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!
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!
Is there a place in the world where the Christmas festivities continues on until at least the first week of January? It’s kinda hard to accept the fact that it’s over. I found this little cafe/restaurant nearby that is pretty much Christmas themed all year long. I mean come on, it is shaped like a Gingerbread house and it pretty much screams Christmas on crack. Meanwhile in the real world, Christmas season ends right before you know it and next thing you know, you’re back to anticipating. 😏Here are The Five Stages of Christmas to help you understand the overwhelming feeling and emotions you must have been experiencing. As told by a Christmas fanatic, ME. 🎅🏼 1️⃣ Excitement— pure anticipation for the festivities. Mariah Carey and Michael Bublè on repeat, decorating the tree is a major event, and all the right feels take over you. 🎄 2️⃣ Procrastination— that time between Black Friday until the morning of the 24th. 3️⃣ Survival— holiday madness begins. Families from out of town fly in, all the chores and every holiday must do’s that hasn’t been sorted out during Procrastination phase is all coming down at once. Unlimited wine necessary. 🍷 4️⃣ Relief— A general feeling of relief that the holiday is over and that you made it through the entire event alive. 🎁 5️⃣ Denial— Post-Christmas feels. How is it gone too soon? A semi-morose emotion takes over as you realize that you’ll have to wait another 364 days for the next time. This is where I’m at. 😏 . . . . #travelstoke #dametraveler #darlingescapes #tropicals #tropicaladdicted #blondesandcookies #lonelyplanet #beautifulmatters #girlunspotted #aroundtheworldpix #tropicalchristmas #liveoutdoors #liveauthentic #livefolk #nakedplanet #justgotbackfrom #wheninmanila #girlsborntotravel #christmasinspiration #eurotrip #londondaily #getoutstayout #holidaygoals #tropicalwayoflife #thetravelwomen #ladiesgoneglobal #sheisnotlost #wearetravelgirls #passionpassport #globelletravels
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?).
Tis’ the season of being flooded with inspirational-dare-to-dream-more-travel-more-say-yes-new-year-new-me posts flooding your social media. 🙋🏽♀️ … Before I go on, keep in mind that I do wanna say things like that so I can inspire you to jump on the wagon as we dream to live freely and to embrace more adventures in 2018. But, the thing is, that’s already who I am. I’ve been seizing the day in my young-wild-free and Peter Pan Syndrome disposition for as long as I know, and saying faux resolutions like that is like saying I wanna dye my hair darker. In Joey Tribbiani’s words, it’s a moo point. It’s like a cow’s opinion. It’s moo. 🐮 … So for 2018, I’m aiming for something different. I want to be kinder— to everyone, to the community, and to our environment. I wanna be nicer, have more patience, and to choose compassion as much as I choose adventure over everything else. I wanna use as little plastic as I can, to give more without expecting anything in return, and most importantly, I wanna minimize my daily eye roll limit. 🙄 … Tis’ the season of aiming for better us! May we continue to dream bigger and if we must compete, compete only with ourselves. Wishing you a wondrous end for 2017 and a kickass beginning for the new year. Cheers to making 2018 our little bitch! 🍾 … Already feeling stronger in my @stronger apparel. . . . . . . . . #wearetravelgirls #philippines #the_ph #ladiesgoneglobal #philippinestopphoto #travelstoke #livefolk #liveauthentic #liveoutdoor #girlunspotted #darlingescapes #globelletravels #itsmorefuninthephilippines #dametraveler #tropicals #tropicalbabes #citizenfemme #tropicalwayoflife #tropicaladdicted #sheisnotlost #womenwhoexplore #girlunspotted #tropicallife #blondesandcookies #livelocal #newyearnewme #islandlife #peoplescreatives #iamtb #tagaytay
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)
Not really sure what I’m trying to prove here, but I told you I’m a Slytherin. Getting my parsel tongue on with my new buddy. 🐍 I may look all tough here, but try putting a caterpillar or a spider in my hand and I swear I would die screaming. It happened. Check out my stories to meet my buddy Casper. . . . . . . . #wearetravelgirls #philippines #the_ph #ladiesgoneglobal #philippinestopphoto #travelstoke #livefolk #liveauthentic #liveoutdoor #girlunspotted #darlingescapes #globelletravels #itsmorefuninthephilippines #dametraveler #tropicals #tropicalbabes #citizenfemme #tropicalwayoflife #tropicaladdicted #sheisnotlost #womenwhoexplore #girlunspotted #tropicallife #blondesandcookies #livelocal #philippinesbeaches #islandlife #peoplescreatives #iamtb #beachtravel
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.
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)
They say you're either a cat or a dog. Many have agreed that my personality is definitely all cat 😽 What are you? Tell me right MEOW! 😺 ▪️ When I found out there's finally a cat cafe in town, it's imperative that I go asap. Thanks for having me @tabbytowncatcafe 📍Tagaytay, Philippines . 😻 ▪️ Disclaimer: I am forever and will always be a DOG person!
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.
All hail the buko queen 👸🏻 Buko (coconut) has got to be one of the best things about the tropics. Did you know that coconuts have a lot of benefits? Here's a few that you might not know; 🌴 🌴 Say goodbye to kidney stones! Coconut water has magical elements that helps prevent and get rid of kidney stones. Tested and proven when Derick was diagnosed with a small one earlier this year. Look for the ones with the "pink butt" and drink them religiously! 💦 🌴 Coconut oil is the holy grail you've been looking for. I use them as my makeup/dirt remover. It has many, many more uses, but that, I can vouch for. They also have properties that lightens scars and they can also prevent stretch marks! 🌴 There is simply nothing like curry cooked with fresh coconut milk. But there are also many other scrumptious dishes that you can make with it. Make sure you ask for Bicol Express when in the Philippines. 🍛 🌴 They make an awesome Instagram accessory. But you already know that, don't you? 📍Tagaytay, Philippines
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.
Can't believe it's September already! Did you know that Christmas season starts this early in the Philippines? Yup. Christmas decorations are already being sold everywhere and Mariah Carey is already being blasted on the radio. It's definitely outrageous but I'm a sucker for Christmas so I can't help but feel a liddo bit excited even while I cringe. 🎄📍Tagaytay, Philippines @raffisway_tagaytay 📸 by: @mishrendon
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?!
Afternoon strolls in my hood, ice cream in hand, zero f's given. If British live for their afternoon tea, Filipinos have this beautiful culture of "merienda" (afternoon snacks). I remember as a kid, waking up from my siesta means junk food and soda in a plastic bag outside the house. But of course it's not limited to that. It can go from pancit noodles in pandesal with coffee, fried banana cues, or as simple as ice cream. As long as it's food, it's another way to bond with family and friends.🍦 … Don't forget to use my code GIRLUNSPOTTED upon checkout to get 15% off your @danielwellington order! #danielwellington
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)
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Americans out there! It's been a couple of years since the last time I actually celebrated it the traditional way with home cooked turkey, pumpkin pies and all that jazz. Last year, I had a "thanksgiving sandwich" at an all-American restaurant in London called The Breakfast Club (why of course) and the year before that, I was chasing whale sharks, turtles, and corals in an island. Today was pretty mild though, it's been raining and the winds are howling, so naturally, my original plan to cook up a nice meal was sabotaged the instant I put on a sweater and snuggly socks. Meh, there's always Christmas! 🤷🏽♀️ … The caption completely has nothing to do with the photo, but this was a good reminder that I'm due for a waterfall hike! I'm hoping that the weather clears up this weekend so I can go on a mini adventure come Monday! 👙: @kaikinibikinis . 🌺 . . . . . . . #wearetravelgirls #philippines #the_ph #ladiesgoneglobal #philippinestopphoto #travelstoke #livefolk #liveauthentic #liveoutdoor #girlunspotted #darlingescapes #globelletravels #itsmorefuninthephilippines #dametraveler #tropicals #tropicalbabes #citizenfemme #tropicalwayoflife #tropicaladdicted #sheisnotlost #womenwhoexplore #girlunspotted #tropicallife #blondesandcookies #livelocal #naturetherapy #islandlife #chasingwaterfalls #iamtb #waterfallhike
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!
It's poinsettia season! These beautiful displays has been calling out to me so yesterday, after brunch, we walked around the rows of garden shops and nurseries nearby and I was once again reminded how cool plants are. I was back and forth with the idea of getting some baby cacti to start a collection, or hydrangeas to put in our garden since ours kept dying, or some herbs for our kitchen needs, or maybe poinsettias to get a festive feel. But of course I had to be reminded that I know nothing about plants and that I'd probably neglect them by day 2. Needless to say, we came home empty handed which was alright because it's always gringo prices whenever my husband is around anyway. 😏 … Nevertheless, I think I spent part of the afternoon reiterating to my husband that "I really think I could take care of them", sort of begging in a way. But by the time we reached the stores at the mall selling Christmas ornaments, I was over it. "I really think we need a new theme this year", says the crazy Christmas lady. You'd think I'd be over the idea of getting more ornaments by the time we got home but I wasn't. Because well, let's just say today was a productive day and I've been blasting Michael Bublé and Andy Williams all afternoon. 🎄😁
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)
Surround yourself with those who work hard to achieve their dreams, not the ones who's stuck at chasing. Those that seek to create and aim to inspire, not the ones who seeks validation from the world. Be around those that encourage growth and happiness, not the ones who secretly revels in your setbacks and failures. Most importantly, surround yourself with those that radiate genuine confidence and motivation, not the ones who bullshit their positivity. That fake positive energy, it's just as draining as negativity. In a world of make believe, be wise who you allow to influence you. 📸 by: @illumelation
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.
P I N Me!