Putanga – Life on the Road

Stories from my journeys around the world…

Taal Lake and Volcano

Posted by Monica Johansen on November 1, 2008

I have just returned to Singapore after a great trip to the Philippines. I have spent most of the time working on a product implementation for a call center in Manila, but luckily we finished one day earlier than scheduled, so one of the guys I worked with, Paul, asked me if I wanted to spend the last day going down to the Taal Lake and Volcano. I have wanted to see the volcano anyway, and since the weather looked reasonably good I decided to go on a little road trip rather than rescheduling my flight back to Singapore to get home earlier.

Bancas on lake Taal

Bancas on Lake Taal

Paul picked me up at the hotel at 6 AM, and I was very tired since we had worked to about midnight the night before and I went to bed around 1 AM. But we had to get started early in order to avoid the morning rush hour and also make sure that I would get back to Manila in time to catch my afternoon flight. It took us about 2 hours to drive down south to Tagaytay, which is the town in the mountains overlooking the Lake Taal, and from there we drove down to the lake to catch a boat over to the Taal Volcano.

Taal is the world’s smallest volcano, and it is one of the main tourist attractions around Manila. It is located within the Crater Lake Taal, and it is known to be a volcano within a lake within a volcano. Taal is still active, and the most recent period of activity lasted from 1965 to 1977. Currently the volcano is dormant, but there has been reported strong seismic activity since 1991.
 
Boat trips to the Taal Volcano are big business in Tagaytay, and you will see people with home made signboards stopping you and trying to sell you a boat ride. Paul and I had already decided to book a trip with the Taal Lake Yacht Club, which is located down by the water and organizes guided trips all the way up to the volcano. We paid a little less than 3000 PHP (about 90 Australian dollars) for both of us, and the boatmen took us across the lake in a very simple dugout canoe, a so-called “banca”, to the island where the volcano is located. At the island shore we were met by a group of horsemen and both of us were given a horse and a guide.

Paul and I on our horses

Paul and I on our horses

The horses were a lot smaller than I am used to, and for a few minutes I was wondering if my ride would be able to carry me all the way to the top. After all, I am Scandinavian, and not as petit and lightly built as the rather small Philippine people. In fact, the stirrups where so short that I decided it was easier to ride without them. Anyway, we made it up the hills to the volcano crater, and at the top the view was absolutely awesome.

After a short brake on the top, where I managed to get some nice photos, we jumped back on the horses and rode down to the boat where the boatmen were waiting for us. They took us back to the Taal Lake Yacht Club where we had parked the car, and before we headed back to Manila we stopped at a nice restaurant with a great view over the lake and volcano island, where we had our lunch. After the meal we were starting to run out of time, and we had to get back to Manila so I could catch my flight. In the car on the way back I really started to feel the lack of sleep, and I think I dozed off most of the way to the airport.

I arrived at the airport in good time before my flight departure, and, as I always do whenever I have some time to kill at the airport, I dropped by the Star Alliance business lounge. I never really fly business class, but I travel often enough to have a gold card anyway, and hence, I can relax in the lounge before departure. The lounge was filled with men in business suits on their way home to their family for the weekend, and I must admit I felt a bit misplaced as I was sitting there in jeans smelling wet horse and with sandals full of mud. But what the heck, I had had a fantastic day so I was happy!

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3 Responses to “Taal Lake and Volcano”

  1. Nina said

    Høres ut som om du bidro til litt underholdning på Loungen :-)))

  2. putanga said

    Hehe… Man må jo ruske litt opp i hverdagen til forretningsfolket vet du… 😀

  3. pennyb22 said

    Great Blog Keep Up The Good Work ..Cheers 🙂

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