It was a postcard-perfect setting. The scenic Taal Lake beckoned with its placid waters. There was the cool Tagaytay breeze blowing. And next to a very Pinoy Christmas tree was a bicycle filled with pretty flowers.
There is no denying the “holiday feels” at Taal Vista, the Grand Dame of Tagaytay’s getaways, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary in January.
“Christmas in the Philippines is one of the longest celebrations in the world…and Taal Vista [is] proof that the Philippines is the most fun holiday destination in the world,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the hotel’s tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 16.
“Taal Vista is an institution in the Philippine tourism industry and an exemplary model in terms of responding to the industry’s changing demands. Although it has upgraded its rooms and facilities to keep up with modern times, it has not lost its charm—it has remained a home away from home,” she added.
And indeed, Taal Vista spared no expense in making its guests who attended the ceremonies feel at home—from the piping hot bulalo and the innovative tinola chawanmushi, as well as holiday staples puto bumbong and bibingka, to the UP Singing Ambassadors serenading everyone with Filipino and European Christmas songs.
Taal Vista’s signature restaurant, Taza, likewise rolled out its seasonal menu. And as always, Taza takes its claim of freshness seriously—some of the herbs and vegetables come from the hotel’s mini-farm while seafood items are delivered almost every day from Iloilo. Beef, on the other hand, is sourced from Bukidnon, which is carving a name as a ranch country where local producers have successfully raised Wagyu cattle in Mt. Kitanglad.
The seasonal menu includes Cream of Escalivada (roasted eggplant, red peppers, carrots, and tomatoes in cream fraiche); organic arugula with market vegetable salad in red wine vinaigrette; squash ravioli; sous vide lamb shank with caramelized onion, adlai rice and gremolata; and grilled octopus with jicama and carrots in truffle balsamic. Taza also used hibiscus flowers for its dessert—delectable éclairs with chocolate and hibiscus cream.
Truly, the combination of warm service, cold breeze, good food, and even better ambience makes one want to stay at Taal Vista, whether for the holidays or just for a quick weekend trip. I just have to remind myself to pack a shawl next time, and to bring home more pan de coco for my loved ones.
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