PLANNING to stay away from the pollution and traffic of Metro Manila and go up to Tagaytay for the holidays? Summit Ridge Tagaytay along General Aguinaldo Highway should provide you with a cozy and comfy stay.
Just a 45-minute drive from Makati, Tagaytay, being a progressive city in itself, combines modern conveniences and a rustic feel. After all, Tagaytay is a city that serves as a vacation place for many prominent personalities who want a place of their own for a quick getaway on weekends. So everything, including all the modern conveniences that you might look for, is there. Yet Tagaytay has that rustic comfort feel, the kind of warmth and happiness that you feel when you’re going back to your hometown. And since Tagaytay is a complete community, you can find churches, hospitals, markets, fruit and vegetable stalls, theme parks and, yes, hotels like Summit Ridge Tagaytay, which serve as a home away from home to a lot of Tagaytay goers.
Staying at Summit Ridge Tagaytay over the holidays keeps you and your family happily busy and relaxed. All of its well-appointed rooms are overlooking the scenic Taal Volcano and Taal Lake, so even if you just stay in your room, you can enjoy the breath-taking view. On the weekend when my husband Raff and I were there, along with a group of colleagues-and-friends from the print media and online world, the awesome view was made even more breath-taking by the presence of a rainbow. It was a double rainbow, actually, although the other one was very light and dreamy. While you can appreciate the view from within the comforts of your room, stepping outside to the verandah and taking in the view while sipping a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee, with the cool air brushing against your cheeks is an entirely different experience that you cannot get elsewhere.
When you get hungry, all you need to do is go down to the ground floor, where Sisterfields, an all-day dining restaurant operated by the Cravings group, offers a very good a la carte menu of comfort foods. These are familiar Filipino comfort foods given a modern Asian twist, such as Crispy Tawilis with Kaffir Lime Aioli; Mango, Kamias, Pako and Jicama Salad with Bagoong Balayan Vinaigrette; Chopped Salad with Green Goddess Dressing; Bulalo Soup; Cerveza Negra Braised Beef Shortribs (so tender because the meat has been braised in thyme, Bail, paprika, sugar and salt for 48 hours), and Malipato en Papillote (local malipato fish, seasoned with herbs and spices, wrapped in a parchment packet and steamed).
Late in the afternoon, you can go out to the al fresco area of Sisterfields and enjoy a cocktail drink or two with pica-picas such as Vegetable Crudites, Kebabs and Bruschetta.
While the kids can take a long dip in the pool, they can also enjoy other activities lined up by Summit Ridge Tagaytay for the holidays, including arts and crafts, one of which is a holiday cookie and cupcake decorating workshop in one of the function rooms. The chefs of Sisterfields provide different colored icings and edible décor to go with the holiday-shaped cookies, demonstrate basic decorating techniques, and let the kids exercise their creativity in decorating their own cookies and cupcakes. Even adults like myself enjoyed decorating my own cookies and cupcakes during my stay at the hotel.
On late afternoons, adults and kids alike can also enjoy Unlimited Coffee and Cakes, including Cravings’ popular Caramel Cake.
You can even book for an exquisite Christmas Eve Dinner for Php1,299 per person at Sisterfields, which is dressed up in holiday style. You can also book for New Year’s Eve Dinner for Php1,399 per person and enjoy live music and drum beats, movie night, unlimited face painting and use of the photo booth, plus a countdown and the fireworks that light up the Tagaytay sky with bursts of marvelous color and pattern.
The Christmas Eve Dinner consists of two kinds of soup (Cream of Asparagus and Molo Soup, complete with condiments), assorted breads, assorted cold cuts, cheese platter, spreads and dips, a salad bar (with assorted greens, 10 toppings and six dressings), sushi bar and assorted canapes, a pasta station with four sauces to choose from, an impressive lineup of hot items (Herbed Rice, Paella Valenciana, Callos Madrileña, Beef Salpicao, Chicken Galantina, Salt Crusted Salmon, Ratatouille and Pork Caldereta), two carvings (Lechon and Roast Beef, with four types of sauces), a Kids’ Station for savory and sweet items, and desserts such as Fruitcake, Cheesecake, Mini Tartlets, Cupcakes, and a Pinoy Dessert Station (featuring Bibingka, Puto Bombong and Hot Chocolate).
The New Year’s Eve Dinner is made up of assorted breads and pastries (including Classic Shaker Lemon Tarts, New Year’s Cookies and Ensaymadas), a Salad Station, two kinds of soup (Creamy Charred Pumpkin with Apple and Grape Bits and Creamy Malunggay with Bacon Bits), hot dishes such as Korean Beef Short Ribs Stew and Honey Glazed Sesame Grilled Chicken, two carvings (Lechon and Chicken Galantina), festive desserts like Pistachio-Mint Panna Cotta Shots and Ube Mousse with Mango Bits, plus Lime Iced Tea, Four Seasons, Coffee or Tea.
Other activities that you can enjoy while staying at Summit Ridge Tagaytay are live serenades by the Children’s Joy Foundation from Cavite, indoor movie showings complete with free access to the Popcorn Station and Holiday Dessert Bar. Guests booked on Christmas Eve get a 50% discount for a December 23 reservation. And if you’re staying in a suite room, which has its own kitchen and dining area, you can book the chef to prepare a special meal for you, go to the market and cook lunch or dinner for your family, or get everyone involved in a cooking activity. On the weekend when media stayed over at Summit Ridge Tagaytay to experience its holiday offerings, we even had a media cook-off, where we were grouped into pairs and made to cook Organic Bolognese Pasta in separate suite kitchens after one of the Sisterfields chefs demonstrated how to do it. Fortunately, my partner Raoul Chee Kee (of Philippine Daily Inquirer) and I won the challenge–and I’ve got a photo of our dish to show!
So it’s definitely going to be a joyous Christmas—and New Year’s—celebration at Summit Ridge Tagaytay.
(Summit Ridge Tagaytay is located at Km. 58, Maharlika West, General Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City; with telephone numbers (639) 240-6888 and 0920-8526800.)