An open wrought iron gate, zigzagging darkly lit wooden pathways, mysterious life-sized paintings, old earthen jars and mystically lighted trellis tunnels. This is how we were welcomed to one of Tagaytay’s secret getaways, The Moon Garden.
Departing at three in the afternoon from the blistering heat of Manila, we crisscrossed our way past the infamous traffic along Cavite and chased the setting sun for a taste of the cool Tagaytay breeze. Stepping down at the Olivarez Plaza, we flagged one of the tricycles in the area for a direct ride to the Moon Garden.
We arrived at seven in the evening at the garden’s graveled parking area. The cicadas were singing as the sound of the tricycle faded out into the night. We were then left wondering where to go as there seems to be no one to lead us into the resort. There was absolutely no one in sight; it’s just us, the warm night breeze and the awning gates of the Moon Garden.
With no other choice, we finally entered its overgrown gardens. Having no clue as to where we actually needed to go, we followed the trails set by large wooden planks on the garden floor. Portals leading off to unseen courtyards seemed to jump off left and right as we navigated our way in the mazelike yards of the place. A few minutes later, we at last emerged in what seemed like a large open hall furnished by long wooden tables. Off to the right was a lotus-filled pond with a lighted Balinese hut in the middle; straight ahead, an elevated open dining area; and off to the left, another garden corridor.
We ended up checking that other path, as we were still unable to find a soul to ask. It led us to the kitchen where finally we found the staff that then directed us to a weed grown portal where the guesthouses are located.
The eight cabins of Moon Garden are individually situated along its backyard. A winding stone-paved pathway illuminated by warm yellow garden lights leads visitors to the yellow-painted, semi-circular lodges. The cabins are almost covered with lush vines except for its huge screened windows and the old wooden doors. The interiors are cozily decorated. Dark wooden furniture compliments the earth-toned adobe walls. And right in the center of the room, the softly inviting double bed. The open-type bathroom at the back of the bed is really something too, no shiny, cold, moldy tiles in sight; just the warm adobe floors and walls offset by a huge mirror.
Unfortunately since we arrived a bit late, the cooks according to our guide had already left and we had to resort to getting our food outside.
So, Jollibee it was, but this must be the most special Jollibee dinner I’ve ever had. Since it looks like we have the garden to ourselves, we set up at one of the floating huts, lit a candle and set the table. The soft music of the dining hall mingled with the night sounds of crickets and frogs as we dined on royal Chicken Joys and Jolly Hotdogs. The night, smelling of moist earth, green leaves and warm soft breezes made even the most ordinary fastfood into something really exceptional.
The next morning greeted us with the sounds of happily chirping birds. We had our complimentary breakfast at the hut again and one of my favorite of favorites, garlic longganisa, was on their menu. The food was good, but I may be biased here hehe. The serving was pretty generous too; breakfast includes the famous Batangas Coffee, fruit shake and desert. Their menu was a bit limited, but it really does not bother me much as long as my favorite dish is included.
The day started out sunny but soon turned overcast with a bit of misty drizzle. But grey weather is usually expected in Tagaytay and it really compliments the mood of the place quite well. We explored the nooks and crannies of the place after breakfast. Koi ponds, moon decors, paintings, old reliefs, and never-ending paths and trellises. I can’t help but compare it to two of Tagaytay’s best locations, Sonya’s Garden and Bag of Beans. Mix the two, multiply its combined size by four, add a touch of Balinese architecture, and subtract its usual droves of tourists and visitors and you’ve got Moon Garden.
If you think you’ve seen everything Tagaytay has to offer, from the tallest peak of People’s Park, to the sprawling Taal panorama of the Magallanes food strips, up to its fringes at Calaruega, you have another think coming.
Moon Garden, with its mystique, country charm, lush environment and quaint architecture will definitely surprise you. It is without a doubt a secret ace up Tagaytay’s already familiar landscapes. Get away from the usual hotel fares and spend a magical evening instead amongst the verdant greens and soothing atmosphere of the Moon Garden.
Peter Gerks [Owner] 09175023118
SVD Road, Brgy San Jose, Tagaytay City, Cavite
From Manila, board any of the Nasugbu bound busses [P90.00+], get off at Olivarez Plaza in Tagaytay
and ask one of the many tricycles [P30.00] parked along the road to take you straight to the Moon Garden.
P3,100 inclusive of breakfast. Call in advance as they do not accept walk-ins.