Forget great food, forget nature therapy. Admit it or not, sometimes, we’re just after the good ole’ Instagrammable quality of places. But hold up, it’s not 2015 anymore and a simple brick wall won’t do the trick any longer. Instagram friendly places is all about novelty! Everyone’s tired of the latte shots, people are over mason jars, and no one really cares for the flat lay of your lunch that are most definitely cold by the time you eat it. Instagram 2k18 is all about novelty AND creativity.
Tagaytay is an easy weekend destination simply because of the views and the food, and because I lived here long enough, I know the best places and I know what’s good for the gram. Not your usual Balay Dako and Starbucks filled Tagaytay “best kept secret” wannabe listicle, because I’m including places that are so damn common and may even seem too plain that you wouldn’t even think of photographing it. But with a creative mind and soul, your next post just might get all the likes rolling in. For added bonus, I’m adding tips on how to nail the shot!
This list will continue to grow as I continue to find the best spots. Last updated: March 2019.
1.) Escala Tagaytay
Is it Bali? Is it Greece? Is it SoCal? Nope, it’s Escala. Infinity pool overlooking Taal Lake? Better yet, infinity pool overlooking a VOLCANO?! We’ve got a winner. Escala Hotel is a new-ish hotel that not only boasts of their world class customer service and amazing food, but their pool, which is originally built to serve as a “decoration” is one of its signature highlights. Definitely for the gram, you wouldn’t wanna miss a shot here even if it’s freezing cold in January. (READ: I Found The Most Beautiful and Most Photogenic Place in Tagaytay: Escala)
Instagram Tip:Go ahead, don’t be shy, let the basic bitch out and bring your floatie. A little Unicorn love ain’t neva hurt nobody.
2.) The Gingerbread House
Ever wished it was Christmas all year long? SAY NO MORE. At The Gingerbread House, you can add a little Christmas vibe on your feed even in the middle of July. The Gingerbread House shaped restaurant itself is one thing, but plenty other corners are so worth the shot. A giant teddy bear, a cute little dollhouse… it’s such a cute restaurant so make sure you make room for 28384848 photos!
Instagram Tip:Don’t just focus on the actual Gingerbread House. Go around this huge property to find other IG-able spots for funsies. My favorite is the giant teddy bear!
3.) One of the many pineapple fields
I mean, there’s quite a few already literally steps away from where I live, but you’ll find some open fields mostly away from the main highway. Go around Mendez and you’ll be able to find some good ones. Be careful though as trespassing is risky business. But when you find one, seriously, it’s so cool and kinda amazing to see how the most famous fruit of Instagram grows (I’m guessing other contenders are avocados?).
Instagram Tip:Cute summery outfits rock! Give yourself a bit of an aloha vibe with bright colors. But if not, no worries, it’ll still look great. And NO, I will not reveal where I live.
4.) Mahogany Market
Filipino markets are usually not the prettiest. But with a little bit of creativity, you can capture them beautifully in its most authentic form. Apparently, fruit stalls are very grammable now thanks to GypseaLust and the gang, and Mahogany Market definitely has a charm of its own. But I mean who goes to the market just to take pictures? Sheeeeesh buy some fruits and load up on vitamin C! Tagaytay is known for the freshest pineapples!
Instagram Tip:Find the stalls with the most colorful fruits to make a standout shot. The more colorful and more exotic, the better! Hanging fruits are very IG approved too.
5.) People’s Park In The Sky
Whether you’re a fan of abandoned buildings or not, Palace in the Sky or People’s Park In The Sky is quite an iconic stop especially if you’re a first timer here. But to be quite honest, this little dilapidated building actually has the best view of Taal Lake. So you’ve got some eerie vibes in one corner from the unfinished construction of the building, and then you’ve got a sick view of Taal on the other. Sounds like a double win. (READ: Tagaytay’s Forgotten Palace In The Sky)
Instagram Tip:They’ve got snakes and parrots, sometimes a baby crocodile, available for a little photo sesh all for a dollar each. I’m not the biggest supporter of animal tourism for the sake of the gram so do this at your own will. In my defense, I am really enthralled by pythons and I like petting them and holding them whenever I get the chance, so a shot or two while doing it made me feel a little less guilty.
6.) The flower market
Just along the road at Tagaytay Public Market (different from Mahogany Market) lies a strip of flower stalls that seeks extremely cheap flowers of different kinds. Like, really cheap– $5 for a BIG BAG for rose petals? $5 for a dozen of fresh roses? Or a couple of sunflowers? Or lilies? I’m crazy about it and this place is actually one of my favorites in Tagaytay. And let’s be real, flowers are always photogenic. A little pose here and there and voila– money shot!
Instagram Tip:How about actually buy some and support the local vendors? But really, you can use those flowers for many other photo opportunities, like, say a flower bath if you have a tub?
FFS, Dencio’s really? Yes, really. Not only do they have a pretty good view of Taal, but they’ve got a cute swing that separates them from the 30 other restaurants next to it. Plus, Dencio’s always have GOOOOOD sisig.
Instagram Tip:Two words– GOLDEN HOUR.
UPDATE: There is no more Dencio’s and my heart is broken. It was replaced with another restaurant. Not sure if the swing is still there.
8.) Red Bus
Red Bus actually has decent burgers I can get down with (just the burgers though, everything else on the menu aren’t worth even talking about), but they also have a pretty cool vintage Volkswagen van that adds a twist to the usual food truck vibes. The aesthetics can definitely be worked on, but the backdrop will do. (READ: Where To Eat: A Non-Basic Foodie Guide To Tagaytay’s Best Lesser Known Restaurants)
Instagram Tip:Red Bus is located next to Dreamland Cafe, which can be utilized for fun shots too, but it can get pretty crowded in there. I didn’t include it in the list because it lacks authenticity in a way that it pretty much looks like a mainstream version of a hippie cafe on crack.
9.) Tabby Town Cat Cafe
Lets start off with the fact that this cafe is painted in millennial pink so how much more instagrammable could it get? But whether you’re a crazy cat person or not, there are 20 majestic felines residing here that are beautiful AF and might even outshine you on instagram. That is of course if you can persuade them to pose for the camera. But if you’re a gifted cat whisperer or just pretty much gifted at Instagram, do your thang. (READ: 10 Reasons Why You Need To Go To A Cat Cafe ASAP)
Instagram Tip:Hate cats? They are opening a Corgi Cafe right on the same building! That’s two animal cafes in one!
10.) The coconut stalls along the road
Ok maybe I was wrong. Maybe pineapple isn’t the most famous fruit on Instagram. It might just be coconut. Everyone wants a photo with it because unlike pineapples, coconuts are actually a lot more tropical and exotic in a way that you can’t find one sitting at an Albertson’s on a Wednesday. Now coconut shots work best at the beach, but a shot with LOTS of coconuts at a random fruit stall on the side of the road? Even more exotic. Work that magic.
Instagram Tip:The colors of coconuts can be a bit dull, so do the opposite of what I did here and where something bright to stand out. In my defense, this was a genuine random shot. I can do that cause hey, I live here.
11.) Raffi’s Way
It’s places like Raffi’s Way that reminds you why it’s great to have a lot of friends simply because you definitely can not afford to rent this on your own. You wouldn’t want to anyway because this house is huge and it’s meant to be shared with a big group. Raffi’s Way makes the perfect house party, but it makes an even better IG location. Almost every corner is so IG-able in a minimalist mansion kind of way. Plus you’ve got a great background of the mountains surrounding Taal Lake, what’s not to love.
Instagram Tip:Treat yourself to a fancy bath (shoot). Stop by the flower market and buy some rose petals (250 for a big bag) and sprinkle all of that obnoxiously in the tub for your wannabe Balinese flower bath.
12.) Ayala Serin Mall
It’s your basic outdoor Ayala mall, but there’s a cute little corner here that I love. Lucinda, a vintage home decor store and a flower shop next to it are painted in the cutest IG-able colors that you wouldn’t be able to refuse a snap or two. You’ll get people wondering where the hell in Tagaytay is that?!
Instagram Tip:When taking a wall shot, don’t stand too close to the wall. Angle your shot by standing a little further away to get a better framing and composition.
13.) Balite Falls (Amadeo)
It may not exactly be Tagaytay, but it’s close enough. Just 30-40 minutes away from Tagaytay (even faster if you’re driving), this local gem is quite a nice refreshing detour. It’s a small waterfall but if you scout good enough, you can definitely make use of the surrounding. Like the natural outdoor shower or pool. Work your magic. (READ: Just A Waterfall Away)
Instagram Tip:This is now a privately owned resort so it has lost its raw authentic vibes especially it gets pretty crowded on the weekends (yuck). But still, it’s a great place to chill (aka shoot) especially if it’s during the weekday when there’s no one around.
14.) The botanical stalls by the rotunda
I’ll keep this sweet and short. Just like the flower market stalls, the plants they sell here makes amazing Instagram props too!
Instagram Tip:It’s most especially super Instagrammable during Pointsettia season in December.
15.) Taal Volcano (duh)
It’s like the heart of Tagaytay. And although it’s not even located in Tagaytay, you might as well plan to hike it. The hike is short at 30-40 minutes, and you’ll be rewarded with a pretty awesome view of the crater. If you hike early enough, the heat shouldn’t be that bad. (READ: Hiking The World’s Smallest Active Volcano)
Instagram Tip:Don’t forget to head over to the lava rocks for a different perspective. The pinkish lava rocks are actually quite pretty to photograph.
16.) Kookay’s Food House
Whether you’re 30, or 7, you’ll find Kookay’s such a fun little place reminiscent of your childhood. With pink overload and unicorn madness, it’s hard not to wanna bust out the camera and take about a hundred photos. The menu is also filled with very IG-able dishes, from rainbow waffles and rainbow spaghettis, to super Unicorn oriented milkshakes. Is it gimmicky, yes, but we all love a good Unicorn hype! It’s like unicorns vomited rainbow dusts and magic!
Instagram Tip: They rent out cute onesies which perfectly matches the vibes here! Or you can just come in in your favorite Unicorn friendly attire!
17.) Rustic Little Chapel
I honestly don’t even know the name of the chapel, but on your way back to Santa Rosa after passing by the public market, keep an eye out for a small, very humble chapel on the left side of the road. It’s nothing special, really, but I love how rustic it is, topped with a little graphic design of a friar. Pretty cool, really. I love grandiose churches, temples, or mosques, but there’s always something refreshing about a place of worship that has zero pretenses. Plus, it really makes a cool Instagram shot!
Instagram Tip: It’s a fully operational chapel, so if you want to photograph this empty and clear, it’s better to avoid Sundays. This was taken on a Tuesday morning, around 6:30. But I think it’ll look even more charming with local church goers.
18.) Mr. Kimchi Tagaytay
What’s better than a restaurant with good food? Make it instagrammable too and it makes it on the list! Mr. Kimchi is my favorite unlimited samgyeupsal restaurant in this little city, but what also makes it the best is their amazing location, giving a spectacular panorama of Taal Lake. I haven’t had a full on photoshoot sesh here, but next time I indulge on some bomb kbbq, I might just set up a little Instagram shoot here! (READ: Mr. Kimchi, The Best Korean BBQ in Tagaytay Offers Unlimited Samgyeupsal)
19.) Memory Lane
It’s a cute little restaurant built like a vintage doll house and it’s filled with the cutest memorabilia and trinkets. It’s literally like stepping back in time. Each corner is filled with cute Instagram potential, from the house itself which is painted in blue, to the dining area that gives out a really sweet, charming, nostalgic vibe. The food sucks, but it’s a cute place. Just get a soda and take some pictures and call it a day.
20.) This cute little pineapple field with a red shed
I’ve been wanting to photograph this spot for over a year now, and I don’t know why I waited until now to do it. I finally did, put on some highly contrasting outfit, waited until golden hour, and decided to walk along the field. The great news is that this field has a pathway so you don’t have to struggle with the prickly thorns. But of course, I bring my baby boy for some cute mom and baby shots, and he just wasn’t having it. I was able to take a few shots, but I barely even made it to the shed!
Instagram Tip: A little past Mahogany Market, make a right and keep going straight until you see this field on your right side. Wear red or orange to give your photo a pop!
P I N Me!