Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I found myself on a bus headed for Tagaytay City one fine morning. Unplanned and unprepared for this "balikan" trip, I nevertheless expected to be treated with the splendid scenery I was about to see again. The main tourist treat of Tagaytay is the captivating panoramic view of the natural beauty of Taal Volcano, (minus the eyesore that is the Korean spa) the smallest volcano in the world. Taal Lake is home to two delectable rare species of fish, the maliputo and the tawilis. In spite of the nearness to Metro Manila, Tagaytay has a unique rustic atmosphere and an invigorating cool climate. This is perhaps why many tourists do not only want to visit the place, but opt to hold seminars, conferences and retreats in the city. Complementing the natural endowment are several tourist establishments.

Legend has it that the word "Tagaytay" came from Taga meaning "to cut" and Itay which means "Father." One day, a father and a son were said to be on a wild boar hunt when the animal they were chasing turned towards them and attacked them. As the boar headed for the old man, the son cried, "Taga, Itay!" The lad's repeated shouts echoed in the valleys of the ridge. Heard the by local inhabitants, hunters and wood gatherers, the cries became the subject of conversation for several days amongst the people in the countryside. In time, the place where the shouts came from became known as Tagaytay.

During the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the ridges and forests of Tagaytay became the sanctuary for revolutionaries, including for those from nearby provinces. The passage to and from towns via Tagaytay added the word Mananagaytay. To the native's vocabulary, it means "to traverse ridges." At the outbreak of the 2nd World War, the 11th Airborne Division of Lt. Gen. William Krueger's 8th Army airdropped military supplies and personnel on the Tagaytay Ridge prior to the liberation of Manila from the Japanese. A marker was thus installed in 1951 at the junction of the Manila-Canlubang-Nasugbu Roads by city officials in coordination with the National Historical Institute (NHI). Tagaytay became a chartered city on June 21, 1938 when President Manuel L. Quezon signed Commonwealth Act No. 338, a bill authored by then Rep. Justiniano Montano of Cavite.

Even before I had savored enough the impromptu road trip, it was already time to return home, with the self-promise that I shall be back soon, this time prepared with a notebook, a pencil and a camera.

(In memory of my good friend, the late Dr. Edgar "Doki" Laurena)

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