IMAGE The Gingerbread House and Preziosa Botanic Park via Facebook
With a lot of families flocking to Tagaytay on most weekends, the neighborhood sure has become a lot more crowded than we remembered when we were kids. That's part of the reason why Tagaytay continues to be such choice destination for many families: It's very accessible to folks in Metro Manila, as well from nearby Batangas, Laguna, and lowlands Cavite. The cool uplands weather is also refreshing, and the air is still a lot cleaner (at least compared to most parts of the big city).
While there's a good chance you've already taken your kids to the usual Tagaytay destinations, here are some attractions you may have not spotted yet. (Note that these places can be found on Waze or Google Maps, so you can easily find them when you're in town.
Le Don's Garden Taking a farm-to-table approach, the Asuncion family runs Le Don's Garden, an organic farm just outside Tagaytay City. They grow their veggies in their 400-square-meter lot, many of which are served at the garden cafe, or sold to guests.
Le Don's regularly holds workshops. While most are on organic farming (e.g., Organic Mushroom Production, Soap Making, Indoor Herbs Gardening, etc.), they do have kid-friendly sessions such as toy-making (using recycled materials), art demos, and healthy home cooking lessons which you may want to attend as a family.
Museo Orlina Take the young ones to Museo Orlina, where they can immerse themselves in art and culture. Internationally-acclaimed glass sculpture artist Ramon Orlina has set up shop in Tagaytay with a museum showcasing his various works, as well as other magnificent pieces. General admission is Php100/head and Php80/head for students and senior citizens.
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The museum has some art galleries within its halls, as well as a sculpture garden, and an amphitheater for events. Address: Hollywood Subdivision Rd., Brgy. Tolentino East, Hollywood Subd., Tagaytay City Call +632 781-5918 / +632 781-9471 / +63 917-5315108
The kids are going to enjoy learning all about growing their food at Preziosa Botanic Park. There's an impressive variety of fruits and vegetables all around the fairgrounds, which you can harvest yourselves and bring home.
They also have dish gardening workshops, so you can learn how to create your pieces using ornamental flowers and indoor herbs. Kids can feed the farm animals as well, under the supervision of the Preziosa staff, who are also ready to take on questions from the little ones. Address: Barangay Sulsugin, Alfonso, Cavite Call +632 722-0019 / +63 927-5609808
Gratchi's Getaway While it is well known for its extensive team-building facilities, the entrance fee (Php999) lets you go on their farm tour, do some swimming, and hit the obstacle courses with the kids. It also comes with morning and afternoon snacks as well as lunch.
More activities are also available, but with additional fees: going fishing, braving the zip line, and taking ATV ride on the grounds. Address: Barangay Cabangaan, Silang, Cavite, Philippines Call +632 664-1633 / +63 920-9565673 / +63 922-8910963 / +63 917-7265484
Puzzle Mansion Check out the world's largest jigsaw puzzle collection! You can even pick up a few jigsaw puzzles for you to put together with your kids when you get back home. Address: Cuadra Street, Brgy. Asasin, Tagaytay, Cavite Call +632 661-0019
The Gingerbread House Drawing inspiration from the classic fairy tale, you can now show your kids that, yes, a house full of sweets exists in real life! Address: Brgy Palumlum, Alfonso, Cavite Call +63 917630-3124
Reptiland Adventure It has animatronic reptiles on display, as well as a mini-zoo, a fossil museum, and a playhouse for the kids. Entrance fee is Php250/head Address: Brgy. Palumlum Alfonso, Tagaytay (near Splendido) Call Smart: +63 908-8669724 / +63 925 825-8257 / +63 927-9525206
Here are a few things to keep in mind for a more pleasurable family getaway in Tagaytay: 1. Set your Tagaytay trip on a weekday, like Wednesday or Thursday, if you can. As if you didn't already know, Tagaytay can be crazy packed on weekends and holidays. Having your family getaway on a weekday allows you to move around better, so you can do more together, and really enjoy what the neighborhood has to offer. 2. Avoid the busiest parts of Tagaytay, if you absolutely have to go on a weekend or a holiday. Instead of taking Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Road, try this alternate route: Carmona exit from SLEX, then the GMA-Silang Road, then out to the Silang portion of Aguinaldo highway. From there, depending on where you need to go, you can turn right at TCI road (which takes you towards Magallanes Road, to Nurture Wellness Village, or out to Crisanto de los Reyes Avenue), or left at the SVD Road (which takes you towards Discovery Country Suites, and the Tagaytay end of the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Road).
3. Plan ahead. Check the weather and dress appropriately. It's already summer, and yet Tagaytay still has some pretty cold nights. You may want to pack a light sweater, or even some extra clothes for the kids for when they run around and play all day.
4. Don't be afraid to explore. There are a lot of other establishments out here in Tagaytay, with new businesses setting up shop each year. There's a good chance you'll actually see an interesting new hotel, restaurant, cafe, or resort in the course of your travels around the neighborhood, particularly so in the towns surrounding Tagaytay City (i.e., Silang, Amadeo, Mendez, Indang, and Alfonso). So go right ahead and check them out!
5. Fun family project idea: Have the kids take photos! The neighborhood of Tagaytay has a lot of Instagram-worthy spots. Compile all your shots and get the little ones involved in creating an online album (or even a website) of your Tagaytay family vacation.
Renzie Baluyut creates and manages websites, does digital marketing, and runs a boutique cake shop from his home office in Amadeo, Cavite. By day, he and his wife are in the business of weddings, events, and real estate. By night, they spend as much time as they can with their infant son, singing classic Sesame Street songs, and going through a collection of Dr. Seuss books.