I had been to Calamba last year, and to Tagaytay several times in the past. However, it seemed like a good opportunity to visit both places again when Noel, my roommate and classmate in the Software Engineering class, invited a few of us for a day trip. Away team complement: Noel, Judyll, Bong, and myself.
Our first destination was Cabuyao, Noel's hometown. We went by way of Alabang via the South Express Skyway so the going was quite fast. Travel time to Alabang was under 45 minutes (once we got past the bus' stop-and-go movement in Makati.) Total cost: P30.
We dropped off at the Alabang Festival Mall, there to await an FX ride to Cabuyao. Waiting time for the FX was a bit longer, but it did give us a chance to take a quick tour of the gigantic Festival Mall.
We got off Cabuyao for some brunch at Noel's house. Then it was off to Calamba to the Rizal Shrine on Noel's van.
I've already written a bit about the Rizal Shrine which I visited sometime in March of 2005. So just some additional information: the shrine is actually a replica of the original Mercado house. It was reconstructed by National Artist and architect Juan Nakpil based on excavations of the foundation and stories from the people around the area. The house was built not without some controversy as there were conflicting claims as to the placement of certain features. It was inaugurated on June 19, 1950.
Then it was off to Tagaytay. It was Judyll's fondest wish to see Taal Volcano, and that wish was fulfilled. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to go down to the crater itself, and at P3,500 for seven people, it was a bit expensive.
We went up to the People's Park (formerly Palace in the Sky). It was sad to see the place in such dilapidated condition! Imelda Marcos' Coconut Palace seems to be no more, just a skeleton framework of steel trusses. They really let it go.
At the altitude we were in, we were literally walking in the clouds. See picture of me above, hamming it up. We took lots of pictures, too. For some reason, many of our group shots had us looking like a boy band.
All too soon, the day came to an end. Noel dropped us off near the highway where we took a bus back to Manila. Time enough for one lesson, though: the buses that go via the coastal road (P72 per person) take forever to go through Cavite. Next time, I'm taking the Expressway!