Tagaytay is a family go-to place for a reason. Cooler climes, great local food scene, and relaxing but fun things to do with the whole family. As a family, we usually go to Tagaytay for food trips. But aside from that, we also have our favorite places to chill and hang out in. With our 2-year-old in tow, these often involves large open and grassy places to run around in, or interesting sights to behold. Here’s a short round-up of the places we often visit aside from the usual restaurants or cafes.
Fun Farm at Sta. Elena
Last week, I also put up a post on the fun day we had at the Fun Farm at Sta. Elene (which you can find here). Your family could make a whole day of it since the Fun Farm is just in nearby Cabuyao, about 45 minutes away from Tagaytay. You could visit the farm in the morning and then proceed to Tagaytay for lunch or afternoon tea. Works even better if you plan to stay overnight in the area, that way your family could get some rest before going out again to continue the itinerary. Entrance Fee is at Php400/person for individuals aged 2 years old and up. Senior citizens do have discount.
Viewing Deck at Taal Vista
Last week, I mentioned that we often dine at Café Veranda at Taal Vista for their delish Kare-Kare (read the post here). This happens more often these days because we also have found a perfect flat spot of grass behind the hotel’s new wing which is perfect for a wobbly 2-year-old to play on. This is considered by a lot of families to be a great viewing area to see the lake and the volcano. During Christmas time, they also sometimes have booths at the viewing area which serves bibingka and puto galapong. If you do not plan to dine at the hotel restaurant, it’s totally fine. Viewing is free, and you’d just have to pay the parking fee if you brought a car.
The Sky Ranch can get so crowded, and not just once did I think that it’s a lot of hullaballoo for a handful of rides and restaurants. But the thing is, kids really do seem to have great fun here. They could go horseback-riding, they could ride the caterpillar or one bump cars, and of course, spend some minutes riding the giant air-conditioned Ferris wheel. Braver souls could try the zipline as well. Entrance fee during weekdays is at Php 80, and on weekends and holidays it’s at Php 100/person. Children below 3ft are free. It’s pay-per-ride after that, the Ferris wheel for example costs Php150/ride per person. The costs can pile up, so choose your rides wisely. There are restaurants inside the complex, and you are not allowed to bring in food from outside. The Sky Ranch is something nice to visit once in a while, but it can get old fast. So visit it strategically (I recommend weekdays as best)
A Caveat on Zoos
There are two well-known zoos in Tagaytay, and these are Paradizoo and Zoori. The first is a theme park managed by the Zoomanity group, who have a number of zoo-themed parks throughout the Philippines and Asia. The second is the mini-zoo found at the Residence Inn near the border of Tagaytay and Nasugbu.
I debated if I will include zoos in the list, because I used to detest these unnatural habitats for God’s most majestic creatures. Some 7 or 8 years ago, the zoo at the Residence Inn was in such disrepair, and the animals I saw there were in despair. I can still remember the lean, starving lion they used to have and I swore I will never set foot in another zoo again.Fast forward to the present day, I have a toddler who is just crazy about animals. It dawned on me that zoos are actually a good learning experience for him. I heard that ZOOri was now under new management (by the Zoomanity group as well), and has improved vastly. Albeit hesitant, I brought Dylan to check out the tigers and lions in their mini-zoo.
I am happy to see that there have been improvements after all, at least for the wild animals. The lions look healthier these days, and their cage is much bigger than the one that used to be at the side of the ravine. Also, there are a lot of tigers, and they look majestic! Not being a vet myself, I can’t say for certain if these animals are excellently taken care of, but my heart was assuaged that at least management has vastly improved how they treated their animals. The fur looks healthy, and they didn’t look as hungry. But boy, they sure looked bored. Hay, I’m still not sure about zoos. The cages are still too small, the gates look grimy, the glass cases for the snake and fish were still so dirty you could hardly see inside. There are a lot of things that could be improved. But my son was ecstatic. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the lions. Oh, and yeah, a camel almost chewed my hair because I got too close while trying to get a good shot of my son and the lion.
We have not been to Paradizoo however. I think I will reserve that for later this year. I heard that it is mostly a farm, and it has small wild animals you could feed and pet. From what I see in the photos, the spaces are much larger, the animals look fat, and there are handlers to advice you on how to take care of the animals. Maybe that’s better than Zoori. Still, I am iffy on zoos. My heart bleeds a little.
Pink Sisters Chapel
Alright, technically, a church visit isn’t supposed to be fun --- it’s supposed to be transcendent. But it has become our tradition to drop by the Pink Sisters chapel every time we visit Tagaytay. We have been doing this every since we were kids, and I like to think that Dylan will still be doing it with his kids when the time comes. We always offer a prayer of thanks, and a petition for the innermost desires of our heart. It is an unburdening, and an act of offering up to God what your human heart cannot fathom. It never fails to lift my spirit up. It also helps that there is a garden that little one could run up and down on. This is still a house of prayer though, so do mind the noise your kiddos make. Also, please don’t take selfies inside the Church. Just, no.
I know that my list doesn’t even to start to cover ALL the fun things that could be done in Tagaytay, but so far, these are the ones my family has experienced so far. I would love to hear from others’s suggestions so that we could have a go at it the next time a hankering for buko pie gets to me!
Tomorrow, let me share with you our favorite places to stay in the area. Goes perfect after eating so much and all the gallivanting!
Smell ya later,