How about a volcano for a wedding backdrop?

Ayo Gunting - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Dream of a lovely wedding ceremony that will make that important chapter in your life among the most memorable and we often think of the beach.

Certainly, the beach is irresistible. However, it is also quite a common theme. After all, we do live on a collection of 7,107 islands.

But the Philippines is not all beach. That’s why one sports club in scenic Tagaytay City offers an alternative venue for tying the knot and making that moment unique: Why not a volcano for a wedding backdrop? Not uncomfortably close to a volcano, of course.

Nestled on the slope of Tagaytay Ridge at 640 meters above sea level, Splendido Taal Golf and Country Club is a popular destination for weekend golfers who want to enjoy the cool breeze that has been bringing in humidity-weary visitors from Manila to Tagaytay City.

Adding to the ambiance is picturesque Taal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. Sitting in the middle of Taal Lake down below nearly 20 kilometers away from Tagaytay, Taal Volcano is visible on a clear day. It never fails to tempt travelers to make a stopover at Tagaytay City. Visitors make it a point to get a table with a view when dining in Tagaytay, located 55 kilometers south of Manila.

Every weekend at Splendido, golfers soak in the cool breeze as they whack their way across the 18-hole championship course, spread over 270 hectares and carved into the slope of Tagaytay Ridge. It takes about 30 minutes to navigate and bounce across the entire golf course by golf cart. On a clear day, Taal Volcano is perfectly visible, adding to the ambiance. Birds swoop over the green, oblivious to the danger of golf balls smacking them in mid air with the impact of cannon balls.

On an extra-cool day, golfers have to contend with the added challenge of wind and mist that come with the high-altitude terrain. If you hit a really, really bad shot, forget about finding the ball if it goes over the edge — literally — and into the surrounding ravine.

It is such peace and quiet that make Splendido (www.weddingsatsplendido.com) appealing to engaged couples who want to exchange vows in a cozy atmosphere with dear family and friends. Newlyweds get a scenic view, but not so far from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. Splendido is usually booked a year in advance, according to manager Michael Villegas.

If the weather cooperates, wedding vows are exchanged on a veranda at the clubhouse, with enchanting Taal Volcano in the distance as the backdrop. After the ceremony, guests can enjoy Spanish-inspired dishes at the open-air lounge, perfect for private weddings of up to 60 guests. Its high-wooden ceiling, wrought iron chandeliers and glass doors add a Spanish Mediterranean feel to the very special occasion.

If you invited a lot of guests to avoid offending people who feel that they deserve to be invited, the reception may be extended to La Esquina Spanish Restaurant at the other end of the clubhouse, which has a scenic view of the golf course. Of course, no worries about golf balls smashing through the glass windows and splashing into your mango juice because the restaurant is well away from the firing line.

Those who want the added feel of a garden wedding may have the ceremony right amid the green itself. But away from sailing golf balls, of course. Don’t fret about taking a hike over the undulating carpet of green because golf carts will be on hand to ferry you and your guests from the clubhouse and back. Tents are up on the green in case the weather disagrees with either your choice of mate or your mate’s choice of mate or your decision to get married at all.

As a special treat, newlyweds will enjoy their wedding night in a prestigious suite at nearby Taal Vista Hotel with a view of Taal Volcano, courtesy of Splendido. A complimentary breakfast is included in the package. A splendid wedding deserves no less than a splendid morning to start that one special moment in life.

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