Cavite

Nature’s finest! Unwind at Sonya’s Garden Bed & Breakfast in Tagaytay

Steph Arnaldo
Nature’s finest! Unwind at Sonya’s Garden Bed & Breakfast in Tagaytay
It's a tita's heaven! Here's what to expect at your Sonya's Bed & Breakfast stay and your ride to this nature-centric, private sanctuary!

MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve always wanted to stop and smell the roses, you can literally (and figuratively) do that in Sonya’s Garden’s Bed & Breakfast, where time slows down and nature is the star.

SONYA’S GARDEN. Photo from Sonya’s Garden

The iconic Tagaytay restaurant extended its simple, homegrown roots to a charming and cozy bed and breakfast along Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite. The location is not along the main highway (it takes almost an hour from the Tagaytay rotonda to get there), so you’re separated from the actual restaurant with the promise of more privacy and silence.

Putting the garden in Sonya’s Garden
PATHWAYS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s basically tita heaven here – plantitas and oilbularyos unite! Walk into the lush, nature-centric estate and you’ll see trees of green (red roses, too), surrounding winding stone pathways with well-kept, gorgeous, and verdant landscapes of local flowers, herbs, and plants.

INFORMATION CENTER. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s a short but scenic walk to the quaint Information Center, where you check in and are given your cottage key. Depending on your cottage’s location, you may have to take some stairs. You can also be dropped off to your cottage area via golf cart.

GOLF CART. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
NATURE-CENTRIC. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Reflecting Sonya’s love for aromatics and nature’s healing gifts, each cottage is named after flowers and herbs. We stayed at the Mint Cottage, a very secluded cozy cottage nestled right above a river and trees. True to Sonya’s promise of a “private sanctuary,” it really is – you’ll see nothing but nature outside your bay windows and hear nothing but the sounds of animals and insects residing nearby.

SECLUDED. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
RIVERSIDE COTTAGE. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The loud animal sounds were quite jarring at first, but they quickly became relaxing (almost like white noise), especially paired with the cool, unpolluted Tagaytay wind – it instantly felt like a private, nature’s getaway.

MINT COTTAGE. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
FOYER. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
BED. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The cottage itself exudes Sonya’s traditional, heritage style – imagine a simple country lifestyle that offers a back-to-the-roots experience – the undisturbed sound of nature, privacy, solitude, and the art of doing nothing. There is no airconditioner or TV set in any room, so you’re encouraged to “wake up to the smell of flowers and enjoy nature’s spendor in full view right outside your window.” The lack of artificial noise did help me have a restful sleep.

DRESSER. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
TARRAGON HERBS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
LOUNGE. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The vintage interiors feel like you’ve been transported back in time, with its own historical charm – there’s a traditional vanity dresser, queen bed with a kulambo, a lounge chair, an extra solo bed with a great view, books, and a counter with drinking water, coffee, electric kettle, and fresh tarragon herbs for tea (this tasted amazing)! The room also comes with all-natural, anti-bug citronella oil and an itch-relieving essential oil blend, too.

SHOWER AREA. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The CR comes with bathrobes for two, lavender soap, toothbrushes, toothpastes, gugo shampoo, slippers, and hot water. Even showering is a breath of fresh air – you get an unobstructed view of forest trees whenever you’re doing your business.

SINK AND TOILET. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

To “just get away from it all” is Sonya’s wish for her guests, and it’s very possible to do that here. No distractions, no noise, and nothing much to do. To the stressed many, this sounds like a dream, especially coming from the busy, congested, and hectic Metro. Coming from the fast-paced city life, I really felt time slow down here. Suddenly, I had all the time in the world to do nothing!

SOLO BED. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Of course, unwinding for me isn’t complete without a massage – luckily, Sonya’s Spa offers a wide variety of treatments that you can have in the spa or in your room for an additional fee.

AT NIGHT. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

At night, the estate is even more beautiful – colorful garden lights adorn the pathways, plants, and trees, and the weather is cool enough for a nice muni-muni night stroll.

Even the room itself becomes more cozy, warm, and comforting at night.

The art of doing nothing

Sonya’s believes that to “yield the simple joys of life,” we must practice the Art of Doing Nothing. Free “Art of Doing Nothing Lessons” are held every day at certain timeslots, such as Basic Gardening, Compost Making, Plant Propagation, Firefly Watching (during mating season), Walking, Trekking, and a Tour of the Scented Greenhouse and Edible Landscape Gardens.

There’s also Early Morning Meditation and even Yoga for Beginners. Or you could just chill and read in your room! At Sonya’s Garden, there’s no pressure to have an itinerary.

WREATH MAKING.

Each stay also comes with a complimentary lunch or early dinner (and by early, we mean from 4 pm to 6 pm), and a full breakfast buffet.

DINING VERANDA. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The food is not extravagant, which is fine – sometimes, the less the choices, the better. For the breakfast buffet, there’s hot chocolate, tea, and unli-coffee; breads and jams; champorado; fried rice; adobo; bangus; and fresh fruit juices. The dining area veranda is spacious, open, and cool, and overlooks a verdant view of greenery and colorful plants.

BREAKFAST BUFFET. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

For the set lunch/dinner, each plate is served to your table. Sonya’s uses only organically grown, pesticide-free veggies grown from its own garden, which is featured in the first course of Sonya’s signature greens salad with gorgeous edible flowers, picked from the five greenhouses. The cold green juice served is refreshingly delicious.

SONYA’S SALAD. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Next is Sonya’s signature sesame bread with butter, jams, and spreads like pesto, kesong puti, and tapenade; followed by spaghetti noodles and two choices of sauces: white (cream-based) and red (tomato-based). The cream-based sauce was a bit too sweet for my liking, but the tomato sauce was fine with the addition of capers, olives, cheese, mushrooms, and grilled chicken strips (that could’ve been more moist and juicy). All of these can be refilled.

SPAGHETTI. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Last are the desserts – a simple but moist chocolate cake, turon, and delicious glazed cassava. Sonya’s flavors are very mild, simple, and subtle; not so much an explosive party of flavors in your mouth. If you’re craving for meat or seafood, there’s an extra ala carte menu you can choose from with Filipino and continental dishes fit for groups.

DESSERTS.

If you want to have dinner at a later time or in your room, an additional 10% service charge will be incurred.

CHECK-IN AREA. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Sonya’s 22 cottages are open all year. From Monday to Thursdays, it costs P3,200 per head; P3,600 from Fridays to Sundays; and P3,800 on holidays and peak seasons.

SONYA’S B&B. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
The easy drive home

After checking out, there’s more to explore around Sonya’s B&B estate – a panaderia by the entrance where bread is baked fresh daily, along with other pastries, pasalubongs, and delicacies; and an apothecary that sells flowering organic plants, veggies, herbs in pots, indoor plants, honey, oils, bath products, and hand-crafted furniture and decor by local artistans that you can take home.

APOTHECARY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
HERBS FOR SALE. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
INDOOR PLANTS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The overall travel experience to, from, and at Sonya’s Garden was the epitome of easygoing and relaxing – a nice, slow change of pace and scenery helped to ease any tension of the work week and encouraged me just do… nothing. And that sounds like the perfect way to relax and unwind to me! – Rappler.com

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.