Colette Backpackers in a Tagaytay Escapade

Around 2 weeks ago, I PMed my friend Benok, and randomly suggested that our circle should go to Tagaytay during the long holiday Papal’s visit. After discussing it with my friends and have had a few confirmations of attendance. We decided we really wanted this short vacation to push through before all of us proceeding with our lives again next week.

Since Tagaytay was only a short travel away from Manila where the holidays were implemented, we knew we would have a lot of competition during the whole trip, from commuting, to hotel booking, especially when January 15 was nearing day by day. We were already searching for a cheap but decent hotel for a group of 6, reading reviews along the way. We came across a lot of hotels but have had trouble looking for one that still has vacant slots. Jed volunteered to call up the hotels to ask about details and room availability.

Despite most of us already working, we still had to take note of our budgets. After searching some more, we came across Our Melting Pot Tagaytay which only charges 420/head in a dorm-type 6-capacity room, with free breakfast. Neat isn’t it? I was able to call up their contact number from the site and talked to Ms. Elvie, who was so accommodating.

After careful assessment and debate, we booked OMP’s dorm-type room that only costed 2520php with a 50% reservation fee paid via their BDO account. They also e-mailed me all the info necessary such as the hotel’s info and address, and things we needed to note before coming, and the most important- directions to get there.

January 15, 8:30am call time in McDonalds Buendia came, it’s the most remarkable landmark for us and is near the DLTB bus terminal we were riding to get to Tagaytay. Kudos to us for not being so late! We were already complete around 8:45.

Here’s our first groupie in McDo posted by my friend when he had access to the bus’ wifi. 😄

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After finishing our breakfast, we made our way to the terminal only to find the long line of people who’s going to the same place as we were. It was fine at first, till we hit the 1-hour mark and we haven’t moved from our places since we arrived. We were contemplating whether or not we should take the longer way- Sta. Rosa, Laguna, then jeep to get there. My best friend, Armen, also volunteered himself to check on the JAC Liner for that route. There was no long line of people, but according to them,the next bus was still in Balibago. We had no idea where that was, but it sounded far. Haha! Though we were skeptic, we had to make a decision because there was no turning back if we were to leave our places.

Shortly, the bus announcer told us that there were 4 buses arriving shortly that got stuck somewhere in traffic. We were all debating on what to do till a bus that screams Nasugbu arrived. We weren’t able to ride it yet, but at least it was progress. We had Armen return to us and the decision of taking the direct Tagaytay/Nasugbu route was unspoken.

We waited another good hour before we were able to board the bus. The fare was 83php Buendia-Olivarez, Tagaytay. Buses don’t drop passengers off after Rotonda, so we had to get off earlier and take a jeepney ride to drop us at The Lake Hotel, a landmark into getting to OMP. It was a long 2.5 hours of travel. Walking short, we reached OMP.

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After ringing the bell, Ms. Elvie warmly greeted us. We left our shoes on the porch and headed to the sala/lobby as we gathered the money to pay for the remaining balance, plus the extra person with bed that costs an additional 350php since we were 7. We were given our room key with a 100php deposit.

The hostel was simple, in a good sense. It was like leaving home to get home. Our room was clean with 3 bunk beds neatly covered in green bed sheets and a single blanket folded atop each, and a toilet and bath to share. They had a nice balcony that overlooks the other hotels and residences and a breezy rooftop.

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and here’s to our first groupie in Tagaytay, though are lacking the other 2 people. 😄

BTW, the TFIOS shirt I’m wearing is from a good friend, Ronnel. Thanks bitch!

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After settling in. We decided to have our lunch as it was already around 2pm. We took the jeepney to Mahogany Market. We ate in one of the many stores there.

The necessary jeepney selfie!

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Bulalo, which is one of Tagaytay’s specialty were the first one we ordered. I wasn’t able to take a photo due to excitement. 😄 A bowl good for 3-4 people costed 350php. While the Lechong Kawali and the Beef we ordered costs 150 each good for 2. Though honestly, it didn’t look and taste like a 350php good for 3-4 Bulalo, and a 150php good for 2 viand. But we were already too hungry to complain.

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After eating, we headed back to Olivarez jeepney terminal to go to the Picnic Grove. Here’s a neat view from the terminal. These clouds are more beautiful in person. The ride costs 11php each and took around 20 minutes. 10928143_10202337192070295_583443982_n

There were not many people like what we expected when we arrived. We actually only went to the place just to try out the zipline. Here’s me and Armen during the ride. 200php for a 1-way trip with a free printed picture on weekdays (300php for a 2-way ride on weekdays). It wasn’t scary as I thought despite the ground being several feet below. Maybe because it wasn’t as fast as I thought it would be.

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Our vanity of course, existed.

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We also saw a far away mountain I don’t know the name who had a bed of clouds resting over it, as if it was a mushroom. I thought those only existed in Disney movies! That was when I realized, I should have freakin’ brought my zoom lens with me!!

The dying light of the sun was a nice view as it parted to two directions. I was spazzing over how the view was really beautiful.

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We had several selfies and groupies despite the cold breeze hitting us from all directions.

When my favorite time of the day aka golden hour came!

That’s me and le best friend, Armen. Look at the color of the photo. I’ve been spazzing since it was uploaded. It’s so nicee… plus I look human there!

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Here are some more with my equally conceited friends!

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Around 6pm, we decided to head back to find a place to eat. and the stairs back up was tiring!

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I mean seriously!

We took a tricycle instead as all jeepneys were full. A whooping 40php/head was all it took to reach the destination- Carlo’s Pizza. Our friend, MIchelle, suggested it. Sadly she wasn’t able to come when we were supposed to have dinner in the place that night 😦 Food costs as low as 150php for a plate of pasta, which most of us had. Armen and I decided to share a treat for everyone, a 15″ family-size pizza as a late Birthday blow-out for me, and advance Birthday blow-out for him.

Jaysel and I shared their Lasagna alla Carlo (375php) good for 2. Which, honestly, was not so special, but is not at all bad. The pizza we had was a Vegetariana pizza filled with fresh tomatoes, olives, green peppers and some more veggies as the name implies. The pizza crust were burnt on some parts though. I’m not sure if I hate vegetables, or I expected so much when I didn’t find it delicious. Not sure about my friends’ opinions though.

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We sat outside the restaurant as the insides were full. The place was breezy even we had our jackets and hoodies on. So we planned to come out of our hotel during midnight to take a sip of hot drinks in a nearby Starbucks. But realized it wasn’t possible since OMP held a 12 midnight “curfew” as Ms. Elvie was to lock the gates. That was kind of sad though. Curfew? Really?

Anyway, we got back around 8pm and everyone cleaned themselves up after the long day. We played a bunch of Uno cards as my friends munched through chips (I’m not fond of chips, lol) and exchange conversations. Here’s one of the photos I uploaded while playing.Haha!

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Around 12:30am, everyone was sounding so sleepy in a hugot conversation about love and life. One by one, we were all heading to our own beds till we called it a night around 1:30am. For the first time, I was able to sleep with only waking up twice that night. It was highly unusual for me since sleeping in some other places that is not my house would normally get me waking up every 30 minutes to an hour, with no exaggerations.

We were all able to wake up around 7:30 before proceeding with our free breakfast. It took some time of waiting before we decided to sit down to eat as there were 2 other visitors who were having their meal. Soon, I initiated we should just sit down and hopefully intimidate them both to leave as they don’t seem to realize (or is actually insenstive enough) we were waiting for them to finish. 😄

We were served with two breads, a sunny side up egg and a banana each, a choice of coffee, milk and chocolate drink, and a bunch of jams of different flavors that were all self service. Sad to say that the breakfast was not really enough for me, more so my friends who had bigger appetites.

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After eating, we all head back to our room to prepare to leave. While some took a bath, the others were playing 1,2,3 pass with the cards our friend Pem brought. It’s one of the noisiest card games I know but it was already late morning so we didn’t care Haha!

Soon, we were bade goodbye by Ms. Elvie and asked us to come back again. (We definitely would!)

They have a cheap and neat hotel plus they have the friendliest staff!

Location – 5/5 (just off the main road by a few short blocks)

Cost – 5/5

Service – 4/5 (because of the 12mn “curfew” XD)

Cleanliness – 5/5

Hospitality – 5/5

Just like how I read on several reviews over the internet.

Anyway, around 12nn, we checked ourselves out and headed to Leslie’s Pizza, that Michelle also suggested.

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The place was huge, but had so many people eating as well. It seems to be one famous restaurant for tourists and natives. We ordered Bulalo Original that costs roughly 600, and Beef Tips that costs 400, both good for 3-4 people each. Behind Leslie’s was the awesome view of Taal Lake. We took the opportunity to take photos, of course, since their food were served with a waiting time of 45-minutes to an hour.

and of course, what is outing without a bunch of photos?

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The food tasted awesome. We were actually joking how the Bulalo in Leslie’s was the actual Bulalo (it was big, okay? and had lots of meat and stuff XD), and the one we had at half the price yesterday (which BTW, was only less the size of a fist) was a bowl of joke. The sizzling beef tips were also great, disregarding the beef swimming in a pool of oil.

A group of people who were affiliated with the restaurant were also singing to tables which I believe, hoped for tips that everyone was kind of obligated to give. They went to us but sadly, we do not have that much extra cash that would be a decent amount to offer to a group of 5 people in their late 50’s and 60’s. They sang good though.. ish.

Around 2pm, we finished our lunch and decided to just go home during the night to avoid the traffic. So we felt we should visit Sky Ranch. Entrance fee was 80php on weekdays and 100php for weekends and holidays. We decided not to go anymore as their were a lot of people, and we were planning to leave around 5pm. I had the chance to take the photo of the famous ferris wheel at least. 150php for this ride, BTW, while other rides costs 50php and 100php.

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After thinking about the best possible way to maximize the time we had left, we decided to go to the Starbuck’s that had a nice view (Sorry I don’t know the street or branch name XDD) Sadly, we were stuck in traffic for around 2 hours more :/ Upon reaching at 4pm, we didn’t expect to have vacant seats to occupy, but were glad we were able to find one good spot. Though it took us over 30 minutes to have our orders done due to the long line.

Here’s to another significant selfie, our last one.

BTW, the guy at the back is our friend, Benok. Don’t mistake him as a Starbucks crew despite the similarities of their tops! LOL. Around 6pm, we left Starbucks to find our way home, but stopping by Colette’s pasalubongs first. We took a 10php/head tricycle ride to the terminal, hoping we find Colette’s there.

For some reason, everyone wanted Colette’s despite the fact we were offered Espasol and “Special Buko Pies” by some natives of almost half the price of Colette’s (100php). Trying their best to convince us that they were selling newly cooked ones as they followed our journey into finding the lost Colette store. That’s when we realized that there are people actually more annoying than “open-minded-ka-ba-sa-business-networking-phrases.” No offense networkers! LOL.

After a slightly long walk, we found one! Yay! I bought 2 boxes of Buko Pie (190 per box) and an assorted boat tart that costs 95php. Then we strolled back to the terminal to ride the buses that says LRT-Buendia.

Jaysel and I had to stop over in a nearby McDonalds because we had to pee ourselves 😄 We don’t want to make a mess in the bus do we?

A line of buses were waiting for passengers, and all the conductors had their own way of sales-talking us to ride. One of them even offered us a 1 person discount just so he’ll have passengers on his route to Metro Manila. LOL. With the conductors shouting and inviting us were natives who offered us pasalubong treats altogether. It was a mess Haha! Soon, we all rode the first bus in line who we thought had no more sitting capacity at first.

I thought we were having a sleepy bus ride, but most of us were awake. Me and Armen, my bus-mate, lol, had exchange of stories till we realized we were already in Manila. It only took us around 2 hours back to Buendia. With our stomachs empty, we stopped by Jollibee for dinner before we separated ways when some took the bus, and me the jeepney.

It was one awesome heaven sent experience despite the tough commute rides we had to encounter. Jaysel even had to take a leave to be with us but she surely doesn’t regret it. I do hope these outings would come in a longer and more frequent duration and our whole friendship circle complete next time. Totally worth it despite having to spend 2500 for the whole thing. 😄

BTW, I named the title Colette Backpackers because we had to walk a good kilometer to get to Colette’s and back to the Manila-bound buses stop Haha!

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