We drove 2 hours from Manila to experience the cool weather, great food and commune with nature...
by BratinelangKikay on July 28, 2011
Just when I thought I have tried Tagaytay's best and finest, someone whispered to me that perhaps not all since I haven't tried the best kesong puti.Kesong Puti (white cheese) is fresh, soft cheese and usually paired with hot pan de sal. It is made from fresh cow's milk, salt and a coagulant called rennet. The mere thought of kesong puti made me crave for its slightly salty, rich and creamy taste so I made sure we stop at Mr. Moo's Fresh Milk and Kesong Puti on our way back to Manila. The stall can be pretty easy to miss going down from Tagaytay to Sta. Rosa Exit, one must really keep an eye and spot the colorful signage. Try not to miss it, but be careful as well when negotiating to stop as the road is down hill and it's along the highway! Any cheese, no matter how delicious, is not worth your limbs. Mr. Moo's sells fresh milk, cheese, yogurt, and other milk by-products from cow, carabao (Philippine water buffalo) and goat. The milk are guaranteed fresh and hand-squeezed by farmers (now this made me chuckle, hehe). The sales lady said the animals are organically fed to ensure high quality and abundant production of milk.I only bought what I came for, my precious kesong puti, which the sales lady wrapped carefully and packed with tons of ice to retain its freshness (the milk didn't go through UHT) 'til we get to Manila. That's so nice and responsible of them to take that initiative even if customers didn't ask them to.I got all three variants. It's my first time to try kesong puti made of carabao's and goat's milk. Honestly, I had second thoughts if I'd buy the goat cheese but my mom said it's the healthiest of all milk and contains the least amount of fat compared to that of cow and carabao.My verdict? They were indeed the best - fresh, smooth and tasty. The cheese from carabao's milk has a slight bitter taste but it's creamier. The goat's milk is a bit bland at first bite but boasts a very smooth texture and leaves a cheesy yummy after-taste. I was lucky curiosity got the better of me and I bought goat's kesong puti. Kesong Puti prices:Cow (150g) - Php79 Carabao (200g) - Php89Goat (150g) - Php135
by BratinelangKikay on June 7, 2011
If you're planning a weekend in Tagaytay and want a homey accommodation instead of the usual hotel experience, then Canyon Woods is the place to go.Canyon Woods is the pioneer of the residential hotel-resort concept in Tagaytay. Its amenities are exclusive for property owners and club members, but if you to know someone who can extend his privileges to you, then you're one lucky dude!Having said that the facilities are exclusive, I also meant to imply that they are impressive and in great condition. They better be since a club share is worth almost half a million pesos.We were booked in 2 Casitas; each room is good for 2 to 4 people and is quite spacious (the accommodation privilege is actually a gift of my pretty aunt). Although obviously had not had any refurbishment in the recent years, rooms are in good condition and the furniture and fixtures are well appointed.Breakfast is not included in the room but no need to worry as they serve breakfast buffet style at The Clubhouse for Php350 per head (that's the guest rate, for members it's only Php250 each). The food is so-so, the usual Pinoy fare of tocino, longganisa, tapa, eggs plus a few more. Not bad but could be improved.When you're in Canyon Woods, there is hardly any reason to go out anymore. The resort offers plenty of outdoor activities for families or group of friends to enjoy. For the Kris Aquino type of people who hates the sun, a spa and gym awaits you at The Clubhouse. Just be patient when booking for a massage on the weekend as waiting time can be from 2 to 3 hours.Both Little Sister and my daughter want to try boating so despite my hesitation, I allowed her to go with them (after getting the assurance that Eugene, a Marine, definitely knows how to swim). We paid Php150 for an hour's use of the pedal boat and insisted for my daughter to wear a life jacket.While waiting for them, I learned from the staff that the 'lake' is only about 4 ft deep. Actually, what worries me is not the depth of the water, it's the algae and moss that have accumulated that surely could harm anyone, even an adult, if ingested. Anyway, they were tired after pedalling for an hour and I was relieved they didn't want a time extension.The whole residential resort instantly gave me an ambiance of Baguio, and in the morning I actually felt like I was in Australia. Pines trees, paved roads, log-type cabins, country style houses and the cool Tagaytay weather all contributed to the luxurious ambiance of the resort. I love the feeling of being there.
by BratinelangKikay on May 24, 2011
When I asked The Hubby to drive us to Tagaytay, approximately 2 hours from Manila, after our visit to the pedia, he snorted, "What are we going to do there?". And I understand his hesitation. We've been there more frequent that we've been to Luneta and have explored its every nooks and turns. Despite The Hubby's reluctance, we went to Picnic Grove with no particular plan but just to take the kids to a weekend date. We've been there a couple of times and we know already what to expect - horseback riding, the zip line adventure (that we didn't try) and the view of Taal Volcano. We reckon just the breathe of fresh air is worth the trip already.That's what we thought until we spotted this huge area where families are enjoying the day flying kites. The scene of kids and adults maneuvering their make-believe planes enticed us to buy our kite and try it too.Who wouldn't be seduced by this beautiful backdrop? Taal Volcano, the world's smallest, has been photographed thousands of times and yet every picture seems to speak a different story each time.I bet most of the families who were at the park that day didn't plan to fly kites too. I could tell by the similarities of the kites we were all flying which were all from the same vendor. Same designs, different sizes. But who cares, everyone was having fun, tons of it in fact.There was only 1 vendor at the 'flying field', and despite having no competition, his kites were affordable. The smallest one sells for Php100, the medium at Php150 and largest at Php200.We took only the smallest, which is just the right size for my daughter (and for me). The vendor was kind enough to launch our kite and handed it to us when it's already up, up, and away!Here's putting the soft breeze of Tagaytay into good use. Like birds, kites of all shapes and sizes soar up in the sky. They seem to dance against the wind and I could feel the tension of the string as our kite is swept up even more.After fighting with the wind for a good five minutes, our line broke and we watched our kite slowly descend until it landed in a nearby bushy area. Good thing we were able to retrieve it otherwise I'd have to shell out another hundred bucks for its replacement.Actually our string got tangled with another flyer's - a tandem of father and son who both doesn't know how to fly too. The dad has a cast on his leg but that didn't stop him from taking the activity with his son. Maybe he really likes kites too.But for my little boy, he didn't seem to notice what flies above. He was focused more on what's down below and had a grand time exploring the field, practicing his walking skills (or should I say running?).If you think you've ran out of activities to do or reasons to drive up to Tagaytay, then flying kites at Picnic Grove may change your mind. It's an inexpensive way to enjoy the day and a great form of bonding for the family.Entrance fee at Picnic Grove is Php50 per adult and children above 4 years old. Vehicles are also charged a minimum of Php35 (depending on the size) for parking.
by BratinelangKikay on May 27, 2011
Bag of Beans, an apt name for a coffee shop although it's amazingly more than just about coffee, is without questions one of the most popular in Tagaytay in the dining category. What looked like a small take out counter along Aguinaldo Highway is a huge dining getaway. It reminds me so much of Sonia's Garden with it's comfy, country setting and al fresco dining setup.We came a little before six in the evening, perfect time for dinner but not too ideal to feast our eyes and appreciate the restaurant setup. For cam whores, the best time to come is at day time when there is sufficient natural lights.Coming in late didn't give us a chance to try their buffet brunch too, which starts at 11am and ends at 3pm. At Php400 per head, I think it's a good deal although I didn't see the spread at all. (Fact: our simple orders from ala carte cost me more than 4 buffets).I ordered coffee first, after all this is a coffee shop. I heard they serve and sell Coffee Alamid but I dared not order it as I am aware of how it's made. Dubbed as the Rarest Brew, only the brave and adventurous have tried this civet coffee made from Philippine civet's droppings. Yep, poopoo ng musang. These nocturnal animals eat the coffee cherries and their droppings (still looking like coffee beans but with the digestive enzymes of the civet of course) are collected by coffee farmers in the morning. Recycling at it's finest! Haha.(Thought Bubble: What if the civet is constipated and didn't do its 'thing' in the morning?)I opted to be safe and ordered what Batangas is popular for - kapeng barako. As usual, my coffee needs to be iced otherwise it must be for another table. Kapeng Barako's taste did not disappoint me as usual - bitter and aromatic, but just like any coffee it didn't have the insomnia-inducing effect on me. In fact, it was the total opposite.My daughter ordered chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. That's all she wants and I said to myself it better be good. The chocolate chips were too inviting for my precious girl, we almost had her tied so I can take photos before she starts picking them up.Being a pancake fan, she knows the drill already: spread the butter, pour syrup and slice bite-size pieces to eat. I like it when she orders pancakes because we don't have to assist her with eating and we can also enjoy our meal more.There's nothing extra special about the pancakes, in fact those at Pancake House are way better, even without the orange slices to decor the plate.My aunt and the yaya ordered the longganisa set, a typical Filipino breakfast fare. I didn't try these but judging from the leftovers from their plates, I don't think they liked it.The only one with the huge appetite that evening was The Hubby who ordered the Breakfast Sampler from the 'All Day Breakfast' menu. The sampler comprise of 2 eggs, bacon strips, ham, 2 pieces hash brown, 2 pork sausages and 2 pieces butter pancake. It's almost gluttony! I was the only one who had pasta. I'm a not a pasta person except when it's lasagna. I don't know if I am just tired from our kite flying activity or my taste buds aren't working that night because I didn't even get past half of my food. There is something lacking in the taste and the cream overpowers the entire dish. I am not saying it doesn't taste good, in fact it's does and they didn't scrimp on the ingredients. But something just doesn't blend well, and sorry, I couldn't tell.Next time I am going to Bag of Beans I'll make sure to catch the buffet breakfast or brunch. I want to appreciate the restaurant again in a different setting. Maybe then my experience with their food will be better.
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