Mau and MJ are two very wild labradors that are as black as night. They love belly rubs, going out with their neighborhood dogs friends and pan de sal, but for all their excitement, have only known life in our little village.

This sparked an idea to bring them out of town, somewhere they’ve never been. While, our original plan involved bringing them to the beach (and seeing their reaction to the huge puddle of water that is the sea) we thought it would be too ambitious since the closest beach from Manila is Batangas and they’d be in the car for at least 2.5 hours. We opted to find a closer destination and test their reaction to the long car ride first and so the beautiful views of Tagaytay (Just 1.5 hours away) was our pick.

Finding an Accomodation

There are many beautiful and fairly-priced Airbnb spots in Tagaytay. The challenge was finding one that allowed dogs on the premises. Luckily, they have filters to help you find just that. We also needed the home to be entire ours since our dogs are newbies – we didn’t want them to disturb other guests at a resort-type accommodation or fight with other people’s dogs. The outing would involve 7 people and our two labs so that needed to be set as filters too.

Our filters then included three rules:

  1. Must be Pet-friendly
  2. Must be the Entire Home
  3. Must Accommodate 7 people

We found that Mia’s Garden was a good choice for both of these things! It looked nice in photos but it was also impressive in photos.

First Impressions

As we drove up to the house’s grey gate, a caretaker, who lives inside the area, welcomed us into the abode. We brought two cars with us and they comfortably parked in the large lawn which we were excited to let MJ and Mau run free in.

The house was large if every sense of the word. The large gate opened up to a large backyard which linked us to a large living space. Note that while the backyard is spacious, a part of it (towards the back) is not manicured. This wasn’t too big of a problem though as there was still a lot of space enjoy.

 

The House

Inside, we enjoyed the high ceilings and creative decor. The living and dining room were very cozy spaces that the family enjoyed staying in. The house has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms – all of which were, like the rest of the place, very spacious. The house also had a well-equipped kitchen that made it easy for us to cook and clean. There is Wi-fi (although we found it did have a cap eventually so conserve your usage!)

Playtime

MJ and Mau were excited to get down from the car and plant their feet on land. My mom and I were happy to see them inspect their outdoor playground. We initially had to tie them to a gate outside because of the chickens in the back part of the lawn but eventually we let them roam free.

We spent a memorable afternoon tiring them out. Their usual 15-minute daily walk in the village now became several hours long and they were ecstatic – tongues out and all.

All that play ensured them a restful sleep. The caretakers allowed us to let them sleep indoors for as long as they had diapers on. (The previous dog visitors had peed on the living room carpet, hence the diaper rule! Haha) MJ and Mau slept in the first room and thoroughly enjoyed the air-conditioning. My mom and I peeked into their corner before we slept and they were the biggest, coziest, dog burritos ever.

Eating Out

This was my main fear. I had organized the trip and my worst fear was that the dogs would destroy something or bite off someone’s hand (Not that they do that but I just imagined the worst.) and that someone would say “This was a bad idea.” All of that was looming in the background of my mind, moments where the dogs were in public were  where that was likely to happen.

Deli De San Honore

We ate out for a total of two occasions on the overnight trip. Our first, was lunch on the first day at Deli de San Honore. This restaurant has to be one of my current favorites in Tagaytay (It’s on the same road going to Antonio’s). They have great ambience and delicious food. They source a lot of their ingredients from nearby farms and everything just tastes fresh. I love anything with their goatmilk in it! The goatmilk cheese cake, the fig and goat cheese pizza, the steak and the house salad are some solid things to order but just about everything we tried was good so order what your heart tells you.

MJ and Mau were a bit of a handful here. They were excited to see a new place and new people and they got excited with all the food coming out. We took them to walk around outside while waiting for the food, gave them water and eventually we got them to settle down with their leashes attached to our chairs (That meant no standing for us! Haha) Our dogs have a twice-a-day eating schedule but seeing us eat for lunch made then jealous – and hungry so there was a bit of a struggle there. I needed to eat my pizza with my head turned with my other hand continuously petting them. That meant only one hand for eating on my part. Which I didn’t mind doing for the little lovelies – it’s their first time out after all.

MJ and Mau also had some curious kids come up to them and say hello. I mentally panicked but it all went well. They carried themselves quite nicely and no hands were biten or dismembered (Ha!)

The Farm Organics – Twin Lakes

Just about the best decision we made for eating out was going to Twin Lakes. It was key to note that eating out with big dogs like ours required space and a place to secure their leashes on. At Twin Lakes it was easy because there were railings and a lot of walking space for them to enjoy. Because the railings extended to all the establishments there we also had a lot of choices in terms of places to eat. We eventually settled down at The Farm Organics. It was a great location too because there was a little corner where MJ and Mau could have shade, close to the railings and with just enough distance away from any one passing by.

Everywhere the dogs went they gained fans cause of their shiny black tint and also because they looked so alike! (The are sisters after all) Twin Lakes was our last stop before heading home and I was happy to see the two adjusted to the traveling lifestyle. They weren’t scared of the people or other dogs walking around and I felt that they were starting to fit in.

What MJ (not Mau) was scared of though were stairs. She never liked going down the stairs and at a point only wanted to go up. Hayayay. Of course it was us that had to adjust by finding another way to get them to where the car was. All good though. By 2pm it was mission complete. Everyone was good and ready to head back home.

End Notes

With a little bit of planning and some patience, your first-time furry friends can enjoy a vacation. It’s great to train them a little first before you leave but know that they won’t be perfect. They will be reacting to new experiences and there will be some unknown challenges – and that’s all part of the journey. Stop procrastinating and start planning! I’m happy to have spent time with my family and help them experience traveling with our dogs for the very first time. I was also happy Pat (My boyfriend) and Tili (His cook) came along to make our little group even more festive. Most of all I’m thankful I didn’t put this off until everything was perfect. I always had questions but they all got answered during the trip. Sometimes, that’s just how you learn! If you need any more info on this little adventure feel free to send me an email at theislandelephant@gmail.com. I hope this little entry has been useful to you pet-loving humans.

Love,
The Island Elephant (and these lazy dogs)

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