My happy places at home: Refreshing Tagaytay

When I want to feel refreshed, I go to Tagaytay. Just a little over an hour drive from our home in Manila and you’re in a place that’s like no other – “an island (Vulcan Point) within a lake (Crater Lake), on an island (Volcano Island) within a lake (Taal Lake) on an island (Luzon Island) Yes, it’s really that and that is why it’s a place like no other!

It’s cool breeze and amazing view; it’s beautiful hotels and quaint cafes and the wide selection of dining places with real good food make it a perfect place for a staycation. If you want to be pampered, there’s also a lot of spas that offer wonderful massage and wellness services. You won’t run out of choices and there’s always a new place to check out every time. Thus, my kind of place for these reasons and more.

Exactly 2 years ago, I brought my childhood best friend, Marylene here. She was living in Cebu and it was a perfect time for a little get-away. It was a birthday gift I gave her and her sweet daughter Mekailah, who just turned 18.

We trekked to the main crater (it was the first time for all of us) and as we walked 45 minutes (one way) with our guide, stopping here and there for group photos, sweat flowed and the scorching heat of the sun would tempt anyone to take the easy way by riding a horse but we carried on on foot and when we started feeling the sulfur steam on our feet, we know we were near. The sight of the main crater is so captivating that my 15-year old daughter requested to do the same on her birthday along with her best friends.

As I write this, I am actually here in Tagaytay having a full view of the Taal Lake and Volcano because after being “quarantined” for almost 8 months due to the pandemic, I just need to feel refreshed and so as travel between cities is now permitted, the first place I thought of is Tagaytay! The other reason I wanted to be here at this time is to commemorate Marylene’s birthday. She passed away exactly a month ago and while I know she is in a better place now, I still feel the pain of losing my childhood best friend of 50 years and coming here on her birthday is like celebrating it again with her.

“Coming here on her birthday is like celebrating it again with her.”

Whenever I come to Tagaytay for a staycation, I always stay in hotels that have a view of one of the Philippines’ wonders, the Taal Volcano and the Taal Lake. Looking at such picturesque creation brings me to a place of serenity and gives me so much peace.

It’s so ironic because this little volcano is active and when it erupted on January 12 this year, it spewed ashes and covered several towns; destroying homes, livelihood to the point of making some areas uninhabitable and desolate.~

Thanks God it is quiet again for now and it is my prayer that it will stay like this for a very long time. Waking up to the amazing view of the Taal Lake restores my soul. I gave in to its invitation to do my usual quiet time followed by an hour of yoga and as I flex my muscles and do mindful breathing with nature at its finest in front of me, I know that I have achieved my purpose of coming here – to be refreshed!

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