While I’m on a 15-minute break (which I’m not sure I can afford given my day’s to do list) after an official errand and enjoying an expensive coffee for the sake of a planner I don’t even use, I figured now’s as good a time as any to write about the Taal Volcano lakeception! Believed to be the smallest volcano in the world, Taal Volcano is one of the most popular natural wonders in the Philippines, with it’s craters being a lake within a lake within a lake. As a traveler, I’ve always had the image of Taal Volcano as in the picture-perfect crater cone you always see in Tagaytay, a popular highland tourist destination 2 hours or less south of Manila. The thing is, the “crater” we see is apparently nothing but a “dead” big mound of land. The actual crater, shown in this photo, is located in the island at the back (if your viewpoint is from Tagaytay) of the big mound. After a 20-25 minute outrigger boat ride (PhP 1500/5pax, PhP 500 for guide which I think you can skip) from the mainland jump off point and a 1.5 hour easy trek (PhP 50 or 100(?)/pax entry; normally it’s an hour only but we walked leisurely, taking photos now and then), we finally reached the crater. I’ve never been on a volcano before so I didn’t really know what to expect other than that of the photos. And nope, I was not disappointed! The Taal Volcano crater was calm and peaceful, the opposite of the exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping feeling you get when you stand near the edge of the “red lava” area (additional PhP 50)! If you have even just a spare day and especially if you’re with friends, you should totally do the Taal Volcano trek — it was really cool and awesome! 🙂
Since, I was able to resurrect my Banana phone’s* memory card, it gave me a chance to check out the pictures I thought will no longer see the light of day — these pictures of Rock View Beach Resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan are some of them. And, before they get threatened to once again fall into oblivion, let me share these with you.
Surfing is an adrenaline-filled water sport that is increasingly becoming popular among Filipinos, not just for adventure- and thrill-seekers but also for families wanting to try something new and exciting. I never thought I’ll ever be able to go surfing because a) I didn’t realize we have it here; b) I always thought it’s expensive and c) well, I was never sure if I’ll ever be able to stand on my board and look cool like everyone on TV!
I know it’s already five months overdue but still, I would like to write a personal post about my 26th year, highlighting the travels I’ve had and the people I met along the way.
Contrary to my 25th year’s travels which were mainly as a solo backpacker or with a travel buddy, 2013-2014 was more of a group travel kind for me. It’s also during this span of time that I’ve met several important people in my life — from CouchSurfing acquaintances to really great friends, and from total strangers to favorite companions and partners in crime. And yes, ’twas also late last year that I met someone whom I’m looking forward to have more travels and adventures with.
It’s been a while since I last had a long vacation (last ones were in Hong Kong and Macau in January and Baler in April) so when the chance to go to Coron came up, I just couldn’t let it pass. Palawan is known as one of or probably the last frontier here in the Philippines in terms of it’s natural beauty, picturesque landscape and rich marine biodiversity. And, Coron and Busuanga, due to its relatively more difficult (read: tends to be more expensive) accessibility by flights and ferries, remains to be as such.
Unfortunately, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) already ravaged a lot of its magnificent corals and fell trees. There were reportedly 6 casualties and some islands’ structures succumbed and totally collapsed. Nevertheless, Busuanga and Coron remain to be a beauty that everyone needs to see. And like what E and I probably said all the time during the trip, we are in our happy place!
So, through this quick Instagram Travel post of our vacay (Aug 22-27, 2014) let us (the self-proclaimed Cool Kids Club, aka CS Weekend Escapists, aka CouchSurfers and friends) take you to our happy place!