The original front view of the then Taal Vista Lodge (now Hotel)

When we make plans for a quick escape, oftentimes, the first place that comes to mind is Tagaytay. And when we talk about Tagaytay, we immediately think about four things – the cool weather, the Taal Lake, the Taal Volcano, and the Taal Vista Hotel. While Tagaytay, the Taal Volcano and Taal Lake can’t go alone without the other, Taal Vista Hotel goes back a long way with them.

When Tagaytay became a city on June 21, 1938 during the Commonwealth period, The Manila Hotel Company started to build the then Taal Vista Lodge in the same year. It is thought that Andres Luna de San Pedro, the son of painter and hero Juan Luna, who renovated the Manila Hotel to accommodate a suite for General Douglas MacArthur just a few years earlier, was the architect of the lodge.

Taal Vista Lodge was opened to the public on October 7, 1939 as Tagaytay’s primary hotel. Since then, the hotel has witnessed countless historic events. In the early years of World War II, the lodge continued operation for American servicemen and local tourists. But later on, it was converted into the officers quarters for the Japanese Army.

One of the exhibit panels on Taal Vista Hotel’s colorful history which you can find inside the property.

After World War II, the Taal Vista Lodge was renovated and expanded by the government and on February 4, 1956, the new Taal Vista Hotel was inaugurated with First Lady Luz Magsaysay, Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez, House Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr., Cavite Governor Delfin Montano, and Administrator Alfredo Montelibano as guests of honors.

Similarly, Tagaytay has been promoted as a major tourist destination in the Philippines. And since then, Tagaytay and Taal Vista Lodge became one of the most popular stops in the country for locals, foreigners and businessmen.

Among the prominent officials and personalities who stayed at the lodge were President Elpidio Quirino who in the early ’50s held cabinet meetings in the hotel.

In the 1960s, Taal Vista Lodge became a popular destination among important foreign dignitaries. Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan visited the hotel when they attended a luncheon at the lodge in 1962 given in their honor by Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez.

The Henry Sy tree

On October 4 1966, First Lady Imelda R. Marcos hosted the visit to Taal Vista Lodge of five first ladies of heads of state and government attending the Manila Summit Conference.

One of the regular visitors was a young man who often chose one spot on the grounds from which to gaze out and dream. He was Henry Sy Sr. who later acquired the Taal Vista Lodge. When visiting the hotel, you can find the Henry Sy tree with a bench under it, and it is standing right on the spot where he used to stay.

At present, Taal Vista Hotel continues to make history. It is still a favorite venue for local, regional and national government planning and conferences. Guests can also take a tour at the hotel with exhibits about the history of Taal Volcano, Tagaytay, Taal Lake, and of course Taal Vista Lodge. A history walk is offered for only P800 with free snacks.