Tarragon plants arranged in pots at a farm in Tagaytay.

11 Things To Know About Tarragon

Tarragon is an aromatic herb that thrives in the cool uplands Cavite weather of Tagaytay. Cultivated mainly as a culinary herb, tarragon also has a number of medicinal properties and health benefits.

There are a lot of resources found online on just about anything you need to know about tarragon, as well as books on herb gardening and haute cuisine that mention this popular perennial herb.

We’ve gone so far as to compile some of the more essential items here on Tagaytay Living, so here are 11 things you need to know about tarragon.

Thanks For Making Savour a Success!

Congratulations to the good people of the Tagaytay Wedding Suppliers Association and Alta Veranda de Tibig for the well-attended and well-received food tasting festival, “Savour: The Ultimate Taste Fest of Metro Tagaytay“.

One of seven buffet stations at "Savour: The Ultimate Taste Fest of Tagaytay" | June 11, 2017 at Alta Veranda de Tibig in Silang, Cavite.

One of seven buffet stations at “Savour: The Ultimate Taste Fest of Tagaytay”.

Hundreds of guests, many of them Metro Tagaytay soon-to-weds, flocked to Alta Veranda de Tibig in Silang last Independence Day weekend for the Filipiniana-themed food festival that featured buffet stations from Bizu, Hizon’s, Josiah’s Catering, Juan Carlo the Caterer, k by Cunanan, Richgold Weddings, and Town’s Delight the Caterer.

50 Marketing Habits Every Restaurant and Hotel Should Have

Running a hotel, bed-and-breakfast, restaurant, or coffee shop in Metro Tagaytay? Just like any commercial venture, the success of your business depends on how well you market your brand.

In particularly more competitive markets, you (or your marketing team) have to hustle even more to keep bringing in business.  Here’s an infographic to help you keep track of a number of marketing habits your hotel or restaurant has to have to help you get a leg up on the competition.

50 Marketing Habits Every Business Should Have

Infographic from MarketingSolved.com.

Note that these marketing habits are very useful to just about any business or entrepreneurial endeavor– from online stores, to professional services, and even farms and all sorts of organizations, and not just hotels and restaurants in particular.

Source: “50 Marketing Habits Every Business Should Have

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Bilao Dinner at Gabriela at Nurture Wellness Village

We had some friends come over from Manila last weekend to come check out our various Tagaytay projects and some good ol’ catching up.

By the time we’ve wrapped things up, we worked up quite an appetite. They asked us to take them somewhere new (i.e. a restaurant they haven’t been to previously), but relaxing, and just out-of-the-way enough so we can continue our kwentuhan.

Fortunately for them, we knew just the place.

Tagaytay Living Featured Image - Gabriela at Nurture Wellness Village

Gabriela by Nurture Wellness Village is located in Tagaytay City. Coming from Manila, along the Aguinaldo Highway just across the row of restaurants overlooking Taal Lake, turn right at Magallanes Drive (the corner with Magallanes Hotel), and follow the signs to Nurture Wellness Village from there.

Gabriela at Nurture Wellness Village

While Metro Tagaytay’s very own Nurture Wellness Village had the in-house restaurant concept going on for quite a while now, it wasn’t until recently that they decided to step things up in terms of branding and promotion. They’ve now branded the in-house dining concept as Gabriela at Nurture Wellness Village.

Tagaytay Living Featured Image - Specialty Drinks at Gabriela

One of the best things about Gabriela: their signature drinks, with ingredients grown straight out of their very own farm out back.

Expect healthier versions of traditional Filipino favorites, and signature drinks made from all sorts of fresh fruits and other ingredients they’ve grown in their own backyard and gardens (or sourced locally from neighborhood farms).

Tagaytay Living Featured Image - Gabriella's Kale Specialty Drinks

Kale drinks for everybody!

The house signature product is kale, and you’ve got at least three different kinds of kale-blended drinks. The staff explained to us that kale is actually very rich in protein, Vitamin K, A and C– sounds healthy, indeed!

Now there’s a ton of good stuff at Gabriela- from salads to sandwiches, kanin and ulam, cocktails and healing juices, but for the night, we decided to go for one of their Bilao Group Meals.

At Nurture Wellness Village with Friends 02

The ‘Alfonso’ Bilao Group Meal. Good for 4 or 5 peeps, depending on how ravenous/hungry your group is.  Only Php1500.

The whole deal comes with three kinds of ulam: laing (gabi leaves stewed in coconut milk and spices), daing na bangus (fried seasoned milkfish), chicken pork adobo, together with a salad of itlog na maalat (salted eggs) with onions and tomatoes, atsara (pickled vegetables), slices of fruits in season (pineapple and watermelon), and a generous serving of pandan rice right there in the middle of it all.

At Nurture Wellness Village with Friends 01

Thanks for stopping by our neck of the woods, Alex, Abi, and Vicky!

Contact Gabriela at Nurture Wellness Village

Find out more on Gabriela, Nurture Wellness Village’s very own in-house restaurant by visiting the dedicated page on their website here.  You can also go right ahead and get in touch with them:

Nurture Wellness Village
Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West Cavite, Tagaytay, Luzon 4120, Philippines
Phone Number/s: mobile numbers (+63 918) 888.8772, (+63 917) 687.8873, and landline numbers (+63 2) 710.9786, (+63 2) 401.9030, and (+63 46) 512.6273
Email them here.
Visit the official website here.

You can also download a copy of their latest brochure here.

Pag-IBIG Fund Now Covers Solar Panels at Home

More and more people have been trying out solar panels to cut down on energy costs. Now the Philippine government is making it even easier for you to green up your home.

“Purchase and installation of solar panels may be financed by our Home Improvement Loan.”

–Darlene Marie Berberabe, Pag-IBIG president and CEO

The state-owned Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) has now made it possible for you to apply for a loan to purchase and install solar panels, says Darlene Marie Berberabe, PAG-IBIG’s president and CEO, in an interview with GMA News Online.

Solar Panels

While the initial investment may be daunting, solar panels are able to provide your home with electricity by harnessing the power of the sun, and pays off in the long run by making you less dependent on local power companies.

At present, these are part of the standard housing loan which requires the mortgage of the house, Berberabe added.

Read: “Costa Rica Now Completely Runs on Renewable Energy”.

Real Living Style Talks

We’ve had the pleasure of joining renowned Filipino designers Wilan Dayrit, Grace Moslares, and James Razo at Style Talks last Saturday (12 Dec 2015), at the Wilcon IT Hub along Pasong Tamo Ext. in Makati City, hosted by Real Living Philippines Magazine.

Real Living Style Talks - Renzie's Edit 2015 1215Style Talks by Real Living Philippines is a series of panel discussions on design with industry experts, with exchanges on Modern Filipino design, examining how the nation’s growing list of renowned architects, interior designers, and furniture makers are helping to revolutionize the Filipino design aesthetic in our present times.

On hand to welcome guests from the media and the academe were Tom Castañeda, associate publisher of Real Living, and editor-in-chief Rachelle Medina.

Real Living Philippines' Style Talks

Big Smiles from Real Living’s associate publisher Tom Castañeda, editor-in-chief Rachelle Medina, and featured designer Grace Moslares.

“Bright newcomers like our featured panelists are doing their part to make sure the Philippines continues to earn acclaim locally and internationally as a design hub,” says Tom Castañeda. “Our RL Style Talks program will celebrate Filipino artistry and design at its best, offering further evidence of the Philippines’ growing influence as a design authority.”

Tom adds that the goal of each panel discussion is to bring together the nation’s design pioneers, influencers and trailblazers to highlight their visionary projects, which helps to guide and influence the next generation of Filipino design stars.

Real Living Magazine Style Talks 02

As the afternoon’s moderator, Tom Castañeda did a superb job keeping the discussions interesting and on-point. Joining him on stage were Rachelle Medina, and Home Base producer Marnie Manicad. Photo from Real Living’s Facebook page.

“RL Style Talks is an opportunity for our readers and viewers to get to learn about the secrets of design in an attainable and easy-to understand way,” says Rachelle Medina, editor-in-chief of Real Living. “It’s a chance to know how our designers think and work, and also how trends and styles are created.”

Style Talks is co-presented by Wilcon Depot and GMA News TV’s Home Base.  Incidentally, Home Base is starting off its 14th season, so big congratulations are in order to producer Marnie Manicad and her team for the continuing success of her show.

Real Living Magazine Style Talks 03

Tom takes in questions from the audience, with designers James Razo, Grace Moslares, and Wilan Dayrit rounding out the afternoon’s panel.

Meet The Designers

Wilan DayritWilan Dayrit

Wilan graduated cum laude from the College of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University of Sto. Tomas.

He worked as a senior interior designer, stylist, and visual merchandiser for the prestigious firm of Budji Layug. Afterwards, he set up his own design practice and currently teaches design at the University of Sto. Tomas.

Read: “An Innovations Manager’s 50sqm Loft with Small Space Solutions”, one of Wilan Dayrit’s projects featured on Real Living magazine.

Grace MoslaresGrace Moslares

An interior design alumna from St. Scholastica’s College, Grace worked under various firms before launching her own design company, Magara Interiors, a company that works on residential, commercial, and hospitality interior projects, as well as designs customized pieces for the firm’s clients.

Grace is one of Real Living’s go-to Real Makeover designers, and has completed almost ten makeovers for the magazine in recent years.

Read: “New Look for an Old House in Taytay, Rizal”, one of many Real Living Home Makeovers by Grace Moslares.

James RazoJames Razo

A graduate of the University of the Philippines, James has worked in a variety of roles in the world of design.

Along with serving as an interior design consultant, he worked as a set and production designer and visual merchandiser for brands like L’Oreal Paris, Nivea and Philip Morris, as well as projects manager and design supervisor for Grupo Santamaria. James is currently the managing creative director at the Gold Team Design Hub.

Stop by The Gold Team Design Hub’s Facebook page for photos of their latest projects and other updates.

About Real Living Magazine

(The following section taken from Real Living’s official website.)

Real Living is the definitive source for smart, beautiful, and practical home design ideas, delivering inspirational content that’s approachable, actionable, and attainable in a warm and engaging environment.

reallivingWe believe that no matter the lifestyle, everyone can create their own dream space. Real Living is the trusted designer friend our readers can always turn to for advice.

The Real Living Point of View

  • We show homes that are lived-in, comfortable, and efficient but beautiful.
  • Since one style doesn’t fit all, we show a wide range of products and styles—from tropical and modern to avant garde, glam, and bohemian.
  • We show readers how to see and re-make old things in a new light.
  • We offer value-for-money decorating, renovating, and shopping ideas.
  • We partner with brands that understand what our readers need to create their ultimate dream home.

Real Living Magazine is a Summit Media publication. For more design inspiration, give the Real Living Magazine official website a visit, and get your daily dose of home and design ideas by connecting with them on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Schwarzenegger Shuts Down Climate Change Naysayers

The Governator doesn’t give a crap about your views on climate change. Yesterday, Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement on Facebook– a challenge aimed at global warming non-believers– and it has since been liked and shared thousands of times.

We here at Tagaytay Living share this view. Along with many others not just in Metro Tagaytay, but all over the world as well, we commit to a greener, healthier, and more sustainable future.

From Arnold's official Facebook page.

About Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Former Mr. Olympia, Conan, Terminator, and Governor of California. I killed the Predator. I told you I’d be back.” –from Arnold’s official Facebook page.

I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change.

I see your questions.

Each and every time I post on my Facebook page or tweet about my crusade for a clean energy future, I see them.

There are always a few of you, asking why we should care about the temperature rising, or questioning the science of climate change.

I want you to know that I hear you. Even those of you who say renewable energy is a conspiracy. Even those who say climate change is a hoax. Even those of you who use four letter words.

The Weekend Breakfast Buffet at Balay Dako | Restaurant Reviews

In this article, we share with you our thoughts on the Balay Dako weekend breakfast buffet- quite possibly the best all-you-can-eat experience in Tagaytay right now.

Balay Dako Breakfast 61Balay Dako is part of the Antonio’s group of restaurants. So if you’ve been to the original Antonio’s, or to Breakfast at Antonio’s (which are also both in the neighborhood), you know you’re in for a treat.

Balay Dako is already making waves as one of the best new restaurants in Tagaytay City. You’ll read online on how it’s awesome as a must-visit destination for lunch, dinner, or for a nightcap.  Well, they’ve decided to shake things up for breakfast as well, which brings us to our coverage of their weekend buffet.

The weekend buffet is Php500 Php550 for adults and Php350 for kids, while toddlers and babies eat for free.

The Balay Dako buffet now has puto bumbong! #tagaytayliving #balaydako #breakfastintagaytay

A photo posted by Renzie Baluyut (@renziebaluyut) on

(Note: The per-adult price for the weekend buffet is now Php550. On the plus side, you now have a puto bumbong station added to the already impressive selection of breakfast eats!)

Getting Your Buffet Started

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices you have at Balay Dako, so let’s go break it down.  The buffet setup at Balay Dako is pretty impressive– around the perimeter of the hall are various stations so you don’t have crowding up in any one place.  The setup also allows you to leisurely pick what you want, enjoy it at your own pace, and jump right back in when you’re ready for more.

For starters, ask for your brewed coffee (if you’re a coffee kind of person) from the staff.  They’ll bring it to your table, and refill it with as much as you are able to handle.  From here, you can move on to whatever you want, or have a taste of everything if you are so inclined.

  • The bread station. The staff will recommend their kesong puti (local cottage cheese) toasted with muscovado sugar.  Have it with pan de sal or sliced bread.
  • Another station has your tsokolate de batirol (local hot chocolate).  They highly recommend it with the ensaymada (it’s home made!) and some chinese ham.
  • Care for some taho (silken tofu with syrup and sago pearls)? They got some by the hot chocolate station too.
Balay Dako Breakfast 13

I appreciate the serving suggestions. No, I’ve never tried kesong puti with muscovado sugar on my pan de sal before.

Balay Dako Breakfast 16

The attendants are helpful, and in this particular station, they’ll offer to make some of that kesong puti-and-muscovado for you on your choice of bread.

Balay Dako Breakfast 15

Look at that! They toasted me a slice of bread with butter and muscovado sugar, and a pan de sal with kesong puti (with muscovado sugar as well).

Balay Dako Breakfast 24

Says right there: Try our homemade ensaymada with our tsokolate de batirol and chinese style ham.

Balay Dako Breakfast 36

Chinese-style ham? Yes, please!

Balay Dako Breakfast 14

Balay Dako’s homemade ensaymada.

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You can also get taho at the hot chocolate station.

Balay Dako Breakfast 25

Round One: The hot chocolate with homemade ensaymada and chinese ham, some taho on the side, and (not shown) the muscovado-and-kesong puti on pan de sal and toast.

Balay Dako Breakfast 41

The staff will offer you coffee right away. And you can have as much brewed coffee as you want.

Healthier Stuff

Before we head on over to the main event, you might want to grab yourself a plate of fruits and/or veggies. Or not at all– totally up to you. What we do recommend though are the fruit juice blends.
Balay Dako Breakfast 23That weekend’s selection gave us dalandan juice, guava juice, calamansi ginger juice, and fruit-infused water.  (Dalandan is our local version of orange, and the calamansi is our local version of lemon.)

All very refreshing, but I had a bit more of the guava and the calamansi-ginger. More than anything, I’m happy it’s not any instant/powdered drink, but rather fresh juices.  I don’t know of a lot of restaurants offering drinks like these.

Make Your Own Fried Rice

Right at another corner is the make-your-own-fried-rice station.  All you have to do is get a bowl, fill it up with whatever ingredients you fancy, and hand it over for the staff to prepare for you.
Balay Dako Breakfast 31They’ve got a LOT available for you to experiment with.  Clearly the more popular options are talangka (crab) fat, bagoong (shrimp paste), and chorizo (Spanish sausage), as these are constantly being refilled.

Balay Dako Breakfast 32Also available are: red and green peppers, garlic, red and white onions, sprouts, chillies, spring onion, carrots, corn, tomatoes, mushroom, peanuts, at least three different kinds of seafood, cilantro and other herbs, and a few more I’m sure I missed.

Balay Dako Breakfast 33

This serving of fried rice has crab fat, with lots of garlic, and some spring onions.

Note that you can also have eggs and omelettes made for you.  Just let them know how you want them done (along with your choice of ingredients in the case of an omelette), and they’ll bring it to you once it’s ready.

Balay Dako Breakfast 34

Round Two. Clockwise, from the 12 position: chicken pork adobo, assorted tuyo, bacon, beef tapa, chorizo, bangus, and longganisa.

While waiting for your fried rice and eggs, you may want to head on over to where the rest of the breakfast food is at.  Balay Dako has a more-than-adequate selection of Pinoy breakfast fare: tapa, tocino, longganisa, tuyo, daing, chorizo, chicken pork adobo, bacon, corned beef, and even some sauteed veggies.

Balay Dako Breakfast 35

Round Three. Clockwise, from the 12 position: Tuyo, beef tapa, tocino, sauteed veggies, corned beef, bacon on greens.

Balay Dako Breakfast 37

Balay Dako also has its own gourmet sardines; you can find them near the fried rice/omelette station.

I enjoyed the corned beef the most. This is similar to the one they have at Breakfast at Antonio’s, except that it’s cut up into little cubes rather than as slabs. It still tastes the same though, and definitely a lot better than the regular canned fare.

Other Breakfast Items

There’s more breakfast to be had! You can also have:

  • Arroz Caldo (chicken and rice porridge).  Top it with your choice of onions, garlic, salted egg, dilis (anchovies), or spring onions, and season with calamansi and patis (fish sauce).
  • Champorado (sweet chocolate rice porridge).  Tuyo (dried fish) and other toppings also available.
  • Ginataan (dessert done in coconut milk).
  • A modest assortment of cereal.
  • A crazy assortment of rice cakes: maja blanca, kutsinta, cassava cake, biko, suman sa cassava, and puto.

Note that Balay Dako has a lot of this stuff available downstairs at the store, so pick up a bottle of salad dressing, jam, or spanish sardines on your way home!

Final Thoughts

Balay Dako’s Weekend Breakfast Buffet is our new favorite breakfast destination in Tagaytay City. It’s good value for money, the selection is quite alright, and it’s family-friendly enough as it has something for everyone.

Our favorites: the hot chocolate station, the make-your-own-fried-rice station, the fruit juices, and the corned beef.

It does tend to get packed, so get ready to queue up for your turn, especially so on long weekends.  It’s well worth the wait, though, as you can see from the selection.  The crowd tends to thin out after 10am anyway.

Major credit cards are accepted.  You don’t get much wi-fi upstairs in the breakfast area, so you’ll have to head downstairs if you really need to go online.
Balay Dako Breakfast 01Balai Dako
Location: Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Highway, Metro Tagaytay, Philippines
Phone Number/s: (+63 917) 899.2866
Visit their official website here.
You may also view their official Instagram account here.

How To Make An Attractive City

Progress is good, but we shouldn’t let progress go out of hand.

Ever wondered how great cities like Paris, New York, Singapore, and Sydney are the way they are now? It’s a mix of intelligent urban planning, modern-day engineering, and much-needed political will.

My only hope is that we can make Metro Tagaytay join the ranks of these world-class cities. Here’s a video from The School of Life (one of my favorite new YouTube channels), and Vale Productions UK– “How To Make An Attractive City”.

Visit The School of Life for more thought-provoking stuff on all sorts of subject matters (not just real estate and urban planning). Check out their official YouTube channel here.

About Renzie Baluyut

I’ve signed up for some real estate classes, and I feel very fortunate to be in the company of Philippine real estate veterans and thought leaders as instructors on one hand, and then I have my classmates who represent a new breed of developers and real estate brokers on the other.

I’m learning all I can about real estate so I can be a better real estate professional. I hope we can ultimately make Metro Tagaytay not just a better place to live, but to also be a more business-friendly territory.

Tagaytay Living - Featured 04

Together with my wife, we’ve started venturing into Tagaytay real estate, selling residential farm lots in our hometown of Amadeo, Cavite.

I’ll be sharing insights on Tagaytay real estate here on TagaytayLiving.com.  For other stuff, you may want to check out my personal website here.