Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tagaytay Trip in less than 1000 pesos

Where: Tagaytay City
What: 2nd set of itinerary

As promised to you, I went again to this very interesting and palatable city, armed with a new set of nooks to visit and to eat at. There’s just seriously too many to choose from. Even if we had a limited budget, that did not hamper us to have a food trip!

I came from Manila and rode a bus from Pasay terminal. My fare was PHP 100  in total.

1. Mahogany Market

TO GET HERE: from Olivares Plaza, ride a jeep with the sign NBI and not Mendez Hi-Way. It will drop you off right in front of the market. Fare is PHP 8.


We ordered the special bulalo, a dish of tender beef with vegetables on a clear soup (PHP 350 good for 3-4 persons). Rice is 10 pesos, but we ordered only half. It was sufficient enough, plus the fact that bananas, pineapples, and Barako coffee are unlimited. Yay! Help yourselves!

For lunch, I paid PHP 126.

Next, we explored the lively market place which is huge. Varied potted plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and quality meats, and many more are found here.


2. Caleruega Church

This is located in Nasugbu, just a short way from where we were. We rode on a bus with the sign Nasugbu (PHP 25) and got off at Batulao. There, tricycles were already lined up that will take you right to the church. Fare is PHP 20 each. The driver had told us firsthand to get his number so that we can text him if we want to be fetched. It is a long walk indeed from Caleruega and no public vehicles pass by there.

Entrance fee is PHP 30 which is very sulit!


Don’t forget to check out the hanging bridge, koi ponds, and camping site on the low land (like we nearly did).


3. Mushroom Burger

Our tricycle driver brought us back to Batulao, where we got a jeep going back to Tagaytay (PHP 45 again).

Mushroom sandwich meal w/ fries and iced tea – PHP 97

4. Starbucks

And since it was still early, we whiled away the time here, where there is a terrific view of Taal Volcano. It’s on the same highway as Mushroom Burger and just near, so the jeep fare is just PHP 8. I ordered a green tea frappe (my favorite) (PHP 165).


Going home to Los Banos, Laguna:
A jeep with the sign Olivares took us to the terminal (PHP 8) and there we rode a van going to SM terminal, Crossing Calamba (PHP 70). From there, jeep is PHP 20 straight to College, Los Banos.


TIME OF MY LIFE <3 <3 <3

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A City Bursting with Colors & Flavors


Let’s all take a moment of appreciation here of these ridiculously vibrant sceneries, and feel free to drool over the special bulalo.

If these pictures are not enough to push your buttons to hop on a bus straightaway to Tagaytay, then clearly you are not putting your sensory organs to good use.

Half-meant-joking aside, these are really proofs that Tagaytay City is a location where nature’s colors come to life---and I mean 1080p HD vivid, In 3D without the goggles; it is where taste buds are happily tickled; where whiffs of herbs are welcome to assault the nostrils, and where cool mountain-lake breeze caresses the skin.

Upon arrival, we started to feast our bellies first. A very rainy and chilly lunch time led our feet to the famed strip of bulalo eateries in Mahogany Market. Gulps of the clear soup continually heated right at our table is warmed our bodies, and bites of the tandem of crunchy dark leaves and tender beef kept us hushed and chewing blissfully.

No bottomless pitchers of iced tea here. What we got instead was unlimited flow of saccharine bananas, pineapples, and Barako coffee. I was lost in the abundance of food, surrounded by the noise of vendors who use their voices as primary modes of marketing, by hanging pink carcasses in the wet market across us, and high blood-inducing foods displayed in every eatery: fried tawilis, fried lechon kawali, fried crablets, fried tilapia, etc.

Afterwards,all the calories we consumed were begging to be burned, so we explored the area. A cheery sight of yellows, greens, and even reds greeted us at the line of fruit stands. There were those fruits I did not recognize right away, like the mango apple (we had to ask the vendor for its name) and the mangosteens hanging in a bunch making them look like ridiculously humongous grapes.

The potted flowers and herbs on the other side burst with more color. What was more amusing are their names, which equally beheld our gazes as much as their counterparts. Popcorn, money-maker---unique, funny even, will definitely make you wonder how they got attributed to dainty flowers which look nothing at all like popcorn, I tell you.

And guess what, we got a free dessert! Fresh leaves of tarragon, mint, and the sweet sugar-substitute stevia plant. Plucked right out the potted stem. Thank you ate for the free samples. They smelled so divine.

In Caleruega Church, found in the neighboring town of Nasugbu, a vast piece of paradise loomed before us. It is a feast for the eyes with a king-sized appetite. Every turn, every spot is strikingly picture-perfect. I can just walk and walk here and get lost in the sloping garden. Admittedly, we needed to catch our breaths a few times.

The flora here are dainty and abloom, just like the brides marching down on the red carpet of the chapel perched on top of a hill.

As if we haven’t soaked the rainbow of colors already, Mushroom Burger provided more color to our lives with their bold orange interiors with royal blue adornments.

Their unique mushroom sandwich was a breather in the typical burger-fries-soda combo. Meatless snack for me!

And to sop up more the feel of Tagaytay, we parked ourselves on the viewing deck of Starbucks. It will not feel right to go to this city and not have a contemplative moment with the sight of the ubiquitous Taal Lake and volcano.

After all the outrageous colors from earlier, we were treated to a lot of calming blue and gray this time. Even the silhouettes of the mountains in the horizon was blue. The Taal volcano itself was blue.

Favoring it due to the minty green color it appears to be, I sipped my green tea frappe. I  soothed my exhausted body, and my hushed my senses---it had been overworked today.

Not that I’m complaining. I would give anything to have my senses be this alive in the best way possible perpetually.