It’s the middle of summer here in Manila, and I already terribly miss the cool winds that we had in Taiwan just weeks ago. It was just around an hour and a half away by plane – less than the time it takes to fly from the northern to southern ends of the Philippines – but it felt like a world away from the oven-like 36 degree (celsius) heat here in Manila. Its amazing to think that the climate on either end of the Philippines is practically similar most of the time, but just push a little bit more from the northern end, and you already get something different.
Flying a few degrees of latitude up though is a pretty expensive way of running away from the heat, and so in the absence of that option, the next best thing is to gain a few hundred meters of altitude – and fortunately, that is much easier to do from where I am.
Just an hour or less away from the city, and a few thousand feet above see level, Tagaytay has long been the “ventilation system” of Manila-folk. Though it was only after I finished college that I relocated to Manila, I did have a few childhood memories of Tagaytay. We travelled there when I was still 5 (or was it 6), and I still vividly remember this thick fog closing in and eventually covering us, as we were looking down at the scenic Lake Taal from a restaurant balcony. It was my first experience with fog, and it was so thick that I couldn’t see other people a few feet away – I thought it was amazing. I also vaguely remember it being a small quiet town back then…that was the mid-80’s.
Fast forward 25 years (I can’t believe it has been a quarter of a century since then) , and Tagaytay is now a bustling place.
Tagaytay has trully become the Manileno’s cool backyard – It’s even got a mall now. Hotels and bed & breakfasts have sprung left and right, all catering to the flock of city-dwellers who come to the place with increasing frequency, looking for cool evenings, especially on weekends. Restaurants have also multiplied. When I was there again a little over 10 years ago, there was only the venerable Mushroom Burger and Leslie’s for the average visitor to choose from, but now I have already lost track of the options.
As I write this article, I’m sitting close to our airconditioner here at home. It is doing it’s heroic best to lower the temperature, as much as its single horsepower engine could, but I can definitely feel that it’s struggling. It’s one of those days when I wish I had enough to have a summer home up there.
* All photos taken May 2012. Photos 2, 3, 5 and 8 taken with Panasonic Lumix LX5. Photos 1, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10 taken with Olympus E420 and Zuiko 50mm f2.