When riding to Tagaytay, one thing is for sure: It’s all about the climb

By King Bernas

Jumping off this time from Tagaytay, this loop will take you down towards Nasugbu before turning left to the Batangas towns of Tuy, Balayan, Calaca, and Lemery, then heading back up to Tagaytay. It will start easily enough with a long sweeping, downhill ride, followed by a mostly flat section. With just about every ride involving Tagaytay however, one thing is for sure: it’s all about the climb.

Turning down from Tagaytay towards Nasugbu is always enjoyable. The roads are smooth and fast, and you can go down quickly with minimal pedaling. When you do pedal, you can easily hit 60 kph or more in some sections, so this is something you may want to be wary of if you’re not accustomed to riding downhill at those speeds. Look far ahead down the road and not at your wheel, and keep your hands on the drops with your fingers ready to feather the brakes for better control. This is a National Highway after all, with cars, trucks, and buses plying the route to Nasugbu, Matabungkay, and Calatagan.

The 30+ kilometer descent is scenic though, with Mount Batulao on your left and Mount Talamitam on your right. At the end of the descent, you’ll come to a small rotunda. Turning right will lead you to Nasugbu and left, which is where we proceed, will lead to Tuy, Balayan, and eventually back to Tagaytay.

The roads are smooth and fast, and you can go down quickly with minimal pedaling. When you do pedal, you can easily hit 60 kph or more in some sections

The road through Tuy up to the Tuy-Matabungkay-Balayan Junction starts with a short climb, but then flattens and even descends afterwards. This stretch is around 13 kilometers long. At the junction, take the left exit, which will lead you to Calaca and Lemery. This is another mostly flat section that can be moderately busy, depending on the time of day, particularly as you approach Calaca. It will free up again afterwards until the Lemery-Tagaytay junction, which turns up to Cuenca Highway and back to Tagaytay, where the Payapa climb starts.

While not that hard, the climb up Cuenca Highway is around 20 kilometers long. The first five kilometers goes steadily from near sea-level up to around 200 meters. There’s a short respite before climbing again, this time along a ridge where the field of view opens up on both sides as you climb, looking down on Calaca to the left and Lemery and Taal Lake on the right.

I’ve always enjoyed the Payapa climb as it was used regularly in the “executive” XRC road races and Tour of Matabungkay stage races in the past

As the road flattens briefly around halfway up, you’ll pass Fantasy World, an either discontinued or work-in-progress amusement park, marked by a medieval-themed castle complete with towers and parapets, on the right side. It climbs again steadily from there where you’ll soon see ridges of Mount Batulao on the left and Canyon Woods on the right, before exiting again around three kilometers after the Tagaytay to Nasugbu National Highway. Turning right here will bring you back to the ridge along Tagaytay, which can be 10 to 15 kilometers more depending on where you began your ride from.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the Payapa climb as it was used regularly in the “executive” XRC road races and Tour of Matabungkay stage races in the past. As a training ride, it can be as easy or hard as you make it, and while it can be long both in distance and time, the temperature always gets cooler as you reach the top, making it that much easier.

Route:  Tagaytay-Tuy-Balayan-Calaca-Lemery-Tagaytay

Distance: +/- 96 kilometers

Average time: Four to five hours

Total Elevation Gain: +/-1,644 m

Highest Point: +/- 680 m

Map

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Elevation Profile
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