Boodle fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of the banana leaves. Viands and rice ready to eat using your bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before the "eating combat". With the signal to start the boodle fight, everyone aims for his/her position. from UrbanDictionary
It is truly more fun in the Philippines! I liked my previous visit to the country so much that I decided to come back :). My second visit lasted 2.5 weeks and while I had to do some remote work I still managed to find some time to do some sightseeing with my beautiful girl. One of the places we visited was the Taal volcano.
During our last visit we did a two day trip during which we visited the famous city of Taal - you can read more about our trip here. The city of Taal shares its name with a volcano which is one of the must see places in the area. The volcano is known for being the world's smallest active volcano and the second most active one in the Philippines:. The volcano is located on the island of Luzon close to the city of Tagaytay and around 70 km away from Manila. The volcano makes part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and it is actually located on an island within a lake within an island.
We were already in the city of Tagaytay so we were not too far away from the volcano. The volcano is located on an island and to get to it one has to take a banca from the city of Talisay. The boat ride takes around 30 mins and it costs around 2500-3000 Pesos. There is; however, a number of other fees that one has to pay. You will find a full list below.
Once you reach the island you can ride a horse that will take you to the central crater. The horse comes with a guide that will be assisting you during the entire hike. Now, you don't necessarily have to ride the horse but you will most likely be talked into it by the locals. They might tell that the hike to the crater is too difficult and too long. Having taken the horse to the crated and having walked back from the crater to the boat I can say that the hike is not difficult at all and it should not take more than 40 mins.
It was the first time I ever rode a horse. :) I am not to keen to ride any animal to be frank but since it was something that made the trip unique i decided to give it a try. It takes a few minutes to get used to sitting on a horse - at first it feels like you will fall when the horse moves but with time you learn how to keep the balance.
An interesting fact about the island is that the government forbade people from living on the island however you will see a lot of locals who actually live there. They farm and make their living from tourism.
On the way to the crater you will see a mountain on the right hand side - this is actually not the volcano even though it looks like one:
and a few more pics from our hike:
Once you reach the crater you will see the lake and a small landmass close to the shore.
This little piece of land is the world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island :)
If you take a closer look at the shores of the lake you might see the water bubbling a bit. This is caused by the water being heated up by the lava. You can also play golf at the crater which is simply hitting a golf ball into the crater which is something that shouldn't be done! Please do not do it because it is bad for the environment.
All in all our trip was very good. The volcano has not blown my mind away but it was definitely something I enjoyed seeing. The trip to the volcano is a little adventure on its own as it involves taking a boat; riding a horse and a bit of hiking. We were lucky with the whether because it was raining everywhere but the volcano. In fact the big dark clouds around us allowed us to take some cool pics. :)
There is one more volcano that I want to see in the Philippines and that is the Mayon volcano :) Hopefully we will be able to see it during our next trip. Stay tuned for more pics from the country of more than 7k islands :)
The Philippines has been nothing but great. It is truly more fun there and the three weeks we spent in the country was not enough. We will be going back to see more because there is so much more to see and do. During our three weeks there we saw many places and did lots of different things. One of the trips that I truly enjoyed was our 2 day trip to Taal, Lucban and the waterfall of Pagsanjan. We started off our trip in Taal in the province of Batangas where one of our friends comes from. There is also a volcano named Taal which is something we will see during our next trip :) :The city is famous for its old style ancestral houses and its biggest catholic church in Asia. The ancestral houses are houses built during the Spanish colonial times. They are magnificent and remind everyone of the country's rich history.
Taal ( the city ) is located far away, traffic wise at least; from the city of Lucban where the famous Pahiyas festival takes place. Since it was already getting dark we spent the night in Tagaytay and we left for Lucban the next day at around 5 AM. Due to the heavy traffic on the road it took us around 3h to reach Lucban even though it is only 100 km away. All the jeepneys and tricycles make your trip last for hours :) Even when you overtake one jeepney there is still going to be 100 other ones ahead of you; each not going faster than 30-40km/h...
The Pahiyas festival in Lucban was amazing. People of the city decorate their houses with colorful decorations. They do it in order to give thanks to a bountiful harvest. The festival kicks off at 6 AM with a mass in a local church. As the day goes by there is more and more people arriving in the city to admire all the decorations. The decorations are often made from fruit and vegetables which are then eaten in the afternoon.
On our way back home we made a stop in the city of Pagsanjan in the Laguna province in order to see the famous Pagsanjan falls which are also known as Cavinti falls. I must say that seeing these falls was a great experience even though i did not expect it to be that good at first. After being to Iceland and having seen tens of different waterfalls they don't impress me that much any more. In addition to that the price to see the falls was 1250 pesos which i thought was too much for the local standards. The whole idea of the trip was that you sit in a boat and simply relax while two boatmen do all the paddling for you to get you upstream to the falls..
After being given helmets and life jackets we waited for our boat to arrive. The place did not look very impressive. I did not expect much from the whole experience and i was convinced we had fallen victim to a tourist trap...... boy was I mistaken!!!
Our boat then got attached to other boats with other people just like us. The leading boat had an engine and it would pull all the other boats upstream to a point where it could go no further because of the rocks and the river being too narrow. That's when the boat men came into play.
After a couple of minutes the scenery completely changed and it changed for better :) The river banks grew tall and it felt like we entered a river jungle in a canyon. There were many rock formations along the way. Each formation had a narrow passage, wide enough for a single boat to go through The skillful boat men worked their assess off to get the boat across using both their legs and their paddles. I admire their strength and skills. They worked very hard and put a lot of effort into it. It makes one feel like a lazy fat tourist LOL Make sure to tip these guys as they truly deserve it for all the hard work.
At certain places the water was too shallow for the boat to go across. To get the boat across the boatmen would lift the boat up and slide it on special steel pipes that were placed there just for that reason. I really liked the idea!
We reached the falls in around one hour. The place was full of people swimming in the natural pool and enjoying the waterfall. We boarded a bamboo raft guided by a rope that would take us across the natural pool all the way to the actual waterfall. A boatman on the raft was using the rope to pull the raft all the way to the waterfall. The raft went through the waterfall with thousands of liters of water crushing against our bodies. It was a great experience :) If you decide to do it make sure that you have a water proof case for your electronics because it will get wet.
Check out some more pictures below