Have a mini bakasyon grande every weekend by taking a short drive to the quaint countryside of Tagaytay. Ana Santos shows us that whether it’s just a few hours or a whole weekend you have to spare, there is always something to experience in Tagaytay.
Just a short 45-minute drive south of Metro Manila, the air is crisper, the view is better and everything just seems brighter. This is Tagaytay, the once quiet town that previously served as a gateway to its neighbor Batangas, Tagaytay is no longer just a place to get fresh vegetables on the way home.
A bevy of bed and breakfast accommodations and family run restaurants await you in this Philippine countryside. You won’t find big fancy hotels or many franchises of restaurants you’ve seen in other cities. Instead, you will discover that each restaurant, each bed and breakfast that have their own character and charm so you can have a different kind of bakasyon grande in Tagaytay every week if you wish.
One cannot think of Tagaytay without thinking of Sonya’s Garden. What started out as a private sanctuary for friends and family by Sonya Garcia became a garden where everyone could stop and smell the flowers and feast on organic vegetables hand picked from her greenhouses. Sonya’s Garden and her salad are now an intrinsic part of Tagaytay and save for a few different garnishings that have been changed according to what is season, the menu has not changed much at all.
A bed and breakfast also blossomed from this Sonya’s Garden, yielding to the clamor of guests for a place to stay and enjoy the gardens a bit longer. Ten spacious cottages in varying sizes (for couples, groups and families) are nestled in delicately cared for gardens. None of the cottages have a television set or air-conditioning. It may be startling and disorienting at first, but the incomparable peace and quiet of her gardens and the tranquility are the rare pleasure offered by Sonya’s Garden.
First introduced as the perfect weekend tryst for lovers, Boutique Hotel’s accommodations and interiors are plush, indulgent and decadent. Each room evokes passion with its name: “I Lust”, “I Love”, and “I Surrender”, among others. When you check in, you can chose your own bath and room scents from the Boutique’s own line of products from the “Pamper Me” line.
The bed is the main highlight of each room, overflowing with pillows—both decorative and divine. You can also choose your own pillow for special needs like backaches, headaches or if you just want some additional plushness in your bed.
The Boutique Bed and Breakfast does hold a lot of promise for couples who want to put some sizzle into their love life, but just a word from the wise—or someone who has stayed at The Boutique: no two rooms alike, so for better privacy, book the rooms on the second floor. The rooms on the first floor share a balcony with the family-oriented restaurant also found on the premises. Best to take the “I Lust” room has a bathtub that overlooks the Taal Volcano.
It is difficult to describe Nurture Spa without using a cliché like “being transported into another world” or “unforgettable experience”. Since words are not sufficient, their awards like being listed in CCN Go’s Top 25 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia and among the Top 7 Spas in the Philippines by Asia Spa would be better way to describe the escape offered by Nurture Spa.
Located off the main road of Tagaytay in almost total seclusion, Nurture Spa is both sanctuary and haven, both for relaxation and meditation and can be enjoyed either alone or with a loved one.
Stay for a couple of hours and get a relaxing massage or stay for a weekend (because it will be hard to think about driving back home after the stress and fatigue have been delicately kneaded away from your body). The overnight packages that range from rejuvenation and relaxation promise to take away a few years or a few pounds off.
If you only have a few hours to stay, then you must try the eating at any of the restaurants that have succeeded in putting Tagaytay on the map as a culinary destination. These restaurants have more than their food to offer to make you stay.
There is everything to marvel at in Antonio’s. From the minute the gates open to the sprawling one-hectare compound, to the artwork and conversation pieces that adorn walls, vestibules and tabletops, to of course the food! Owner-chef-food entrepreneur Antonio Escalante cooks up Western dishes using fresh local ingredients and has become both a local and international favorite. Regional dining guide The Miele Guide, named Antonio’s the 5th top restaurant in Asia in its Top 20 Guide for 2010 and 2011. The Miele Guide covers 450 restaurants in 17 countries.
It’s but another reason to visit Antonio’s. Reservations are a must, especially for weekend visits.
Marcia Adams will modestly tell you that she is no chef, not having formally studied culinary arts, but her dishes will tell you otherwise. Her menu, which is updated regularly, is comprised of exotic and worldly dishes made in a home cooked fashion, with Marcia herself cooking and manning the kitchen. In between, Marcia or her husband—sometimes both of them–will come out and chat with you about the menu, tell you how the dishes are cooked, making you feel like a guest in their home.
Start your meal with their signature drink, Lemon Lime Bitters. Later, you might want to try the Bundaberg Australian beers or a freshly brewed cup of coffee by the large bay window with an incredible view of the Tagaytay sunset.
Marcia Adams: 0917.801.1456 (please text to make reservations) or email [email protected].
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