Months after the COVID-19 lockdown, Tagaytay's roads remain empty for most parts of the day, save for the occasional vehicles delivering essential goods and services. The sky has been a lot clearer, the sights still breathtaking, and the cool breeze still lingers. But during this lull, something fresh has been blossoming in the area.
The picturesque vineyard in Megaworld's Twin Lakes, a 1,200-hectare mixed-use leisure and resort community near Tagaytay, was recently blessed by produce. “We have three grape variants here at the vineyard: the Catawba grapes, the Brazilian hybrid, and the Red Cardinals,” says Efren Magpantay, an agriculturist working for GERI who has been tasked to oversee the vineyard.
A slice of Napa Valley
Contrary to popular belief, grapes can thrive in tropical countries like the Philippines where hot weather extends for months all throughout the year.
According to Magpantay, the secret to achieving the perfect sweetness for the grapes depends on perfect timing. “You need to know how to make the plant adapt perfectly to the environment. Unlike other places in the country like La Union, General Santos City, and Davao where grapes are grown, here it tends to get really cold during the latter part of the year. You have to be able to help the grapes adjust to ensure that it rewards you with the best and high-quality harvest possible,” he shares.
The one-hectare Twin Lakes vineyard is easily a never-miss sight in the charming Laurel, Batangas destination. A short hike from the Twin Lakes Shopping Village along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway down to Twin Lakes Hotel will offer you a glimpse of the terraced vineyard that straddles the entire length of the hotel all the way to the low-rise condominium clusters of The Vineyard Residences.
The next harvest season will be between March and April next year. This will be a perfect time for guests wanting to experience how it feels like to roam the grounds of vineyards at Napa Valley in California.
A refreshing escape close to Manila
Just a few years back, Twin Lakes Hotel was awarded as the Country Winner for the “Best Hotel Development in Asia” category at the 2018 Asia Property Awards held in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to that, it was also recognized for its exemplary design, location, and huge potential for tourism when it was feted as the “Best Hotel Development” at the 2018 Philippines Property Awards.
As the hotel prepares to resume operations soon, plans are also being readied as early as now to welcome guests to the vineyard. Once the current restrictions are lifted, those seeking to get away from the dizzying buzz of the city can do so by visiting the vineyard next year. Here, they can pick and take home their own bunch of grapes for a fee and take as many photos as they’d like. There are even plans to put up a winery at the vineyard.
“What makes the Twin Lakes vineyard unique is the fact that you get to pick your grapes while being surrounded by beautiful scenery. This is the only one of its kind along the entire Tagaytay-Nasugbu ridge. Here, you have unobstructed views of a naturally lush landscape and the world-famous Taal Volcano, while the majestic façade of the Twin Lakes Hotel and the rest of the community looms ahead of you,” says Monica T. Salomon, president, GERI.
For now, the harvested grapes are being used by the hotel to develop more dishes for their all-day dining restaurant, Twin Lakes Café. The rest of the bunch was delivered to the doorsteps of residents of The Vineyard Residences.
Just over an hour’s drive away from Manila, Twin Lakes has a selection of dining establishments and outlets at the Twin Lakes Shopping Village, a hotel, and residential condominiums. Also within the sprawling development are themed residential villages and other soon-to-rise leisure and commercial properties.
For more information, visit TwinLakesTagaytay.ph.