And off to Taal ..

[Lyrics from Byahe Tayo .. also part of my Target Byahe]

Last Friday, I got invited to a trip to Taal. Yep, the volcano, and inside the crater and not just at an overlook area in Tagaytay. I thought to myself, why not.. plans on that Saturday got cancelled, I needed to test the point & shoot camera that I just bought and it was part of my target byahe for this blog.


The picture on the left is what you'll see in Tagaytay. It isn't the main volcano, but it is probably part of it

We left Alabang around 7:30am, and arrived at Tagaytay around 8:30. We got lost a little, we should've turned left, but instead we turned right headed to the rotonda from Sta. Rosa. On the way, you'd see a lot of those advertising a boat ride to Taal, but we found our way, circling the rotonda going back to where we started, to Talisay turning right to the road that leads there. From that point, we got another one of those people holding a "boat to taal" sign, got shown the rates, and went straight to their private port.

While on the boat ride, I got to ask the tour guide some questions. We got informed that the agreed price of Php1500 will only take us to the rim of the volcano. We wrongfully assumed that it would also lead to the crater lake itself, but was told it would take Php3500 to go to that area. I guess the Php1500 is where their association agreed upon, and the Php3500 area also known as Kalawit would take you to another group's. So we then agreed to go to the farther Kalawit area instead (the back area, circling the volcano). Interestingly, you'd see other islands and fishpens in the area.
Arriving at Kalawit, we were led to the take-off point. You pay Php50 for entrance, and Php900 for a horse ride. Deep inside, I was hestitant to trek (I never asked for the tourist guide price), so I agreed on taking that horse ride. A few meters ahead, we got to overtake a group of tourists that decided to take horses instead of continuing their trek. That made me appreciate my decision more. We continued on didn't know when we'd reach the summit, but had a great backdrop of the taal lake.

We stopped by the topmost point / rim of that side of the volcano. They mentioned that the horses needed some rest. Kids sold cold Pepsi at a make-shift shed for Php50, which I believe is the reason we really stopped - a tourist trap. Later, we found that the store at the takee-off point costs only Php15. We had some more pictures then rode the horses again. In 20 minutes we reached the crater lake.

The crater lake was fascinating. I touched the water, it was hot. But then again, I was told that at other places of the lake, it was cold.

Accompanied by one of our guides, we tried to go around. There was steam at some points of the volcano, and it rises through the ground. It is an active volcano after all.

You can also see water boiling- even mud boiling. It smelled awful too - most probably sulfur from those steam. The last point that our guide made us go to was this huge boiling mud. I was told that Philvolcs personnel check the area always, and that probably explains some weird looking materials there.

At around 11am, we left the area, paying the Php50 boat landing fee. It was good to see the smallest active volcano in the world. Interestingly, it had an island in its crater lake. So it was the Vulcan point, inside the crater lake of the Taal Volcano inside Taal lake!

Overall, fascinating! It was a great quick weekend trip. It was a good way to test my point&shoot camera, and was a better way to strike off Taal Volcano in my Target: Byahe aim.

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