Here are the latest photos of the La Bella Residences’ Lobby area.
You are invited to La Bella Tagaytay’s Organic and Art Market. Where organic and art collides. This will be on March 25 (Saturday) at La Bella Tagaytay, Barangay Neogan, Tagaytay, Cavite.
My dear friend Grace Eleazar has always been a maverick of sorts, having pioneered a number of innovative concepts in the country. Over a decade ago, she started Wholesome, the first natural food store in Pasig, with wooden shelves, fresh bread, and lots of natural produce. Following the store’s success, she decided to expand. However, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis forced her to discontinue the venture.
Her newest baby is her retirement home in Tagaytay, known as La Bella, which I have had the privilege of exploring firsthand. It is beautifully and artistically appointed amidst the lushness of the environment, with each unit having a feel of nature. The soft programs that go with it are what make her “offering” unique. We have always been kindred spirits in terms of health. Like me, she is a staunch believer in exercise and a largely non-chemical approach towards wellbeing.
Our country has so much to give. Our greatest strength is our resources and our people. Grace’s concept maximizes these strengths to benefit the more senior members of our society.
I particularly like the concept because of the services such as health and fitness, medical practitioners specializing in alternative medicine… even community service! The development also includes a hotel for tourists or visiting family members, as well as residences for the younger market. Entertainment and necessities are abundant thanks to La Bella’s multi-faceted commercial cluster, restaurant cottages, heritage center and kid’s hub. The big attraction here is the cost. The area looks very upscale and one can access the environment with all its services for a mere P5,400 a month! Well, there are payment levels — so for more luxurious settings, one would pay more. But I went around and even the least expensive setting looked nicely comfortable.
Grace’s conviction is that the Philippines can be the premier retirement capital in Asia because of the intelligence and temperament of the Filipino caregiver, our tropical climate and our largely inexpensive medical services. Here, the elderly or even the Filipino expatriate can bask in a quality lifestyle that feels truly like home because of the gentility of the Filipino temperament and the comfort of our climate (we don’t have the severity and dryness of winter). In Tagaytay, even the summer is comfortable.
El Cocinero by Chef Arnaldo – La Bella Residences
El Cocinero is a homegrown Spanish restaurant tucked away inside the La Bella Residences development, offering a fresh and lush scenery that’s a welcome sight compared to the commercialized streets of Tagaytay. It is owned by Chef Arnaldo Limeta who trained in Ibiza, Spain for more than ten years. Read our full feature here.
BEFORE Tagaytay became a metropolis, Filipino restaurants and bulaluhan stalls dominated the dining scene, followed by the Italian trattorias. The resort city’s rapid development has spawned more restos of diverse cuisines.
Just when you think Tagaytay has gone the way of Taguig, there lies La Bella, a subdivision in Barangay Neogan tucked way in a grove of pine trees.
Nestled among the foliage is a white stucco Mediterranean building with tiled flooring, wrought-iron furniture by designer Noel Tañada, plants and Cubist artworks a la Picasso.
Chef patron Arnaldo Limeta brings his 14-year experience in Ibiza to Tagaytay.
El Cocinero remains true to the Spanish tradition, down to the minute details such as the allioli, the Catalan sauce from garlic, olive oil and salt, to the chambering of skins in the tomatoes. Most of the dishes have been baked for hours to lend their distinctive tastes and are colorfully plated to tempt the eye and the palate.
The signature dish, El Cocinero Paella, packs in the flavors of healthy crabs and prawns, meat chunks, vegetables and chorizo atop fluffy and creamy Arborio rice. (When this same dish was served in the original Nasugbu branch, a diner rated it as “best paella in the Philippines” on TripAdvisor.)
The fideua is a pasta version for people watching their waistlines.
The Pescado Al Horno is grilled lapu-lapu, partnered with special fish sauce or allioli and wine. The hefty fish is served on slices of baked potato and a mound of mixed Tagaytay greens and steamed asparagus and tomatoes.
The mesclun salad is made refreshing with avocado and a mild balsamic reduction.
Another wow item, the herb-infused Rollo de Pancetta or crispy bacon roll, is pork belly that has been roasted for hours for a tender meat while keeping the golden skin.
While other restaurants favor imported beef for steaks, Limeta says he can make the Batangas beef just as exciting with the right marinade and cooking techniques.
For the health-conscious, the Pizza El Cocinero has a thin crust with a chewy density, bubbling with four kinds of cheeses over the allioli. Before serving, it is topped with a salad of fresh mixed greens and cherry tomatoes to balance the richness.
End the meal with Crème Catalan, custard with caramelized sugar. The crispy, sugary churros are dipped in thick, dark chocolate.
The merienda fare can be a hearty bocata, the Spanish submarine sandwich using baguette and filled with chicken, beef, pork or jamon Serrano, chorizo, tomato and cheese.
At sunset, one can have classic tapas or appetizers such as gambas, pancetta or salt-cured ham, and callos with Ramon Roqueta wines, made by a respected Catalan producer. Cochinillo or baby suckling pig is ordered in advance.
Although the recipes are deceptively simple, the chef seeks out only the best ingredients and doesn’t do shortcuts in the procedure.
As added feature, visitors can explore Bodhi, the metaphysical shop and library and the furniture showroom owned by Derek Ramsay’s mother, Remedios.
Everyone is always on the go in Manila and we rarely pump the breaks to smell the flowers and just enjoy the things that take our breath away.
One important reason why I love doing Yoga is the flexibility for me to rethink and reassess life. It prevents me from going postal! 🙂
However, drastic change of lifestyle like deciding to work from home is a life-changing event. It’s not something you can decide overnight. It’s basically, modifying your lifestyle that will affect you and the people around you.
Most often than not, reading a book is the fastest and effective way to keep me sane.
According to studies, while working from home sounds ideal and can alleviate other problems such as commuting, money, among other things, it could intensify mental and physical stress, which I absolutely agree.
Luckily, there are one-stop shops/places that are perfect for retreat and enlightenment in Tagaytay City.
Therefore, a trip to a library would suffice. As fate would have it, I found a gem of a public library in Tagaytay!
Almost a thousand books from the personal collection of the owner are available on hand. Some were donated by her close friends which account for the variety of topics in this unusual library. There are rare books whose original publication dates back to the 1900s, thus making it an Antiquarian bookstore.
This public library is located inside La Bella properties in Tagaytay called BODHI Mind & Body Shop.
The word Bodhi is derived from the name of a tree, Bodhi Tree where Gautama Siddharta, now known as Buddha, had his “enlightenment”. This important value in life is the essence of Bodhi Shop, the newest shop for the mind and body in Tagaytay.
The bookshop is located on the second floor along with some artworks painted by different artists.
Essentially, Bodhi Shop attracts those who seek an easier pathway towards their time travel to their inner selves to find the perfection inherent in all human souls.
They sell these items that are perfect for meditation. The picture on the left side is an oil you could use to ease chest or heart pains while the other one is a spray for meditation use.
Some popular items such as soaps made of pure essential oils, blended with goat’s milk and combined with herbs like fennel, cedar, patchouli, poppyseed, charcoal, and vinegar (which turns your body alkaline) are also available here.
Furthermore, you will also find nutritional foods – organic, raw, gluten-free and non-GMO superfoods -that you can sprinkle on cereals, ice cream or any food that lack the minerals, hormones, and enzymes needed for vitality and longevity.
Gluten free items, along with cutting carbohydrates, and having an active lifestyle, help some people lose weight.
Admittedly, I rarely have my me-time or read a book to keep me sane. In fact, I don’t even know the meaning of “sane” anymore! Nonetheless, I need to go out and discover places such as this to save my sanity.
Now that I have a family of my own, my perspective of enlightenment has changed. I am now more generous with time and I make sure I am present, although, I work from home.
Ultimately, Bodhi Mind & Body Shop is a solemn and relaxing place for anyone who needs serenity and be enlightened.
Uncover the secrets of this hidden Tagaytay restaurant.
The phrase, “tara, Tagaytay!” has led most of us to the famous getaway spot even on the most unexpected days. It’s a good thing that more new restaurants are popping up in the area so we’ll never run out of choices.
El Cocinero is a homegrown Spanish restaurant tucked away inside the La Bella Residences development, offering a fresh and lush scenery that’s a welcome sight compared to the commercialized streets of Tagaytay. It is owned by Chef Arnaldo Limeta who trained in Ibiza, Spain for more than ten years.
Fun fact: El Cocinero has a bunch of trees just sprouting THROUGH the structure because the developer prohibited the cutting of trees when it was being built.
This garden-inspired restaurant is also an artist’s haven as El Cocinero’s two-storey building’s lush interiors are complemented by reprinted Picasso paintings.
El Cocinero serves authentic Spanish favorites like tapas, grilled seafood, pasta plates, and their famous El Cocinero Paella and Paella Negra. Indulge in other Spanish dishes like gambas, montaditos, and their special Pescado Al Horno (baked fish). Their paellas are topped with fresh seafood and is served the traditional way–with a crusty layer of rice underneath all that steaming layers of savory goodness.
Booky Tip: An order of their hefty paellas can take up to 30-45 mins to cook, you can can call in your orders in advance so you won't have to wait that long.
Insider Tip: Order their special Rollo Pacenta de Asada (boneless pork roll) at least a day in advance. This cochinillo/porchetta/lechon hybrid weighs a whopping 5 kilos!
Didn’t find your favorite Spanish dish on their menu? You can ask Chef Arnaldo to cook something similar for you, just call in advance. This is El Cocinero’s second branch, after its first one in Nasugbu.
Relax and enjoy the cool Tagaytay air as you go around our ORGANIC and FLEA MARKET.
We’re inviting you once again to our monthly gathering of wellness warriors in WELLNESS WEEKEND. 29 October (Sat) at La Bella Tagaytay. Admission is free.