Monday, January 23, 2006

Tagaytay Musings

Mention Tagaytay to me and immediately “Taal volcano” and “bulalo” leap into mind; the latter is weird because it’s not my favorite dish. But definitely food is a big reason to go there. One of the reasons why we went to Tagaytay was to eat at the RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant at the insistence of my mom who had eaten there before with her fellow Daughters of Mary Immaculate. They were all raves about it.
When we pulled up the driveway, I could see that the designer of the place got his inspiration from the Barrio Fiestas and the original Max’s Restaurant in Roces, QC—very native, with the prerequisite grotto and pond in front. Inside is multi-leveled and multi-sectioned: out-door huts, airconditioned function room, and a very wide open-air dining area. They had a roaming band playing their mariachi-fied versions of “Pinoy Ako”, JLo’s “Waiting for Tonight” and the ever-reliable “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.

The food is typical Filipino fare. Portions are quite generous. Good thing their fried foods were not swimming in oil. And service is fairly quick. I ate too much again. Argh! I haven’t shed yet the extra pounds from the holiday binging, and now this.

Next we decided to tour the People’s Park in the Sky. Sitting on top of the highest peak in Tagaytay, the former Palace in the Sky gives one a magnificent 360-degree view of Laguna, Cavite and Batangas. Wow! I was waiting for the Devil to stand beside me and offer me the view in exchange for worshiping him.
What’s sad is the current state of the premises. True, the place was still under construction when the Marcoses were booted out of the country, so it’s understandable why the whole place has this unfinished feel. But alas it also has this decrepit feel, like an abandoned lady left to rot on her own in the wind and rain. It’s just a notch above being an eyesore.

Still, one can see that had Imelda have her way, the Palace would have been a style-sore. Imelda’s not exactly the epitome of good taste, and this Greek-inspired amphitheater beside the pool at the back of the palace is an example of her gaudy style.
Unfortunately the current management is also bereft of good taste. The basement has been transformed into a shopping area, and on the second floor is—how very proletariat—a sing-along bar.

Okay, okay, I’m being too elitist.

The rest of the afternoon we spent at a grove overlooking Taal. I bought my nephew and niece bubble-making devices in the shape of Nokia cellphones. What will they think of next? Now there’s new meaning to the sentence: “Bula ka ng bula sa telepono!

My favorite shot of the two:

Aww. It looks like another super-bonding McVie family day!


Game! Bulaan natin si Lucien!

I think my friend Annette brought me to that bulalo place when I was in Manila in 2002. Yum.

So they turned Palace in the Sky into some kind of bazaar-amongst-the-ruins tourist trap? How sad and tacky. Went there with my high school photography class a million years ago. Very cold. Awesome views. Kept stealing glances at the boy who was my biggest high school crush. Ah, good times.
FRIED-NEURONS: I wonder--were you able to steal a shot of your high school crush? Do you still have a picture of him?
Hehe. Yeah, I have a few pics, I think... pero none from Palace in the Sky. My other high school friends told me that my crush has gone porky and "mukhang mama". :)
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