Tagaytay, Revisited

Tagaytay is a popular tourist destination just a couple of hours’ drive south of Manila, Philippines. Its cooler climate is something I look forward to, especially during the months of November through February. D and I would regularly drive to Tagaytay for breakfast, choosing restaurants overlooking the lake and Taal Volcano. When I crave for tawilis, small fish from the Taal lake, Tagaytay is my go to as well.

The last time I went to Tagaytay was in late 2019. Early in 2020 the Taal Volcano mildly erupted, so that – and then afterwards the pandemic – stopped me from going. Luckily yesterday, D felt like driving to Tagaytay for brunch. Our short daytrip was the highlight of my day.

We had lunch at Balay Dako. We were surprised there was a queue as early as 11AM (one wouldn’t think the Philippines wasn’t in a semi-lockdown with that queue). It was my second time here, the first one being with my girlfriends back in September 2018, when we celebrated my BFF’s birthday. The restaurant has a vintage Filipino vibe, and I liked looking at the old Philippine houses showcased on its walls. They also sell freshly made piaya, a flatbread filled with muscovado that is a popular pastry from Negros Occidental. Balay Dako gives a spectacular view of the lake and the volcano, albeit yesterday’s cloudy skies.

After lunch we headed to Kapeng Mainit, a cafe owned by D’s university friend. We savored our barako coffee (liberica coffee) as D’s friend recounted how businesses suffered at the wake of Taal’s eruption and the lockdown that followed. Now that Tagaytay has once again opened its doors to tourists like us, businesses have started to peak. This inspires me to do more if my domestic travels in the months to come, to support local enterprises and at the same time re-experience the wonders nearby provinces have to offer.

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