Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tagaytay: Havin' a Healthy Weekend Getaway at Summit Ridge

Summit Ridge - Taal Blues and Greens
The view of the Taal Lake and caldera from the balcony of Summit Ridge
The mercury peaked at 36.6 Celsius last week.  After a bout of asthma following cleaning chores, the time was ripe for an out-of-town trip.  I was planning something simple really but circumstances have a way of setting up things when you least expect it.

So at the invitation of Summit Ridge, off to Tagaytay we went to binge a bit (what weekend getaway is without some feasting?) but also to have some sort of a healthy tripping.  Well, bingeing on fresh air is rewarding enough for me.

It's our second trip to Summit Ridge and after two years, the gardens front and back have grown.  The view of Taal volcano from the balcony is something I'll never tire of.   Oh, the theme of our getaway is focused on health -- something coming from left-field as far as Tagaytay weekends are concerned.  The food angle is there, complemented by physical activity (perchance to create some sort of caloric deficit, perchance to work up one's appetite).
Summit Ridge Facade Ultrawide
Summit Ridge facade at dusk
Badminton before merienda.  The floor matting seems to be newer and there are rackets and shuttlecocks for rent so there's no need to bring your gear.  Not a bad way to burn some calories before eating a slice or two of that glorious caramel choco cake.  Located in the basement across the adjoining carpark, the multi-function court is a bit confusing to go to and adding signages certainly wouldn't harm at all. 

Limbering up before dinner.  I've taken yoga classes before so the class comes as a welcome activity.  Open to all comers in all shapes and fitness levels, the session mixes up easy-to-follow yoga and Pilates moves, with meditation to conclude the hour-long activity.

Towels are available for those without mats.  However, it may not suffice for some moves (and for taller participants) as the carpet can become slippery.  I also wished the session was conducted on wooden flooring as moving about and staying close to the carpeted floor tend to release dust and allergens.

Zumba after breakfast.  The first meal of the day is a buffet so you can say this is a much-welcomed activity.  For a change of environment, the Zumba sessions are held at the Promenade of the adjacent Robinsons Mall (works for those not averse to public display of dancing maladroitness).  The first portions were fairly easy.  Halfway through though, the bootyshaking got a bit too much for comfort so off to the gym I went.

The gym is what I remembered it from before -- some treadmills and elliptical trainers, a rack of relatively light dumbbells and a station each for pulldowns, low rows, chest press, leg curls, leg extensions and sit-ups.  Nothing fancy but fairly functional for the weekend warrior.
Summit Ridge C2 Chicken
Rosemary Chicken -- one of the Whole Foods menu items on offer for summer
Focus on whole food.  For those wanting to wean on Tagaytay's traditional cholesterol-laden favorites, Bulalo (Bone Marrow Soup) and Crispy Pata (Deep-fried pig knuckles), Classic Cuisine Restaurant (C2 in short) in Summit Ridge offers an interesting proposition -- healthy, whole foods that are not short on taste.  Some of the items in the menu stood out like Rosemary Chicken and Seared Mahi-mahi Fillet with Julienne of Bell Peppers and Pineapple Compote (P500 for lunch fare, P550 for dinner).  The lunch and dinner fare comes with soup and vegetables (fresh as can only be expected in the locality).  The healthful angle lies in the sourcing (freshest as possible) and preparation (nothing fried and decidedly un-fancy cooking and seasoning to bring out the wholesome goodness and flavors).   The healthy fare is available for the summer months (though I wish it was part of the regular menu). More on this in www.happyfoodies.com.

And oh, there were also interesting non-health-oriented fare that bears mentioning like the Unlimited Coffee and Cakes from 10am to 8pm at just P199 and the Summer Fiesta Buffets every Saturday  from April to May, 10am to 4pm, at P499.  For the former, the Carrot Cake lavished with cream cheese is worth a mention and a second, maybe third helping.  For the latter, the Filipino foods on offer are worth the visit and the price, even a nice sampling of Pinoy fare for foreign and balikbayan guests.
Summit Ridge C2 Coffee Appreciation
Un-sweetened surprise - a flavorful cup of latte
Some Java Lovin'.  Since C2 is operated by the Cravings Group, we were treated to an insightful coffee appreciation session.  I've always been a java man even through bouts of hyperacidity and acid reflux so this interactive session on coffee preparation and tasting seems to be tailor-made for me.  It was interesting to learn how different brewing methods of the same beans can bring out different flavors.  And that unsweetened cup of latte as well as the espresso made from El Salvador and Columbia coffee beans were just absolutely fantastic.
Summit Ridge Movie Night
Movies after dark
Movie nightcap. The west-facing garden at the back of the hotel makes for a great setting for weddings and now, movies after dinner ala drive-in theater sans the automobile.  "Life of Pi" was playing that Saturday with truffles as an added attraction (I guess everyone was too full to even taste one). If it wasn't my turn to get a foot spa at SeriAsia, this one would be a nice way to cap the night.

Room with a (great) view.  And what a view of Taal it is -- a hazy blue painting in the morning hours, a glowing expanse at sunset right from the balcony.  It's such a joy to throw the drapes and curtains wide open all day (Tip: the best views are from the 7th to 9th floors so if you love the view, book your rooms on the higher floors).  The couch by the floor-to-ceiling window is a welcome reading/working nook.  The bed, sheets and pillows are comfy-cozy.  We came at a time of peak occupancy so wi-fi was spotty even past midnight.  (Globe signal is also spotty in these parts so lugging your Smart/Sun SIM may be a good idea).
Summit Ridge Sumi in the House
Summi, the Summit Ridge bear, gets ready for bed
While Manila lay simmering in 35ºC+ temperatures, Tagaytay stayed within the 30-33ºC range during the daytime with intermittent breezes blowing in.  Just a difference of a couple of degrees you might say.   But out here, what a difference a few degrees, an elevation of 2,000 feet and staying at the Ridge make.

For more info, visit www.summitridgehotel.com or call +632 240-6888 (landline); +63 922 852-6800 (mobile)
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