Tagatay, Talisay & Taal

Photo of Taal Volcano Island's lake
Taal Volcano Island’s lake

On Friday 8 February, I received another forwarded email
from Simon.  This time a bunch of his
colleagues had arranged a day trip to the nearby volcano town, Tagatay.
There were 7 of us, so we hired a car with a driver to take
us the 60km South to Tagatay.  The
journey took us South out of Manila on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to
Santa Rosa where we met Fernando & his girlfriend Angel.  From there we took the ‘Santa Rosa to Tagatay’
road, where we turned left to head towards Talisay. 
As soon as we hit the road to Talisay we started seeing men
holding little wooden signs ‘Boats to Taal’. 
The driver had been here before though, so he just drove us straight
down to a spot in Talisay where we could catch a boat.  There was a little clubhouse, another
building and a few boats on the shore. 
It was right next to a cockpit. 
Cock fighting is one of the big sports here in The Philippines.  We haven’t been to watch it yet.
After some fresh mango supplied by Fernando (Simon tells me
that Fernando always has snacks throughout the day at work), we spent some time
negotiating our price for the short boat trip (roughly 30 minutes) across to
Taal Volcano Island.  The man we were
negotiating with insisted that we needed a guide for the walk up the
volcano.  I could see the well-worn path
up to the top of the volcano on the other side, so I was dubious.  I think a couple of the others were as
well.  But the man wouldn’t relent, so we
ended up paying ₱2000 for the boat & the guide.  
We really didn’t need a guide to get to the top of the
volcano.  It’s literally one, very
well-trodden, busy path up to the top. 
But the guide was the same person as the boat captain, and I think we
might well have needed a guide to find our boat when we returned to the bottom
of the volcano.  There were loads of
boats, and they all looked very similar!
The walk up the volcano was very hot and dusty.  You share the path with a few other walkers
and lots of little horses with big people on them.  Sometimes 2 people per horse.  I found it really sad that there seems to be
a complete disregard for the environment. 
The erosion is marked and as you get nearer the top there is quite a lot
of litter.
Taal Volcano Island is amazing.  It’s a volcano within a volcano.  Lake Taal is a volcanic lake, and the volcano
you climb, Taal, has another lake inside it (with its own little island).  To me it was an awesome sight.  I believe the volcano is active and you can
see little spurts of volcanic gas at a few places along the way up.
Once at the top, as well as being rewarded with fantastic
views, we were also rewarded with ice-cold buko
juice. Buko is the Tagalog word for
‘young coconut’.  Ladies sell them to you
at the top of the volcano.  They slice
off the top, stick a straw in it and you sip in the fresh, cool coconut
juice.  Once you’re done with that, the
ladies slice it in half and create a scoop with the outer shell to enable you
to scoop out the soft, cool coconut flesh. 
A few photos later and we made our way back down to base
camp.  Fernando decided to walk with us
and when we were about half way down, his horse joined us.  I decided, contrary to my complaints about
the ‘poor little horses’, to give it a go horse-riding down the rest of the
way.  It was quite fun really, being on a
horse again after however many years.
And then it was onto Tagatay to get lunch.  We ate at Josephine’s
with fantastic views over Lake Taal and the volcano.  It was only the second time here in The
Philippines that we felt a bit chilly. 
Must remember to take a long-sleeved top with me next time I visit
somewhere with a bit of altitude.  After
a satisfying lunch and pudding we headed back to Manila stopping en-route to
purchase some pineapples and other fruit. 
I love living in a tropical country.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *