Sometimes you just need to get out of the city. Even though I love what I do, there are times when I feel overwhelmed, like I have taken on this difficult almost “beyond me” endeavour. Whenever I feel that way, I know I need to step away (and by that I mean REALLY away) to calm myself and “reboot” so to speak.
A few months ago, I heard of a Japanese businessman who decided to build a castle in Tagaytay. From the bit of research I did online, it’s supposed to resemble a castle in Bavaria. A European castle in Tagaytay?! That I had to see. So I promised myself that the next time I felt I had to “get out” and recharge, I would go check this castle out.
Dragging a friend along with me, I headed over to Lemery, which is a bit past Tagaytay City, and we visited Fantasy Land.
When we arrived, the guard at the entrance informed us that it is Php.1,000.00 to enter the park, and that this entrance fee is good for up to ten people. He also informed us that we were not allowed to have a picnic on the premises. He also said we could not wear costumes while on the castle grounds. Wonder how many cosplayers have tried that stunt. Agreeing to his terms, we moved the car forward, and sitting at the toll-booth like entrance was a Japanese man! Could he be the infamous businessman?! Too shy to ask questions, we simply drove on and up the hill towards the parking lot.
Before driving up to the entrance, we’d seen the castle from a distance. It was like a castle from a fairy tale, coloured yellow and red with greens and blues. It was made the way a child might colour a castle in their colouring books. In other words, it was ridiculously amazing.
Wandering around, we found a chapel in one of the main buildings. It was situated so that the sunlight would come through the stained glass behind the altar for most of the day. The other buildings were empty. There were steps that led to the upper floors of the castle, but these had been cordoned off. The only thing left to explore were the grounds. Walking around, we found relatively well-kept gardens, although the topiaries were suffering.
It was like we’d stepped into a forgotten fairy tale. There were no princes or princesses here. Even they’d abandoned their great big home for something else; the real world maybe… but we won’t get into that now.
The two things that really thrilled me were the hedge maze and the two towers that were connected at the top by a rope bridge. I immediately ran in and got a bit lost, thoroughly appreciating the man who decided this castle needed a hedge maze.
After spending a bit more time in the shade of the trees, we decided to head back and have lunch. On our way out, we spotted a huge dragon up on a hill. After all, what’s a fairy tale castle without a dragon nearby? Gotta love the guy who built this.
Although unconventional, I would say that our day at the castle was a great escape from the city. I will definitely go back sometime and bring more friends!