Romantic Ridge Rendezvous


It’s this time of the year again when romantic Filipinos put their best foot forward in celebrating the most-awaited Day of the Hearts.

Never mind if we don’t fully understand what the red-letter is all about, and never mind if there are limitations imposed upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Proposal Garden has the perfect setup in the middle of lush greenery and blooms.

For the proverbial simpatiko couples looking for a secluded date place, the top-of-mind destination is Tagaytay City and its fringes because of its cool highland climate, gourmet dishes, boutique accommodation, and the romantic ambiance it never fails to weave.

But with every other couple thinking the same way, the dream date can become memorable in a wrong way. For a consummate getaway, selection of the specific location is key not only for privacy purposes, but also for the physical distancing safety measure we are being told repeatedly.

Tucked in an interior village of Alfonso town, Sonya’s Garden Country Bed and Breakfast  is the trailblazer in farm tourism with its green, green grass of home. The not-so-secret garden of entrepreneur Sonya Garcia has expanded over the past two decades and has become an iconic hideaway for those who love organic dining food away from the crowd.

Relax and enjoy the enchanting scenery in The Observatory Tagaytay.

The sprawling property transports you to an assortment of gardens and greenhouses, breezy tent restaurants, the Panaderia bakery which is sought for its premium baked breads, and the Sensuous Spa which renders rejuvenating treatments at a tranquil massage cottage.

Its popular all-you-can eat offering is back, although in the form of refills to prevent close contact with other diners.

Guests can reserve the Proposal Garden for a dinner date, anniversary, wedding proposal, and other elements you can throw in for an ultra-romantic moment.

For a complete retreat, spend the night at the Spanish ancestral house-themed rooms adorned with antiques and curio displays. Conspicuously absent are the air-conditioners for natural ventilation, as well as TV and Internet connection so you can spend intimate moments sans gadgets.

Greet the morning with an energizing Zumba or a yoga session, and hie off to the hidden river resort and nipa hut cottage it recently developed situated 6 kms away. Before heading home, you can take home organic farm produce, ornamental plants, flowers and botanical bath, and other personal care products.

Sonya’s Garden river resort is both relaxing and romantic as it can be.

For an extra night in the vicinity, the newly opened La Casa Heneral offers modern amenities at a luxe mansion-like private resort. Located just right beside Sonya’s, the rest house is an opulent three-room, two-story hideaway you can have unto yourselves.

Free-standing Asian sculptures, curio items, and paintings adorn the living area and the well-appointed master bedroom to exude the spirit of the rich Oriental culture. There’s an entertainment area adjacent the veranda with an oversized smart TV for binging on Netflix or YouTube.

If there are family members tagging along, they can occupy the adjacent room and the chic glass poolside room. As to food and beverage, you can arrange the service with the manager, cook your own, or better yet with Sonya’s Garden or other restaurants within Alfonso under a special setup.

On the other side of the scenic ridge is The Observatory Tagaytay, situated on the slopes of Mystic Hills along Ligaya Drive, an artsy boutique hotel with an abundance of well-manicured greeneries and cozy nooks. Just like its location, it exudes a certain mystic allure for some enchanting evening with your loved one.

Due to its undulating terrain, it is an enviable spot for stargazing and admiring the Taal Volcano and Lake, which is arguably among the most romantic and timeless natural backdrops love-struck couples could ever have.

With just a few generously spaced bedrooms, guests can be assured of privacy, solitude and low people density. Be mesmerized by the unobstructed panorama with its Sky Suites which are available with the exclusive rental of the whole house.

As a repurposed countryside vacation house, it evokes a homey and warm soul in keeping with its dictum of “Where graceful living finds its place.”

Much like a contemporary art gallery, it is punctuated with paintings and art works which can bring out the inner artist and poet in you as you bask in the property’s splendor which is often lacking in a typical mid-sized hotel.

And with the bespoke lodging comes along a hearty breakfast plate with an international flair. 

The placid lake beckons, and you can yield to the call and drive down to the lakeshore town of Talisay to see the enigmatic volcano up close. Better yet, glide across the water and get your feet wet, literally, on a sailboat or kayak at the Taal Lake Yacht Club for an out-of-the-ordinary romantic retreat.

Image credits: Bernard L. Supetran
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