Tagaytay City is quite known for being an accessible go-to place for chilling and self-pampering. My bestfriend, Homer, and I decided to check out alternative forms of enriching ourselves and our minds while relaxing last weekend. Fortunately, we found that the world’s biggest puzzle collection is within reach. It’s off the beaten path inside of Barangay Asisan. The tricycle driver escorted us to what seemed like a patch of blue ensconced in the midst of pineapple fields lined along Cuadra Street. He can no longer go further down the compound, so we braved the midday sun and did a 10-15 minute walk (but there’s a lot of space for parking, in case you are going there by car).
I am huge fan of puzzles, and it is pretty intriguing even at the outset. For a fairly reasonable Php 100 entrance fee, you can explore to your heart’s content.
According to the guide who warmly welcomed us, there was only one woman who maintained this entire collection, and she did this while globetrotting for 28 years—Georgina Gil-Lacuna. Unfortunately, we did not get to meet her anymore because she passed away around six months ago from hypertension. But what she left behind were imprints of a life well lived.
Some people blog and document their lives in digital form. This woman chose to travel the world and express herself in terms of her huge puzzle collection.
And of this admirable hobby that turned into a legacy, there are seven things that I find worth noting:
7 Things to Enjoy at the Puzzle Mansion
7. The Variety
The design of the place may look like any common museum. I would personally prefer a more maze-like design in keeping with the wonders of the puzzles being featured all over the walls and the dividers. But I was massively astounded with the variety of puzzles in the collection. It caters to all forms of interest.
There are a lot of huge pieces that indicated her religious leanings, such as this one:
And then there are the jolting 4D types that are so intricate and well-built, you will feel like you can literally enter them:
6. The Fine Art, The Fine Detail
These days, one would be hard-pressed to find someone who can really take time to focus long on anything. Short attention span is the norm these days. But this stands as a defiance to that norm. Each puzzle in the collection has a specific time to build, number of pieces, and origin.
For someone who calls herself as a hobbyist, the owner of this museum managed to replicate numerous classic pieces of art. A particular favorite of mine is her puzzle rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting:
There were no limits in the visual treat for the museum visitors because she went from classic paintings to landscapes, like this giant frame full of sunflowers:
The biggest one was this religious scene that was comprised of 18,000 pieces; this frame of puzzle pieces alone took 6 whole months to put together:
5. The Heritage
It did not surprise me at all that the Puzzle Mansion got the Guinness world record for being the largest puzzle collection. It remains unbeaten today.