The Picnic Grove. There’s a number of Filipino movies that feature this. It’s a good place in Tagaytay City to have, what else, a picnic. Picture this: a full view of Taal volcano or Taal lake, picnic huts or gazebos hugging the slope of the hill, cold breeze massaging your cheeks, the aroma of home-made fresh pork barbeque cooked by the guests themselves, kids and dads flying kites, and horseback riding at the fringes. Food and beverage readily available everywhere. Can’t picture it? Here, look at this photo.
The description may seem inviting and this picture may look nice. It seems a good place to visit when in the Philippines and you happen to wander into Tagaytay City.
But I’ve been to the Picnic Grove only two times — once when I was younger and, more recently, when I was showing some guests around. I rarely go to the Picnic Grove, even if I regularly visit Tagaytay. I had no plans of going back.
Then I learned there’s something new to explore — the cable car and the zipline.
[Read Tagaytay Ridge Zipline and Cable Car, Picnic Grove]
There’s nothing hi-tech about the cable car. It’s just plain steel welded together. No fancy stuff. Just the most basic functional structure. If you’re maarte, you’ll probably say it’s panget or baduy (or if you’ve been to Ocean Park in Hongkong or the cable cars at the Alps). If you’re an uber-safety-conscious creature, you’ll probably say it’s nakakatakot.
Same thing for the zipline. No fancy controls from the operators to accelerate the brave souls hanging for dear life. They strap you in and just push you through the zipline. There’s a version where you’re in a sitting position (you could bring and hold your kid while doing this). A car tire (yes, that rubber tire) at the other end of the line serves as the stopping mechanism, with two assistants tugging you to break the momentum.
But the adrenaline is pure. Just you and the gaping ravine below. The very basic equipment, and the thought about something going wrong, probably kicks the adrenaline rush a bit higher.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is not for the fainthearted. Don’t make any excuses about the equipment. You’re just afraid. Period.
How much? For the cable car, the rate is P100/head for one-way ride, and P200/head for two-way, with children below 4 feet for free. The same rate goes for the zipline (weekdays), except that it goes higher during weekends: P200 per head for one way, P300 per head for two-way. (If it’s any sign of confidence, on the part of management, when it comes to the safety of the whole contraption, they don’t make you sign a waiver of liability). Now, if you’re wondering how to get there, just drive to Tagaytay City, then ask around. People will most certainly point you to the right direction.