I have been to Tagaytay for few times already but has only seen Taal volcano from afar. I always thought that the volcano showing on the background of my pictures taken from the Picnic grove was really the volcano’s crater. Surprisingly, it’s not! The one visible from the grove was an inactive volcano. Taal volcano is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines and is located in Talisay and San Nicolas Batangas.
If you are traveling from Manila using public transportation, the fastest way to reach Tagaytay is by riding a van which terminal is located at Starmall in Shaw Boulevard. The vans normally park just in front of Chowking food chain. It can take 1 to 2 hours travel time, depending on how light or severe the traffic is. On a Saturday, we left Manila at 7:15 AM and reached Tagaytay before 9:00 AM. The fare for the van ride per passenger was P180 and we got off at Olivarez. Riding a bus is cheaper but takes longer to reach Tagaytay.
We had a stop at a restaurant in front of the Picnic grove to eat our lunch. We ordered Beef bulalo as it is the most famous specialty in Tagaytay. We also added a plate of mixed sea foods. The price for each order was P450, good for 3 persons. Not bad.
We rode a tricycle from Picnic grove to Talisay Batangas for P60 per head. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the lake side where we had to register and pay for P1500 for the boat. The boat is considerably big and can accommodate 7 to 8 passengers. The lake appeared so calm but we still had to put our life vests on. No one among us know how to swim. Also, we never expected that the boat ride will be filled with screaming and fun! It was splashy and nobody was ready to get wet with the lake water. Good thing, the boat driver offered us a plastic cover to keep us dry.
Once you get off the boat, the boat driver will guide you to the registration booth/house. Entrance fee is P100 per head. Trekking could take 45 minutes or less but still depending on how fast or slow you walk. It is always exciting and fun! A piece of advise, be ready with anything that will shield you from the heat of the sun and an extra shirt. Riding a horse could take up to 25 minutes each way. If you choose to ride a horse, you’ll pay P500. There is also a guide fee of P500 whether you are just travelling alone or with a group. Hiring a guide is mandatory. Once you reached the summit, there are Nipa houses that can be used for resting and a store that sells fresh young coconut (Buko) juice for P100 each. You can freshen up a bit just right before you go up the platform where you will have the full view of the Taal Volcano crater. It’s a breathtaking view!
On our way back to Tagaytay, we rode a tricycle and requested the driver to drop us off at the Pink sisters’ church. It is a famous church where the nuns are wearing pink habits and white veils. The church is surrounded with pine trees and the ambiance promotes serenity. If you are a Catholic Christian, you can enter the church to pray or even write your petition. Some says, prayers from first time visitors do come true, but of course it comes with faith.
You may also have side trips to Picnic grove where you can try zip line. Also, Palace in the Sky is just a few kilometers away from picnic grove. The view from the Palace is just stunningly beautiful as you will have a view of Tagaytay City from it. There are shops where you can buy some souvenirs for friends and family. Along the way, there are fruits & vegetables’ stalls and restaurants where you can stop over to buy or eat their best sellers.