If you’re from Manila like me, you’ve probably been to Tagaytay a hundred times. This also means you’ve probably seen Taal from afar at least once in your life – I mean, how could you miss that? We book in hotels and dine in restaurants overlooking the volcano. We’ve seen the thing so many times that sometimes we don’t even care that it’s there anymore or how it looks like up close.
So here’s the news – you can actually go up there to check out the crater and take a few good photos along the way. I’m probably not the first person to shove this to your face. Going up Tagaytay, there are tons of guys with boat rental placards, inviting tourists to a trip to the mouth of Taal. I don’t know about you, but I just stopped noticing them the moment I figured they offer expensive, tourist-y packages. That was actually a smart assumption. If you want a trip to the crater, I highly discourage you to even pretend you noticed them – they can be quite persistent. Take my word instead and head straight to the Taal Yacht Club.
Their site is kind of outdated so I texted all three contact persons posted there to ensure the rates are still the same. Two of them responded on the day itself: Jun Delgado (0918-9251509) and Sonia Lucero (0928-6788849).
We took the Regular Tourist Trail. I actually had no time to research on the others since this was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. Not to mention, I had barely 3 hours of sleep and was nursing a hangover.
These are their Rates.
- Per Boat: P 1,800.00
- Guide fee: Free
- Tourism: P 50.00/pax
- Landing Fee: P 20.00/boat
- Horse (optional): P 500.00/pax
- Prepayment discount: less P300
There were 4 of us (+ my uncle who didn’t trek), but one boat can accommodate up to 6. Also, everyone of us rented a horse – a wise decision. Plus it’s part of the experience y’know!
We took the boat going to the island. I’m guessing that was just about 20 minutes. I kind of space out on boats. The sea always consumes me.
We thought we were headed to the main crater, but we were instead taken to the bigger island.
Apparently, the main crater – the small one which we always see from afar – is off limits.
I was surprised to see that the island was not bare at all. There was a village – no electricity, but people actually live there. With some probing, I found out there were 1,000 horses transferred there via boats, all owned by the government. These people assist tourists for a living. They get only P50 per whole ride (which takes 2-3 hours back and forth), so it will help a lot to tip them. On the island, there are people selling souvenirs, bottled water and buco juice. They also offer face masks – like the ones used in the hospitals – to protect you from the dust, as well as hats. We didn’t feel the need to buy any.
So off we go on our horses! Oh wait, Vianca (my little sister wearing a blue hat) seems to have chosen a donkey for herself! Mwahahahaha.
It was a 30-45 minute ride – not too long. Expect lots of dust due to its past few eruptions. According to my guide, the last was in 1992. But there was a more memorable one in 1965, which killed a lot of their ancestors who lived in the area.
Here we are on action star mode. My horse’s name was Lyka.
Vianca on her 2-year-old horse named Angelito, saying, “Angelito! Wag ka pumunta sa bangin! Kuya! Wag mo ko iwan!”. In which kuya responds with: “Ang baba naman ng babagsakan mo eh!”
We parked our horses and went up to see what’s there to see.
Quite a marvelous view, apparently.
The greens and blues.
The crater, and the water is boiling.
The main crater, which we’ve been insisting we want to go to!
Trying to get a closer shot of the boiling water, and the smoke coming out of holes on the ground.
Top o’ the world, ma!
We stayed a bit, did some cam-whoring and enjoyed the view. But wait, gotta cut this here. Part 2 coming up. (By the way, thanks to Nica for the awesome photos!)
Taal Yacht Club is located at Talisay, Batangas, Philippines. Tel# 63-43-773-0192. E-mail email@example.com.