Two long days of transport, a stop in a hotel with a swimming pool which was empty on our visit and hours spent sitting in gridlock traffic through Manila but we finally made it to Tagaytay. The town sprawls along a ridge line 600m above Lake Taal crater lake.
We met a French guy at our hostel who’d been waiting two days for some other travellers to share the pricey boat fee across the lake with, so we went joined him and gave up our romantic boat trip for two. It took a couple of jeepneys and a tricycle ride steeply downhill to Talisay. We bartered hard for a Bangka (wooden boat) across the lake to the Taal volcano, the lunar like Island in the lake. It comprises of multiple cones and is said to be one of the most active volcanos in the world.
The boat ride was hilarious. The lake was so choppy and waves were sloshing into the boat and getting us all soaked. The boat guy handed us a plastic sheet each which we all wrapped ourselves into, it was a pretty funny sight. The driver however was not enjoying the ride one bit, he seemed to be really cold from the waves and looked so uncomfortable, shaking and shivering. Every time a wave hit us he’d just say ‘wow!’ And I’d look at his face and crack up.
A 40 minute walk led us uphill to one of the volcanic craters, it certainly didn’t feel like we were walking up a volcano. We arrived at the rim and looked down onto a sulphurous pool beneath. It wasn’t a spectacular colour like other volcanos we’ve seen, just a teal tone. The steep walls leading down to the lake were steaming from the volcano and so were the lakes edges. It was unbearably hot with a combination of volcano heat, sunshine and the dark, sun baked dust we were walking on.
There were little shacks selling overpriced drinks and souvenirs at the top and even touts getting people to pay to hit a golf ball into the crater lake. How bizarre! We paid a small fee to see the ‘Red Lava’ which was a rocky section of the rim where the rocks were red and had wavy patterns through them.
The coolest looking volcano was visible from the crater rim we stood on but I think it looked more impressive from the boat. It was a nice day trip but not as exciting as the volcanos we’d seen in Indonesia or Central America. It didn’t help that the long distant view from Tagaytay was so hazy even though we had blue sky.