That Place Called Tagaytay (A Crazy Weekend)


The first time I have been to Tagaytay was back in my high school when we visited Tagaytay Picnic Grove during an educational tour. To date, it has been almost a decade before I was able to set foot on the City of Fogs again.

But the second time was different. There were no planned itineraries, we were bringing nothing but ourselves, and we did not even know that we would reach Tagaytay that day. It turned out to be a crazy weekend courtesy of one of my best high school buddies' emotional distress made more intense by the movie, That Thing Called Tadhana, he had just watched that day. The movie took place on the mountains of Baguio and Sagada, but since those places may took almost a day to reach, the scenic mountain ridge of Tagaytay somehow made up for it. He had just made me believed that a broken heart can make people do crazy, incredible things. Hahaha!

We were in Tagaytay for around eighteen hours, four of which were spent in deep slumber and the rest were spent filling our tummies, boozing out, talking things over, singing out loud, and delighting our eyes with Tagaytay's skyline.


TAGAYTAY'S FAVORITE DISH


We reached Tagaytay City market at 6 PM after four hours of traveling from our home in Binangonan, Rizal. First thing we did, just like any other tourists do, is taste Tagaytay's famous bulalo!

Tagaytay's bulalo

Bulalo is a well-loved comfort food, which I believe no single Filipino has never tasted yet since many restaurants and eateries around the country or even the local households have their version of the dish. It is made of beef shank with bone marrow richly boiled in broth together with several vegetables. We were pointed to Leslie's Restaurant when we asked the locals of who offers the best tasting bulalo nearest the Tagaytay Rotunda.

Leslie's bulalo soup was just right. We did not have to savor it with patis (fish sauce) or toyomansi (soy sauce with calamansi) to taste, the meat is tender that it falls out of the bone easily, vegetables were not overcooked, and the bone marrow was like heaven to the palate! But the taste does not differ from other bulalo that I have tasted before. What made it special was Tagaytay itself. The idea that I was enjoying bulalo within the highlands of the city along with its shivering climate was just enough reason to appreciate the city's version of the dish.

Leslie's Restaurant

Leslie's Restaurant, the one located in Tagytay-Nasugbu Highway, also offers a view of the scenic Taal Volcano Island by day and a chilling breeze at night making it a perfect time to enjoy a steaming bowl of bulalo. A group of singers roaming from one area to another serenading the customers also added to the light and easy ambiance of the restaurant. Leslie's bulalo, however, is not that budget-friendly. There are a lot of restaurants and eateries in the city that offer it for a lower price but for the same or maybe for a better taste like the restaurants in Bulalo Belt and Mahogany Market.

Health Check. Bulalo is not one of the healthiest among Filipino's line of goodies. It is not good for those who watch their calorie intake or those who are prescribed by doctors not to eat anything high in cholesterol.


TAGAYTAY NIGHT LIFE


Just beside Leslie's Restaurant is the Kon-tiki Bar and Restaurant where we opted to chill out and talk things over alongside a pitcher of what they call as wang-wang, a concoction of seven different spirits, and another bucket of strong beer. We were not in the mood to booze ourselves out. Not really.

Kon-tiki Bar, Tagaytay

What's best with Kon-tiki aside from its location are their wide variety of concoctions and the entertainment brought about by the live band. The pub's upper deck offers a view of Taal Lake but since it was covered by darkness at night time, we opted to be on the lower deck and sang our hearts out loud with the band's rendition of popular songs. We even took the center stage and sang with them while we were still under the influence of wang-wang. What a great night. Hahaha!

Kon-tiki Bar's live band

On that area along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, we found only two resto bars, the other one is the Hellenic Bar and Restaurant adjacent Magallanes Square Hotel. We also asked where the branch of Tides Grill and Bistro is located but a local said that it was closed down just recently.

Unlike commercial centers in Manila, the streets of Tagaytay were almost in total silence by 2 AM if not because of the few vehicles passing.


GOOD MORNING TAGAYTAY!


We were awaken by the sun's rays that penetrate the family room we rented for a night. As we looked through the veranda, an idyllic view of the Taal Lake jump-started our morning.

View of the Taal Lake from the hotel

We took our breakfast at Bag of Beans which is also along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway. Bag of Beans' house blend coffee, a large chocolate chip pancake (good for two), and a panoramic view of the mountains made the day.

Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

After a satisfying breakfast, we took a bus bound for Baclaran to end that crazy weekend and face the realities of our normal lives. Tagaytay has become a channel to somehow, if not fully, release the unpleasant emotions brought about by life's adversities.


SUMMARY OF (CRAZY) EXPENSES


  • EDSA Starmall to Balibago terminal, shuttle fare: P70
  • Balibago to Tagaytay market, jeepney fare: P40
  • Tagaytay market to Olivarez Plaza, tricycle fare: P10
  • Bulalo (of Leslie's Restaurant): P600
  • Family-size rice platter (we're not that hungry): P250
  • Wang-wang (of Kon-tiki Bar and Restaurant): P800
  • Another bucket of beer (don't judge us, LOL!): P350
  • Kon-tiki Bar going straight back to hotel, tricycle fare: P40
  • Bag of Beans' house blend coffee: P105
  • Bag of Beans' chocolate chip pancake: P185
  • Hotel: P3000 (It's silly to get a huge expensive family room. Forgive the insanity!)
  • Tagaytay to Baclaran, bus fare: P83

Tagaytay City has a lot more to offer. It would not belong to the roster of Philippines' favorite summer destinations for nothing. This unplanned getaway gave me a glimpse of the city and a reason to come back again and again.

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