On This Part of the Tagaytay Ridge


As a child, trips to Tagaytay with my parents are all memorable. The view deck at Taal Vista Hotel is where we would usually go for a spectacular view of Taal Volcano. The Philippines contribution to the wonders of the world, consists of an island in a lake within a volcanic crater island within another lake.  A generation later, together with my own family, we would often make a fifty six kilometer drive from Manila, most of time unplanned (as we always do in most of our travels), to marvel at this natural formation within Taal Lake some 700 meters below from the Tagaytay Ridge. On our most recent visit to Tagaytay, we decided to bypass the usual late afternoon stroll at People’s Park and Palace in the Sky. Instead, we turned right from the rotunda towards the Tagaytay town proper to rediscover the ever-changing view On this part of the Tagaytay Ridge.  

Like most places, Tagaytay has its own share of stories on how it received its name. One legend relates a father and son while hunting down a wild boar when the animal they were chasing turned and attacked them. As the boar attacked the father, the son threw in a jungle knife and repeatedly shouted “Taga” (jungle knife) “Itay!” (father). The boy’s cry echoed throughout the ridge’s valley. It was said that the cry was heard by the Spanish conquistadores who were camping out in the area, thus naming the place where the shouts came from “Taga-ytay.” Another source said that during the 1896 Revolution, the forested ridge offered sanctuary for revolutionaries. The passage to and from town via the Tagaytay added the word “mananagaytay” (to traverse the ridge) to the native’s vocabulary. A rather unusual story was told to me by a friend about a young boy caught by his father in a drinking session. Instead of running away out of fear from his father, the boy offered his itay the jigger glass and said “tagay? itay!”


Tagaytay City is perched on cool Tagaytay Ridge. The ridge that provides a wonderful view of Taal Volcano is believed to be part of large crater of a much larger, long-since collapse volcano. Taal Volcano may once have been the earth’s largest volcano, towering to a height of 18,000 feet.  Long before recorded history, Taal blew its top with megaton violence, and collapse into itself. A lake formed in the resulting chasm. A new crater bubbled up in the lake. Taal’s new crater is only 984 feet above sea level. In one imaginably violent explosion, Taal went from being the world’s largest volcano, to become the world’s lowest active volcano above sea level.

Little is written about the history of Tagaytay. What we can source out is that the sparse and windy range was made into a chartered city on June 21, 1938, through Commonwealth Bill no. 388 authored by Assemblyman Justiniano Montano and signed into law by President Manuel L. Quezon.  As we were headed towards the city proper from the rotunda, we stop by the old Lourdes Church. With its red-brick bell tower, this bastion of faith is Tagaytay’s oldest public building.



Near Tagaytay’s City Hall is the 41st Division Memorial Shrine.  Within the shrine are marble walls etched with the names of all 6,000 servicemen PA-USAFFE forces (from Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Tayabas, Mindoro and Palawan) who mobilized on the ridge in August 1941 prior to the ensuing Battle of Bataan. February 3, 1945 marks the Liberation Day of Tagaytay. It was on the day when the U.S. 511th Parachute Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division of Major General Joseph Swing landed on Tagaytay Ridge and raced down towards Manila. This first airborne landing is marked by a monument installed in 1951 at the Silang Rotunda.  


A few meters from the Silang Rotunda is Bag of Beans, a quaint and unassuming coffee shop and bakery that became an all time favorite among Tagaytay habitués. We had our late afternoon merienda in the whimsical English garden, enjoying the Delightful Treats at Bag of Beans. From the Bag of Bean we went to nearby Taal Vista Hotel. The hotel has an attractive viewing deck and picure window where the scenic Taal Lake and its volcano can be viewed.


The open field next to hotel also provides a breathtaking view of the volcano. Ponies for hire wait to delight both young and old. One may ride astride or in a buggy. Here we experienced riding on horseback and reflected on why Filipinos Love Horses.


We wanted to follow the volcano’s ridge towards Nasugbu for Residence Inn and Caleruaega, but it was getting dark. So decided to have dinner at Tagaytay Food Fiesta Park along Aguinaldo Highway, where a cluster of restaurants are competing for gastronomic feasts.

After the hefty dinner of bulalo, pork sisig, tuna belly and chopsuey at Leslie’s Restaurant , we went up to the viewing deck for another look of Taal Lake. The lake by night is twinkling with fishermen’s lighted bancas. A full moon reflected long and shining across the shimmering lake waters.


These are just some of the many awesome experiences we unraveled everytime we go On this part of the Tagaytay Ridge.


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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was searching for sites about my late great grand father Senator Justiniano Montano and saw this wonderful page! Lovely photos!

  2. There it is–beautiful! (It was written down in error by someone as St. Marc’s)
    Gee, I’m sorry to read that you had to witness such rudeness at the hands of that Mr. Wong. I’m imagining that fortunately something like that would very rarely happen, as you seem to use respect and decorum when you visit places to take your photos. Too bad…

    As a former US Peace Corps Volunteer, our incoming group first stayed for several weeks at the Boy Scout Jamboree Camp’s cottages during our Philippine language training.
    My cottage was a little distance from the classroom buildings, and many a time while walking back to my cottage in the evening, I would feel the hairs on my arms stand on end. I thought at the time that Mariang Makiling was trying to get through to me…
    It was kind of frightening, but exciting too…

    • I’ve heard alot of ghost stories in Makiling (we’ll I am not counting scary Mr. Wong) which gave me an idea about posting some haunted places in the Philippines. I try to do a little reseach first about a house I saw in Bulacan that used as a Japanese command center during WWII. Thanks queeniebee.

  3. Hi TOF, Looks Like it was a fun and relaxing visit to Tagaytay with your family. I’ve always wanted to visit Tagaytay after seeing that romantic Tagalog movie starring Regine Valasquez and Aga Mulach that takes place there… Everything looked so cool and green! There was a scene at the end of the movie at an outdoor chapel that was just beautiful. Can’t offhand remember the name of the movie though…

    • My wife had our first out-of-town as a couple in Tagaytay queeniebee. Aside from the memories, we also frequently go there for the cool and relaxing climate. May i suggest if you plan to go there. do it on a week day to avoid the heavy traffic and the tourists.

      I would guess that the outdoor chapel must have been Caraluega with its facade of bricks and bell tower on the pediment. I can’t recall if I saw that film of aga and regine.

      • Oh TOF, I found some info on the movie after all–it was Pangako…Ikaw Lang. Apparently besides Tagatay, shooting took place in other scenic places too. I found out that the beautiful outdoor chapel scene was shot at St. Marc’s Chapel in Los Banos, Laguna. I read that it was designed by national artist Leandro Locsin.
        It wasn’t listed in your Laguna posts–did you happen to visit there at the time?

        • Hi Queeniebee, I’ve been to St. Mark’s chapel in Los Banos Laguna two years ago when I was supposed to visit the National Arts Center. However, I had a teribble experience when I was rudely denied by the assistant director of Philippine High School for the Arts. The school is next to National Art Center which is not part of my agenda to cover. Anyway, I filed a formal complaint against Assistant Director Reynaldo Wong and exposed my distressing experience with him to the public through this blog. Students, faculty members and acquitances of the rude director expressed their disgust over his behavior and even revealed his ill-manners as a public manager. Eventually, I had an audience with Department of Education and the Cultural Center of the Philippines to personally hear my compliaint. An investigation body found the assistant director guilty of rudeness.

          The blog post was in two parts and the second part became controversial for some time because it was where I narrated the blow-by-blow account of my distressing encounter but decided to remove it because it ruins the purpose of my blog of showcasing the beautiful in the Philippines. That bad expereince did not occur to me again while going places in our beautiful country.

          Here is the first part of the Mount Makiling experience. You will see here a picture of the chapel: https://traveleronfoot.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/the-dark-side-of-mariang-makiling-and-a-traveler%E2%80%99s-traumatic-encounter-at-the-national-arts-center-in-los-banos-part-1/

  4. hi this is christine, im residing here in tagaytay but just have a little knowledge about tagaytay’s history.. i’ve read your insights and seen the pictures you took(by the way it is lovely,your a nice photographer(^^,)) and i do think that you know a lot about tagaytay, specifically its history… so i hope you can help me,give me some infos or links,references,etc.. coz i have this research project in history class and i really dont know how to start..please have a reply on my email, alegre_marychristine@yahoo.com.. thank you very much!

    • What I’ve stated on the post are the only things I know about Tagaytay christine. In fact, I’ve learned about those while talking to some people during our visit.

      • I see..thanks for the reply..

  5. Hello this is Melody i’m a secretary of the 41st Division PA-USFFE Foundation Inc., I seen the Picture of the 41st Division Memorial Shrine by the way our organization is the one who is reponsibe for that shrine and i love the pictures of the 41st Division Memorial Shrine that you took and all the picture that you post here..you can contact me i case you need any infornation about that shrine including the 41st Division Foundation here is my number (632) 892-4011 extension number 329 thank a lot!

    • My Father, Felix C. Bascon is on this shrine. do you know when this shrine was built? this was only seen by us accidentaly when my sisters went to Tagaytay.

  6. […] One legend relates a father and son while hunting down a wild boar when the animal they were chasing turned and attacked them. As the boar attacked the father, the son threw in a jungle knife and repeatedly shouted “Taga” (jungle knife) “Itay!” (father). The boy’s cry echoed throughout the ridge’s valley. It was said that the cry was heard by the Spanish conquistadores who were camping out in the area, thus naming the place where the shouts came from “Taga-ytay.” [from traveleronfoot.wordpress.com] […]

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