Asia / My Travels / Philippines

Tagaytay: A New Beginning

“Tinging bumigkis sa dalawa nang di sinasadya’y magkita,
pinagbuhol, pinag-isa mga pusong noo’y magkaiba.”

(“An unanticipated look bound them, where once there were two hearts,
now beat as one, together.”)
– by Bienvenido Lumbera, a National artist from Lipa, Batangas
(Music composed for Hari Rama by Ryan Cayabyab, a renowned composer from Taal)

Tagaytay, Philippines | December 2015

Tagaytay, Philippines | December 2015

Tagaytay is just an hour drive away from Metro Manila that is why it is one of the favorite weekend getaway for a lot of Manileños because of its cold climate primarily. I am from Manila, but guess what? Our recent Philippine trip was only my FIRST time in Tagaytay!

I have always been travelling around Philippines with family or with friends, but I have never been to Tagaytay to the surprise of my friends who knew me to have an itchy feet. I was surprised as well hehe, I know there were couple of times that I attempted to go and was invited to go to a wedding, but I do not know why none of it materialized in the past. Tagaytay is in the province of Cavite but the iconic magnificent view of Taal the you see in Tagaytay is part of the province of Batangas. I have been to Cavite and Batangas several times before, but not in Tagaytay :P

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Anyway, when my dear friend, Reychel, who is originally from Batangas, invited us to their wedding in Tagaytay I was as excited as my husband, Laurie, because this will be my first time too. I will be her “Matron”-of-Honour, another first for me! It would have been my 6th time if it’s Maid-of-Honour, but she told me I am already married so I should be a “matron” now, lol! Tagaytay is famous for weddings any time of the year because of its cold climate, it’s a perfect romantic place.

I’ve met Reychel when we were still in Singapore. We both love reggae music and that’s how we started chatting online when we were both active on one reggae forum of the Filipino expats in Singapore. We met personally when she split with her boyfriend then. I hate break-ups and I feel for her being a newbie in a place with not much friends she can cry on just like back home. So I asked her to join our band jamming with my ex-colleagues and the rest was history of our friendship! We actually got into a serious relationship again at the same time too, I just got married a year earlier than her hehe.

Since it’s Laurie’s first time in the Philippines and I’ve never been home for 4 years too, I made sure that I visit some place I’ve never visited yet and some place I can be proud to show my husband. Apart from going to Tagaytay for sure, I chose Batanes and Boracay, as our other side trips.

Check a separate entry for Batanes HERE and for Boracay HERE.thumb_IMG_2749_1024

Although, it was just a very short visit and we didn’t really had time to go around Tagaytay and also to get closer to Taal Volcano that is within the Taal Lake. This is the main scenic attraction of Tagaytay.

Taal Volcano is the smallest yet the second most active volcano in the Philippines. It is very scenic because of its unique geography. It is called a lake within a volcano within a lake within an island.thumb_IMG_5567_1024

We thought we’ll have time to visit this closer on our first day before the wedding day but because it was December, a peak season to anywhere in the Philippines, the Manila traffic was just plain madness. We stayed at a Makati hotel, but Reychel insisted that they would pick us up at our hotel and ride with them to Tagaytay rather than we rent a car. She’s too nice she doesn’t want us to encounter any hassle before her wedding day.

Apparently, they were caught in a traffic for 3 hours from Bicutan to Makati which is just 10kms away! So by the time we reached Tagaytay it was already 6pm. We missed our reservation for Cultural Dinner at Taal Vista because we needed to go to the only mall in Tagaytay to do some last minute bride errands and Barong Tagalog shopping :P

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Laurie wearing Barong Tagalog, a traditional Filipino formal wear.

I asked Reychel to buy a Barong Tagalog for Laurie, the fit was perfect however the sleeves were 2 inches short! We were lucky to find a replacement at the only mall in Tagaytay (Wallmart type lol). Laurie loved it even if it wasn’t the best for my taste. What’s important is he looked good and comfortable with it!

We stayed for 2 days and 2 nights at Villa Ibarra, where the wedding reception will be held too. We were delighted the moment we saw our room because of the fantastic view from our veranda! I wanted to book the Honeymoon suite but of course that was already reserved for the bride and groom hehe.

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I am thankful that the view we get from our room is one of the best views you can get in Tagaytay accommodations. We didn’t have the chance to go around Tagaytay anymore because of the busy schedule of the wedding but we are directly right in front of the iconic view of the caldera of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. Just perfect to wake up on sunrise too!thumb_IMG_2827_1024

The wedding ceremony was held at Chapel on the Hill, a little bit further outside Tagaytay, it’s already Batangas area actually. The chapel has an amazing view as well. You can see Mount Batulao from afar. The church itself is a masterpiece, no wonder this was my friend’s dream wedding venue, it’s just so gorgeous.thumb_IMG_5424_1024

On our second night, just after the wedding, Laurie and I walked a bit going to the closest 7-11 to buy some drinks for us to drink inside our room. There were tricycles (Philippines’ tuktuk) stopping at us and asking us if we want to go to Starbucks. Laurie and I were just confused because why would they think we want to have some coffee at 10pm? Then my friend told me that Starbucks is the location where bars are located for people in Tagaytay to hang out, ahhh now it makes sense >.<

On our last day, that’s the only time I get to go around the villa grounds and appreciate the view for the last time without any rush. I will definitely stay in the hotel when we come back to Tagaytay someday..

We went to Bag of Beans after we checked out before going back to Manila. Laurie was so amused with the interiors of Bag of Beans, for me I have a nostalgic feeling that I am back in Baguio (the summer capital of the Philippines). I also realised that I should take Laurie in the Cordillera region on our next visit in the Philippines because he even asked me where he can find some Igorots hehe. Igorots are one of the ethnic minorities of the Cordillera Region.

Tagaytay is famous for its fruits and flower produce because of its cold climate. It is also known for its coffee beans. So whilst at Bag of Beans, Laurie had the Kapeng Barako (Batangas very strong coffee) and I had the Tablea de Cacao (chocolate drink) along with their special Blueberry Cheesecake. It’s perfect way to say “see you again” to Tagaytay.

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Bag of Beans’ Kapeng Barako, Tablea de cacao, and Blueberry Cheesecake!

Laurie and I were both honoured that Reychel and Seph invited us to be part of the most special day of their lives. It was special for Laurie because it was his first experience of a Filipino wedding too and the theme is Filipiniana, making it more special. It was special for me because who would have thought that when Reychel and I first met was when she was broken hearted, and now we are celebrating her happy ever after with Seph!thumb_IMG_2789_1024

We have been friends for over 8 years now.We have travelled together seeing a lot of new places, making a lot of new experiences, and meeting a lot of new faces, but we also shared a lot of tears, pain, and heartbreaks as well. But we have moved on and loved again.

Some people say we have found our happy endings already. But I do not see getting married as an ending to a love story, for me it’s just another beginning to a new chapter of your life. And for Reychel and I, this time is as wives ^.^

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