By Cesar Cruz Jr.
The holiday city of Tagaytay has long been a popular R & R destination among city dwellers looking for a way to escape the bustle of city life. There is a good likelihood that its regulars troop to its ridge to satisfy their craving for coffee, Bulalo, and hotel stays as they get mesmerized by the view of Taal Lake.
However, not all culinary treasures and luxury hideaways are to be found on the ridge. Some are located off the beaten track such as the case of the exclusive Anya Resort in Buenavista, Tagaytay City. It is the place to feel grounded and centered within its 7.2 hectares of vibrant greens and nippy air. Guests will feel right at home with its Filipino tropical theme.
Our media outfit, Experience Travel and Living, was fortunate to have been among the few invited by long-time PR consultant Pete Dacuycuy in a food-tasting event at Anya Resort’s al fresco dining outlet by the poolside, Anila. We were just an intimate group of media practitioners introduced to a wealth of international and local best dishes expertly cooked by its team of able chefs led by Executive Chef Chris Leaning and Sous-Chef Robee Javier.
The classic menu is a true reflection of the sustainability goals of the resort. For example: vegetables are sourced from Beata Farms in Silang, premium quality seafood is obtained without disturbing marine ecosystems, and MSG is not used in its food, to name a few.
To start off the feast, we were treated to refreshing ice-cold glasses of Kale shake. A trio of appetizers were then laid on our tables – Gambas & Chorizo Al Ajillo, Deep Fried Chopitos (tender baby squid), and Lumpiang Shanghai. The comforting and familiar tastes of these crunchy Spanish and Chinese starters served as an advance party to our excited taste buds.
Next up was the piece de resistance of the grand meal – Cochinillo Asado, Spanish- style whole roasted suckling pig served with its own juice. (This dish alone made the drive to Anya Resort Tagaytay from Manila all worth it.) Yes, the highlight dish is so tender and crisp that the side of a plate doubled as a knife to slice it!
Supporting the star of the show, but could nonetheless hold their own, were the Classic Paella, Grilled Shrimps, and Beef Shank Bulalo.
Ending the delectable spread on a sweet note, a 5 Layer Jack Daniels Chocolate Fudge Cake, Mango Tres Leches, and a fresh fruit platter were served. It was a good thing that the richness of the cakes met its match in an order of piping hot cup of Americano.
The gentle breeze caressing our faces, the piped-in piano music, and the view of the pool- all contributed greatly to the relaxing dining experience.
After the sumptuous lunch, we headed for an ocular inspection of the facilities of the resort. Two golf carts led us to Anya’s spacious and sophisticated accommodations, its own wellness center, and the facilities of its European Wellness Retreat.
Getting a sense of the place made me understand why Anya Resort Tagaytay (ART) is included as a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It is indeed a dream getaway to rejuvenate oneself amidst the impeccable warmth of Filipino hospitality.
Next time you head for Tagaytay, you know where to go.