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Posts Tagged ‘Tagaytay’

Question: What is an island on a lake in an island on a lake  in an island on an ocean?

Answer: Taal Volcano

 

 

Taal Volcano up close

 

Taal Yacht Club in Talisay, Batangas

Getting near Volcano Island

That’s how our tour guide slash bangkero described Taal Volcano as the motorized boat leaves the Taal Yacht Club in Talisay, Batangas. We reached the Volcano Island in minutes and from the boat, we saw the Tagaytay Ridge. “For a change we’re viewing Tagaytay from Taal,” I told my officemates, smiling as our other colleagues took a photo of us from another boat. “I hope this volcano doesn’t act up while we’re here or we’ll swim for our lives.” 😀

the welcome party at the foot of the volcano

so near yet so far

no pets allowed in our hike

Taal Volcano, said some online sources, now seems a small volcano but it used to be one of the world’s largest, towering 18,000 feet into the sky. Small as it may seem, the hike to its crater rim wasn’t very easy, but it was enjoyable. We chose to do the walking trail instead of riding horses, which we felt would take away the fun in the experience. We were so right. The hike took about an hour and we stopped several times to either take photos or simply enjoy the view.

enjoying the view after a long hike

taking it all in

The view from the rim was breathtaking (after all that walking? why not! Haha) as much as it was calming. Not content with the the view, we decided to hike down to the crater lake and yes, we swam in its sulfuric glory. Haha. 🙂 It was good for the skin, the tour guide said, but it was bad for the clothes. Haha! I didn’t mind it—the experience of swimming in a volcano’s crater lake made it all worth it. I just wished I could kayak my way around it, like I did in Coron, Palawan.

rushing to swim in the lake

the island on a lake in an island...

Our stomachs were our guide to stop swimming and take the hike back up to the crater rim and then down to the foot of the volcano. The boat ride back to Taal Yacht Club was like a roller coaster ride, no thanks to the nasty waves that made my officemates repent for their sins on the spot and prayed to all the saints they know 🙂

I got quite scared alright but I chose to enjoy the moment while it lasted: I sat near the front end of the boat, talking all the face-slapping from the waves, occasionally closing my eyes as I listened to the mad waters, as if asking for more, telling myself that no amount of exhaustion or worry or fear should take away the fun in this nature adventure.  And boy did I enjoy it.

Taal Volcano crater lake

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One of the best things about Easter is getting your license back to pig out. Read aloud with me: pig out. In the truest sense of this slang term it means you can eat all you can now, pork included. But I want to be moronic about this by being literal and technical with the term and mean it to say: eating all you can without the pork—all in, pig out. 😛

Okay, that wasn’t really funny, was it? Haha! But you have to agree with me that you can pig out without the pig, and there are three options for you this Easter.

"granfather's old house" feel in Verbena

"granfather's old house" feel in Verbena

Restaurant Verbena at Country Suites Discovery Tagaytay (300 Calamba Road, San Jose, Tagaytay City/tel. no. 413-4567). This 80-seater restaurant serves fresh country cuisine created by executive chef  David Pardo de Ayala from Columbia, who is also the corporate chef for Discovery Suites in Ortigas, Pasig City. The place has a “granfather’s house” ambiance to it, which means you can feel at home.

Drop the appetizer and proceed to taste its Sweet Corn Veloute soup with seared foie gras. It’s the right starter for their generous serving of Grilled U.S. Angus Rib Eye Steak.  Finish your meal with Moist Orange and Chocolate Cake, which you can enjoy with a scoop of Haagen-Dazs ice cream or with Raspberry Coulis and Whipped Cream, which I chose—and enjoyed.

simple and smooth

simple and smooth: Sweet Corn Veloute soup

two for two: angus rib eye steak

two for two: angus rib eye steak

sinful delight: moist orange and chocolate cake

sinful delight: moist orange and chocolate cake

If you want to be organic with your meal you can drive up to the popular Sonya’s Garden (Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite/ mobile no. 09175329097 or 09175335140).  

going 'green' in Sonya's Garden

no aircon needed in Sonya's Garden

going organic green

going organic green

Start your meal with its Green Salad, which is freshly harvested from (where else?) Sonya’s organic garden. Interesting about this salad is the inclusion of edible red rose petals.

create your own salad

create your own salad

have it all

have it all

create your own pasta

create your own pasta

have it all again

have it all again

The pasta comes with generous servings of two sauces: sun dried tomato and chicken cream with mango. You can also choose the toppings from black olives to salmon belly. For dessert, try their Glazed Sweet Potato or their Banana Rolls with sesame and jackfruit, which I liked so much.

kamote never tasted this good

potato never tasted this good

turon with a twist

turon with a twist

If you feel a little adventurous with your meal, drive up north to San Fernando, Pampanga and head directly to Everybody’s Cafe (Mac Arthur Highway, San Fernando/ tel. no 045-8601121 or 045-9617121). It’s a carinderia-style restaurant for authentic Kapampangan cuisine, including  ‘exotic’ dishes such as adobong tugak (yup, frog adobo) and camaro (yup, mole crickets), which I’m starting to miss.

everyone's welcome in everybody's cafe

everyone's welcome in everybody's cafe

Carinderia-style with a lot of character

Carinderia-style with a lot of character

frog that tastes like chicken

frog that tastes like chicken

goodbye, Jiminy Cricket

goodbye, Jiminy Cricket

After a heavy meal, head to Susie’s Cuisine (045-8612480 or 9639302), which is also along Mac Arthur Highway not far from Everybody’s Cafe.

kakanin galore at Susie's

kakanin galore at Susie's

more than just kakanin at Susie's

more than just kakanin at Susie's

Must-try in Susie’s Cuisine is her tibok-tibok or sweet carabao milk pudding, the Kapampangan’s version of maja blanca. Between the two, I love tibok-tibok more because it does melt in your mouth. Yummy!

tibok-tibok: move over maja blanca

tibok-tibok: move over maja blanca

Cap your food trip in San Fernando with Kabigting’s Halo-Halo the pride of Arayat, Pampanga. It might sound a strange suggestion, specially because when we talk of Pampanga halo-halo, the top-of-mind is Razon’s. But we can try Razon’s almost everywhere now, including one at Metrowalk in Ortigas. Indeed, Kabigting’s is the new choice for halo-halo in Pampanga.

Kabigting's halo-halo: less if more

Kabigting's halo-halo: less is more

Kabigting’s Halo-Halo is my kind of treat because it satisfies the sweet tooth in me without the overwhelming taste from an overwhelming number of ingredients typical of a halo-halo. Kabigting’s Halo-Halo only has milk, corn, beans, and homemade pastillas de leche. Interesting mix, isn’t it? Head to the food court of Robinsons Starmills in San Fernando for a serving (the only other branch is in Arayat, Pampanga, near the Arayat Church).

so good even nuns love it!

so good even nuns love it!

Hungry now? Go and feast over good food this Easter. You earned your license back to eat. 🙂

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