Tagaytay City Road Trip

Tagaytay City is such a breath of fresh air and is a haven for nature lovers wishing to just relax, take refuge, and take a breath of the cool and crisp mountainous air backed by a spectacular view of Taal volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano situated in a lake.

View of Taal Volcano from Leslie's restaurant in Tagaytay City

A view of Taal Volcano from Leslie’s restaurant in Tagaytay City.

Situated just about 2 hours drive south of Manila, this touristy city is a haven for Metro Manila residents who would regularly flock the area to relax and take a break after a long workweek, and also to indulge in sumptuous feasts in one of the many restaurants offering specialty cuisine and comfort food to travelers seeking calm and serenity.

The two hour road trip from Manila to Tagaytay City via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The two hour road trip from Manila to Tagaytay City via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

There are lots of accommodations available to tourists and travelers, but given its close proximity to Metro Manila, most would just opt for a day trip. I’ve recently gone on a day trip to Tagaytay City (right after New Year) with some of my friends, and the whole trip, coming from a person who lives in the metro, is so refreshing.

Stop 1: Take a quick break at one of the gas stations along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)

A road trip that requires passing through the SLEX or NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) isn’t complete without taking a stop at one of the fully equipped gas stations along these routes. When I say fully equipped, I mean fully stacked with food supplies and numerous food options. Gas stations along these long routes are a different animal than those we’d regularly see in the metro. Here, gas stations are spacious and satisfying – much like an oasis in the midst of a vast desert.

At Petron gas station along SLEX.

At Petron gas station along SLEX.

A wide variety of eats, including Pancake House, Chatime, McDonald's, and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are available to serve hungry travelers at Petron gas station along SLEX.

A wide variety of eats, including Pancake House, Chatime, McDonald’s, and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are available to serve hungry travelers at Petron gas station along SLEX.

Stop 2: Go wakeboarding and Koi fish feeding at Nuvali park in Santa Rosa, Laguna

Along the way to Tagaytay is Nuvali park where one could do various activities, including wakeboarding (read about my blog post on wakeboarding at Republic Wakepark in Nuvali) and Koi fish feeding. If you want to go on a feeding frenzy with the fish, pellets are available at about PHP If you embarked on your road trip really early in the morning you could squeeze both in your itinerary.

Wakeboarding at Republic Wakepark in Nuvali Calamba, Laguna

Wakeboarding at Republic Wakepark in Nuvali.

Hungry Koi fish feeding at Nuvali park in Laguna. Funny how they would all try to get their own share of the pellets and just gobble them all up.

Hungry Koi fish feeding at Nuvali park in Laguna. Funny how they would all try to get their own share of the pellets and just gobble them all up.

Stop 3: Lunch with a breathtaking view of Taal volcano at Bag of Beans in Tagaytay

One of my friends suggested that we had lunch at Bag of Beans, a quaint cafe & restaurant right along Aguinaldo Highway (contact number (046)4134356). You’ll immediately feel your senses loosening up once inside given its relaxing ambiance and the smell of freshly brewed kapeng Barako (Barako coffee), especially when looking at the remarkable view down the mountains into Taal lake. I particularly liked how homey this place felt – like visiting an old family friend in the province. The food was excellent and the selection of comfort food (especially their cheesecake) perfectly matches the airy and homey ambiance of this restaurant.

Bag of Beans along Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City.

Bag of Beans along Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City.

The balcony at Bag of Beans - time to relax and marvel at the amazing view of Taal Lake.

The balcony at Bag of Beans – time to relax and marvel at the amazing view of Taal Lake.

View from the balcony of Bag of Beans Tagaytay.

View from the balcony of Bag of Beans Tagaytay.

Kapeng Barako for only PHP 105 (bottomless, PHP 135).

Kapeng Barako for only PHP 105 (bottomless, PHP 135).

Grilled Salmon with Mango salsa - PHP 495. The one in this picture is actually just half a serving - one of my friends and I just had one order split in two.

Grilled Salmon with Mango salsa – PHP 495. The one in this picture is actually just half a serving – one of my friends and I just had one order split in two.

Stop 4: Have coffee and enjoy a better view of Taal Volcano and Lake at Leslie’s Restaurant

I must admit Bag of Beans has a great view from its balcony, but there’s no doubt Leslie’s restaurant has a better, clearer, and awesome-er view. Also situated along Aguinaldo Highway (contact nos. (046)4130488 and 4131065), Leslie’s restaurant has always been a favorite amongst visitors, particularly because of its glorious (and one of the best) view of the natural wonder, and also because of its famous Bulalo (hot beef shank and marrow soup) that’s a perfect pairing with the crisp air of Tagaytay.

The perfect view of Taal from one of the kubos (nipa hut) at Leslie's Restaurant in Tagaytay.

The perfect view of Taal from one of the kubos (nipa hut) at Leslie’s Restaurant in Tagaytay.

Kids and adults alike will surely enjoy the scene at this place.

Kids and adults alike will surely enjoy the scene at this place.

The festive mood at Leslie's Restaurant Tagaytay.

The festive mood at Leslie’s Restaurant Tagaytay.

Pasalubong at Leslie's Restaurant Tagaytay.

All kinds of pasalubong (puto, kutsinta, polvoron, tarts, etc.) available here as well.

Stop 5: Fruit frenzy along Tagaytay roads!

Along with its mouthwatering cuisine, fresh and crisp air, and amazing views comes another Tagaytay specialty: its roadside stands selling local delicacies and specialties along the highways. Tagaytay has lots of farms and plantations, including vast pineapple farms, hence its not uncommon to find dozens of stalls selling the freshest picks along its narrow roads. Stands selling flowers, buko pies, and various local sweets also line the highway, so expect to return home with a lot of goodies on hand.

Pineapple farms are a common sight along Tagaytay roads.

Pineapple farms are a common sight along Tagaytay roads.

Fresh fruit stands along Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay.

Fresh fruit stands along Aguinaldo Highway.

All kinds of plants and flowers are for sale everywhere in Tagaytay.

All kinds of plants and flowers are for sale everywhere in Tagaytay.

Fresh fruit frenzy!

Fresh fruit frenzy!

Other delicacies and pasalubongs, such as lambanog, chicharon, pure honey, and Guyabano juice, are for sale at the fruit stands as well.

Other delicacies and pasalubongs, such as lambanog, chicharon, pure honey, and Guyabano juice, are for sale at the fruit stands as well.

Happy road trip,

FRUSTRATEDBILLIONAIRE

What Tagaytay spot is your favorite? Feel free to Share Your Story, comment, share your tips, or ask a question. Please also like me on Facebook and Twitter! Thank you!

FrustratedBillionaire