Swimming in steamy sulfur is good for the skin but not for light colored clothes

Tagaytay Travel Blog

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a glimpse of Taal volcano

This trip marks an important milestone in my 11 years of driving.

The city of Tagaytay is just about an hour away from Metro Manila. I've been here so many times already since my childhood, but all thru private transportation, with me as a passenger only. There was only one time I did drive through here but just to pass through going to the province of Batangas for our company team building, and I remember I did have a bit of difficulty even with just the not so steep sloping road along Tagaytay ridge. That was around 4 years ago.

So I really surprised myself at how I drove in this trip.

this is the most popular crater of Taal but is actually just one of a number of volcano craters
You see, Tagaytay city is actually part of the ridge of the caldera of Taal volcano, the smallest active volcano in the world. Taal volcano has been known as "a volcano within a lake within a volcano" due to the fact that this volcano is in a lake which used to be a crater of the bigger volcano. I've always wanted to go to Taal volcano and so I was very determined to finally do this now.

From Tagaytay ridge, you have to go down, down, down to the town of Talisay in Batangas province. And by going down, down, down, I meant those zigzag, steep roads. Of course, it was not about going down, but the challenge would be how to go back up! I was so much doubting if I could really do that, because aside from my doubt on my driving skills, a big part of my lack of confidence was on the capability of my 11 year old, manual transmission SUV (Toyota Tamaraw FX '97).

starting the drive down going to Talisay, Batangas
Well, I guess I deserved to be told I'm being too critical of myself when I kept on worrying aloud on how I would be able to drive up. Though it was not really my idea of how to encourage someone, it did help and made me shut my mouth and be able to actually drive up without any difficulty. This was really an achievement for me, I was so happy to have been able to accomplish this and when I am really happy, it is very usual for me to share this happiness through a hug.

Anyways, going to the main event of this trip, when we reached Talisay, there were many people there who would offer you boat rides on Taal lake going to the volcano. And I can tell you to what extent they would try to get you: a couple of guys on a scooter actually chased us with a sign board! But thanks to Chris' (tb name: abubu) recommendation, we looked for Taal Yacht Club. They offer two types of trails: 1) the ordinary trail for 1500 pesos for a boat and 1 guide going to the top of the crater of the volcano; and 2) the 'secret' trail for 2500 pesos for a boat, a guide and which includes going down to the crater itself.

steep? yep, but this is yet the easiest part of the trek
For the trek, you can either walk by foot or pay for a horse to take you. We took the 'secret' trail by foot and indeed it was not easy, add to that the drizzle of rain along the way. It took about 1 hour going up to the crater and another hour going down to the crater lake, it was hard work but very much worth it. To experience steam going out of the land, boiling water on some parts of the lake, and swimming on the sulfuric water of the crater lake on a beautiful scenic surrounding was really something else.

Having done the trek early in the morning, we still had some time in the afternoon to do some drive around Tagaytay city and do some beef, pineapple and mango shopping in Mahogany market (which took us 100 years to find, hehehe), have some coffee at Starbucks overlooking Taal volcano, visit People's Park in the Sky (Marcos' unfinished summer home which was supposed to be called his 'Palace in the Sky'), and lastly, visit the 41st Division United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) shrine.

all soaked from the rain but all worth it!

The last two side trips were quite important as well: going to People's Park in the Sky made me realize that some things that I thought seemed to be was not actually what is - as I remembered there was one steep turn on the road to get to the entrance but surprisingly, this steep road was not as steep as I thought it was; visiting the 4th Division USAFFE shrine was something I just needed to do because the first and last time I was there was with my grandfather, he was one of the veterans who fought with the Americans against the Japanese army during World War II.  He loved to travel, and it was him who brought me to Tagaytay for the first time when I was a child. I miss him and going here somehow made me feel like he was still alive and I was just visiting him.

It was a long day, but to have someone sing for you while you drive was something really unexpected but well appreciated and made me feel special about (must be the effect of a shot of Lambanog!), and so even after a day full of driving that could exhaust all your energy, there was still more than enough energy left to do some videoke and feast on sushi for dinner to conclude the night.

a steamy scene with our guides down at the crater lake (hehehe)

 

*********

Some tips about trekking and swimming in the Taal volcano:
1) Wear trekking shoes! Slippers would definitely slip, hehehe (I broke mine!)
2) Wear dark colored clothes/swimsuit if you want to swim the crater lake. Sulfur stains yellow.
3) Be careful of thorny plants along the way!

milltownmeadow says:
Good one Florianne,next time in the Philippines I must go here sound like such a nice place,maybe stay a couple of days.
Posted on: Jul 14, 2008
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a glimpse of Taal volcano
a glimpse of Taal volcano
this is the most popular crater of…
this is the most popular crater o…
starting the drive down going to T…
starting the drive down going to …
steep? yep, but this is yet the ea…
steep? yep, but this is yet the e…
all soaked from the rain but all w…
all soaked from the rain but all …
a steamy scene with our guides dow…
a steamy scene with our guides do…
another glimpse of Taal volcano
another glimpse of Taal volcano
a very determined boat tour agent
a very determined boat tour agent
Taal Yacht Club
Taal Yacht Club
Taal Yacht Club
Taal Yacht Club
Taal Yacht Club
Taal Yacht Club
taking the boat ride on the Taal v…
taking the boat ride on the Taal …
children at the Taal volcano
children at the Taal volcano
be careful of these thorns!
be careful of these thorns!
view from halfway going up the cra…
view from halfway going up the cr…
finally, we reached the crater!
finally, we reached the crater!
my solo steamy scene :P
my solo steamy scene :P
nope, I wasnt pushing him to the …
nope, I wasn't pushing him to the…
floating on an active volcano crat…
floating on an active volcano cra…
Mount Makulot, a favorite climb of…
Mount Makulot, a favorite climb o…
the highest point in Tagaytay city
the highest point in Tagaytay city
am I in heaven?
am I in heaven?
amphitheater in Peoples Park in t…
amphitheater in People's Park in …
so this is how it feels inside a p…
so this is how it feels inside a …
I vandalized a public property (th…
I vandalized a public property (t…
my grandfather was part of the 41s…
my grandfather was part of the 41…
Colonel Manuel P. Bahia, Armed For…
Colonel Manuel P. Bahia, Armed Fo…
USAFEE shrine
USAFEE shrine
USAFEE shrine
USAFEE shrine
Tagaytay
photo by: JeAr