A relaxing weekend in Tagaytay

My dollie friends and I went out on a day trip to Tagaytay last Saturday. Tagaytay is the perfect summer getaway, if you can’t spare several days off work. The weather was gorgeous — the sky was blue with a scattering of fluffy white clouds, and while the sun was shining brightly, there’s always a fresh, cool breeze to keep the temperature down.

Tagaytay 2009 5
The road is long and steep. But the views are worth it. Or is it?

We rented a vehicle that can comfortably fit five, but can take up to 8 passengers (because we were expecting that much joiners). The plan was to leave Makati at 8 am, but due to a nasty unexpected heavy traffic in the Cubao area, we ended up leaving at 9 am (guess who’s late. *annoyed*). The traffic at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) was surprisingly moderate. There were areas where was a congestion, due to the ongoing road works, but it was a pretty pleasant drive south for a Saturday morning.

Tagaytay 2009 8
All you need to survive: Jesus, a chapel and a cellular tower

It was almost 11 o’clock when we got to Tagaytay’s main highway. We turned left from the road from Sta. Rosa to go up to the People’s Park in the Sky. We drove and drove and drove, going up until we reach the entrance. There were several vehicles already parked at the entrance and as we got down, we were met by hawkers selling food, souvenirs and touts for boat rentals in the lake. The entrance to the park was Php 15 per person, and for an additional Php 200, you can rent a jeep for the whole group to take you up to the peak. We opted to walk, as it seemed like a short distance. It *was* a short distance, but it was all uphill, so there was much grunting and complaining on the way up. There were rest stops along the way and you can sit down to catch your breath or take photos of the amazing view.

Tagaytay 2009 11
View from the top

We finally reach the peak and took even more photos. There was a small chapel at the peak, but to reach it, you’d have to go up a flight of stairs. We opted to just stay at the ground level and go around the perimeter of the property. Unlike the Picnic Grove, there’s nothing much that you can do at the People’s Park in the sky. There are no picnic tables, no hiking trails, horses, ziplines or cable cars. On the other hand, there are no touts or hawkers inside the park, and there are less people, which makes it a pleasant alternative to Picnic Grove.

Tagaytay 2009 13
Enjoying Buon Giorno’s fresh fruit shakes while deciding which pasta to order. That’s Rael in the background.

We didn’t stay long in the park, as we had to rush down to get a table to Buon Giorno for lunch. This Italian restaurant inside the Cliff House compound along the ridge is very popular and you need a reservation if you want good seats. Since we didn’t have any reservations, we had to go there before the lunch rush to get good seats outside. The drive down to was fast, and in four minutes, we were already at Picnic Grove. Another five minutes, and we were at the Cliff House. We were relieved to see that the parking lot wasn’t filled yet, but there was a photography club taking photos inside the property. We quickly made our way to Buon Giorno, and upon spying an empty table outside, I zoned in to the nearest server and asked if we can have that table. He asked us if we had reservations, and we told him we didn’t. He checked wit the host, and luckily the table was available, much to the consternation of the ladies who was five seconds too late as it was the last available table.

Tagaytay 2009 19
Too blue view of Taal Volcano

Lunch was filling and very good. We enjoyed the pastas and the pizza, as well as the refreshing fresh shakes. Tagaytay is one of the places where dining al fresco beats dining inside the air-conditioned area on a hot summer day. The view was spectacular, the air was fresh and the company was simply marvelous. After settling the bill, we stayed in the Cliff House, taking photos of our dolls among the plants in the central courtyard. Our driver picked us up at the carport. He was so concerned about the exorbitant parking rate (Php 100 per hour, but free if you have a validation ticket), so he just dropped us off and he went out again to get lunch outside. We turned left when we excited Cliff House, to go to Sonya’s Garden.

Tagaytay 2009 29
Sayuri at Sonya’s Garden

I’ve only heard of Sonya’s Garden from my sister, who has been going on and on about it since 2004. This is my first time to go there, and I’m happy to finally be able to see it. Lunch at Sonya’s requires reservation, but you can go around the property if you’re buying something from the Panaderia and the Country shop. Sonya’s Garden is every gardener’s haven. I’m not one for gardening, but I appreciate the lovely shades of green and colorful flowers all around. There are plenty of shaded area and benches where you can sit and enjoy the peace and quiet. We stepped into the Panaderia, and our nostrils were welcomed with the pleasant smell of freshly baked bread. Rotch was under strict instructions to buy some cheese hopia, and all of us bought a pack to try it out. The Country shop sells several souvenir items, like organic soaps from Ilog Maria, re-usable shopping bags, jewelry and other trinkets, even fresh greens and veggies from Sonya’s own garden.

Tagaytay 2009 26
One of many nooks in Sonya’s Garden where you can sit and relax

From Sonya’s Garden, we drove back towards Tagaytay and stopped at Bag of Beans for coffee and pie. I’ve been a fan of Bag of Beans since I first went there last year, and I always make sure to drop by every time I’m in Tagaytay. Bag of Beans serve local Barako coffee, and other yummy drinks that go well with their savory meat pies and desserts. As we were getting a table, we met Tita Batch, Bag of Bean’s new manager. She’s such a cheery character, and she personally attends to the guests in the garden cafe. She was so thrilled to see us with our dolls, and she even sat with us to play with them. As we were leaving, she walked us to the deli, where we picked up some fresh raisin bread and frozen steak and mushroom pies.

Tagaytay 2009 44
Something not-so-sweet: Blueberry cheesecake and Frozen chocolate at the Bag of Beans

The vehicle rental was for twelve hours. Taking the traffic back to Makati in account, we had to leave Tagaytay before six in the evening. Our last stop was Rowena’s, upon Camille‘s recommendation. Rowena’s is located along the highway that comes from Sta. Rosa. It’s hard to miss it, as the building is painted a bright pink. Rowena’s is a one-stop souvenir shop in Tagaytay. Aside from buko tarts and pies, they also have cheese tarts, which are mini cheese cakes, chocolate mousse tarts, sylvanas, lemon bars and brownies. They also have a large selection of dried seafood, as well as other native delicacies — barquillos, shing-a-ling, banana chips, and even crispy pili nuts. Aside from the store, they have a small cafe where you can sample the pies that they sell, and eat it in the air-conditioned area or out in the garden.

Tagaytay 2009 36
The Pinky Street contingent. Pay no heed to David.

After sampling the tarts in the garden (that didn’t sound right), we went back inside the store and paid for our souvenirs. The ride down from Tagaytay was as uh, painless as our ride up. Traffic was light to moderate. Traffic in the SLEX was pretty good, as the parts that was closed several months ago are now open. There are areas where traffic build up, but we made it to Makati with time to spare before our rental reached 12 hours. All in all, it was a great day spent with friends. We were able to visit all the places we wanted to go to, without having to rush on each stop (except when we had to go to Buon Giorno).

Tagaytay 2009 54
Rowena’s garden

Here’s a breakdown of our expenses for this road trip, so you have an idea how much you need to set aside for your own Tagaytay day trip. Bear in mind that is a very very generous amount. I went all out and bought a bunch of food stuff for my family.

RELATED:   I Pick Manila
Tagaytay Day Trip
Cost per Person
Transportation (divided by 5)
Van hire – Php 2,000 for 12 hours PHP 400.00
Diesel – Php 1,000 PHP 200.00
Toll fees – Php 156 PHP 31.20
Meals and food stuff
Buon Giorno (lunch) PHP 452.00
Sonya’s Garden (pastries) PHP 160.00
Bag of Beans (merienda) PHP 260.00
Bag of Beans (bread and meat pies) PHP 730.00
Rowena’s (tarts and sylvanas) PHP 630.00
Admission fees
People’s Park in the Sky PHP 15.00
Total PHP 2,878.20

Pizza and pasta at Buon Giorno costs between Php 200 and Php 300 each. Sonya’s Cheese Hopia costs Php 80 for a pack of 10. Meat pies at Bag of Beans costs around Php 100 each while drinks vary from Php 90 to Php 130. A box of buko tarts (9 pcs) and cheese tarts (6 pieces) costs Php 160 each.

Great hotel deals in Tagaytay via Agoda

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 41 Comments
  1. nikita says:

    Hey, where did you rent the van at? Am curious as my mom wants to know of some reputable drivers next time she goes to the Philippines and needs a driver. She definitely wants to go back to Tagatay for a day visit.

  2. ajay says:

    Van cost is reasonable. Does it have aircon and did it come with the driver?

    One thing for sure, you’re going to Tagaytay more than me now, hehehe

  3. @nina: that was easily one of the most fun daytrips i’ve ever had in my entire life XD btw, should i start asking the other girls about a weekday overnight trip to SONYA’S GARDEN B&B? :D let’s make plans! <3

    @ nikita: the number for the SUV rentals came from a friend who knew and used the service personally. i can pass the number on to you when you’re in town :)

    @ajay: yes, it came with AC (i doubt anyone in their right mind would hire a van without :D) and a chauffeur.

  4. dyanie says:

    I’ve been to tagaytay many times but i haven’t been to sonya’s garden! haha!

  5. nina says:

    Nikita: It was magnetic-rose that arranged for our transport. If you need the contact number, we can pass it on to you via e-mail :D

    Ajay: Haha, onga eh, napapadalas na ko sa Tagaytay! And I can’t wait to go back again!

    Rotch: Yes please! Kaso kung puede, siguro July na, at ahahaha, kailangan na talaga mag ipon for June ^_^;

    Dyanie: Ako rin! First time ko rin lang talaga last Saturday. Medyo malayo kasi siya eh, but worth the drive! And wala namang traffic so okay lang :D

    • David Pok says:

      we are 5 adults and 1 baby (2 year olds) plan to visit Tagaytay on early July, can you place recommend your reputable van driver to us. Thanks in advance…..

  6. bchai says:

    Wow, I’ve definitely got to put Tagaytay on my list of “places to see before I die.” Prices aren’t too bad either and the view is gorgeous. I can’t believe this place isn’t swarming with tourists.

    …and I would be happy sampling delicacies from EVERY food stand and restaurant.

    Like, twice. ;)

  7. nina says:

    Bchai: It’s actually a popular weekend getaway for those who want to escape the heat and pollution in the city. I just managed to take shots without many people in the background ;)

    And yes, you have to go to Tagaytay when you come to the Philippines!

  8. nikita says:

    Nina: Yes, could you email it to me? That would be lovely! That way, my mom will have it on hand when she goes for another visit. She never knows what van service to use that is reputable. Thank you!

  9. kristine says:

    hi, my name is kristine. :-) i just came across this blog through google since i was looking for an affordable and trustworthy vehicle rentals… i am based in quezon city and i am getting married in july at tagaytay city. :-) so.. the bottleneck i have now is the transportation…

    the deal you mentioned for 2k a day is amazingly good… may i please ask for the contact details if it is available for rent..? :-) thank you so much…

  10. No_limits34 says:

    I could sit on the metaphorical sunny and sandy beach all day and bask in having an entire island all to myself. ,

  11. aravis says:

    I’m also interested in the contact details of the van and driver. If you would please email it to me, I’d be grateful.

  12. leah says:

    hi! i have been looking for contact numbers of buon giorno. the ones posted in other sites are no longer available. i was wondering if you know their number. i would be really grateful if you could email it to me

  13. Chin says:

    Hi, I’m from Malaysia. Will visit to Manila soon. One of our stop by place is Tagaytay. Could you please provide me the contact of the Van driver? Thanks a lot.
    Hope to hearf rom you soon.

  14. Victor says:

    I have been planning to do a tagaytay day trip for the longest time, your blog has just decided things for me, tagaytay is very nice! Can I also get the number of the van rental services? The driver also seems mindful of the time and expenditure which is nice for budget conscious travellers!

  15. Geoffrey says:

    Hi there, came across your site through google while planning a trip to tagaytay, may i ask for the contact number of the van you rented? thank you very much :)

  16. Euki says:

    Hi, I got curious with the van that you hired, could I ask for the contact number? Thanks in advance.

  17. Grace says:

    Hello,im really a fan of your posts :) My family and i are planning to go to tagaytay this September. Can i ask for the contact details of the van you rented? Really appreciate it :)

  18. JepoY says:

    Hi, just read all the blogs of this topic and it really excites me this coming weekend for a day getaway from headache! hehe.. its really nice having these kind of sharing to other people so we can be informed for what affordable and relaxing way to spend with our love ones… agree?? apir!! hehehe…

    thanks for this site.. :)

    btw, suggestion. can you please add a vicinity map of all the places been mentioned here, for easier understanding and locating the target place… :)

    thanks a lot..

  19. Ems says:

    Hi, came across your site while surfing for stuff to do in tagaytay. planning a weekend getaway with my family. may i ask for the contact number of the van you rented? thanks

  20. Dexter says:

    You can see the map of tagaytay hotspots here…


  21. don says:

    Hi, I guess i’m one of the people who wanted to know the contact details of the van you hired. Could you send it to my email too. I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

  22. Lucille says:


    Thanks for your blog, I especially appreciated the list of expenses since it helps me plan my budget for a trip to Tagaytay. I was thinking of going on Monday, would you be able to give me the name and phone number of the van you had reserved for 12 hours? Thanks so much.


  23. PJ says:

    can i please have the contact number of your van rental? Thanks and i hope to hear from you soon! :D

  24. Navraj says:

    Hi, came across your site through google while planning a trip to tagaytay, may i ask for the contact number of the van you rented? thank you very much

  25. Emman says:

    Can I have the contact info of the VAN HIRE. Thanks! :)

  26. Joyce Lopez says:

    nice detailed info of your trip. may I have the contact number of the van rental? thanks in advance

    • nina says:

      Hi Joyce,

      Our driver is Amang and his mobile number is 0917-8827719. That’s his number from back in 2009 pa, not sure if he’s still using it since we haven’t contacted him since then.

  27. Corrina says:

    hi! could u send me the name and contact number of the van. sounds a good deal! corrinalarra86@yahoo.com.ty!

  28. dan mauricio says:

    Been reading all comments,my name is Dan.I’m doing van service too.I can offer tagaytay for 2.5k PER DAY.fuel,toll fees,parking not included.if interested,you can reach me thru 0933 913 1217,0928 258 9471.my passion is travelling and would love to share info to all.

    Thank you

  29. Wow, these are the top 3 restaurants that I would want to try at Tagaytay.
    I would really love to eat at Buon Giorno :) those shakes looks so deliciously colorful and cool. When budget permits, hopefully. In the meantime, I tried those blueberry cheesecakes too in Bag of Beans. Yummy adventure!


  30. My sister held her wedding in Tagaytay last month and the place was really beautiful!

  31. You may visit Tagaytay using Private van for hire, Advantages? Visit places as many as you can for one day.

  32. URVY says:

    VANFORHIREMANILA.COM | Van for hire in Manila Philippines | Tel #: 215.3398 | 0922.834.4173 | 0917.624.1707 | http://www.vanforhiremanila.com | Vans for rent in Taguig, Las pinas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, Paranaque, Marikina, Navotas, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Malabon, San Juan, Quezon City | Van rentals | Rent a van | http://www.vanforhiremanila.com

    WEBSITE: http://www.vanforhiremanila.com/
    Email: urvy.vanrental@gmail.com
    Tel #: 215-3398
    Mobile: 0922-834-4173 (SUN) / 0917-624-1707 (GLOBE)

    TO INQUIRE: ( Pls send us complete info)
    Inquiry: Rent a van
    Name: John Doe Alvarez
    Pick up point: Market! Market! BGC, Taguig City
    Number of passengers: 12 pax

  33. Best place for getaways with family or friends. I really love Tagaytay! :)


  34. […] never set foot in Tagaytay. That changed in February 2008, and I found myself going back several times since. When Robinson’s Land gave me a complimentary stay at Summit Ridge, their hotel in […]

  35. Shiela says:

    Hello, pwede po ba mahingi yung contact nung sa Van na ni-rent nyo? Thank you.

  36. Nina Fuentes says:

    Hi Shiela, you can contact Kuya Amang at 0917-8827719. I can’t verify if that’s still working though, as it’s been years since we last hired him.

  37. eunice says:

    We’ve been to tagaytay like many times but I never thought there’s still places we haven’t visited. Btw your site is not just an ordinary travel blog I like it :) May I borrow 1 minute of your time? Thanks xx https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Tl7oMPVGND1DgLuvII6XUAgMLSA6yHT7A_tuqFeHxus

  38. Beth says:

    If you’re looking for a place to stay in Tagaytay, just inquire here:

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