Rumors started that a secret garden tucked in the rolling hills of Tagaytay existed. This secret garden then became the talk of the town as Manila’s inner circle raved about the new and exotic place. Stories were all in admiration and glee about a flower garden that is soothingly pleasing to the eye. And then there is the appetizing country cuisine with fresh and organically grown ingredients right from the garden itself served in fine tableware that complements its idyllic setting. Finally, there is Sonya herself with memories of growing up in her grandmother’s country garden in the Philippines as she lived out her dream of living life based on her philosphy of “the art of doing nothing”. All these add up to none other than Sonya’s Garden.
The garden was supposed to be the private paradise of Sonya open to only family and friends. Eventually those family and friends invited their own sets of family and friends. After much persuasion from all those who enjoyed what the garden had to offer, Sonya decided to share her paradise with more people. In 1998, she opened the doors of her secret garden to the public just in time for Valentine’s Day. Since then, it was never the same. The once secret paradise became a respite for the city dwellers and a refreshing experience to those who are looking for something different.
Sonya’s Garden has also been regarded as a haven of romance where many have come to court, propose and even returned to say “I do”. And with that alone, Sonya’s Secret Garden became the worst kept secret in Tagaytay City.
But perhaps one of Sonya’s most generous gifts to her customers is having the opportunity to stay at the Bed and Breakfast facilities where one can retreat to one of the charming cottages. Families and friends who love being surrounded by the lush green shrubberies, couples going on their nth anniversary celebration or just a tired soul longing for some solitude and a little bit of pampering – all have found their way to Sonya’s Bed and Breakfast. Continuing her quest to create more space of serenity, Sonya has also opened a spa and pampering salon to remind folks to be kind to themselves once in a while.
Day-trippers will also get a kick out of the healthy buffet experience of salads, pasta, breads and delightfully fresh dalandan juice. Have a chance to taste organic rose petals on your salad with the most delicious salad dressing you will ever taste. Their salad dressings cannot be found elsewhere which is why some people drive all the way to Tagaytay to buy some of this yummy bottled stuff. After your share of salad, lather your pasta with either sundried tomatoes or white chicken sauce and add your choice of salmon, olives and shitake mushrooms to top it off. End your meal with a slice of their yummy chocolate cake, turon and caramelized camote and wash everything down with a cup of a soothing tarragon tea.
Sonya’s Garden is not accessible by public transport, which gives it a hint of exclusivity. But with its good food and even better surroundings, it is definitely worth the drive on any given day. Another place that would be a great destination right after stuffing yourself full of great food is Paradizoo.