Friday, January 26, 2007


Most people go to Tagaytay simply to take in the majestic view of the Taal Lake and that of the volcano itself. Other than that, unless your wallets are bursting with cash, there isn't much else to do other than visit the de regieur destinations like the Pink Sisters or other nearby convents and stock up on the ho-hum pasalubong regulars like cookies made out of communion hosts, ubeng halaya or what not. Surely, there must be a medium price range place where one can unwind before going back to the metro.

Enter Sanctuario Cafe and Art Gallery.

A three-floor affair with an unassuming facade (there's a Korean KTV beside it for good measure), one enters a different world the moment one steps into Sanctuario. The red walls are so inviting with several Balinese and Filipino artifacts spread all over the place like it were a home and yet not quite so. One can go up a winding staircase and get a kick out of the view (but we're already tired of that, remember?).

Downstairs, in the basement, there are more dining spaces which you can reserve ahead of your visit (if you come with a large group). There's a rather cozy nook by the window for lovers and close friends. In this level, it's the yellow-colored wall that warms the tired and weary soul. There's also a piano you can play if you wish to show off your talents. Otherwise, just stick to your trusty camera and spare everyone else the trouble of having to haul you back to the dining table.

3rd floor view. Breathtaking as always!
Start healthy! Seared salmon and greens.
Heaven on earth. Tomatoes on the pizza were sun-ripened to perfection.
Tawilis. Said to be found only in the lake surrounding Taal Volcano.

One can also try their famous raisin bread and pair it with smoked bangus pate. Not to be missed is Sanctuario's Pasta bulalo (P300) - beef marrow served osso bucco style with cream on linguine. Finish it all off with coffee or tea! Yummy!

On your way out, you may want to pick up a bottle of two of bottled tawilis and bangus (milkfish) to brag about to friends and family. Sanctuario Cafe and Art Gallery is located at the Tagaytay Rotonda (near 7-Eleven). Contact Sanctuario at +63 46 4130637, or at mobile +63 917 5404799.

Our comments:
Service: May take some time if there are only few service crews on duty. It is so pitiful to see them going up and down three floors that one is tempted to help by getting your orders yourself from the kitchen.
Food: Many food blogs have mixed reviews. If you choose well, perhaps you'd end up the winner at the end of the day. The best thing to do would be to ask the crew what items are most popular among visitors. You may also want to try out things that are peculiar to Tagaytay - or this restaurant. Fried tawilis would be a safe choice, for example.
Price: Not cheap, not very expensive either. A group of 3 can share and still get billed around P600-P1,000 depending on your order choices (and appetites). If you can do a better version of certain item at home, skip it. Be wise.

We do not know the owners personally. We just read other blogs or get info from the grapevine and go at will. Personal monies were spent on these visits.

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