“Naalala kita sa alon kapag parating na ang gabi.
At masaya akong hindi na ako buhangin.”
- Sakaling Hindi Makarating
One of the most poignant scenes in Sakaling Hindi Makarating is when Paul was consoling Cielo about her recent break-up with the man she spent more than a decade of her life with. He coyly said to her “Put yourself first. 11 years lang naman yun di ba? It's nothing compared to the rest of your life”. I guess that advice was a wake-up call that started Cielo’s cathartic journey from Zamboanga to Batanes, in the hopes of moving on and finding the mystery man who has been sending her anonymous handpainted travel postcards from around the Philippines, since her break-up.
It would have been nice if the Overlooking Tagaytay Chalet was included in those postcards. I mean the place could nurse a broken heart too.
The beautiful and rustic chalet is perched on a ridge overlooking the magnificent Taal Lake. It is the rest house of the family of Ian Castanares, and among the most booked AirBnb vacation houses in Tagaytay. I’m happy I finally had the chance to see the place for real and spend a night.
Even though the chalet is just a kilometer away from Tagaytay Rotonda, it feels secluded and far from the crowd and traffic of the bustling city.
The red gate of the chalet is simple and unassuming. One would never thought that on the other side of the door lies a secret garden paradise. I took a downhill concrete pathway with 80 steps before reaching the main house. The walking exercise reminded me of another hugot line in the movie “Iba ang biyahe kapag kaunti raw ang bitbit. Natutukoy mo agad kung ano ang hindi kailangan mo. Kamusta ka na? Ikaw pa rin ang pinakamabigat kong dalahin.”
I was so excited to see the house built with natural and indigenous materials. It is surrounded with lush greenery and flowers making it captivatingly serene and romantic and pulsing with positive and vibrant energy.
The adjoined living and dining room is spacious, cozy and enhanced with artworks, paintings, sculptures and antiques. The dining table is adorned with freshly picked birds of paradise flowers. The living room has ample seating couches, a fireplace and a chimney. There is no TV but one could enjoy listening to the sound of nature – birds singing and the wind rustling, or simply play old-time Filipino favorite pastime - sungka or chess. I got fascinated with the Ifugao and bulol-inspired wooden chess set.
The living room opens to a balcony with vine canopy, affording a panoramic view of Taal Lake and the verdant surroundings. With the stunning backdrop, this is definitely the perfect spot to reflect, reminisce or read Cielo’s postcards, one of which says “Nasasanay na akong wala ka.”
There is a separate modern stone-wall kitchen with an impressive, complete set of cooking wares and dining utensils. It reminds me of another postcard message “May mga araw na napagtatagumpayan kong huwag kang isipin, ngunit sa araw na ito, mukhang nagbabalik na naman ako sa simula.” You see, cooking is one of my first loves. The well-equipped kitchen has percolators and pugon; I could have baked pandesal or roasted a chicken. Instead, I just cooked simple dishes - spaghetti, porkchop, and mixed vegetables.
Above the living room are three sleeping quarters segregated by white curtains, and good for maximum of 10 persons. The room is very homey, especially with its old cabinets, hardwood flooring, capiz and screened glass windows that allow natural light to come in. There are two queen and a king size bed. Sa sobrang fluffy ng bed, makakapagpahinga talaga ng maayos ang pagod mong puso.
There are two lovely bathrooms with hot shower and garden view.
A few steps below the main house is a non-functioning native Ifugao house and a deck for yoga or lounging. How soothing it is to just sit down, let go and breathe in the scenery.
Every vantage is picturesque. I feel contented and rejuvenated. Certainly, I will miss this picture-perfect landscape once I return to Manila.
While the chalet is conveniently located near restaurants, malls and parks in Tagaytay, the amazing countryside view, the peaceful ambience, and the kitchen were enough to make me stay the entire time. Add to that the warm hospitality of the host and caretakers, as well as the cool, bed weather of Tagaytay.
I absolutely echo M’s feelings “Tinutulak ako ng hangin mula sa iba't ibang direksiyon, hindi na ako nasasaktan.”
The chalet is 1-2 hours away by car or bus from Manila, depending on traffic. It is 5-minute away by car from Tagaytay Rotonda going to Tagaytay-Talisay Road. For those commuting, there are tricycles for hire going to the place, stationed near the Police outpost of Tagaytay Rotonda. It is also a good 10-minute walk from the back entrance of the New McDo along Tagaytay - Calamba Rd.
Overlooking Tagaytay Chalet
(Strictly by reservation)