Dreamland is the name of the bar in Miss Saigon; where Kim was pimped by The Engineer to the highest bidder (who happened to be Chris). In not so many words, Dreamland – in my mind – is a whorehouse…
BUT then, there’s a Dreamland in Tagaytay that perhaps wants to reclaim that word, that name from the clutches of sexualized euphoria. Instead, it wants to focus on the literal meaning of that word – i.e. as a place that, borrowing the title of that Robin Williams movie, “where dreams may come”. And so welcome to Dreamland Arts and Crafts Café.
The place is not that hard to find because of the its artsy appearance even from the outside. Largely made of (or at least covered with) wood, there are numerous – and I mean NUMEROUS – dreamcatchers outside Dreamland, immediately giving it a sense of being peculiar (if not Bohemian). So much so that the sign a the door, which reads “Lost in paradise”, doesn’t sound… trite.
The inside is divided into “sections”. One section (at the left when you enter the door) has stalls; these have goodies from artists and (let’s admit this) pretend-artists that are for sale. On top of this section is a sitting venue for customers. On the right of this section (with the stalls) is the bar/order counter. At the right of the bar/order counter – and which can be seen from the outside – are more seats for the customers. These seats are also surrounded by stalls with more stuffs from artists, all of them for sale.
Dreamland is, to start, a café. And so expect to see café goods here – e.g. kape/coffee (obviously), frappes and pastries galore. But this place is more than just a café; it’s already a mini-resto of sorts, and even offers “silog” meals (more on these later)…
Dreamland is also an “art space”, and so there are “spots” where anyone can do art pieces. These pieces may also be hanged/pasted on a corkboard by the main door.
And, of course, Dreamland is also a “store” (as noted repeatedly), allowing artists to sell their wares to diners and… just about everyone who goes there.
WHY GO THERE
Suffice to say, Dreamland is quite an enticing place. This is particularly true for various reasons…
- If you’re health-conscious.
For instance, there are coolers that are healthy – e.g. Indie Minty Pinomansi (from P100), Indie Greens Kalamychee (from P100), and Indie Minty Strawberry (from P100). There’s also detox water (P60), and lemon water (P25).
- If you want to imbibe that artsy feel.
I’m not sure everyone knows the relevance of dreamcatchers, but that there’s a place full of them in Tagaytay at all is already enough of a come-on for many (like me)…
- Support local.
And yes, if you want to support local, this is a good place to start. There are more localized versions of teas, for instance – e.g. tanglad, malunggay, salabat, lagundi and guyabano (P100 per teapot). Also, the goods being sold are often made (by hand) by local artists; so if you want to support them, head here…
WHY AVOID THE PLACE
HOWEVER, just because this place seem “cool” doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. I, myself, found some things that made me not fully like the place…
For instance, for a venue that has an extremely long menu, so many of the offerings supposedly there aren’t (always) available.
In the two visits, faves like Mamung’s Matcha Mambo (from P80), Sylvanillas Crunch (P120), Indie Greeantea Affogato (P140), and Sansdreamval (150) weren’t available. The same was true with many of the yummy (even if quite pricey) frappes (P200 to P240) – e.g. Matcha ni Tsang (P240), Avocado George (P210), Dream de Leche (P210), and Uberly Gerry (P210).
The place can be expensive for some – e.g. chicken wings cost P200 per serving, potato wedges for P160 per serving (to share), rice toppings from P100 (for Oh My Omelette) to P150 (for Hippie Wings of Love), and ‘silog” from P180 to P220 (!).
This place is also needed to be “dayo”/specifically targeted, and so for those without private transpo, it may not always be accessible.
IN THE END…
Without a doubt, Dreamland has its charm – from the numerous dreamcatchers to the local goods being sold. But it also has limitations (e.g. can be expensive, limited availability of goods, quite far). I’d say, though, that with the proliferation of the likes of CBTL and Starbucks (and others that so many of us see as emblems of “development” and “progress”), anything local – like Dreamland – ought to be supported somewhat. And here, a visit is called for, even if done only once so one can decide for oneself if it’s a place worth visiting indeed…
For more information on Dreamland Arts and Crafts Café, head to @DreamlandTagaytay or @DreamlandLipa in Facebook; or search for #dreamlandph.