Castle on a Hill
We were driving back to Tagaytay from Taal Heritage Town when I was abruptly woken from my nap as the husband exclaimed, “Look! Look!” Right outside my window was a castle on a hill which looked like it came straight out of a Disney movie.
It seems like it was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria which was also the inspiration for the castle of Sleeping Beauty in Disneyland. Research on this castle led me to this very interesting story about the so called “Fairy Tale King” or “mad king of Bavaria” written by Ann Marie Ackermann. I’m a sucker for mysteries and pair this with research on an abandoned theme park got me deeper into this rabbit hole on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But that’s another story altogether!
It’s a great spot for some pretend play — it was a treat for both Erin and I as we pretended to be Jack going down the beanstalk, Rapunzel locked up in a tower and Merida running from one tree house to the next.
Fantasy World also has labyrinth with an interesting shape (check out the video above for drone footage of the maze). We had a blast going through the maze (and getting lost while doing it) and seeing which group got out first.
Made popular by Exploring with Cody back in April 2017, several blogs and news sites have already featured Fantasy World but one of the most detailed articles can be found on Esquire. It covers an in depth explanation on why the park wasn’t finished, among others. An article from Philstar back in 2001 talked of the developer’s plans to make it a tourist facility complete with a clubhouse and 504-room hotel.
It seems like the management of the park would add something new every so often because a guard mentioned that some of the rides were installed in 2016 and the labyrinth that we explored wasn't part of Cody's video released earlier this year. So maybe there are still plans to eventually open this place to the public? But I personally feel that it would lose its charm if it's not "abandoned" anymore.
off to see the wizard
I find charm in its eeriness. Being adverse to crowds, I think abandoned places, ruins and corroded structures are hauntingly beautiful. If ever Miguel and I will get married again, this would be one of the venues that would make it on my list!
You can contact their office via these numbers for inquiries (+63905.666.9488 or +632.833.6566) but they accept walk ins anytime between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Entrance fee is Php 1,000 (approximately USD 20) for ten (10) pax, but you pay the same amount even if you're just one person. So best to bring your family and friends to get more bang for your buck. They also charge a Php 5,000 (approximately USD 100) fee for professional shoots like pre-nups, etc., but since we only used our drone we were charged just Php 2,000 (approximately USD 40) on top of the entrance fee.
Some people say that the fees are at the whims of the guards but these charges are actually supported by receipts. On our way out, one of the staff members ran after us and I assumed she wanted to charge more for the shoot fees. Imagine my surprise when she said that she wanted return a portion of our payment because we initially paid for the whole Php 5,000 to shoot inside the park. Since we didn't have a glam team, lights and other big production equipment, they decided to charge just for using our drone. High five to the honest people manning this park!
Oh, and before the long drive back to Manila, make sure you have dinner at Brewed for You, a cafe about five (5) minutes away from Fantasy World for some delicious but affordable Filipino fare. We were nine (9) in the group and our bill was less than Php 2,000 (approximately USD 40)!