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Making Meaningful Memories at Taal Vista Hotel
By Featured Blogger Tina Santiago-Rodriguez Updated Friday March 14, 2014 - 5:00pm
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Caption: Photo courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel

One of the things my husband and I love to do is to make meaningful memories with our children. As parents to a 7-year-old, 4-year-old and 10-month-old, we have decided to embrace this 'season of life' that we're currently in, and to spend as much time as we can with our 'littles.' After all, they won't be 'little' for long!

That's why we were over the moon with excitement when we were invited by Taal Vista Hotel's area marketing communications manager to spend a night at their fabulous hotel earlier this month -- it was like an answered prayer for us, because we had been wanting to go for a mini-family vacation for quite some time now. Dreams really do come true!

On the first day of our trip, we were all so excited and ended up in Tagaytay earlier than we expected. We had about an hour to kill so we treated the kids to a few rides at the Sky Fun Amusement Park at Sky Ranch, which is almost like a stone's throw away from Taal Vista Hotel -- so it's very convenient for families and other visitors to the hotel to go over there and have some fun bonding moments.

Needless to say, the kids had A LOT of fun and didn't want to leave the place when we said we had to go to the hotel already. We told them we'd come back another time, maybe later that evening (which we didn't end up doing because we were all so tired after a full day of making memories!).

Once we got to Taal Vista Hotel, we met up with Celine Arenillo, their area marketing communications manager. She joined us for lunch while our room was being prepared. We thoroughly enjoyed the buffet at Café Veranda and it was obvious that we weren't the only ones who did -- the place was packed with people, and we all had fun watching the Filipiniana dance performances and listening to the live musicians while digging into the scrumptious food. The kids were so captivated by the performers that I had to keep reminding them to eat their food!

After lunch, we went up to our Premiere room, which was situated at the Lake Wing of the hotel. The kids loved every part of it and we especially loved the view!

Apparently, the rooms in the Lake Wing have some of the best views of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano.  We -- the kids included -- kept going out to the balcony to look outside and take photos!

We were also delighted to see a welcome basket of fruits on one of the tables in our room, with a note from Ms. Faye Deloso, the executive assistant manager of the hotel -- a sign of true hospitality, in my opinion! I guess that's why the hotel is usually fully booked, especially on weekends.

Since we had a hotel tour scheduled at 4p.m., the kids wanted to try out the hotel swimming pool "even for just a few minutes please, Mama?" so we headed out to the pool area, which is located nearer to the Mountain Wing of the hotel. The two older kids had a great time swimming with their Papa, even if the water was too cold for this worrywart mama's comfort!

After their swimming session, we joined Celine and another blogger, Sumi Go, and her companion, for the hotel tour. I loved walking around the hotel grounds and so did our kids! My favorite part of the tour was the herb garden -- which is where the hotel's chef gets the yummy herbs and vegetables for their meals. It made me want to plant our own vegetables at home!

Garden

After the tour, we relaxed for a bit in our room and then decided to check out the Kids' Playroom before having dinner with the rest of our party for the weekend.

Needless to say, the children enjoyed playing in the playroom so much that we had to drag them out to where we were going to have dinner. The hotel staff had arranged a lovely set-up for our dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed the crisp night air, the wonderful view, the great company and the delicious food. Apparently, the hotel does set-ups like these for special occasions like Valentine's Day -- how very romantic!

Our menu for the evening included a wonderful combination of salad with smoked marinated salmon, tomato coriander soup (which made my husband say he "loves Taal Vista's chef now" because he actually dislikes coriander but found the soup exceptionally good!), and "Surf and Turf" for the main course -- a duo of succulent beef mignon and baked prawns with potatoes and vegetables. Yum! They even prepared special food for the kids -- classic spaghetti, sandwiches and chicken nuggets (a huge hit with our littles!).

We ended the night full and happy, and the kids couldn't stop talking about their new "adult friends" in the form of Celine and the other staff at the hotel, who were all very friendly and accommodating.

The next day, we enjoyed partaking of the sumptuous breakfast buffet before going to Mass at the Magnolia Pavilion. We really appreciated the fact that there is a regular Sunday Mass schedule at the hotel for its guests and staff -- it makes it very convenient for families who wish to attend Mass to do so (no need to leave the hotel and go elsewhere!).

The Magnolia Pavilion will also house the new Magnolia Steakhouse, which is set to open in May 2014, as part of Taal Vista Hotel's ongoing 75th Anniversary Celebration. According to Celine, the Steakhouse will be devoted to "prime cut beef served with a selection of sauces, side dishes and fresh homegrown Tagaytay greens." I'm sure foodies everywhere will love trying out new dishes there!

To cap off our visit, I was treated to a special "East-West" Massage at the hotel's Asmara Spa, which is a relaxing combination of Swedish, Thai and Shiatsu techniques. This is what my private room looked like -- I felt so relaxed and 'zen' when I was there and -- for a split second -- I almost didn't want to leave and go back to our room! I think I actually dozed off for a few minutes during the massage -- it was that soothing! 

For a moment, I even forgot that our family had our set of worries, especially related to my grandfather's illness. (If you're a regular reader here, you'd know that he passed away just after we got back from Tagaytay.) Yes, I felt guilty about enjoying myself and making memories with the kids while my mom and her siblings and our other family members were worried over my Lolo, but then I realized that that's what his life was all about to -- making beautiful memories with the people you love.

We ended our Tagaytay mini-vacation happy and grateful for God's blessings -- especially in the form of the Taal Vista Hotel management. I'm sure you can see by the looks on our faces below that we thoroughly enjoyed our stay (well, our son looks that way because he didn't want to leave yet! Ha, ha!).

It was truly a wonderful trip for our family, and we hope to be able to go back again soon -- if only to make more meaningful memories together!

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Taal Vista Hotel is located along Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City 4120 Philippines. For inquiries and reservations, please call +63 (2) 917-8225, +63 (46) 413-100 or +63 0917 809-1254. You can also stay connected with Taal Vista Hotel by visiting their website at http://www.taalvistahotel.com or following their updates on Facebook (http://facebook.com/taalvistahotel) and Twitter (@taalvistahotel).

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