La Bella Tagaytay has been among the top destinations in Tagaytay City due to its picture-perfect Greek-Mediterranean inspired structure and of course, the rustic-themed shop and library, The Bodhi Library, Mind and Body Shop.
A lot would pay it a visit even just for an hour or two mainly to get Instagram-worthy pictures and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or coffee with a fine ambiance – at least, as I have observed with the countless times I’ve gone in there to work. However, the Antiquarian shop and library has something far more interesting than these things. Guess, what? Tadah! the books and the shop itself. This may sound a little absurd but as I have observed, not everyone who would come in there would pull a book from the shelf and actually read. Some would even spend hours taking photos in every corner. I mean, what’s an hour of getting a little knowledge and letting the place serve its true purpose? With that, let me reintroduce The Bodhi Library, Mind and Shop to you.
The Bodhi Library
‘Bodhi‘ is a Sanskrit word which means awakened or enlightened. It is the name of a tree where Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, had his enlightenment. The books in the shelves of Bodhi library actually allow the readers to be ‘awakened’ by reflecting or looking beyond and into the universe and various aspects of them as humans.
Few years ago, I got a chance to sit and talk for hours with Ms. Grace Eleazar, the owner of La Bella. The books in the library are her personal collections that she opted to put out there for everyone to read. The collection includes books about the human mind, mysteries, metaphysics, astrology, palm reading, myths, alchemy, ancient history, civilizations, talisman, health, alternative medicine, dreams, zodiac and a lot of interesting things. Some of the shelves are locked but the staff can be asked to unlock it if the books in it interests you.
The library is open on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM only. On weekends, they extend up to 6:00 PM. The best things about it? The management does not collect any entrance fees. Also, you can spend hours sitting in there with books and cups of coffee or hot chocolate – whichever you prefer. Bodhi Library’s menu include the following:
Coffee with herb – Php 55.00
Hot chocolate – Php 55.00
Pegi waffles – Php 65.00 (add Php 30.00 for some goodness on top!)
Herb tea – Php 50.00
Sky blue tea – Php 50.00
Chicken Pita Pockets – Php 100.00 to Php 110.00
|Good books with some hot chocolate and waffles, why, not?|
These are the only food that they offer. If you want to have lunch or dinner but wouldn’t want to leave the area, you may want to walk to El Cocinero by Chef Arnaldo for some Ibizan cuisine, Hirasei if you prefer Japanese or Organico Gourmet for something Filipino and organic.
|Books and coffee? Shut up and take me here!|
|In the other perspective|
The Bodhi Mind and Body Shop
At the ground floor of the building is the Mind and Bodhi Shop with a variety of interesting and good finds on display. They sell crystals, books, organic skin care products and more! You can even buy items that would encourage you to go zero-waste. Generally, these items contribute to the wellness of the mind and the body.
|A variety of good stuff for the mind and body|
|They also sell bamboo toothbrush and pencils with seeds on its end!|
|Crystals with health benefits|
How to Get There
1. From Pasay or Buendia, take a bus bound for Nasugbu, Calatagan, Lian or Alfonso via Tagaytay.
Alight at Radar Itaas. Fare is around Php 100.00 to Php 130.00. The trip might take two to three hours depending on the traffic.
2. From the drop off point, take a tricycle to La Bella. Fare is at Php 30.00 per ride.
|The iconic stairs – one of the most photographed area of the building|
Drive from Manila to Tagaytay City via South Luzon Expressway. Take Sta. Rosa Exit and drive through Calamba-Tagaytay Road. From Tagaytay Rotunda, take the Tagaytay-Nasugbu highway and drive past Crossing Mendez. Turn right to Radar Itaas. Obvious landmark is the sign of Antonio’s Cabana. Drive straight and turn left to a corner. There are signs that would guide you to La Bella.
Drive from Manila to Tagaytay City via Cavite Expressway. Take the Aguinaldo Highway driving through Bacoor, Imus, Dasmarinas City and Silang, Cavite. From Tagaytay Rotunda, turn right and take the Tagaytay-Nasugbu highway driving past Crossing Mendez. Turn right to Radar Itaas. Obvious landmark is the sign of Antonio’s Cabana. Drive straight and turn left to a corner. There are signs that would guide you to La Bella.
Things to Remember when visiting Bodhi Library
1. Picture taking is free and allowed except for prenuptial photo shoots. Coordinate wit the management beforehand regarding this one.
2. Footwear is not allowed inside the Bodhi Library.
3. You can also read the books which have been locked up in shelves. You just have to ask for assistance.