Double the happy nests


September and the “ber” months are upon us dear readers. Can Christmas be far behind? Let us welcome the most loveable, affable Christmas caroler, the Philippines’ very own Jose Mari Chan. He never fails to lift our spirits with his holiday songs. 

In these still fearsome times with the pandemic not really behind us and the world grappling with war tensions between countries, we need the hope and love that the birth of Christ brings.

Here is a tip from a veteran bargain hunter: It’s still early but if you want to spruce up your homes with holiday décor, try the Dapitan Arcade, bargain hunters’ paradise. You can haggle but the prices are already cheap so be reasonable and go ahead and buy! Enjoy the experience from Christmas trees of fake fir and colorful lanterns to beautiful garlands, wreaths, lights, knick knacks, holiday plates, exquisite chandeliers, lamps, and so on! The two adjoining arcades have what your heart desires this coming holiday season.

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On the other hand, are you still planning a unique staycation or a quick out-of-town adventure with your family, friends, and loved ones? How about doubling your happiness by visiting not just one but two destinations in one trip.

We did a fun land trip to Tagaytay for an afternoon at the almost three decades-young Residence Inn and the newer sister destination, the Paradizoo Theme Farm. These are located past Taal Vista Hotel on the main highway.

Residence Inn Zoori and Paradizoo Theme Farm offers you a day tour zoo entrance family package, which allows you to visit the two zoos for only ₱990, good for four persons. The two locations are just a 10-minute drive away from each other and can definitely fit your travel schedule.

Residence Inn is a picturesque get-away vacation spot in the heart of the scenic beauty of Tagaytay. It comes with a Caribbean-style air conditioned view-deck rooms with a magnificent and picturesque view of Taal Volcano and a fairy tale-inspired mini zoo for children and adults. 

Zip line fun!

The family can explore the exciting menagerie where one can get up close with various species of exotic animals. Tour this amazing animal sanctuary with more exciting attractions, including bird feeding. Feel the exhilarating high of a ride on thezip line and cable car. Fly 60 meters up in the air to the other hillside range some 133 meters away. Take a superb remembrance with their mimes every weekend or have a fantastic picture in the animal photo ops (with tigers, snakes, or birds).

Robert Yupangco checks out the farm produce.

Hungry? Try a taste of the very sumptuous dishes, including the mouth-watering bulalo beef soup.

The sister theme park is Paradizoo at Mendez, Cavite, a short 10-minute drive away. This haven for plants and animals offers guests a unique farm experience with both flora and fauna co-existing in this 10-hectare agri-tourism enclave. Fun-filled activities make the farm a wonderful place in which to relax and enjoy nature at its best.

According to businessman and nature lover Robert L. Yupangco, who owns both theme parks, Paradizoo applies thebest practices in agriculture, especially in farming like vermiculture, bokashi soil, hydroponics, and putting up compost pits. They also maintain a natural habitat among animals and plants. Here you will learn more about agriculture, different farm animals, and things you may produce by working with and respecting nature.

One of the favorite attractions in Paradizoo is Farm Frenzy, an area where guests can cuddle and buy some animals such as rabbits, hamsters, and love-birds. They also have a collection of Dorper sheep, Boer, Kalahari and Saanen dairy goats, Rusa and turkeys from Australia, which are also available for sale. In the Plant Me Home area, guests may select and pick vegetables and flowers from garden plots to take home. For those who love veggies, take a look at their very own Bahay Kubo, and identify the 17 vegetables, included in the said song. And if you have a very keen eye for beauty or flowers, have a glimpse of the Orchidarium and Eclectic Garden.

Other Paradizoo’s attractions are Meditation Garden, Wedding Pavilion, and Boot Camp. You can also try their latest attractions like Camel ride and Zing Ride, a unique air ride that is a combination of zip line and a swing.The farm is located at Km 65 in Barrio Neogan, still in Tagaytay. Entrance fee is only ₱249 per person.