Of course, everyone has heard about that exclusive, members-only recreation and residential community up in the cold, chilly hills of Tagaytay City in Cavite – Tagaytay Highlands, that property with its cable cars and funicular tram, overlooking Taal Lake and Volcano, and dubbed as an ideal place to escape to, just an hour away from the hustle and hassle of urban Metro Manila
Nestled among the greens in the Midlands portion of this wonderful piece of real estate is the Madre de Dios Chapel, favored as one of THE wedding venues in Tagaytay City for its breathtaking views and quaint charm. The hilltop chapel is fully air conditioned, but who needs air conditioning when one is easily embraced by Tagaytay’s cool breeze?
The chapel, if not for the cross atop a small tower, would seem to be like a big modern house to some, with its rust-orange Spanish tiled-roof and white stucco walls giving off a Mediterranean atmosphere. The chapel itself can accommodate about 200 people, with wide windows at the sides providing more than enough light for its clean and simply elegant interiors. Inside, the dark wood of the doors and beams are stark contrast to the cream-colored walls, while stained glass windows filter the sun’s rays for that wonderful splash of color. A portico serves as driveway at the entrance, with a few steps leading up to the door. The aisle may be short according to some people’s standards, though. Still, the serenity of the surroundings guarantees a solemn wedding ceremony, with one side facing picturesque Taal Lake. Beside it, a small garden dotted with evergreens is perfect for on-the-spot pictorials.
Getting married at the Madre de Dios Chapel, however, is only open to Tagaytay Highlands members, or at least those sponsored by members. The chapel administration requires reservations to be made at least three months to a year ahead of the wedding date, with a P5,000 non-refundable deposit. The fee of P25,000 (non-member rate) covers required documents (license, etc.), use of red carpet; altar candles; simple floral arrangements for the altar; basic sound system; as well as a donation to the San Guillermo Parish in Talisay, Batangas.
The nearest reception venue is at The Midlands Veranda, located at the Midlands Golf Clubhouse. The Veranda can accommodate up to 400 guests. The restaurant, with its offerings of Filipino, Asian and Western cuisine, delivers awesome views of the Lake and the greens of the adjacent golf course with its floor-to-ceiling doors and wide balconies.
There are three wedding packages available for the Madre de Dios-Veranda event, and they are aptly named Blissful Union, Enchanting Memories, and Heavenly Highlands. All packages include the following: use of a fully air conditioned venue for four hours; three-tiered cake; doves and decorated cage; swags or drapings; floral arrangements for the couple’s, two presidential and 10 guest tables; colored linen and skirting setup; Tiffany chairs; champagne for the couple’s toast; a round of iced tea for the first 100 guests; full use of sound system; waiver of corkage for 2 bottles of wine and one bottle of liquor (both 750ml). Packages also come with a complimentary two-night stay for the couple in a one-bedroom suite, complete with breakfast, fruit basket, and a bottle of house wine; massage services at The Highlands Spa; and a complimentary overnight stay with continental breakfast for the couple on their first wedding anniversary.
The Enchanting Memories package costs P80,000; Blissful Union package P110,000; and the Heavenly Highlands, P190,000 – all prices are on top of the menu cost. A P15,000 reservation is required to block off the date, with a 50 per cent deposit to be settled at least two months before the event.