A Lazy Sunday Feeling | Josephine’s, Taal Vista Hotel, and Starbucks Tagaytay-Calamba

What’s a good relief for a burdened heart?

That was the question in my head for a couple of days. I could not stay in a rut. I’ve cried it out. I’ve raged. I’ve written. I’ve danced. I need something new. That’s why when Pam said that we’d do something new, my heart saw hope. This may help me.

Travel to Somewhere New

Just so you know, the plans for the trip started as one of those innocent “pass the link” things that Pam and I do. Two weeks ago, I sent her an article about the supposedly most beautiful Starbucks branch in the Philippines followed by a different article about the largest branch of Starbucks. She has been to neither. So have I. I thought nothing of it. Then a couple of days later, she asked me if I was available the next Thursday for a trip with her and the boyfriend Kei. I said yes without knowing that it would be instrumental to my healing.

Fast forward to Thursday morning, I met the couple at a mall then headed straight for a bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas. I think we individually paid something less than Php 90.00 for a trip from Pasay City to Olivarez, Tagaytay.

The couple said that they haven’t gone on a road trip in a long while. Kei was tired of seeing just malls and Pam could use a break from the office. Meanwhile, I just wanted to be as far away from the city as possible.

While not one of us had a definite idea of where we were headed, I guess that made it all the more appealing.

Sing Along to Love Songs

The bus separated me from the couple.

Except for the seats at the back, all the seats were paired. So they automatically sat together. For the first few moments, the three of us talked. I noticed we passed by an LRT train depot. By the time we neared the Bacoor, Cavite area, we grew silent. At least, they grew silent.

I, on the other hand, was far from quiet. I was thankful that the bus engine had a gentle roar that flew above my terrible singing. Rows of houses and malls were not inspiring me to croon but I read somewhere that it was therapeutic for situations like mine. It wouldn’t hurt to try. Somehow, with each song I started and finished, I began to feel better. Too bad about the girl who sat next to me and—after being subjected to such cruel and unusual punishment—transferred to another seat for the sake of her sanity. I completely understood her. I would do that too but I’m stuck with this voice.

Eat Great Food at Beautiful Restaurant

We alighted at Olivarez and relieved ourselves at the nearby KFC.

Fun fact: according to Kei, restaurants at Cavite and Laguna are required by law to have breastfeeding stations. I would’ve taken a photo but there was no place to do it. The second floor was quite packed.

One jeep ride afterwards, we found ourselves at Josephine’s. The first two things that greeted us was a sorbetes cart and a puto bumbong station—both of which I forgot to take a photo of on the call of hunger. It was already past noon when arrived.

Fortunately, we were seated right away though not in the area that we wanted. We expected that because it was a peak hour and the hot seats of the house were those that had a good view of the lake. And those go fast.

We didn’t have to wait long for our food though.

The couple ordered Seafood Paella and Sizzling Gambas. Though I’ve caught a whiff of shrimp many times, it still smelled foreign to me. Pam and Kei looked like they were enjoying themselves and I heard no complaints so I guess that the entrees were good. Pam’s Cranberry Juice and Kei’s Four Seasons looked beautiful and received no rants.

Pam and Kei also ordered Half of a Fried Chicken so I’d have more stuff to eat other than the Beef Kaldereta I ordered. The chicken was okay but the fries were less than that. Maybe it was too dry of the day that it affected them? I do not know. The Kaldereta was good. Huge chunks of tenderness that easily tore away with the fork or the teeth. Personally, it would’ve been better if the spice level was two notches higher but I could do with it, despite the absence of potatoes.

I was the only one who had dessert there. The Leche Flan punctuated the meal with a period than with an exclamation mark. I wish I had gone with one of the cakes.

Once we paid, we wandered around the place and took photos of the sights. We also discovered their buffet, which in retrospect was a better choice. We could’ve eaten a whole lot more and paid a lot less. So that was the lesson that we learned that day.

Sometime later, we also learned that—to reach the “most beautiful” Starbucks branch—we’d have to get on a vehicle going there. Sadly, there aren’t that many. If we waited, it may take us far too long there. So goodbye to #StarbucksHoppers.

Have Amazing Desserts

After a quick stop at Summit Ridge, which was just across the highway, we walked past Sky Ranch and then on to Taal Vista Hotel.

The three of us ordered cakes. Pam had Strawberry Cheesecake, Kei the Mango Tango, and I the Chocolate Caramel Gouache. The similarities that the three slices had: fair amount of sweetness that made you want to have more and a solid and compact built—like a good forkful can never jiggle any of them. Pam’s sole objection was that there were only two strawberries and not enough sauce.

Chilling at the hotel gave us a lazy Sunday feeling, though we were days away from it.

Kei would’ve paid the serenading duo that roamed the lobby if they could sing Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” but they never even came close to our table. Guess they sensed the challenge from us and stayed clear of it.

Get a Vantage Point of a Spectacular View

The closer we got to the edge of terrace, the more impressive the sight was. I’d say more but I just can’t. Pardon the terrible photos. I cannot do justice to the beauty.

Hang Out with Friends

From the hotel, we took a jeep back to Olivarez then a tricycle to Starbucks on the Tagaytay-Calamba Road. I asked the driver if tricycles do wait outside the café and he said that they do until it closes. That was one less thing to worry about.

The second we reached the edge of the road where it was, I had a better appreciation for the death-defying driveway that they have. I hopped down the steps towards the store. Initially, we scouted the spots of the area. We went down two floors then found the fireplace. Then we went back to the cashier to order our drinks.

Guess I drank my Mango Passion Fruit Juice way too fast that I visibly suffered from brain freeze. So I rolled the tip of my tongue as far back as possible and let it cover the roof my mouth. That gave me relief.

Our conversation was interrupted only once and that was when three guys arrived and parked their Ducati bikes right outside. Those were sweet wheels!

By 6PM, we decided to leave. We took one more round of the place then returned to Olivarez.

Share Your Heart

We took a bus back to the metro. This time the trip was a deal shorter: earlier that day, it took us more than two hours to get to Cavite while the ride back was just a little of over an hour.

During the whole ride, we talked about our relationships with lovers and friends. We shared why some things worked and why some did not. One of us decided to do something for a best friend and the thing is—in a word—daunting. So the other two gave counsel, warning, and encouragement. Time will tell if the decision is right.

Back in the metro, we would have reached the LRT much earlier but the driver raged on EDSA that we missed our stop. The good thing about that, we alighted in front of Jollibee, where we relieved ourselves. Then we walked all the way back to the train station.

That concluded twelve hours of fun for us and a day of relief for my heart.

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