Tagaytay: the home of Taal volcano, fields of pineapples and sweeter air was our destination last week. We enjoyed a room at the Taal Vista Hotel with a balcony overlooking the volcano for a night. I couldn’t wait for the cooler temperatures and cleaner air to breath but I was a little disappointed in the heat, I have to admit. It was very hot in all the Manila area, including Tagaytay, certainly not the 70 to 75 degrees F we expected. I didn’t exactly pack the best clothes for the trip. We had a wonderful time anyway.
Lunchtime took us to Leslie’s for famed Filipino food. The atmosphere was relaxed and inviting and the view of the volcano and lake spectacular. Instrumentalists and singers walked from table to table entertaining. I thought they were quite talented. The BBQ chicken was amazing, the chicken and pork adobo was great but the beef tapas was very dry.
We ended with buko (the local word for coconut) drinks. David and Daniel were anticipating this (Matt explained it ahead of time) yet David didn’t quite enjoy it as much as he thought he would. Daniel liked it. It was very watery and not very sweet. We learned later that these are young coconuts and don’t have a lot of flesh, have lots of juice and do not taste much like coconut.
After the boys enjoyed the hotel’s playroom that afternoon we hired a pony near our hotel for the boys to ride. Dinner was at the Bag of Beans. We enjoyed fruit shakes and homemade meat pies and fruit pies, the fruit pies were very good. We purchased some of the locally grown coffee called Baraco.
Our hotel had a wonderful buffet breakfast that we leisurely enjoyed outside while we viewed the lake and volcano. We walked the hotel’s grounds and enjoyed the view more before we headed out to find more horses for the boys to ride. We found them at Picnic Grove after we bought a few buko (coconut) pies at a Colette’s stand in town. We rode the horses (yes, Matt, me, David and Daniel!) or rather the small ponies and then we grabbed a picnic table and tried our buko pie. It was good. Not too sweet, long slices of coconut, I like it. We walked down to the overlook to see yet another prospect of the volcano and lake then we headed out for a drive in the mountains.
We thought we would see a little country side and look for the “Fantasy World” enigma before going home. We saw several small schools, small convents and many, many churches, more big beautiful homes than we could count (are they vacation homes, retirement, do people commute? I’m very curious why all those homes are being built out there). We saw lots of road side stands with fruits and vegetables, house and garden plants (which I bought a couple) and fields of corn and pineapple. There were small businesses building and selling handmade wood furniture. And we climbed up a few winding roads with a few drop offs that would make your belly flip-flop. We met some buses on the roads and got behind some slow jeepneys. Finally at the top of a high hill we saw it: Fantasy World. We knew we couldn’t get in (or could we? We didn’t know what it was; only saw a picture of it online). There were women selling peanut and coconut candy outside the gates. It looked like no one had been there in a while but there were a couple of guards. He explained that none of the rides or water rides were operational but members could use it for parties and the lifetime (or was it annual?) membership was 149,000 Pisos. It was a pleasant, scenic drive getting there and the building is quite remarkable.