It was 1990 and I had just graduated from Preparatory Level when my godfather gave me a 500-piece (if memory serves me right) Mickey and friends jigsaw puzzle. For years, it has been my favorite ‘toy’ which also then prompted me to start a mini collection of jigsaw puzzles. Sadly, I no longer have them, but my fascination with puzzles remained.
Having said that, you can just imagine my delight when I got an invitation — together with other bloggers — to visit Puzzle Mansion Bed and Breakfast in…where else? Tagaytay City – the B&B capital of The Philippines.
The Puzzle Mansion holds the Guinness World Record title for having the largest jigsaw puzzle collection assembled by a single person
The B&B sits on a 1.3 hectare property amidst lush greenery. Guests can choose from 11 room types for either a day or overnight trip. You can check the rates here. They were very gracious to let us use their connecting rooms, Sunflower and Sampaguita, so we can take a bit of rest. We were even served breakfast before the museum tour started.
Undoubtedly, the main attraction here is the jigsaw puzzle museum of Ms. Gina Gil – Lacuna. Her collection consists of 1,029 puzzles (but Guinness only considered 1,028) — beating Brazil’s record by a mile — with a total of 700,004 puzzle pieces that she has done for 27 years.It was an honor that the record-holder herself took time out from her very busy day to show us around. What, with media interviews left and right, and the influx of visitors, she still managed to personally show us her collection – also educating us in the process. She started with the history of puzzle making then went on to show us the different kinds of puzzles. Clockwise: wooden puzzle (some even have hidden shapes in it), ‘crystal’ puzzle, 4D puzzle of New York and 3D puzzles of famous world landmarks
Puzzle No: 244 – Mickey Racing Team
It was in 1986 on a trip to Hong Kong where she bought her first ever puzzle: a 5,000 piece Mickey and friends puzzle that took her 70 hours to complete. She gushed it was her love for her only son that motivated her to finish it. She was already 35 then and successfully running the maternity wear business, Buntis, when she discovered her love for puzzles – proving that you’re never too old to find your passion.
She then showed us the latest, and hardest, puzzle she’s assembled – the 10,000 piece Las Hilanderas (The Spinners) by Spanish painter, Diego Velazquez.
Puzzle No. 51: Retablo de Santa Columba
Lastly, she showed us the largest puzzle (18,000 pieces) that took the longest time to complete at 1,095 hours.
My personal favorite is one of her many Coca-Cola puzzles – a mosaic puzzle!
The collection spans from Disney characters to pop culture to world famous landmarks such as the Taj Mahal; The Treasury in Petra, Jordan; Angkor Wat in Cambodia; Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey; and Machu Picchu in Peru among others.
Also notable is the collection of puzzle versions of famous paintings by van Gogh, Picasso, da Vinci, Monet, Botticelli, Diego Velazquez et al. For only Php100.00 entrance fee, you would feel as if you were transported to a European museum. 😉
As of writing, Ms. Gina is assembling a 32,000 piece puzzle by Keith Haring. She aims to complete it by July 2013.
If you have a chance, sample some of their dishes too.
Our sumptuous lunch and merienda
Counter-clockwise: Tinola, Chicken & Pork Adobo, Monggo, Turon, Pan de Carne and Coconut Cream Pie
And before you leave, maybe swing by the souvenir shop too. You can also buy some fresh fruits, or even some saplings for your garden, from the vendors inside the compound.
Locals sell their products here without the need to rent a space. This is Ms. Gina’s way of helping out the community. Needless to say, the people in Puzzle Mansion operate more like as a family than as a commercial entity. After all, some of them have been with Ms. Gina for 30 years!
Puzzle Mansion’s free shuttle for guests
HOW TO GET THERE
- From Metro Manila, take SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and take Sta. Rosa exit.
- Drive along Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road.
- Turn right when you reach Tagaytay – Calamba Road.
- Continue driving to Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway.
- Follow the signs to Puzzle Mansion. There’s about 10 from Tagaytay Market. Yes, I counted lol
Should be easy peasy if you know how to get to Antonio’s.
- Take a bus bound to Nasugbu, Batangas. Alternatively, coming from Tagaytay Market, you can take any public utility vehicle going to Alfonso, Cavite; Nasugbu/Calatagan or Balayan, Batangas.
- Ask to be dropped off at Radar-Taas of Brgy. Asisan
- Take a tricycle ride to the Puzzle Mansion. You can also wait for the Puzzle Mansion’s free shuttle service picking up guests at the highway.
Purok 4 Cuadra, St. Barangay Asisan
Contact No.: 02-661-0019/ 0905-225-0229