Hiking Volcano Taal or Volcano Pinatubo or both? Decisions, decisions…
Manila – a huge melting pot – counts 1.7 mio inhabitants and including 16 other cities 12 mio people live in the so called Manila metro – the economic, political and cultural center of the country. For the most people the city is a place where to fly into Philippines and leave it as soon as possible again. I assume if you don’t know people here who know the area a little bit it makes sense to spend time at other more interesting places.
I am in the lucky and very thankful situation to know people who live in Makati – the financial center of Manila – and try the explore as much as they can of the area and the country before they will head back to Germany. They tried to bring me to the close by Lake Taal already at New Years Day – the day after my arrival on the Philippines – but traffic as hell and a little sleep in made it impossible to reach our final destination in a reasonable time why we decided to turn after 2h traffic jam. Enough time to explore the crazy traffic and drivers on the Philippines.
A second try two days later was way more successful. We finally made it to Tagaytay and the waterfront of Lake Taal in a bit more than one hour. Most interesting part of the way to the lake was the last part on a winding down street where I was happy that I don’t get carsick and the other traffic was almost not existing.
What a beautiful scenery! Hard to believe that we are heading to a big lake – the result of a huge eruption. On the waterfront we could see the volcano in the middle of the sea – just a 20 min boat ride away. On the island we had the choice to walk up the volcano or taking a horse. The decision was made soon but fatal for our next days.We took the horse and after a short while I already felt bad about that poor horse has to carry me up the mountain. The bad karma came to us in form of for Filipinos made saddles followed by the pain we had the next days because sitting of these for the way up and down. 😉
At the top the view suddenly made me forget the ride up. The crater lake looked so stunning and it was hard to believe that what we saw in front of us is an active volcano. Endless view over the lake till the mountains and the ocean far aways is worth the visit.
The second volcano on the list was the Mt. Pinatubo. Situated 90km up north of Manila and 550 years inactive till the a huge eruption in 1991 – one of the biggest in the 20th century – . Some documentaries on the day before already showed us what happened 26 years ago when a couple of hundred people died. Early morning we were picked up and made our way up north.
At 6 am we started at the entrance point with 4×4. It took us more than one hour to the start point of the hike up the volcano. The drive in the cars was already very adventurous through all the ash and the rivers made by the rain.
Completely shaken we started the hike through a huge gorge and unreal landscape. We walked over huge stones, crossed rivers and walked up rivers under fern trees. We saw indigenous people living in the mountains and kids playing between the huge stones. I am still not sure how our guide made the way in his flip-flops while I thought I will be done before we reach the final destination. Especially after some YouTube videos we were watching before when people said it was an easy walk. And yes we can say we are senior citizens because it took us 20 mins for the last kilometer. After almost two hours the beautiful view of the crater lake turned up in front of us. What a pretty amazing scenery! Worth the way up and down as well as the adventurous 4×4 ride.
If I had the choice to do one of the volcanos or both I would do both and just can recommend it. The first one was easy to do by ourselves and the second one we made with a local tour operator – Tripinas – which made a good job for a good price.