Tagaytay has traditionally been one of the most visited
tourism destinations in the Philippines. It was the most visited
Philippine tourist destination in 1998, and the trend is likely
to continue. The weather in Tagaytay is one of the primary attractions
for people to live outside Manila, but the spectacular view of Taal
Volcano is undoubtedly the biggest tourism draw. Tagaytay is only
about 45 minutes from Makati, Manila's business district. It is
only 30 minutes from Alabang, an area which is currently Manila's
most exclusive suburb. It is only 15 minutes from Santa Rosa, Manila's
fastest growing suburb which is destined to replace Makati as "the
place to live" and Santa Rosa will likely be the Philippines
main financial district within 10 - 15 years.
The fastest way to get to Tagaytay is to take the South Luzon Expressway
(SLEX) which was formerly known as the South Superhighway. Exit
at Santa Rosa, and in about 15 minutes you will be in Tagaytay.
You can also go the "old way", which is through Silang,
Taal Volcano itself is very accessible, and can be reached easily
by boat from Talisay, the lakeshore town which is only about 15
minutes from Tagaytay. To get there, make a left on the Tagaytay
ridge road when you come from Santa Rosa (or the main Tagaytay rotunda
that you reach via Silang). A few hundred meters later (about 1.5km
from the rotunda), you will see signs that say "Talisay Laurel".
Turn right on this concrete road, known as "Ligaya Drive"
and take it down to the lakeshore.
At the bottom of the road, there will be a lot of people offering
rides to the volcano. You can take one of these, or you can turn
right and follow the signs to Taal Lake Yacht Club. At TLYC nobody
will hassle you. Although it is primarily a private club, you can
get a daily entry pass for P75 (less than $2) per person. You can
park your car in peace knowing that it is secure, and you can sit
down at one of the huts (P300 per day) and eat your own picnic lunch,
or go to Ray's floating Bar and Restaurant.
You can get a Banca (Native outrigger boat) to take you to the
volcano for about P1200. You can rent a sunfish or an escape sailboat
for P800 (P400 on weekdays) or a Hobie Cat for P1600 (P800 on weekdays).
Top instructors are available for only P400/day. Kayaks (P500/day)
and Windsurfers (P400/day) are also available. Camping is allowed
at Taal Lake Yacht Club. It almost sounds silly, but the bathrooms
are a big draw for the expat community. It's hard to find clean
bathrooms in many developing countries, and the Philippines is no
exception. In their initial vision of the perfect family oriented
yacht club, two things were given priority. "Big clean locker
rooms with hot showers", and the other was "Cold beer
and drinks". Camping then becomes a very enjoyable experience.