Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tagaytay, Taal and unexpected side trips


Last Sunday, Bebeth and I brought Ruben to Tagaytay. She brought her van, fetched Ruben in Makati then passed for me in paranaque as I was nearest to the south expressway.

First stop was Starbucks at Petron station to get some hot drink for Ruben who has not yet taken breakfsast. I brought sandwiches, a large cooler filled with drinks and bottled water.

We reached Tagaytay shortly before 11am and I decided to visit the Little Souls convent I heard from a friend. She gave me a small bottle of holy oil dipped in a Sacred Crucifix which came from Belgium. I wanted to know more about this so since it was too early for lunch might was well visit. You can read more about this in my Pilgrim blog.

One thing though, I will surely return to this very peaceful place.

I researched new places in Tagaytay through the internet the evening before we left and I read much about the new place in town which is the Cliffhouse along the ridge quite near the rotonda. We asked a few people along the road but they don't seem to know this place.

The best landmark would be right after the huge Yellow cab sign. It is actually besides Leslie's a similar concept area filled with various restos such as Cafe Lupe and Starbucks.

I will show more photos of the Cliffhouse in a separate post. The most popular restaurant in this area from my internet research seemed to be the Italian resto Buon Giorno followed by FireLake Grill.

Although I was curious to try Buon giorno, I was not that keen on eating Itaian food that time, the same with bebeth and most specially our balikbayan guest. Besides, we noticed the place was really full so no chance for an immediate table.

The only place which has a good view of the lake besides the italian resto is Fire Lake so we opted to take lunch here.

Although it was cooler inside the restaurant, we decided to take the table outside for a better view.

The meal was great but very pricey. More details of our meals in another post.

We couldnt leave the area without having a photo against the
lakeview, what everyone goes to Tagaytay for.

Since I kept mentioning Our Lady of Caysasay, which apparently is in the next province, we all decided to trekk to Taal, Batangas. We asked the waiter for directions and he mentioned that it takes him around 45 mins to reach the place when he uses his motorcycle.

Ruben was also interested in going there as he stayed in an antique house right in front of the basilica.

This then was our first stop when we reached Taal, Batangas, the home of the Calanog family situated right in front of the Taal Basilica.

Ruben greets the matriarch of the family who was only too surprised to see him.

Almost everything in the house is a collectors item like these set of old pottery....

and of course my favorite Angels.

Bebeth was so surprised to see this very old turntable, the kind that you need to wind on the side for it to start.

more antiques....

A combination of old and new images of our Lady.

Time for goodbyes to go to our next destination....

The Taal Basilica or better known as the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours.

On the left altar, one can find the statue of St. Martin de Tours in whose name the Basilica was named after. Will write more about the sain in my Pilgrim's blog.

On the right altar, is enthroned Our Lady of Casaysay, whose devotion spanned hundreds of years. I expounded on the history of Our Lady in my Pilgrim Blog.

The image is very small unlike similar ones of our Lady. We went up the back altar to be able to kiss her mantle.

This was the poster which came out during the 400-yr jubilee celebration (2003) of Our Lady of Casaysay.

I bought a couple of stampitas and novenas after the visit.

Before leaving again for the next stop, bebeth had to have a shot beside the street name as this is her maiden name :)

Next stop as requested by Bebeth is the Taal Market. Here you see her buying the famous Tapa. According to the seller, the recipe was handed down from their great grandparents.

Here you see Ruben holding one of their famous 'sumans'. Bebeth bought one bagful which we all took for merienda. Very delicious! Highly recommended.
All i bought was charcoal and native vinegar. Charcoal cost 5 pesos per bag, in manila it's 15-20 pesos. The small bottle of vinegar was priced at only 6 pesos. Great huh!

Now you see Ruben standing behind a store selling native clothes and bags embroidered the Callado way where Taal is famous for.

Bebeth wanted to buy a 'calladoed' Pinya cloth.

As it was past 5pm, I tried to hurry the two since I really wanted to see the church of Our Lady of Caysasay. We had to ask around for some of them were not familiar with this. Some of them still direct us to the basilica.

We finally found it, a short distance actually from the Basilica. Its really the chilren vendors in the basilica area who were familiar with the church.

This is the inside of the church or chapel of Our Lady of Caysasay. Her image is found right at the center of the altar.

The full story of Our Lady including the miraculous spring found a few mins away from the chapel is discussed in my Pilgrim blog.

By the time we finished with the unexpected pilgrimage in Taal, it was already early evening and we decided to hurry back to manila since Ruben needed to catch the last mass.
Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous, hardly moving when we reached Tagaytay. When we reached the area of 'Antonio's', Bebeth suggested going down to take dinner instead of waiting inside the car for traffic to ease.

It was all our first time to try the very famous "Breakfast at Antonio's".

We actually took dinner outside but this photo was taken inside where we took dessert because bebeth was feeling cold. Yeah right, she felt cold despite the pashmina. Very unbelievable to hear when you experience the scorching heat of manila these days.

I have more photos and reviews of our dinner but it will be the subject of a separate post.