There will surely come a time when you’d feel that travel itch but you ain’t got much time and all you got is just the weekend. One favorite destination for a quick and cheap getaway is Tagaytay. Me and the fam often go there to feel the chill and sip some hot bulalo and then do some weekend marketing at the Mahogany market. Honestly, I’ve never tried staying overnight in Tagaytay up until me and some friends got an invite to a relatively new backpacker’s inn near the city.
The group merged at the Coastal Mall in Pasay City where the Tagaytay-bound busses are located. The fare shouldn’t be more than 100 pesos for an aircon bus and depending on the traffic, you’d be in Tagaytay in 1 ½ to 3 hours.
D-Zone Backpacker’s Inn Tagaytay is located in Barangay Buho in Silang, Cavite. We kept on telling the bus conductor that we needed to alight in “Buho”. Apparently, it’s a regular bus stop for Tagaytay-bound busses so you need not worry about missing the inn. The inn is located along the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway and commuting to and fro Tagaytay City is easy for there are numerous jeepneys right outside the inn.
|soothing green shade|
We were welcomed by the very young owner of the D-Zone Backpacker’s Inn. With his casual shorts and shirt get-up (very mid 20s), he toured us around the 4-storey building while he was talking about the beginnings of the inn.
There are different rooms that really fit the needs of any traveller. There are Dorm-type rooms that can fit up to 4 persons (Non AC – 1,200 pesos/AC – 1,600 pesos). The Standard Non-AC room for 2 persons is at 1,000 pesos (double-sized bed with TV). The De Luxe Aircon room for 2 persons is at 1, 800 pesos (queen-sized bed with TV). All of those rooms are not furnished with en suite toilet and bathrooms. The Superior Aircon room for 2 persons at 2,000 pesos (Queen-sized bed with TV) is the only room with an en suite toilet and bath.
|De Luxe AC room with TV - 1,800 pesos|
|Dorm-type AC room - 1,600 pesos|
The group occupied two aircon Dorm rooms and we usually stayed on one room for chitchatting that went on for hours. We never felt out of the loop on what’s happening because the inn has strong and free wi-fi connection that we all took advantage of.
We didn’t notice that it was past lunch time until we heard our stomachs grumbled. We then went to the Mahogany market for the best Bulalo in Tagaytay City. I’ve been there before and believe me, it’s THE best.
Fronting the very clean Mahogany market are carinderia stalls that serve Pinoy staples and some local favorites. But I’m sure, everyone really wants to get a sip on that very sinful Bulalo soup (bone marrow stew) alongside the very chilly weather.
I went once to Lyleth’s / Betty’s Eatery and professed to everyone that it serves the best Bulalo and houses the best staff ever. It felt home the first time so when I went back with my friends, the staff greeted me like I was regularly visiting their eatery. I said hi to everyone and gabbled for a while.
As if I was hosting the lunch, I asked everyone to let me pick the dishes. I ordered Bulalo which is good for 3-4 persons (350 pesos, they also serve Beef Nilaga sans the bone marrow for 200 pesos), Crispy Tawilis (100 pesos/order) and Batangas Goto (100 pesos). We also got some complimentary order of Crispy Tawilis and some fresh pineapples. The staple senyorita bananas were also in the core of the long table.
And just before everyone digs in, I reminded them that they were about to experience the best Bulalo in Tagaytay. And they did! They all loved it to the bones. The soup was refilled for free a couple of times and it didn’t fail to amaze everyone as they shook their heads in admiration on this very yummy soup. And the beef was so tender that it literally breaks into your mouth effortlessly. You should try this Bulalo in Lyleth’s/Betty’s Eatery for yourself. Please.
|the BEST Bulalo - 350 pesos|
|Nilagang Baka (with complimentary bone marrow) - 200 pesos|
The Crispy Tawilis, on the other hand, was really crunchy. It doesn’t have that dilis taste and feel to it. The freshness of the dried fish can be felt with your every munch. Some loved the tiny ones while others adored the bigger ones. As for me, I both liked it. But what was remarkable for me was the special concoction of their sauce. It’s a mix of (and I’m just guessing) local vinegar, sugar and some other spices. It blended perfectly with the crispiness of the Tawilis. Perfect for pulutan.
|Crispy Tawilis (big) - 100 pesos|
|Crispy Tawilis (small) - 100 pesos|
The Batangas Goto is a different story. We were only curious on what was different on their goto so we tried it. And guess what? It was so different from a familiar “goto” that you wouldn’t consider it as one. It didn’t have some rice porridge or the lugaw. What’s left were the soup and the beef innards. The soup was very tasty and the innards were perfectly cooked. Chewy is non-existent here.
|Batangas Goto - 100 pesos|
And have I told you how I loved the Mahogany market? I love the freshly ground coffee (they will grind it in front of you after you picked your fave coffee beans), I fancy corn on cobs and I truly adore pinipigs. Those green flat rice grains, I super love that. I bought pinipig and munched on it right away. I saw the ingenuity of one of the staff with the pinipig so I also copied and tried it. I asked them to get me a hot coffee and then I dunked some of the pinipig in it and let it set for a while. It tasted like oatmeal with coffee as its base. It was nice.
|my fave - pinipig!|
My theory on the best Bulalo in Tagaytay is that the cool weather sets the mood for the cows to be in their best shape to produce such yummy beef. Or maybe not? Calling for contenders.
We went out for some drinks that night and I battled with the chill. I was freezing. But the unrestricted and infinite discussions kept me warm all night long, such a nice company to be with.
If there’s ONE thing that I’m afraid of or rather I detest so much, it is mushroom. If you wanna bring out the maarte side of me, show me some mushrooms or make me eat one. No one and nothing would ever succeed in letting me taste it. I dunno why but I really hate it that much. Eyebrows are usually raised when I'm reacting on this one.
So when I learned that the group wanted to try the Mushroomburger restaurant in Tagaytay, I was doomed. Especially when I learned that almost everything in their menu are made up of mushroom. And then someone exclaimed, “May chicken naman dun!”, a soothing relief.
|a chart on the poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms|
|I don't like 'em at all|
I already knew what to order when we got there. They had some burgers (patties were mushroom-based) and I had some fried chicken. The taste? The chicken was ok and according to them the burger was also just ok, nothing to rave about.
So there, our weekend almost focused on food, fun and laughter. More than the nice inn and food, it was the company that made everything great. Sometimes it’s really the person or group you’re with that makes everything remarkable, and hopefully this won’t be my last weekend getaway in Tagaytay.
Check Tagaytay City accommodations here
Check Tagaytay City accommodations here