Finally! you see i've been wanting to visit the Taal Volcano Crater for the longest time now. this volcano that's so near and yet so hard to decide whether to go near or not. this volcano that in grade school made us a little proud knowing that this is the smallest active volcano in the world.
anyway to reach Taal Volcano, one would have to go to Talisay town in Batangas. Talisay is the community you see from the various viewing decks in tagaytay city. Upon reaching the Tagaytay City rotonda turn left and then after 1km. you should see signages pointing to Talisay. don't worry the view going down to Talisay is quite breathtaking so no need to complain and ask your driver "are we there yet?" every now and then.
From the many resorts available we decided that Taal Lake Yacht Club (TLYC) would be our entry point. entry fee per person was P100 and a cottage cost around P400 if my memory serves me right. a boat going to the crater was P1,500 for a maximum of 6 persons.
we didn't need too much time before getting on a boat bringing us to the volcano base. the trip will certainly get you wet especially during strong winds. the trip took about 30 minutes.
there are several fees again to pay upon reaching the volcano base. there's an entry fee of P10 per person, there's a parking fee for your boat also and of course the horse that can get you to the volcano crater faster and less physically demanding will cost you P500, that's for roundtrip already.
we agreed that the more adventurous way to go would be by trekking. we were told it will take about an hour to climb to the crater along the 3km trail. "no sweat!" said the group in unison composed of 1 in his 40s, 1 in his mid 30s (that's me), about 8 in their 20s and 4 in their teens.
to give you a more detailed description of the trek, let's divide the trail into 3 parts: above is the 1st part which is the "feeling out" part. be ready to get all powdered up by dust, every step of man and beast would turn everything in front of you in a cloud of dust. this is the hardest part, you'd think that the P500 ride might have been a bargain after all.
the 2nd part is the "thinking it over" part. because upon reaching this part, you will really start to question and blame yourself why you didn't bring that extra P500 bucks in your wallet. but don't forget to look back at TLYC because doing so will give you another breathtaking view.
many "colorum" horses will trail you up to this point thinking you can't go on. they will offer you a small discount coz you've covered some ground yet still far from the crater. a cousin's wife rode here coz she can't stand the steep trek under the heat of the sun no more.
this part is the easiest of the trail but then it is also here that you'll try to come up with an alternative route. we've been thought in geometry that the shortest distance from one point to another would be a straight line. well we kept that in mind and looked for another route so we could skip the curvy trail, some 4 of us from the group.
as you can see, there's no longer a trail ahead of us. most local folks were jeering us and laughing at our misadventure. we shamefully went back and our girl cousins were already ahead of us and already well-rested.
this is the last part of the climb i call "what the heck?" part. there's no turning back here. the colorum horses are no longer behind coz they know you're really keen on finishing it. this is the steepest part, here your legs get heavier every step. i tried dashing up the final 50 meters just for the heck of it and ended up drinking 3 softdrinks at the crater due to the added exhaustion of that mad dash.
this is the resting huts at the top of the crater. they offer refreshments like softdrinks, buko and beers yup beers, that good old pale pilsen.
kevin and kirby deserved free refreshments for keeping up with their older cousins.
judging from this foreigner's look, he's quite satisfied with the view.
so we headed back home. but keep this in mind: if you really think you can't make the trip back down anymore, try to haggle for the ride down. my teen cousins rode down at a haggled price of P130 per person. but i guess this was becoz 2 of them rode on 1 horse and besides they were small built so it's almost like carrying one big guy.
jump shot for a successful adventure.
on our way back!
if only these Crocs could talk, surely they would be complaining for the abuse they got from their masters.
we stayed here. i forgot the name but it's the 3rd house from TLYC. we got a room for P2,200 aircon room with 3 double occupancy beds. now, that's cheap for say 6 persons and an additional person comes at a relatively cheap cost.
was this trip worth it? on a scale of 1-10, i give this trip a 5. well the entire group didn't get to swim in the lake coz the water near the resort was too dirty. they did have a platform in the middle of the lake accessible by kayak or can be brought there by banka but it was too deep.
the taal crater climb was not that exciting either. if you rented the horse, it's not worth the P500. if you trek on foot, the sight at the top is not worth the exhaustion. then the P30 softdrinks will really disappoint you also.
sadly it's one trip a city-dweller should take due to its proximity to metro manila.
next stop ... baguio or punta fuego. BYAHE NA!