Taal packs amazing old houses that take you through centuries. And tucked just a few minutes from the highway is this ranch with an ancestral house at the middle turned into a cafe, hence named Cafe at the Ranch.
Growing in a very simple life at a small ancestral house surrounded by lots of trees together with the sound of the waves touching the shore painted my childhood memories. I was raised by my late grandmother in the shores of Batangas in their old but lovely home. Now living in more developed part of the province makes me long for them from time to time. And upon hearing a nearby restaurant in Taal which resembles those old houses, I got intrigued and scheduled a visit.
After conquering the winding road suggested by Waze, We finally spotted a sign with MGM Ranch on it. It is where this fancy cafe is located. If you’re commuting from Manila, just ride a bus to Lemery, Batangas and get off at the town near Flying V and Taal-Lemery bypass road. You can then call tricycles around and ask the driver to drop you to the ranch, it’s just around 2 to 3 km from that area.
Upon leaving the highway, the road goes narrow and the rocky road will mean you’re nearing the destination. If it will be rainy, then cars may find it hard crossing the mud. But as you enter the gate, you will be greeted by the horses and other animals freely grazing around the ranch.
Arrival at the Ranch
It was just the second day of the year when we visited and there were only two cars parked at the parking area. But as we enter, there was just one waiter busy serving other customers. There were plenty of foods to choose from. My girlfriend and I were quite hungry at that time. We ordered Mom’s Chicken Cordon Bleu, Alfredo Pasta, Big Boy’s Pizza and a chocolate-banana waffle, I forgot the exact name. Other best-sellers with nice feedbacks are Jack Daniel’s Baby Back Ribs, All-day Breakfasts and different kinds of crepes.
After a couple of minutes, the choco-banana waffle came. We were a bit puzzled that the dessert came first but we just assumed it was the fastest one to serve and the main dishes will take time. It took a while for our orders completely served in the table. We have prepared for it as there were feedbacks that the service indeed takes longer than usual.
While waiting, we had the opportunity to appreciate the place more. The cafe is warmed up with lots of rustic accents. The table is nice, looking like its made from reclaimed woods. There are hand-painted illustrations and quotes around. The chairs seemed interestingly antique. I also liked the corners with hanging inverted vases.
Another thing notable in this cafe is their restroom. It is large and packs lots of rustic decors as well. Look at that mirror, it’s like a Disney princess owned it.
As we were taking pictures outside, we noticed that horses are freely grazing around the house. It passed by my side closely while I was busy taking pictures. I remembered being with freely grazing horse/donkey at Cintai Coritos Garden in San Jose as well.
Eating the Ranch Style
Back to eating galore, the dessert was good and the bananas were fresh and naturally sweet. After 45 minutes, our orders were finally complete. Being one of my favorite, I had the cordon bleu and it really satisfied my taste. I liked the cheese they used. But maybe it’s because of that that the alfredo pasta tasted plain on our taste buds.
For our drinks, we had chocolate frappe and mango juice. The former was not too chocolatey according to my girlfriend; it’s close to a local choco drink for me to be honest. But my mango juice was great, it really tasted natural. We took away the pizza as our tummies could not fill them in anymore. The crust was thin and the yummy looks were justified after eating it at home. Our bill amounted to ~P1,250 including the 5% service charge.
The experience at the cafe was memorable and nice overall. If you’re visiting the famous Taal church on Lent for Visita Iglesia, having a Taal walking tour or just passing by, it’s worth dropping-by here.
For further info, here’s their Facebook Page.
Further reading: Tagaytay Tourist Spots for Weekend Getaway Trip