The scene had all the elements of a mainstream horror film — poor visibility, a creepy shed right at the sharp curve, and an empty uphill road leading to an old park. The fog had completely enveloped the site, and the dark clouds looming overhead were threatening to drench the already worried mortals below. But more than the bleak atmosphere and the rustic location, it was the near deplorable condition of the park that was giving me the chills.
It was November 2011 and my friend Celine and I were just about to end our epic weekend getaway in Batangas. Coming from Nasugbu, we thought of spending the last afternoon in Tagaytay City, Cavite since it was just on the way. After a quick lunch, we agreed to check the popular tourist spots in the city. One of them — People’s Park in the Sky.
Palace in the Sky
It used to be known as Palace in the Sky. Built under the administration of the Marcoses in 1979, it was intended to be a guest house for US President Ronald Reagan, who was set to visit the Philippines. But due to the turning tides of the political situation at the time, the “palace” was not finished, the visit cancelled, and, after the People Power EDSA Revolution, the name changed to People’s Park in the Sky. Unfortunately, its condition deteriorated, too. But despite the rusty condition, it remains a top attraction in Tagaytay. After all, sitting at the highest point of Tagaytay, the site provides a 360-degree view of the city.
From afar we could already see the state of our destination. “This is gonna be interesting,” I mumbled to myself after spotting at the entrance a big signage bearing the name of the place, but missing a few letters. The dark clouds were starting to overrun the site and I knew it would pour within the next 10 minutes. Still, we cut the fog and walked up the hill at our own pace, oblivious to the impending showers.
Believe it or not, we were having fun. It’s not every day that we get to walk amidst white haze that isn’t smoke.
People’s Park in the Sky Today
Taal Lake is visible from here and even before we reached the viewpoint at the top, we stopped and admired the view for we knew it would be blanketed by fog in a matter of minutes. As soon as we reached the main building, it poured. It was then that we noticed the many huts, rented for P100 for the whole day. Barkadas and lovers shared the cover and the little space provided by the huts. Souvenir shops that now furnished the ground floor were packed with people taking advantage of their roofs. We asked the vendors if there would be anything to see inside and they said there was nothing there, neglected interiors of a seemingly abandoned building. I really wish the city government would do something to rehabilitate the site.
When the rain stopped, we decided to just head back to the city proper as there really was nothing else to do. We couldn’t eat since we just had lunch, or play around any longer since it could rain again, or even sit down because every surface was soaked. If I didn’t have a cheery attitude, I would have thrown a fit for the rain spoiling the experience and the place itself rotting like a forgotten treasure. It could have been a horror story but it had been a great trip and we did not want to spoil it just at the very end.
A thick sheet of fog lingered on the road and we thought we would just try to embrace it on the way down. Such a silly thing to do for adults, I know, but we never really considered ourselves adults, to be honest.
When we reached the exit, we were greeted by a spectacular sight — a double rainbow. And everything was alright.