Hotel Dominique, Tagaytay City

Many factors make a place memorable, sowing the seeds for a visit again in the future. Sometimes it’s just the place. Sometimes it’s what happened in that place. Sometimes it’s both, or some other factors. Let’s consider Hotel Dominique, found along Aguinaldo Highway, a nice hotel just a few meters from the rotunda in Tagaytay City.

My wife have heard about Hotel Dominique on TV and have read about it in magazines, so I figure it’s just a matter of time that we visit the place (Men, I believe, learn early to be mindful what their significant others “suggest”, like during the time she mentioned that she loves the songs of England Dan and John Ford Coley, and I ended up giving her a CD of the duo. She knows the songs by heart.)

There are a few problems, though.

Not problems, really, but more of “concerns”. For one, Hotel Dominique is not found along the ridge, or the edge of the crater. There’s no view of Taal Volcano (or Taal Lake). This is probably why hotels overlooking the volcano crater are more expensive, some exceeding P10,000.  This was not a concern for us; we’ve absorbed the view for years and, besides, the view is just a few meters from Hotel Dominique, readily available during lunch, perhaps at Leslie’s or the Cliffhouse. This hotel is reasonably priced, with emphasis on the reasonable.

The more important “concern”, however, is the fact that our home is just over an hour’s drive to and from Tagaytay. Drive early in the morning, eat, go around, soak up the atmosphere, then leave Tagaytay in the evening. We’ve been doing that for years. But this time would be different, we decided. This time we’re staying overnight. Some hotels are really expensive. Some hotels are too slow to respond, if at all. But not Hotel Dominique.

Unfortunately, the discussion ABOUT Hotel Dominique ends here. We’re no longer discussing the facilities. Suffice it to say that this is a more than good hotel. Let’s talk about something else.

It was a sunny, lazy Sunday, our second day in Tagaytay. The other night, our kid, who just finished his swimming lessons last month, was showing off his “skills” (which means flapping on the water and shrieking his lungs out). There was chaos, and I figure this is not the first time, as there’s a sign prohibiting “boisterous” behavior in the swimming pool (Hotel Dominique has a small swimming pool).

Our kid loves swimming pools and it the temperature just doesn’t matter. Even before I could finish breakfast, we has already whining about taking a swim. So they went ahead to the pool and I tried to finish my pancakes. A caucasian guy came in for breakfast, and I went back to mind my food, something which was hard to do as someone from the other end of the dining hall shouted something towards our direction. But let’s jump and later go back to this point.

I went to the swimming pool. As we were sitting beside the pool and soaking the early sun, my wife said there was this old guy who, walking towards the dining hall, stopped and asked our kid if he’s having a great time at the pool. The guy was smiling and asked permission to take pictures of our son. In all probability, my wife was thinking why on earth this man would want his photo taken with our son. He’s not famous, for crying out loud (our son, I mean), but since the man seemed nice, my wife agreed.

That same man, it turned out, was the same caucasian guy who entered the dining hall and sat at the table next to mine. I was busy smoldering my pancakes with sauce, when a lady from the other end shouted: “>Hi John! We enjoyed your show last night!” This guy shot back: “Thank you”.

Then, just like flashbacks in movies that hurriedly tie together the plot at the end, it all made sense.

On our way up to Tagaytay, we noticed from the flyers along the way that a show is scheduled at the PAGCOR casino — John Ford Coley was in town. John Ford Coley was the man who took photos of our son (then again, I also take pictures of trees and fish, no big deal; except that it was Mr. Coley).

I guess we just won’t know who we’ll bump into. Life, indeed, is full of surprises.

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