That’s how I’d describe the exclusive enclave of Tagaytay Highlands Golf and Country Club. It’s a for-members-only paradise disguised as a golf and country club. But thanks to Henry Sy, Sr.’s major investment in the venture, his executives get to sample the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Tagaytay Highlands is easily accessible via the Sta. Rosa exit of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Once you get to the top of the main highway overlooking Taal Lake, turn left towards Picnic Grove. You will pass Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), part of which has been converted into a Bed & Breakfast inn. I suggest you drop by Maryridge Good Shepherd Convent, just after DAP, on the right side of the road. There’s a sign telling you what you’ll buy: Ube Jam. Besides the super-hit ube jam, sample their halo-halo, lumpiang ubod, and chicken empanada. Don’t forget to take home Tawilis sardines, atchara (papaya and veggie varieties), and the to-die-for sweet-and-spicy dulong!
Now, off to Tagaytay Highlands, which is about 3 minutes away from the Good Shepherd Convent.
My good ole-buddy Tito and his gracious wife Mina were our hosts. They made sure we toured the place, sampled the delicious and affordable food, and relaxed in the club’s jacuzzi and pool.
As guests, we first went to the administration office to fill out a form and get our day pass. There’s a consumable amount of PhP1,800 plus a one-time entrance fee of PhP200 for the whole party. The office is located at the main club where the main dining area is also situated. I believe this is where the golf tee-off is also located.
By car, we went to the where the cable cars were. This is where the fishing area and pool facilities are also located. We first rode the cable cars which could accomodate four adults and one child for each car, which comes in threes. The cable car will take you across the the hill where below is a forrested ravine dotted with banana trees that seem to be untouched. The cable ride ends at the main building where the administration office is. Take some pictures. Frameables are: the view of the golf course, the mountain ranges, exclusive cottages and of course — the Taal Lake and it’s little active volcano.
After a lot of picture-taking, we headed back to the pool area via the cable cars.
You will need to sign-in and get your own lockers. Since the male and female locker reception areas are connected, you can just register in either and get your towels, soap and shampoo. Each person will be charged about PhP250 for use of the pool, jacuzzi and its facilities. Food can be ordered at the pool area where a cool covered space serves as dining-ala-cabana area. There’s always a waiter to serve you in the pool area, so go ahead and indulge. The kids enjoyed the food and the cool water in the pool where a man-made waterfall fit perfectly into the scenery. As for me and my buddy Tito, we squeezed in a 30-minute meeting in the pool area while our wives chit-chatted and the kids explored the place.
Going on a weekend, especially on a Sunday, means going home at about 5:00 p.m. to catch the 5:30 p.m. mass at the Catholic church near Picnic Grove. Tito’s family saw this as more convenient than hurrying home to Las Pinas City and catch the late night mass. As for Sweetie and I, since we already heared mass on Saturday evening, we took time to but fresh flowers along the road towards Sta. Rosa. It’s been relocated from along the main Tagaytay highway to the place where there’s a long billboard at the corner of the Silang-Sta. Rosa highway. Oh, and we bought three dozens of pink Carnations for only PhP350. In Manila, that would have cost PhP450!
Places to stop-over for snacks and quick-buys would be the fruit stands along the road (towards Sta. Rosa), Rowena’s for buko (coconut) and mango pies, mango and ube tarts, and those yummy cream pies, and Mr. Moo for cow, carabao and goat milk products and cheeses.
We usually make a stop-over at Nuvali’s Solenad place for dinner at either Pig-Out, Yellow Cab Pizza, David’s Tea House, or Brother’s Burger. In our many trips to Tagaytay. Have coffee after at — where else? Starbucks.
Back on SLEX, it was a fast and easy ride. You can have a quick- stop for gas or rest at a Shell or Caltex station, where in many of our Tagaytay trips, we’d dine at either Pancake House or Jollibee (at Shell) or KFC (at Caltex).
Exiting Filinvest, it is unusually traffic so we instead take the main Alabang exit where the snag is usually below the flyover where vehicle and pedestrian traffic converge near the wet market.
Nearing our home, the kids are still snoozing and probably dreaming about our day trip to the exclusive paradise enclave that is Tagaytay Highlands.