Sonya’s Garden is located in Tagaytay, a good 2 hour drive from Makati, Philippines. It is an English influenced garden according to Sonya Garcia’s (the owner) table book, that includes specialty stores, a bed and breakfast, a Spa and a buffet breakfast or lunch.
Wondering around the garden, you are not charged for entrance. The garden is wild and untamed, decorated with seats draped in white material, accommodating the common day selfie. The specialty stores are open, but their contents seem to be struggling to be bought as I found the items less than desirable. However, I did find their Organic makeshift store had a lot of interests from their guests. I even purchased organic Rambutan and Longan upon leaving the garden, to make sure they were fresh.
Pretty draped seats
Favourite Finds store
Favourite Finds store
The Apothecary store
The Organic Stall
Organic Rambutan and Longan for Php200 per kilo.
Cute animal stone moss carvings
The Spa, located at the end of the garden path, was calming. Though initially we had planned for full packages, including manicure, pedicure and whole back massage. Our requests were unable to be accommodated, due to shortage of masseuse and manicurists. Our arrival to the Spa, I felt caused stress to the cashier/receptionist. Who kept on asking if we had reservations? Assuming we didn’t need one, I replied with a disappointed no (thinking, we would be sent away). Calmly, the cashier/receptionist appointed a masseuse for each of us but not for our entire planned packages, so we settled for foot massages and partial back massage.
The stairs that lead you to the Spa
Where is the Foot Spa area?
Flower petals in a stone pot
Receiving and waiting area for the Spa
Complimentary tea after massage
As for our food at the buffet, I had read many good things about how fresh and healthy everything was. The rain started, so we hurried into the restaurant. Imagine the dismay my company had, when we found a sad buffet awaiting us. Hungry and desperate we settled for less. It is our fault for arriving 3pm for lunch, but there is no excuse for a well functioning restaurant to serve food that looked limp, wilted, and had a swarm of fruit flies on the tomatoes.
Restaurant Interior at 3pm
Complimentary warm bread with side fillings
Salad bar, the tomatoes had fruit flies all over it
Hot dishes: Includes pasta and sauces (sun dried tomato or chicken cream with mango), Salmon Belly, shiitake mushrooms, black olives and capers
Chicken cream with mango
Banana rolls with sesame and jackfruit
Dessert: Chocolate cake and Tarragon tea
Place/Time:Arrived around 11am on a Saturday morning. There were a few other people, but the gardens walkways were not packed. There is an usher at the entrance to direct you to where you want to go, parking is even free, no apparent entrance fee to enter the garden. If there was, we didn’t pay.
Ambiance:Luscious, wild and untamed. Yes, just like a gypsy’s hair. Sonya’s garden is open to all, creating interest in their specialty stores like the; The Country store, The Apothecary, Favourite Finds, and Panaderia. The garden itself is tranquil and maintained, catching hints of attentiveness to detail and beauty.
Occasion:A trip to Sonya’s Garden is intentional and must be planned. I recommend it for a day trip out with your friends, family, co-workers or with your special someone (like your dog).
Service:Accommodating but ordinary. Though I must admit we did not make reservations for The Spa, service given to us was still humane and we were not driven out with pitchforks in their hands. As for the buffet, the waiters gave everything we needed without being asked, but I still can’t get over the actual food being less than edible
Pricing:For the Spa, 5 adults and 1 child we spent approximately Php5,000-Php6,000 ($156AUD).
For the buffet, we spent Php683 per person inclusive of soup, complimentary bread, dessert and tea. Totalling to Php4,000-Php4,500 ($117AUD) for the buffet experience.
Contact Info:Sonya’s GardenAddress: Barangay Buck Estate, Cavite, PH (near the vicinity of Tagaytay City)Telephone:
Restaurant:+63 917 532 9097+63 917 529 1080+63 917 516 1080+63 917 517 1080
Bed & Breakfast:+63 917 533 5140+63 917 503 1080
Spa:+63 917 523 1080
Website: http://sonyasgarden.com/Store Hours: 8am to 6pm.
Compared to the hustle and bustle of Manila, Sonya’s Garden is a welcome break from all the clean living Manila is famous for. It is a place where you can explore a beautiful garden without being charged (like everything else in Manila) or coerced into participating against your will. You are welcome here, despite the obvious signs of wear and tear on its facilities. And there is a list of activities you can do if you’re desperate to be entertained, along with the obvious selfies at the decorated draped seats. I give Sonya’s Garden a passing 3 Katrina hearts out of 5, only if the food we had at the buffet was edible, delicious and of value.