Parenting in the Pandemic: Tagaytay road trip

The pandemic has been so difficult for everyone, but especially for children. They can’t go running or biking in the streets. Most places where they play are closed. They can’t get vaccinated yet, so it’s not safe for them to leave the house.

It’s been so tough for my son, who loves to explore, make friends, and try new things. So when restrictions loosened up a bit, around my birthday, we decided to take a quick road trip to Tagaytay.

Beforehand, I asked around to see which alfresco places allowed visitors with children to dine in. We decided on two places, Cucina Bernardo at Angelfields Nature Sanctuary, and Hotel Kimberly, not just because of the alfresco dining options, but also because both had petting zoos and I thought Lucas would enjoy those immensely. I messaged both, on Facebook, just to make sure, given how often restrictions changed in recent months, and how quickly establishments had to change their rules to adapt. Both establishments said that children were welcome, and reservations were not required.

Angelfields Nature Sanctuary

In my message exchange with Cucina Bernardo, they informed me that there was a minimum consumable fee of PHP 500 pesos for adults, and PHP 250 pesos for kids younger than 5 years old. Their Facebook page also announced their operating hours, and the days when they were hosting private functions, so we were able to plan accordingly.

We had been to Angelfields before, for a wedding, and we knew it was a large place with plenty of space. We were happy to see it was still mostly clear, sprawling fields, with some man-made ponds and some enclosures for geese, turkeys, chickens, ducks and sheep. After signing in at the front desk, we went straight down to the dining area, and were seated quickly. The restaurant was a large, open space, and tables were positioned around six to ten feet away from each other. With high ceilings, open doors and a nice breeze, it was very nicely ventilated even if we were sitting indoors.

The consumable fee wasn’t really a problem. At first glance the items on the menu seemed a little pricey, but the servings were sufficient for us (two adults and one child) to share.

We bought animal feed from the front desk, at Php 10 per cup. We probably spent nearly Php 100 on the feed, because Lucas had so much fun feeding the fowl and the fish. At first he was scared to feed them, and kept throwing only a few seeds their way. “Give them more!” I told him. When he started throwing handfuls of feed on the ground, near his feet, they swarmed him! He was so happy.

There wasn’t really much to do aside from feeding the animals. Many families just sat on the many benches and chairs scattered around the premises, enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze. It was lovely to just be outdoors.

Hotel Kimberly

We decided on Hotel Kimberly next. They had Day Trip packages which included access to the pool, the playground and the petting zoo, a bonfire (weather permitting), and horseback riding. Unfortunately it was quite rainy when we got there. It was too cold for a dip in the pool, and despite my son’s persistence, we didn’t actually bring any swimming clothes.

Still, he enjoyed the playground, and got quite wet on the slides and the grass. At 3:30, we went to the farm area, and Lucas squealed with delight. RABBITS!!!

There was also a bigger variety of birds here: different kinds of chickens, and pheasants in addition to the ducks and geese. Lucas was so thrilled when the caretaker taught him to keep the feed in his hand, so that the taller birds would eat from there instead of the ground. He was so tickled by their beaks.

In cages were different kinds of pheasants, and peacocks, and sheep.

But I think Lucas had the most fun with Kimy.

I wasn’t sure if Lucas would want to give horseback riding a try, but when we asked him, he didn’t even flinch! Without hesitation, he let the caretaker pick him up and put him in the saddle, and they went around the grounds quite a few times. He was so happy, and he wasn’t scared at all!

We were so lucky that nobody else was around when we were in the farm area, so Lucas had the full attention of the caretakers. They seemed so amused that he wasn’t scared of any of the animals, and he was so enthusiastic about trying things when they made suggestions.

Alas, it was getting late, and cold, and dark, and it was starting to rain again. Just as we were thinking about calling Lucas to go back indoors, another family arrived, and we took that as our cue to leave. We went into the hotel for an early dinner, and Lucas needed a full change of clothes because he was wet with sweat and rain. We were quite content to space out while eating, and to stare into the dark of the night as we headed home.

It was good to hear, from the hotel staff, that Hotel Kimberly was fully booked from the end of November all the way through December. The pandemic can’t have been good for business, and it was nice that they had guests checking in again. Let’s just hope everyone remembers to stay safe and to observe protocols so that we don’t face another surge in January.

Have you been on any road trips lately? Where did you go?

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