Tagaytay is one of the country’s popular tourist destination because of its magnificent scenery and high altitude. In my own words, I like to call it ‘Little Baguio’, a place filled with destinations to explore and enjoy.
From Manila, go to Coastal Terminal and ride either a bus going to Mendez or Nasugbu. Get off at Olivares Terminal, Tagaytay City. The fare is P74.00. Travel time takes about two hours (light traffic).
From Olivares terminal, ride a jeepney going to People’s Park. It passes by Picnic Grove (Fare: 11.00). There is an entrance fee of Php50.00 per person. Inside, you will be bombarded with plenty of activities to do, but each with a tag price. You may choose to ride a horse for Php250.00 per hour or maybe just take a picture for Php20.00 (unlimited shots).
The view is just magnificent. You can see Taal Lake from a distance, a tiny island surrounded by crystal blue water.
We tried out the famous ‘Tagaytay Zipline Adventure’ for Php300.00 per person inclusive of a picture. At first I was kind of scared because I have a fear of heights, but then it wasn’t scary at all. The ride was slow and over before I even get the hang of it. We thought that they would get a picture while we were in mid-air, so me and my companion had smiled and did the superman pose all throughout our ride. We were wrong though, what we thought was a camera was nothing but a black mark on a wheel. Picture taking happens at the end of the ride, while still suspended in mid-air.
We had lunch at Karooh-Karooh (?), a restaurant just in front of Picnic Grove. We wanted to try Tagaytay’s famous bulalo, but it was too pricey for our budget trip (450 per bowl good for 2-3 persons). We ordered other dish from the menu and ended regretting it. It didn’t taste that good at all. We should’ve seen earlier that the next door restaurant also sell bulalo for only Php250.00. Oh well, all is done and there is nothing we can do about it.
From Picnic Grove, we waited for a jeepney going to People’s Park (Fare is 10.00). Entrance fee to the place is Php 30.00 per person. It was quite a short and yet a little tiring for those not so outdoorsy walk because it is uphill. It was really cold because we were at the highest peak of Tagaytay but let me tell you that the trip is definitely worth it. The view is even more magnificent than from Picnic Grove.
There were little shops around selling souvenir items (but we did not buy any) and some models doing a photoshoot. We just stayed sat there and just enjoyed the view. There isn’t that much to explore but when we were doing so, we felt this weird creepy cold chill when we tried to go inside the second floor. It looks abandoned and dark, and felt like the place where ghosts will show themselves to you. We never even made it inside the door, and we never tried to go back.
It is quite sad that the place is not maintained properly. It could look better in my opinion.
After that, it’s time to head on again to another destination. There were no jeepneys in the entrance of the park, so we had to walk for about twenty minutes before we reached the terminal. We tried hitchhiking but to no avail.
From the terminal, we rode back to Olivares terminal (Fare: 16.00) and rode another jeepney to Sky Ranch (Fare: 8.00). Admission fee is Php50.00 per person but you have to pay separately for each of the ride. The first ride we tried is Sky Viking (Php100.00), it is the smaller version of Enchanted Kingdom’s Anchor’s Away. We thought we can handle it well, but then with every swing, my stomach starts feeling not quite normal. Gravity is working against my body. I am lifted off my chair already, my feet were no longer touching the floor of the vessel. I just kept on shouting and shouting and closed my eyes. It went as far as 88 degrees, I think. It was one hell of a ride, and given the chance I would do it all over again.
The next ride we tried is Sky Cruiser (Php100.00). We really thought it was like the one in Caliraya with a two-wheeled bike suspended on a cable and you pedal. IT WAS NOT. I really regret buying tickets to the ride because although it gives you a good view of the lake, it feels stupid. It is on a flat track and you just pedal a large version of a pedicab. Boring. Mind you, we were the only one who rode it.
Last but definitely not the least is the Sky Eye, the Philippine’s tallest ferris wheel at present. It wasn’t sundown yet so there was no romantic view. The ride is over before I could even realize it. It was just okay.
From Sky Ranch, we rode a jeepney going to Mendez and got off at NBI (8.00) but it is possible to walk from Sky Ranch to there in just fifteen minutes. We waited for a bus going to Nasugbu for about twenty minutes. We got off at Batulao (Fare: Php50.00). We then rode a tricycle (Php50.00) to see Calaruega Church, also called as Church on the hill. We paid the Php30.00 admission fee and were blown away at how beautiful, serene, and peaceful the place is. The place closes at 5PM and we arrived there at around 3:30PM, and we wish that we were there earlier. I am at lost for words on how magnificent the place is. It is super relaxing and would really take off all the stress you have in your body.
There were quite a few attractions in the area. There is the lettuce garden, the worm farm, the chapel on the hill, and other things as well. They also have a koi pond which contains the biggest koi I have ever seen in my life. It is just wonderful. There is also the hanging bridge that is fun to cross, especially when it keeps on swaying left and right. This place is perfect to just relax and enjoy nature, there are even wooden swings all over the place that you can try. We just can’t believe how cheap the entrance is. I would definitely go back there.
By five pm, it was time for us to go. It was quite a long walk from the church to the highway but fortunately (at long last), we were able to hitchhike to a family car. They also went to the church and just like us have nothing but good words to say about the place. We weren’t able to get their names nor their plate number but we are deeply grateful to them.
On the highway, we just waited for a bus going to Manila (fare: 111.00) and that concludes our trip.
We started the trip at 6AM, arrived at Tagaytay at around 10AM and was able to get back to Manila by 7:30PM. Of all the day trips that I’ve had, this is one of the best, Calaruega alone would have done it already.