Have had enough with the busy and rushful scene of modern living in Makati area in Manila, I took a day off to drive 90 minutes away from the city to The City of Tagaytay after hearing some rumours about its beauty. With its cool climate and breathtaking scenery of Taal Volcano in the middle of Taal Lake, Tagaytay City has become a favourite destination for many tourists looking for a sweet escape from the boisterous city of Manila. The volcano was the main reason why I decided to visit Tagaytay.
To reach the Volcano, people will usually take a bus or hire a car to drive to Tagaytay and find a local tour organizer in there. I was lucky because one of my colleague in Manila was kind enough to let me use her car to go to Tagaytay, not to mention about her gentle uncle who drove the car in Vin Diesel style going up and down the hilly road to the city. Reaching Tagaytay, I was surprised with a little bit of uncommon scene of so many locals, standing at the roadside, carrying cardboards with some writings on it offering their tour service to the volcano. So we made a stop and talked to one of the tour organizer, a gentle middle aged woman. My colleague who is a local, helped us to bargain the price, and then she let the organizer to hop into our car and show the way to Taal Lake to then take the boat crossing the lake to Taal Volcano. It’s pleasing to know that Philippine people are so easily befriending to the others. Though I didn’t understand a word, I could understand they were talking intensively like an old friends.
20 minutes drive from where we met the tour organizer, we reached and made a stop at a little hut at Taal Lake lakeside. The boat has been prepared for us to go anytime. Without any more waiting, we hopped into the boat and went straight to Taal Volcano. It was just a short boat ride, only about 20 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about sea sickness if you want to go.
I do have heard about how popular the place is, but I never imagine that the place is so crowded with a lot of tourists, bottled drink merchants, and horses walking around the place. It was just so chaotic, like Makati without asphalt, shopping centres, fancy hotels, and tall buildings.
To go to the top of the volcano, you have 2 options: to walk by foot or to rent a horse and ride it with the help of local guide. First option will cost you PHP 550 for entrance fee. And second option will cost you PHP 2000 including the entrance fee. Since my friend was too afraid to ride the horse, we took the first option, to walk by foot to the top of the volcano. She does make sense though, the road to the top is very steep at some points, hence riding a horse to the top can be one scary experience.
It took about 1 hour from the village to reach the top of the volcano.
The road to the top is a steep sandy road which in bright weather is very hot and dry because of the heat of the sun.
If you ever going to this place, on the way to the top, please do take a moment to look behind and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful Taal Lake.
And watch your steps! Some areas are dangerous to step because of the heat emitted from it.
On the top, you can enjoy the view of the lake which used to be an active crater in the middle of the volcano. Even though it isn’t the best view I ever seen, it is still gorgeous and rare. It is a lake in the middle of the volcano in the middle of a lake. A lake-ception! I spent about an hour enjoying the scenery while recharging my hydration with a fresh coconut water before going back to Tagaytay city.
One thing that I notice, even though it is reachable with only 90 minutes from Manila and 30 minutes from Tagaytay City itself, Taal Volcano ironically is not often visited by local. Local would rather to just go to some fancy restaurants and cafes and enjoy the view of the volcano from many different angle around the city. Even so, the place is almost always packed and crowded by many domestic tourists from around the world.
Some of the restaurants and cafes in Tagaytay city are very cozy to recharge your energy before going back to the city. These restaurants are usually full with people from Manila visiting during weekend. I went to a place called Leslie, one of the most popular, and paid off my fatigue with this view…
… And this delicious bowl of Bulalo, a Philippine style of Beef Soup, a Tagaytay local delicacy.
As a conclusion, Taal Volcano may not be the best volcano to visit, Tagaytay city may not be the most relaxing place in the world, and Bulalo soup may not be the most delicious soup in the world; but if you feel like you have had enough with the modern scene of Manila and need a short sweet escape, this can be your option. I assure you it’s worth to visit!