"Next time we see those, can you please stop the car so I could take a picture" I said to Monnette as we make a pass at those colorful miniature windmills by the side of the road. We're in Tagaytay already and the sky can never get bluer than what is above us that day. If the air has a texture it would be two notch smoother than the air from where we came from. I've never spent a night at Tagaytay before, just a handful of daytrips and nary of a chance to wake and feel its morning dew on my feet. This time though, an invite to stay at Taal Vista Hotel will mark that first time.
|Welcoming guests since 1939|
The excitement made us forgot to stop as we passed by another set of miniature windmills. It was too late to motion to her so I just turned my neck and watched it spin non-stop until it disappeared from my sight. A few minutes later we rolled up inside Taal Vista Hotel. We were instantly greeted by the affable front desk staff, as we try to meet Celine, the Area Marketing Manager who invited me for its Culinary Gems: A Festival of Filipino Flavors event. It didn't take long before we saw her and after a brief introduction she offered us to take us to our room. At that moment, I would be especially pleased to sleep inside a tent pitched at the hill overlooking the scenic Taal Lake. However, that wasn't the case.
|The Room with a View|
Imagine my amazement when we were ushered to our room at the Lake View wing, it was a Deluxe Queen room with a veranda that provides a front seat view of the Taal Volcano and its sweeping tranquil lake. After settling for a few minutes, the cycle of eat, sleep and relax would commence. A sumptuous buffet downstairs at the hotel's famed Cafe Veranda, where a slew of Pampanga dishes prepared by Chef Sau Del Rosario await us. During our lunch we also met Chef Sau personally and fellow travel blogger and magazine writer Matet who came with her daughter and mom.
|I can see a UFO hovering above the volcano|
After the dinner - of which the rich tasty details can be read here, Celine toured as around the whole property of Taal Vista and along the way, she pointed out some of its rich history, including the old front desk located at the Mountain wing. This year, the hotel is celebrating its 75th year since the Zamora's of Manila Hotel built a small lodge at this scenic flatland of greens perched strategically atop a hill surrounded with majestic views.
|during the dinner buffet.|
The relaxing part came at the hotel's Asmara spa, where Monnette fell asleep throughout her satisfying massage. I opted not to have one since I need to have my lower back medically examined first - since it's been harboring a bit of pain since I arrived from Sri Lanka two weeks prior. Everything you need seems to be right there already, there is a gym where guests can pump some irons, a kiddie playroom, a recreation room for a game of billiards, a swimming pool and a large park-like walkway where you can just sit on a bench, do some yoga, shadow kung-fu while visually absorbing the great view of the Taal Lake.
|From upper left to clockwise: Spa, Deluxe Queen, Deluxe King, Premier, Premier King|
The location can't get any better as Taal Vista Hotel sits just beside the Sky Ranch, where visitors can enjoy a series of entertaining rides such as the 'Sky Eye' - a smaller version of the Singapore Eye. Across the street is the Casino Filipino where high rollers can try their luck on the various active game tables or test their quick fingers at the slot machines games.
|the pool, Taal Vista entrance, the lounge, spa and the fireplace|
Before retiring on our room for the night, we took a short stroll to the Sky Ranch where I spurred Monnette to conquer her fear of heights by riding the aforementioned Sky Eye, which she did - with her eyes closed and hands firmly gripping the metal railings. Afterward we sat down at the bench under the stars and there it was, even at night time and with only a few blinking lights and only the moon's glow, Taal lake remains such a glee to watch from a distance.
The next day gave us another round of buffet breakfast to please our appetite and another one that feed our spirituality. One more thing about Taal Vista Hotel is that it also holds a mass every Sunday at one of its function rooms. With Monnette being a regular church-goer, it was a great opportunity to mix a weekend staycation without sacrificing her and my responsibility to attend mass.
While our stay here was complimentary, I wouldn't mind coming back again and paying for it, as its rich history can speak for itself. Taal Vista Hotel wouldn't become the premier place to stay in Tagaytay if it doesn't deserve such a distinction. Because everything is rightfully earned, it is safe to suggest that in its 75 year of operation, Taal Vista Hotel has grabbed all the right by the bull's horn.