Travelogue: To the Top of Taal

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hello guys, Pao here! Last weekend my family and I went to a small volcano, well an inactive one, here in the Philippines. The crater was made of a small lake and the volcano itself is also surrounded by another lake. "A lake within a lake"---the only one in the world and that is our very own Taal Volcano. We went there to explore and enjoy the grandeur of its beauty. So here let me share my experience in this mini get-away of ours to this beautiful place surrounded by nature and away from the concrete jungle. Allow me to virtually tour you around through the lenses of my camera. Let's go!!
To get to Taal we to rented a boat for 1,500 PHP which is good for 6 pax. Its a little expensive so I suggest its better to rent it as a group to lower down your expenses.
Our boat ride was very pleasant, with the wind blowing and a scenic view in front of us, gently all the stresses and problems back in the real world as if faded away. The water was tranquil and smooth. It's very refreshing and peaceful, a perfect place to free your mind and meditate for a while.
Upon arriving to main volcano island, typical filipino houses, cottages, bahay-kubos, and galloping horses welcomes you. There are cafes and stores too where in you can buy drinks and food but if you are on a budget, I recommend you just bring your own because goods in the island is quite costly. But it's also great if you buy from the locals because in some way, somehow you will be able to help boost their source of income and living.
Going to the crater, you can either rent a horse for 1,000 php and its horse-man for 500 php that's a total of 1,500 pesos. Going down, you have to pay again another 1500 php for a horse + horse-man to bring you back to the foot of the island! Whew! That was costly but don't worry, there's another option. Go HIKING!
For me, I wanted to enjoy the experience of hiking up a volcano so I chose to hike while my siblings and mom went on a horseback ride. The terrain is perfect for extreme sports so I asked the tour guide if we can bring bikes (as an MTB enthusiast) and he said YES! I saw the trail is perfect for downhill biking, with 60 degree slopes and uneven terrain, I really regret for not bringing my bike. 
Aside from tourists and thrill seekers Taal volcano is also a destinations for pilgrims. This explains the number of cross along the trail. I was told, hundreds of devotees and pilgrims climb up the mountain in a harsh sun and dry air so as to repent for their sins. 
The view going up the mountain is spectacular. The sound of silence is so relaxing. I could hear nothing but the sound of wind blowing and the trees swinging under the cloudy yet blue skies. You wouldn't see such view anywhere. It's unique and beautiful. I really wish I could see other places like this before it was developed into cities.
I thought the view going up was already breath taking, but when we reached the top, I was in AWE! I cant believe how beautiful it is. A blistering lake inside another breezy lake. You can see sulfur smoke coming out of the crater and bubbling water inside. I wonder how life thrived in it. You will be amazed how nature did this unique land and water mass.
At around 4 PM we finally decided that its about time to go down. There's no electricity in the island so we need to leave before dark. Upon trekking back down, Taal continues to surprise me. The different angle of the trail is as beautiful as it is going up. The natural formation of rocks and earth were gorgeous too like the mountain itself.
All in all, it was a tiring yet fulfilling day. A day full of new perspective and brand new learning. A day of appreciation and thankfulness. Nature was blessed to us by our creator and as a steward of His creation, we have every right to enjoy it freely but we must also be responsible in taking care of it.Thank you for joining me in this unique experience, hope you like my documentation. Til' our next adventure! See you!

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