth perfect for the cold climate; and various cuisine and entertainment for tourists.
Photo by Raneil Anthony Ibay