Originally published on our former blog, December 16th, 2014
So just this last weekend, David and I decided to go for a little road trip! We’re currently going through the process of buying a house in Cavite, which is requiring us to take several trips back and forth from Quezon City to Imus, Cavite. And since Imus is already halfway to Tagaytay, we figured it was time to go visit this famous city, and get up close to the beautiful Taal Lake and Taal Volcano!
We left the house uncertain of what we would do once we arrived in Tagaytay – we weren’t really sure what places to visit yet, or if we would spend the night. We packed a few things just in case – a change of shirt, a hairbrush, and of course, our camera! We’d also purchased a map of Cavite just a few days previously, which came in pretty handy that day.
It was a nice day for a drive – the sun was obscured by the clouds and there was a definite cool breeze going on. Although we did get rained on just a little bit, it was just a bit of sprinkling here and there, nothing that the Writers In Tandem can’t handle! Somehow though, I still managed to get a little sunburned. Ah, the problems of having translucently pale skin.
We stopped in the city of Amadeo to fuel up – both us, and our trusty bike, Maleficar. There was a Petron gas station sharing a parking lot with a coffee shop, so we took a break to warm up and regain some energy for the last leg of the ride.
I ordered a piping hot caramel cappuccino. It was tasty, but I didn’t realize that the caramel had settled all to the bottom. The caramel flavor was definitely lacking because I didn’t know it needed to be stirred. The last few sips were extra sweet and caramelly though, as I finally found where all the sugary syrup had disappeared to!
David still went for an iced drink, even though I thought he was nuts. The drive had left me pretty chilled, and I definitely didn’t want anything cold going into my body! To each his own though; David ordered an iced Irish cream latte, and added a ton of sugar to his drink as usual. A bit too sweet for my taste, but he enjoyed it!
Back on the road again, we started keeping an eye out for signs to let us know we were nearing Tagaytay! The drive was beautiful, palm trees on both sides of the road, and there were a lot of coconut vendors selling coconut wine and vinegar everywhere!
Finally, we have arrived in Tagaytay City! We followed some road signs directing us to Sky Ranch when we first arrived, because we knew that was one of the top tourist destinations here. We ended up not finding it this day though, instead we rejoined up with Aguinaldo Highway and found the perfect viewpoint to get a look at the famous Taal Lake and Taal Volcano!
There were also several people working as mimes around the viewpoint area; we tipped one with 20 pesos and he gave us a little performance.
It was the perfect place for a photoshoot! The landscape was so beautiful. We were just a bit disappointed at the cloudy weather, the volcano was partially shrouded by fog so we couldn’t get as clear of photos as we might have hoped. It was still an amazing view and everything felt so peaceful and serene as we looked down the mountains.
After hanging around the viewpoint for a bit, we decided it was time to get some food. We were determined to get some bulalo, as Tagaytay is famous for their delicious bulalo. You sure don’t have to look hard, there’s signs all over every road advertising one restaurant or another’s bulalo!
We decided to check out a place called Diner’s Original Bulalo. They had some very fair prices and it looked like a nice place to eat, so we stopped to get some nice, hot bulalo.
We ordered lechon kawali, garlic rice, and of course, bulalo! When the dishes arrived, everything looked pretty simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity, but we weren’t expected the food to be great just from the appearance. But boy, with just a few bites, we were proven so very wrong! The bulalo’s broth was sinfully delicious, it was so meaty tasting and the beef was so tender that it just fell off of the bone.
The lechon kawali too was delicious, the perfect balance of crunchy skin and tender meat was a marvel to our mouths. Even the garlic rice, such a simple and standard dish, was far more amazing than we could have predicted! And the best part? We got all of this food for less than 600 pesos! It was definitely sulit!
Now, more than sufficiently well-fed, we went off in search of a place to sleep for the night. We found Full Rest Apartelle which offered a promo rate of just 900 for the night, so here we crashed. There was no aircon, but in this cold city, we needed extra blankets instead of aircon anyways! I also was delighted to finally be able to have my first hot shower in almost a year and a half. It was a small room, but it did the trick for the night.
Then, early the next morning, we set off once again! This time, we were able to find Sky Ranch, so we stopped to take some photos. We didn’t go inside Sky Ranch as we were already running low on funds and still needed to find some food, but we were able to see the horses from outside and catch a glimpse at the rides inside.
Judging by the signage, the people of Sky Ranch must have a good sense of humor!
There were several restaurants fronting Sky Ranch, so we decided to stay here to eat. There were many familiar places, but we picked the Red Engine Diner to eat at since it was somewhere we’d never tried before.
They had several delicious sounding burgers on the menu, so burgers we got. I’m not usually much of a burger person, but they got me with the “bacon and cream cheese burger”. I am an absolute sucker for anything with cream cheese. I asked for some jalapenos on the side as well because I find them to pair so perfectly with cream cheese, it’s a combo of the gods.
David went for the Red Engine burger, which had a bit of everything on it. In fact, it was so stuffed full of ingredients that he had a bit of trouble getting his mouth around it, and started using a fork and knife to eat it! His burger also had a thick slab of cream cheese on it, mmmm!
After fueling up our stomachs once again, we were off to find Taal Lake Road and get a closer view of the volcano. The road wasn’t the safest, but we made it down okay and the view was 300% worth the nervous drive. Or at least, I thought so; David might have a different opinion since he was the one getting squeezed hard on the shoulders every time I thought we were about to die.
What made the road so scary? Well, landslides, for one. There were signs every few meters warning drivers about landslides, and they were telling the truth. There were several spots of Taal Lake Road that had been covered by dirt and rocks from landslides, which forced us to drive in the other lane. The road was also very curvy and steep, so I’d just be sitting there hoping that there wouldn’t be a car coming from the opposite direction around a blind curve while we were forced to drive in their lane.
Fortunately, we made it down with no incidents and were rewarded with a spectacular close-up view of the volcano! I found myself so jealous of people who get to live in this city and are greeted with this natural beauty every day – but I don’t envy them the drive!
Last chance for some selfies before the Writers In Tandem headed back to Manila! Our short road trip was absolutely spectacular and worth every bit of the drive, despite our more-than-sore tushies by the time we got home. It was also good practice for our next road trip, as we’ll be heading to Subic by motorcycle in January for our honeymoon! I’m sure we’re also going to be back in Tagaytay sooner or later; if for nothing else, for some more of Diner’s Bulalo!