Swimming in steamy sulfur is good for the skin but not for light colored clothes
Tagaytay Travel Blog› entry 9 of 24 › view all entries
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!