Backpacker and Chocolate-Lover Haven: Java Jazz Coffee Shop and Lodging House

12:30:00 PM 8 Comments A+ a-

Unassuming, quiet, cozy, and perfect for us peace-seekers.
Last June 22, my friends and I went to Tagaytay for some much-needed de-stressing and relaxation. One of my friends, Faye, and I were kind of in the same boat and we needed to get away; my sister just finished writing her thesis for her MBA; and our friend Chichi also needed the time to unwind from her stressful job.

We were supposed to stay in Caleruega the whole weekend, but when I called them up to book a room, they said they were fully booked, but we can still visit. Thus ensued my harried search for cheap lodgings for four adults in Tagaytay. And when I say cheap, I mean a place where we can all stay in one room, with each person paying less than a thousand (or less than p500 if possible!).

After calling up so many hostels, B&Bs, inns, what have you, I stumbled upon Java Jazz Coffee House. I read up on the meager reviews about the place, but most of what I read just talked about the food and the friendly owners. I also tried calling their contact info, to no avail. I found their Facebook account and contacted a mobile number posted in one of their events, but it turned out to be the number of their friend! The friend offered to text me the number of Java Jazz's owner, Red, but she wasn't sure if she could send it since she might have no load already. I didn't realize my sister's phone already beeped (I was using her phone) until I was already feeling a little desperate. Hurray, the friend came through!

I called up Red, but he cannot be reached. The friend gave me the number of Red's son, but the son didn't reply as well. Okay, I thought I wouldn't be able to find a cheap place anymore, and I was getting my pitch ready to argue to my friends that I cannot find affordable, clean, and safe lodgings on such short notice, when Red suddenly replied. I was ecstatic! We got the room for P2000 in total for all four of us, with air conditioning in the room and breakfast for two. I forgot to ask if the bathroom was private; we found out it's shared between two rooms, but since we were the only ones booked for that night, we had the bathroom all to ourselves. They also have another bathroom just a few steps outside our room, but we all made do with the one inside.

I don't have a photo of our bedroom, but it fits two adults comfortably. There was an extra pullout bed and an additional mattress. It was a little cramped but for the price, heck, we weren't going to complain. There was barely any 3G signal in the room for the Globe users, although our Sun Cellular phones were able to get a few bars, and Smart functioned normally. There was also a little TV, which we didn't use because we were out most of the time, and when we did stay at Java Jazz, we were in the coffee shop or playing cards in the room. You can also opt to use the electric fan instead of the air conditioning if you want to get a cheaper rate, but we opted for the air conditioning since the room was below the coffee shop, and the air might get too stifling for us during the night. The bathroom was not the cleanest bathroom I've ever seen. If you're not too finicky about it, it will do. Faye, as it turned out, brought her own bathroom cleaning supplies and scrubbed the place down - because she's a Girl Scout like that.

Java Jazz is actually a coffee shop + art shop + lodgings place. In the coffee shop, we were so happy to be surrounded by so many beautiful artworks by various local artists. Some of the paintings were for sale. One of the paintings quickly became my favorite, and I was tempted to buy it but it wasn't for sale.


My favorite painting. Isn't it beautiful?
But aside from the low tables (yes, you can sit on the floor with your legs crossed), there are also regular-height tables, so don't fret if sitting on the floor is not to your liking. The coffee shop has a lot of huge windows and electric fans, so it's not hot. It wasn't too cold at night, however, even though it was raining. They are open until 10pm, although if you're staying overnight there, you do have to let them know if you're coming back later than that so they can keep the door open for you.
They have tables good for parties of two or four or six.

Tsokolate-eh! with sugar.
Java Jazz Coffee Shop is most famous for its tsokolate-eh! (and their cheap prices, to boot). Me, being a real chocolate lover, didn't pass up the chance to taste this.

So, did it pass muster? Oh gosh, YES. We all sighed in rapture after our first sip. It was not too sweet, and yes, Faye, my fellow chocolate lover, and I would have been able to take another cup if it just wasn't too late. Even my ate Mariko confessed she would like another cup. I think we all would have, if we were able to stay a lot longer! Luckily, Java Jazz also sells tableas for cheap (they also sell pasalubong options and other various artsy-fartsy knickknacks).

They offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner options, mostly at P99 per plate (rice with viand), but there are also others food options that are slightly more expensive. The food was okay and satisfactory for the price. Aside from their tsokolate-eh!, they also had other hot drinks on offer, and even cold ones like frappes and shakes. We did not get to try their cold drinks since it was already a cold, rainy weekend.

Chichi enjoying the morning.
The next day, we went to mass at the nearby Church after having breakfast. We were all up a bit early before the coffee shop opened, so we enjoyed the gentle and wonderful morning sunlight outside the coffee shop. They had stone tables and chairs, with huge leafy trees overhead. Some coffee shop patrons opted to dine outside for the nice morning breeze.

How we got there:
This was a backpackers' trip and we commuted all the way! Faye and Chichi stayed over at our house since we lived in Paranaque. We left on Saturday morning at 6am and took a jeepney to Alabang.

From Alabang:
1) From West Service Road, we took the jeepney to Alabang, and got off at the bus station near Festival Mall. There are a lot of shuttle/vans there and they will take you to Tagaytay.

2) Ask the driver to drop you off at the public market in Tagaytay, or on the road to Picnic Grove.

3) Board a jeep bound for Picnic Grove, or ride a tricycle. We were only able to ride a tricycle, which charged us P50 for all 4. They know Java Jazz so you can just ask them to drop you off there.

The Cliffhouse, Tagaytay, at night.
How we got home:
We had dessert after lunch at Café Breton at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay before going home. Chichi and Faye just rode a bus bound for Manila that passed right outside the Cliffhouse. Ate Mako and I went back to the public station and rode the shuttle/van back to Alabang, and from there rode the jeepney back to our village.

It was tiring, and my first time to go backpacking, but it was definitely memorable and one for the books. Ciao! :)

L-R: Ate Mariko, Faye, Chichi, and me outside Java Jazz Coffee Shop.

Java Jazz Coffee Shop and Lodging House
442 Tagaytay - Calamba Road,
Sungay West, Tagaytay City, Cavite
Landline: (046) 8602699
Mobile: +639174837399 (Red - the owner)
Java Jazz Coffee Shop and Lodging House website
Java Jazz Facebook page

My Dream Vacation Spots

11:26:00 AM 0 Comments A+ a-

Note: I keep updating this list because I got to fulfil these dreams the past years!

The past few months, I have added a whole lot more to my dream travel spots. I used to think that I would be content with my top three dream spots, but now I'm just raring to go and explore the world a whole lot more!

My dream vacation spots (in no particular order) are:
      Coron...the second time around - my favorite vacation spot so far
      Paris - my ultimate dream international destination
      New York - the city that never sleeps!
      El Nido
      Bohol - Panglao
      New Zealand
    Machu Picchu, Peru
    Amanpulo in Pamalican Island
    Lake Sebu, Cotabato
    Kingdom of Bhutan

These are the places I've visited before I started blogging:
      Davao - from city to Kiblawan
      Cebu - city and Plantation Bay
      Coron (before it became a popular destination)
      Hong Kong
      China (I forgot the place in China we visited)
      Bohol - Tagbilaran City
      Ilocos: Vigan, Laoag, and Pagudpud
      Banaue Rice Terraces
      Boracay in 1995 (it was pristine!), 2009, and 2010

Maybe I'll add more to these places as I go along the next few months and years.

Welcome to Hey, Haeja!

11:03:00 AM 0 Comments A+ a-

I'm a...Blogger. Bookworm. Dreamer. Doer. Editor. Budding Traveler. Chocolate Lover. French Language Enthusiast.

Hey, Haeja is my newest blog where I will chronicle my travails as I go around my city, the metro, my country, or the world.

I named my blog Hey, Haeja because when I started this blog, I felt like God, my family, and my friends keep tapping me on the shoulder, saying hey, Haeja, look at this, there's more to life than this. There's still so much more to explore, so much you haven't seen or experienced.

Since I started this blog, I have been blessed with so many new experiences and  travels to new places. While looking at my blog archive the other day and my travel roll, I just realized that this blog has also evolved as sort of my memory bank, and a reminder of how beautiful my life has been so far. In the space of four months, I've been to CDO, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Pampanga, Singapore, and Tagaytay. That's just amazing for me because I'm not the type to travel often (usually, just once or twice in a year due to financial constraints). I'm just so grateful to God for enabling all these experiences.

You, as my reader, can also take this as a hey, from me, sort of a tap on your shoulder or my attempt to call your attention to this place I visited or just discovered.

For any queries, comments, suggestions, etc, email me at mhmfranca [@] gmail. This blog is best viewed using Firefox. All posts and photos are by me, unless specified. You are not authorized to repost and claim the entry as your own.

I hope you'll enjoy my discovery and rediscovery! :)