Newsbreak: Two new low pressures have been spotted near the Philippines, rain forecast for today, blimey! Upon hearing the news from the telly, I quickly pressed the electric button to open up the curtains of our accommodation. Viola! The sun is out so hopefully this condition will continue throughout the day and any rain should not hamper our plans.
Our Tagaytay lunch was planned way ahead, my brother will drive us up there. Whilst waiting for them, I received a text that they’re stuck in traffic along the infamous EDSA (notorious for heavy traffic) and Waze app ETA is around 45 minutes. Still plenty of time, a perfect excuse for a coffee.
Just around the corner from our accommodation is Coffee Project. Before flying to Manila I read that this coffee chain was named among the worlds most Instagrammable cafes according to travel guide so it’s definitely worth a try and tick off from the list.
Stepping inside Coffee Project is just like being inside a flower shop. The space is adorned by wall to wall faux plants and flowers, emphasis on wooden interiors, with lovely chairs and tables. You order at the counter, pay then they will call your name when your order is ready. I ordered a Latte and Steve’s Americano (long black). What a disappointment, my coffee was way too milky whilst the Americano was so so. The only saving factor was the Asado Pandesal, though the filling was a bit dry.
Bang on 9:30 and our lift had arrived. From Makati to Tagaytay, it took us less than 2 hours via the skyway joining the national road passing through little towns, new subdivisions, shopping malls, with glimpses of the picturesque Taal Volcano.
Tagaytay is one of the top destinations that is close to Manila. Not only is it easy to reach, the weather is cooler with elevations averaging about 610 metres (2,000 ft) above sea level. Home to top hotels, restaurants, roadside fruit markets and posh subdivisions. But the ‘crowning glory’ is the Taal Volcano that lies on a lake with in a volcano within a lake. A photo op with Taal volcano in the background is a must when you visit Tagaytay.
Our lunch destination was at Balay Dako (Big House) restaurant run by Antonio’s group of restaurants. It’s an impressive colossal home turned into a restaurant. As you descend from the carpark, the lush greeneries blend well with the building’s colour, a relaxing green. From the reception area, wooden hallway, wall decoration and the dining space, this restaurant screams a statement. The views of Taal Volcano are a sight to behold.
The floor staff were very efficient, after we settled down, our order was taken and food came out in a timely manner. We ordered the following: Crispy Pata (crispy pork knuckle), Kansi Soup (featured image), Laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), Tawilis (freshwater sardines). Food was beautifully plated out and flavoursome. On the way out, we can’t help but grab a couple of bags of Piaya, a favourite sweet flatbread in Western Visayas.
Full is an understatement! Oh well there’s always a room for dessert. We drove for a few kilometres away and descended to Bag of Beans – Athena Branch. This coffee shop is adorned in white accents, lovely contrast to the green surroundings. The specialties here are sweet treats, coffee and other snacks, they also serve lunch. To satisfy our sweet tooth without the guilt, we ordered the following: Mango Panna Cotta, Blueberry Cake and Caramel Cake served with Vanilla Ice Cream. A round of Barako (Native) Coffee was paired. The sweets wowed our tastebuds. We left on a note of General MacArthur, ‘We (I) shall return’.
Roadside fruit shopping is a must do in Tagaytay. Pull off the road and start bargaining with vendors. Immersed yourself with tropical fruits. The tiny bananas are to die for.
Back on the road to Manila and we arrived at our unit in Makati in less than 2 hours. Anticipating a slow pace of traffic approaching the city limits, but surprisingly there was none, Manila’s roads traffic are indeed unpredictable.