Tagaytay is about one to tho hours away if you're coming from Metro Manila. If you are bringing your own car, the best route to take to get there is via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). However, if you are traveling on a weekend, expect heavy traffic because, chances are, you'll be joining the throngs of city dwellers who frequent Tagaytay for their weekend getaways.
Tagaytay is also easily accessible via commute since there are many buses that ply the Manila-Tagaytay route daily that are stationed in Pasay and Coastal Mall. Some of the well-known bus lines are DLTB Co., Crown Transit and JAM Liner. Aside from hopping on a bus that will go directly to Tagaytay, you can also ride a Nasugbu or Balayan-bound bus since it will passing by the city. Just inform the conductor that you are getting off at Tagaytay. Once you reach your destination, alight at Olivarez Terminal, which is the drop-off point for all buses there.
If you are queasy about bus rides, there are also shuttle vans going to Tagaytay, although the fare is usually more expensive. You can find these vans at these following terminals: Starmall Mandaluyong, Metropoint Mall, and EGI Mall.
How to Get Around
For commuters, the most common mode of transportation around Tagaytay is the jeepney. Upon alighting from your bus at Olivarez Terminal, there are already a number of jeepneys ready to take you to the different spots in Tagaytay like its popular tourist attractions. If you are a backpacker or a traveler on a budget, commuting via jeepney would be your best choice.
Tricycles are also another transportation mode in Tagaytay. Though taking a tricycle is a bit more expensive than taking the jeepney, you can cut costs by sharing the ride with other travelers. It is the ideal choice if you are traveling with your friends and family and want to have your own transportation when getting around the city.
What to See
One of the first things you'll see when you arrive in Tagaytay City is the statue of Ninoy Aquino in Tagaytay Rotonda, the main roundabout in the city. Tagaytay also has its share of churches and chapels, so whether you are a pilgrim or simply a traveler of faith, you can visit some of them to get in touch with your spiritual self. One of the most famous is the chapel at The Pink Sisters Monastery. You can say a prayer in the chapel or write your prayer requests so the Sister-Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration, more commonly known as the Pink Sisters, can pray for you. Another notable church in the city is the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church, which serves as a scenic wedding destination. Aside from these places of worship, you can also visit Tierra de Maria to see the 50-foot image of the Our Lady of Manaoag.
While Taal Lake and Taal Volcano are considered part of the province of Batangas, most tourists agree that you can get the best view of these two natural wonders from Tagaytay Ridge. Tagaytay also serves as a great jumping-off point from where to explore these two attractions. From there, simply ride a jeepney or tricycle to Talisay in Batangas. The ride should last less than an hour. Once you arrive in this town, there are several boats you can rent to take you across Taal Lake and to the Taal Volcano's crater if you're looking to trek.
Tagaytay has a lot to offer when it comes to tourist spots and attractions. No matter what interests you have as a traveler, you'll surely find it in Tagaytay. For a fun bonding activity, take the whole family for a picnic at Tagaytay Picnic Grove. Enjoy the view of the sprawling greens as you savor your home-cooked meals on a cottage. It also has an eco-trail and a zip-line for a fun after-lunch activity. Meanwhile, People's Park in the Sky, located in the highest point of the city, is a great place to hang out and sightsee.
Tagaytay is also a kid-friendly destination since it features amusement parks and other unique attractions. The Puzzle Mansion is an interesting place to visit. This museum holds a collection of over 1,000 puzzles. Meanwhile, kids and kids-at-heart can try the different rides at Sky Ranch Tagaytay for a fun experience.
Events and Festivals
If you want to experience a different side of Tagaytay, then plan your visit during the first week of May when this city comes alive in full swing as it celebrates the annual Pilipinyahan Festival. Pineapples are one of the main products of Tagaytay. From the local government's initiative, the locals celebrate this festival to honor the fruit as well as to promote tourism in the city. This festival, like other Philippine feasts, features colorful events and activities like street dances, costume displays, and amazing float parades.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
Just like other cities, Tagaytay has numerous options when it comes to fast food chains. Pinoy favorites like Jollibee, McDonald's, and Mang Inasal are all available. But if you seek something that is out of the usual, you can try Mushroom Burger. This place is a favorite among locals and tourists alike and offers a healthier alternative since its burger patties are made with mushrooms.
For those who treat dining as an experience, Tagaytay has its fair share of restaurants which make it a haven for foodies. One of the most visited establishments would be Bag of Beans. With several branches across Tagaytay, this cafe is a favored dessert stop because of its decadent sweets and great coffee. If you want savory Filipino food without the expensive price tag, then Josephine's or Leslie's is your best choice. Josephine's also overlooks a stunning view of the lake, making your dining experience more memorable. Bulalo Point is also a great choice if you want to taste this steamy beef stew which is Tagaytay's most famous dish.
Meanwhile, if upscale dining is what you seek, there is Sonya's Garden which offers hearty meals and freshly baked bread. Antonio's is also a popular choice for those who have extra bucks to shell out for a fine meal. There is also Breakfast at Antonio's that serves the delectable breakfast offerings in the city.
For travelers on a budget who wish to enjoy Tagaytay's best meals at affordable rates, you can try the eateries at Mahogany Market. It has numerous stalls that serve affordable but quality bulalo along with other Filipino meals. If you're looking to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to dining, the Mahogany Market is the place to go.
Bulalo is Tagaytay's most beloved dish which tourists simply cannot miss. This savory beef stew warms up your body from Tagaytay's cold climate. Although bulalo is served in restaurants throughout the whole country, Tagaytay's version is favored for its authenticity. Aside from bulalo, fried tawilis is also a famous offering. This type of fish, which can only be caught in Taal Lake, is tasty and crispy when fried and the perfect partner for rice.
Bars and Clubs
Partygoers would be delighted to know that Tagaytay also has a vibrant nightlife. It boasts several bars such as Hellenic Bar and Restaurant, a music and karaoke hub with a great selection of cocktails. Tanthoms Restaurant & Sports Bar is also a great place to grab a nightcap and bond with friends over a game of billiards. On the other hand, high rollers can head to Casino Filipino Tagaytay to test their luck.
Where to Shop
Ayala Malls Serin and Summit Ridge Promenade are the two popular malls in Tagaytay. These shopping centers carry different brands and stores so you won't run out of shopping options when you swing by.
Mahogany Market is not only a great place for bulalo, it is also a shopping haven where you can buy numerous pasalubong items at affordable prices. Aside from souvenirs and sweet treats, you can also buy and bring home local produce like vegetables, fruits, and even meat. Tagaytay's fresh goods are usually cheaper than in Metro Manila.
Sweet treats and pastries are usually the common pasalubong that Tagaytay visitors bring home. Rowena's Pasalubong Haus and Restaurant has a great selection of sweets and bread but their most famous product would have to be their tarts. Aside from Rowena's, Amira's Buco Tart Haus also sells fruit tarts and buco tarts that will surely tickle your tastebuds.
And if you're craving for Good Shepherd's delicious ube jam, you don't have to go all the way to Baguio just to get your hands on this yummy dessert since Tagaytay has its own Good Shepherd. Aside from the signature ube jam and lengua de gato, it also offers pies and tarts.
Buying local produce and products from street vendors is also a good idea since you'll be saving money by buying from the makers and suppliers directly. Some of the most common items that these street and roadside vendors offer are souvenirs like T-shirts and fresh produce like vegetables and fruits.
ATMs and Money Changers
You can find ATMs and money changers along the main roads, malls, banks, and shopping centers all over Tagaytay, so you'll have no problem withdrawing and exchanging foreign currency.
Fare: PHP 90.00 to PHP 200.00
Bus fares from Pasay City or Coastal Mall cost less than PHP 100.00, while shuttle van fares are less than PHP 200.00 from Metro Manila.
Food: PHP 150.00 to PHP 1,000.00
Dining in fast food chains will set you back less than PHP 200.00. If you're dining at a restaurant, the average that you will spend is about PHP 500.00 to PHP 1,000.00.
Shopping: PHP 100.00 to PHP 500.00
Tagaytay T-shirts are the most common pasalubong items to bring home to your family. They cost PHP 100.00 at the cheapest. Meanwhile, if you want to bring home boxes of fruit or buco tarts, they usually cost around PHP 350.00 to PHP 500.00.
Accommodation: PHP 650.00 to PHP 3,000.00
If you're staying at a backpacker's hostel or a budget inn like Sunburst Lodge, it would probably cost you about PHP 1,000. If you are willing to spend more money for a private room in a hotel and access to its facilities, then a PHP 1,800. to PHP 3,000.00 price range would be a reasonable price to pay.
Activities: PHP 50.00 to PHP 1,000.00
Entrance fees to attractions like Picnic Grove cost PHP 50.00, while Sky Ranch charges PHP 80.00 to PHP 100.00 for admission. You'll also have to pay extra for every ride or attraction you try out, so if you want to try them all, it's best to get a ride-all-you-can ticket. They don't sell them at the park, though, so you'll have to contact Sky Ranch before your scheduled trip to avail of these tickets for less than PHP 1,000.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 50.00 to PHP 200.00
Make sure that you have a flexible budget in case of extra fees. For example, some tourist spots charge parking fees for private vehicles.