Tagaytay is a popular destination of residents of Metro Manila primarily because of its mild climate and dramatic scenery, the most significant of which is the view of Taal Volcano.
The weather in Tagaytay is mild and the average temperature is 22-25°C (71-77°F). There are only two 'seasons', wet and dry.
The closest major airport is Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila).
If you're a foreigner, you can hire vans to get there or an airport taxi. Some taxi drivers charge a fixed rate or double the meter fare plus toll fees. Private taxis will cost between 1600 and 2000 pesos, depending on your bargaining skills. Ask to be dropped off at Tagaytay circle or Olivarez Mall.
Coming from Manila by bus
This can be very confusing for foreign tourists, and even people from Manila generally drive so do not know how to take the bus to Tagaytay. If you ask locals they will tell you conflicting things. There are many conflicting reports on the internet.
One sure way to get to Tagaytay via bus from Manila is to go to Roxas Boulevard, south of the Baclaran Redemptionist Bus Terminus, marked on Google Maps. Walk south along the west side of the street (the direction of busses going south) and look for a Cavite Batangas bus with the destination "Tagaytay" on its windshield. Flag it down and jump on. There is no need to buy a ticket in advance. There will be a conductor riding the bus. Tell that person where you are going and they will punch a ticket with an according fee. The journey from Roxas Blvd. near the Del Carmen bus terminal to Tagaytay Mahogany Ave bus station (corner of Crisanto de los Reyes Rd. and Mahogany Ave.) as of March 2018 cost 80 pesos.
There is also an AC bus that goes to Tagaytay from Ayala MRT south exit. 90 pesos.
There are other busses running to Nusugbu (final destination), with “via Tagaytay” written on the signboard are below. Frequency = one bus every about 30 minutes.
Travel time = close to 3 hours even when setting off early.
Disembark at a crossroad called Olivarez Square. Easily spotted due to the large KFC restaurant / Andok's / Jollibee (if you are on the right side of the bus) and “Pure Gold” and Mc Donalds” signs if you are on the left side of the bus. After this stop lies the Rotunda (with a statue in the center and colourful lights at night) - this forms the center of the town of Tagaytay.
Tagaytay does not have a dedicated bus terminus – buses just stop at this part of the road. Ask the bus conductor to tell you when the stop for "Tagaytay" or "Olivarez plaza" comes.
Avoid taking buses going to Batangas or Balibago. Avoid JAM transit.
Jeepney is a common use of transportation around the area, you'll need to ask the driver where you want to go and where they are going. Fares are usually around 8-10 pesos, sometimes a little bit more depending on the distance.
Tricycles (motorcycles with a sidecar) are also quite prevalent and will often offer rides to foreigners, sometimes very insistently. They can take you anywhere, but the pricing scheme is complicated. For 3+ people on a tricycle, the rate is 20 pesos each for a short distance. For 1-2 people, the rate is 100 pesos total for most trips. A tricycle trip down to Taal can be negotiated for around 200 pesos.
At the Tagaytay visitor's centre and near the zip line is quite easy to walk and explore for a person with average fitness.
Mabini Shrine The Shrine houses the remains and personal belongings of the late revolutionary hero and "Brains of the Katipunan," Apolinario Mabini. Mabini is known as the "Sublime Paralytic" who, despite his physical handicap, fired nationalism in the Filipinos and urged them to unite, with the sheer power of his writings. He wrote fiery articles against Spanish atrocities in revolutionary papers. His writings and memorabilia are kept here. His tomb lies at the middle of the site where a replica of the house where he was born also stands. Location : Barrio Talaga, Tanauan How to get there : Located about seven kilometers from the town proper of Tanauan and can be reached in an hour and 15 minutes' drive from Manila. Upon reaching the market area, one can turn to A. Mabini avenue leading to Barangay Talaga. The Shrine is open daily from 8:00PM to 5:00PM, except during holidays. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Travel Time : Approximately 15 minutes from the town proper.
Casa de Segunda Katigbak The ancestral home of prominent Batangas family, the Casa is a typical "Bahay na Bato" (stone house). It is Spanish Colonial in style, yet tropical in ambiance. It was named after Segunda Katigbak, reputed to be the first love of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Philippines' national hero. Casa segunda is declared by the National Historical Commission as a heritage house for having harbored generations of artists, poets and persons of learning and distinction. Location : 198 Calle Rizal, Lipa City
Jose P. Laurel Memorial Library The personal property of the family of the late President Jose P. Laurel, it was donated to the Philippine Government as a historical site and public library. The library is open everyday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM Location : A. Mabini Ave., Tanauan How to get there : The place is in the town proper and can be reached by land. Upon reaching the town , turn to A. Mabini Road. The library is about 100 meters from the national road, jeepneys and tricycles service the area. Travel time : About 5 to 10 minutes' drive from the town proper depending on traffic. The library is located near the St. John Evangelist Parish, a gymnasium, Lo Consolacion College and some other schools, so traffic would be tight during the rush hours.
Marcela N. Agoncillo Historical Landmark (National Landmark) The birthplace of Marcela N. Agoncillo who was known as the maker of the first official Filipino Flag during the Philippine revolution against the Spanish authorities. The different flags of the revolution are also prominently displayed at the site. Location : Marcela Agoncillo St., Taal How to get there : One can take a bus or rented car from Manila to the town of Taal. Once at the town proper, one may take a tricycle to reach the place. Travel time : About 1 1/2 hours by car from Manila.
Punta de Santiago Lighthouse Built in 1890, it is one of the earliest lighthouses that remain functional up to this date. Since its construction, no ship has ever ran aground within its vicinity. Location : Calatagan How to get there : The lighthouse can be reached by taking a jeepney from the town proper of Calatagan. Travel time : 40 minutes through semi-rough road.
Palace In The Sky Originally designed to be the presidential guest house of former president Ferdinand Marcos, this complex was never completed. It is, however, now open to the public as a vantage area for viewing the Taal Volcano. Location : Tagaytay City. How to get there : The place is a short drive from the Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay City. Travel time : 15 minutes' drive from Aguinaldo Highway.
The Flower Farm On a windy slope of a hill in Tagaytay City sprawls a flower farm that keeps Manila abloom whole year round. The five-hectare flower farm has many varieties of flowers, such as chrysanthemums with assorted colors, gerberas, carnations, roses, and anthuriums. Location : Barangay Guinhawa, Tagaytay City. How to get there : From Tagaytay City, the farm is a brief 10-minute drive from the Aguinaldo Highway.
St. Anne's Shrine The shrine is a small garden where a grotto of the Virgin Mary stands, surrounded by well maintained shrubbery and flower garden. In front of the grotto is a small grass clearing, which is conducive to quiet reflection. Location : Barangay Sungay, Tagaytay City How to get there : From Manila, take BLTB buses that pass by Barangay Silang Crossing to the Tagaytay Marker. At Tagaytay Marker, alight to take a utility jeep leading to Barangay Sungay where the gate of the Shrine can be spotted from the road. Travel time : About 2 hours' drive from Manila.
There is a park at the overlook area above the Taal volcano. Worth the effort! About an hour from Manila, it is accessible by taxi, bus or privately owned vehicle. You can take a Jeepney to the Olivarez, then take a tricycle to the lake and hire a boat. It's also possible to negotiate with the tricycle driver "full package" including tricycle, boat, and horse on the volcano - everything depends on your negotiation skills.
While going up, a horse is a good idea at 500 Pesos(fixed price). A guide is not compulsory, you can take just the horse!
The drink sellers along the way, try to sell you cold drinks by saying your guide or horse owner is tired. The cold drinks cost 5-10 times the cost in Manila. Coffee is however available at 20 Pesos up there.
The park is well kept and there are numerous picnic seats, tables or covered huts for daily hire.
You can take a 15 min outrigger boat ride to the volcano that is within the lake. As you head from Tagaytay city toward the lake, many touts may jump in front of your vehicle offering boat rides - they take a commission. If you know where to go, however, you can catch a boat directly from the boat owners. You will need to catch private transport of some kind down to the lake from Tagatay as there is no jeepney service there. If you take a motorbike or trike, you are recommended to lock in a fee for both directions at the top (including waiting time). If not, once you are down there, you are caught with requests for more than double the fee to get back up to Tagatay for the return journey. Many operators will try and offer all inclusive deals to the volcano, including the horse ride, lunch, etc. You are better to negotiate just the boat trip and then choose what you want to do on the island.
Once on the island, the boat guides will herd you to a point where you can go horseback riding to the volcano. It takes about 30-45 minutes and is quite bumpy. The guides with the horses take you to the top which is very spectacular and you can explore the top for as long as you want.
Another option is hiking which will take anywhere from 50 minutes to 90 minutes, so only do so if you have reasonable fitness (because of the hills, rocky terrain, etc).
When up at the volcano, watch out for guides trying to show groups of tourists heating tricks. These consist of getting a can of soft drink or water, cutting the can or bottle in half and watching the ground heat boil the water or liquid which is pretty cool to see, and you can boil an egg if you bring one with you!
Philippine Adventures or Tripinas provides scenic city tours from Metro Manila to Tagatay with the option of catching a boat ride to Taal Volcano and hiking to the spectacular Taal Crater Lake.
Things to do in Tagaytay on TripHobo provides various options of activities to be done with family, kids or friends. Go for adventure activities on Taal Volcano, Taal Lake. To enjoy with kids choose Sky Ranch to spend time.
Wedding in the sky - The atmosphere and scenery of a Tagaytay destination setting provides a special character to the wedding. An hour and 15 minutes drive through South Superhighway or Coastal Road, Tagaytay offers different venues for different settings that will suit your taste.
Small shops line the roadway as you come into the area, the vegetables and fruits available here are fresh and seemed to be very good quality.
Pasalubong (small gifts) gathered by the traveller in remembrance of, and for, friends is a strong Philippine tradition. No need to be extravagant, a small gift is considered to be most appropriate. Need help? Here's a hint... senorita bananas. About the size of a fat finger, they are sweet and have a rich texture. The area is also famous for its Buko Pie, which is a popular item.
There is also the Good Shepherd Convent (like the one in Baguio) and you can get your favorite Ube jam, pili, etc. In addition to that you can also get their buko pie for which Laguna/Cavite is known.
Coffee - Coffee shops are abundant in the city proper, some of the noted ones are Starbucks Coffee and Bag of Beans. Try their apple pie at Bag of Beans, it's said to be great.
hard to find a place to sleep in Tagaytay for under P 2000
Tagaytay is a safe place to visit, and the locals are very nice, just beware of the usual things in Tagaytay such as scammers and pickpockets; in short exercise the usual level of common sense when travelling.
Beware of the obvious scams and ensure that if you are visiting Taal volcano or any other attractions with guides that they have the proper identification usually administered by the Philippine Tourist Board.
As with all tourist destinations, they like to "plus plus" everything, that is add the taxes and the tourist fee on later, so make sure that you ask for the complete price inclusive of tourist fee. It is recommended that if you visit Taal Volcano and you go horseback riding, that you demand to pay your guide a tip and forego paying 500 pesos as a tour guide fee at the ticket office as this ensures that your working guide actually gets paid as they get undercut from the ticket office; a tip of 200 pesos usually suffices.
Mobile Phone reception is good in the area.
Leaving for Manila by bus
There are many coach buses that leave from Olivarez Square. They have different destinations in Manila, but will go to Taft Avenue MRT, Glorietta Mall (1 block west of Ayala MRT), and Roxas Boulevard. Just check for signage on the bus windows. Fare is around 80-90 pesos per person. There is a conductor on the bus.
Travel time = 2.5 - 3 hours