Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Side trip to Tagaytay

I decided to get out of Manila for the day. So I  took a bus to Tagaytay. This popular tourist destination spot is located less than 58 km ( 36 miles) from Manila. However, with brutal and relentless traffic the trip took 2.5 hours!
Tagaytay is located south of Manila in the province of Cavite. The city lies on a ridge which is over 2500 feet (760 meters) above sea level. From the 'ridge' there are incredible views of Taal lake and Taal Volcano. The climate is a bit cooler than Manila, with pleasant breezes. Temps where in the low 80's (27c), but people were wearing long sleeves. Road side vendors also sold locally made scarfs!!! Taal Volcano is surrounded by Taal lake. The area is geographically and visually interesting. There are villas and resorts in the town, and there are also religious monastaries on the side of the mountain.
Fast food and commercialism has invaded the Philippines since I lived there in the 1970's. I was shocked to see that the main road in Tagaytay was dotted with fast food franchises like: Starbucks, McDonald's, et al. The visual landscape had an eerie fast food/hyper commercialism look to it....Ironically, the best view of the volcano from Tagaytay was at a Starbucks! The cost of a latte at Starbucks is more than an average Filipino would spend for food in a day!
I  took a three wheel traysikel ( tricycle rickshaw) ride down the Tagaytay ridge (mountain) . I felt like Colonel Klink siting in the sidecar of the "trike" as the driver drove down the steep 15km drive to the  lake.

From the bottom of the Ridge ( or mountain) you can take boat tours of the lake or tours to Taal Volcano............

Tagaytay is also has some incredible parks and vistas for picnics and horseback riding. I went to "People's Park" and went hiking and horseback riding (I opted for the smaller horse...)

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