4 January, 05:30-08:00
It was Mom’s birthday, and we started it by attending the earliest mass of the day. We were supposed to hear mass at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church right next to Ayala Malls Serin, but the church was still closed. We then decided to head over to the Pink Sisters Convent for their daily mass. Good thing we did, as there were also other families who went there for the first Friday masses (a Catholic tradition.)
The Pink Sisters (officially the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, suffix SSpSAP) take their name from the color of their habits, symbolizing joy. The Pink Sisters are known for their vow of silence and life of contemplative prayer. They were established by St. Arnold Janssen, the same priest behind the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) and Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters (SSpS). The latter distinguishes itself from the Pink Sisters through their blue habits (SSpS nuns are nicknamed “Blue Sisters”) and their missionary work.
People from all over frequent this convent in Tagaytay to write their prayers and intentions. However, the Pink Sisters also have a convent in New Manila – a stone’s throw away from the Divine Word Seminary along E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue.
After the mass, we went back to the hotel for its free buffet breakfast. This buffet breakfast comes free with every reservation, and we made sure to maximize it, so we won’t have to eat out as much. We then had some pictures at the nearby lounge before a short rest in our room.
4 January, 09:00-13:30
Our next destination for the day was at Caleruega in Nasugbu, Batangas. This property owned by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) hosts the eponymous church and retreat house University of Santo Tomas students go to. Most Thomasians would usually hold their weddings here, contributing to the place’s popularity as a venue for events and special occasions.
There is a minimal entrance fee for visitors which goes to maintaining the grounds. Do note of these two rules, however. Maintain silence so as not to disturb those undergoing their retreats, and do not go to areas closed off to the public.
We also visited the nearby Chapel on the Hill, operated by the Bosconian Fathers (Salesians of Don Bosco, suffix SDB). The chapel is located within the Don Bosco Center for Spirituality, another retreat center in the area – this time, handled by the Salesians. A short prayer at the chapel, then we returned to the hotel.
We were still full from the buffet breakfast hours earlier, so we decided to lounge around in our hotel room and take a nap.
4 January, 16:30-18:15
Our hotel reservation at Taal Vista came with complimentary passes for 4 to Sky Ranch. This amusement park is conveniently located right beside Taal Vista Hotel, with a gate connecting both the latter and the park. SM Prime Holdings built Sky Ranch in 2013, putting it right beside Taal Vista Hotel (which they acquired years prior.) The amusement park is home to the Sky Eye, a 62-meter Ferris wheel that provides a good view of the nearby environs.
My family isn’t into amusement rides, so we didn’t appreciate the various attractions that much. We even found some of the items sold there too overpriced. What we liked about the place, however, was the abundance of dining spots. We found a good place for Mom’s birthday dinner: Classic Savory.
Classic Savory is a restaurant that comes to mind when you mention food tripping in Binondo. From its origins in 1950 as a panciteria, it has expanded to over a hundred branches around the country. We had some of their best sellers: Long Life Pancit Canton, Savory Shanghai Rolls, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and the Half Classic Chicken.
4 January, 18:15-21:00
Our original post-dinner plan was to hang out at Casino Filipino and check out the live acts there. However, this didn’t push through as my younger brother was still 20 (the minimum age for admission is 21.) Instead, we just went to the nearby McDonalds for some coffee.
At around 8:00 in the evening, we decided to return to the hotel. The parents wanted to watch the live singers at the lobby, whilst we wanted to continue exploring the area. My younger brother and I went to 7-Eleven at Sky Ranch to buy mobile phone credits, and then we headed to Mushroomburger a few meters away.
As the name states, Mushroomburger is known for its hamburgers that include mushrooms either as an extender or the main ingredient. It used to have some branches in the metro – including one along Katipunan Avenue that has since closed. After that, I used to frequent the only remaining branch nearest me (along West Avenue). This main outlet in Tagaytay, then, is not to be missed.
I ordered the Mushroom Sisig platter, which came with the joint’s Mushroom Delight (mixed mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, and vegetables). My younger brother ordered the Regular Mushroomburger with Fries. We didn’t stay long at the place, returning to the hotel at around 9:00 in the evening. We called it a day at around 10:00 in the evening as we had to prepare for our return.
5 January (Check-out and departure)
We woke up at around 7:30 for the buffet breakfast, finishing at around 8:45. Afterwards, we took a final bath and packed up our things, finishing by around 10:00. Some final pictures of our room, and we checked out at around 11:45. The heavy breakfast helped as we didn’t need to stop by for lunch at any restaurant on the way home.
We left Tagaytay at around 12:30, arriving home three hours later.
And that concludes this two-part series; until the next post!