Sonya’s Garden near Tagaytay

Leave a comment

 

At the onset, I say that Sonya’s Garden is near Tagaytay. Most people would think it is part of Tagaytay even as it is located in nearby Alfonso. What the heck, it is a prime Tagaytay destination !

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 017

 

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 016

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 020

I started going to Sonya’s when it was nothing but a small structure with about 4 or 5 tables plus 2 or 3 tables on the loft. Guests then had to make a prior reservation, and one is actually privileged to secure a number to call from someone who has been there. In one of my earlier lunches, Sonya’s Garden had to (politely) decline a top matinee idol who came without prior reservation and, obviously, can not be given a table.  From that quaint set-up many moons ago, Sonya’s has become a complete destination, and can now house guests in their bed & breakfast.

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 024

How did this place become hugely popular? I learned that in the beginning,  friends would have themselves invited by the gracious Sonya who served them delicious, healthy lunch. They came rather often that they started offering to pay for the food they ate as they did not want their friend/hostess to be bothered with her time and actually spend for the bother. Until these friends started bringing their friends, paying for their lunch. Thus, the business was born.

People go there for the salad

People go there for the salad

Again, in one of my earlier trips, a group of movie scribes were seated on the next table, together with a major actress then at the peak of her career. Apparently they came from a shoot. I chuckled (trying to hide this reaction) when I heard the movie scribes say “ayyy, puro damo naman pagkain dito, sana nag bulalo na lang tayo”. Indeed, the main draw of the place is their garden salad and Sonya’s secret dressing. Guests garnish the greens with fresh fruits like papaya, chico, langka, and other fruits in season. Plus shredded boiled eggs, olives, capers, and parmesan cheese. After the salad comes bread with dips of sun-dried tomato, pesto, anchovies, etc. The main course is pasta. Fresh dalandan juice is overflowing. Desserts include turon or camote. All these for something like P650 per person.

Main course is pasta

Main course is pasta

10898089_759556444097684_6024683554624207731_n

From its humble beginnings, Sonya’s guests are now directed to one of its many pavilions, each one actually a garden. On some days, I have seen two wedding receptions being held simultaneously. And I have also seen busloads of visitors. Even the parking area has more than quadrupled from the first time I set foot in this beautiful garden.

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 012

 

Today, they also have a Panaderia (bakery), a country store (where I buy my supply of Sonya’s secret salad dressing and some home accents), a spa, and a bed & breakfast.

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 025

 

 

On a recent visit, Sonya herself toured me around the B&B.

Sonya’s B&B is one of a kind. It will make the guests feel like they are in an affluent provincial setting. A group of friends can actually occupy a house and assign themselves to the rooms and beds. And converse in its living room. And be amused when they shower in the very unique toilet/shower set-ups, with stones as floor cover. Indeed, everything is unique and the experience will be something friends will talk about for a long time. See for yourself.

 

one of the B&B facilities at Sonya's Garden

one of the B&B facilities at Sonya’s Garden

 

Come in! One of the B&B accommodations

Come in! One of the B&B accommodations

 

the living room of one of the houses at Sonya's B&B

the living room of one of the houses at Sonya’s B&B

 

view from the second floor

view from the second floor

iPhone 5S 538

iPhone 5S 539

 

iPhone 5S 543

iPhone 5S 547

the bathroom, with stones on your feet

the bathroom, with stones on your feet

see the bathroom at the left end of this photo

see the bathroom at the left end of this photo

iPhone 5S 553

 

I am writing about this amazing place without any favors. I have paid for all my lunches and dinners on all my visits to Sonya’s. Probably why she decided to give me this tour.

Calaguas Nagaland Nov 1 2013 023

How much does it cost to stay at Sonya’s B&B? P3,000 per person on weekdays, P3,400 on weekends and holidays, P5,000 for single occupancy. These rates include early dinner or lunch, with breakfast. The B&B has 14 cottages and 18 rooms.

How do you get there? From Tagaytay, drive south past Mendez and on to Alfonso. When you see Tagaytay Royale Estates on your right, immediately turn right on the next road which is called Buck Estate. About 2 kilometers onward and you will see the Sonya’s sign.

Or you can call to book: 09175335140, 09175291080, 09175161080

Visit their website : http://www.sonyasgarden.com

Bahay Pastulan @ Good Shepherd Tagaytay

Leave a comment

Many years ago, I discovered that I didn’t have to travel to Baguio to buy the famous ube jam that people queue for. There was a Good Shepherd Convent in what was then a rather obscure spot in Tagaytay.  Last year, I saw a structure being constructed and, when it was finished and landscaped, there stood an imposing Bahay Pastulan, the store where all the goodies made by the nuns and the poor families they employ to earn a decent living are being sold. I decided to check it out.

an imposing presence on your right, driving twards the main Tagaytay road

an imposing presence on your right, driving twards the main Tagaytay road

Bahay Pastulan is along the Sta Rosa – Tagaytay Road. It will be easy to spot as soon as one gets to Tagaytay – – it is something you will not miss on your right side, way before getting to the first Tagaytay traffic light.

 

 

this signage was photographed from Bahay Pastulan. Travelers won't miss the other side of this signage when traversing the road from Sta Rosa to Tagaytay.

this signage was photographed from Bahay Pastulan. Travelers won’t miss the other side of this signage when traversing the road from Sta Rosa to Tagaytay.

 

the set-up is the same as in Good Shepherd Baguio Orderly placing of orders, paying, and claiming of goods.

the set-up is the same as in Good Shepherd Baguio Orderly placing of orders, paying, and claiming of goods.

 

What can one buy at Pastulan? Everything, it seems. Ube jam, polvoron, lengua de gato, angel cookies, alfajor, choco crinkles, snowballs, choco flakes, cashew brittle, oatmeal raisin chews, and peanut brittle.

Also gourmet tuyo, tawilis, crsipi pili, guyabano candy, sampaloc, tableya tsokolate, spicy pusit, and dulong. Yummy.

iPhone 5S 253 (2) iPhone 5S 253 iPhone 5S 254

 

And to complete the “buy here what you are looking for in Baguio, this – – – –

iPhone 5S 250

 

In the refrigerated section, one finds even more temptations (especially for a diabetic like me) : tarts, leche flan, ube jams, spreadable bukayo, suman sa lihiya, chuchipan, and the healthy veggie salad.iPhone 5S 257

 

My favorite spot at Bahay Pastulan is the Take Out Area. I actually have my meals there, on what looks like cocktail tables that let you enjoy the scenery as you gorge on your food. Here, I have sampled their fresh lumpia ubod, fried lumpia, ube-langka turon, empanada, bibingka, arroz caldo, goto, coffee, halo halo, and fruit shakes. Always bringing home some.

iPhone 5S 245

iPhone 5S 244iPhone 5S 244 (2)

iPhone 5S 246

 

Bahay Pastulan also sells fresh produce, lettuces, herbs,  and fruits in a stall at the back, in the parking area.

iPhone 5S 258

 

iPhone 5S 260

 

 

Bahay Pastualan is a part of the SMEIDFI (St. Mary Euphrasia Integrated Development Foundation, Inc) whose mission is to help provide livelihood for the poor while nurturing their souls.

iPhone 5S 243

 

Consistent with this vision, mission and values, one can also buy  articles like rosaries, scapulars and religious images.

iPhone 5S 248

 

Come to Bahay Pastulan the next time you drive to Tagaytay. It is way nearer than Baguio. And it is a more pleasant queue. Open everyday from 730am to 6pm.

iPhone 5S 242

iPhone 5S 255