Welcome back to my Batangas trip. The first part is here.
We really had a good stay in Club Balai Isabel. We had a nice swim in their biggest pool in the evening and a delicious buffet breakfast in the morning. It was a shame to leave but the friends needed to go back to the daily grind of the metro. However, we had an instant idea to go to the crater lake, a famous tourist thing to do in Taal where you can either trek or ride a horse up the crater.
Here, let me explain in a photo where we went to next:
|Photo taken from Club Balai Isabel's lake shore.|
As I told you in the first part of my Batangas series, the one usually seen in the postcards and tourism sites of Batangas is not the Taal volcano itself. It's just one of the craters. It just so happens that it really looks like the tip of a volcano, or a small volcano, that people assume much. Haha. The crater is Binintiang Laki and we did not go there because it doesn't have a crater lake (water inside). It's pretty much a boring crater. Chos. We went to the crater beside it where there's a crater lake below and where the Vulcan Point, a very small island on a lake, is.
|The boats of Taal Lake Yacht Club|
So how did we go there? First, we drove to Taal Lake Yacht Club where boats going to the crater were waiting on standby. A mere 2,000 pesos (SR200) is needed to take 5-6 people on a boat to the Taal island where the trek to the crater lake starts. There was a regatta, hobie cat race, happening during that time.
|The Club Balai Isabel in the distance; seen while we were in the boat|
Please be reminded that I am not physically fit. Not.at.all! So, please do not judge me if I told you I rode a horse up the Taal volcano crater while my companions walked/trekked. Forgive me for being such a wimp. Hahaha! But I tell you, I had a blast riding my way up the crater. This is my first time to ride a horse if you don't count riding the horse in Baguio's Mines View Park to have my picture taken. Even though there was a person in charge of me and the horse, I still felt nervous because I haven't tested my balancing skills for the longest time. However, once I got into the groove of swaying with the horse's movement, it was pretty much a scenic, exciting moment for me. (450 pesos = SR45 for the renting the horse)
|The trail to the summit|
On the way up, we would meet other horses. The trail starts narrow and bound by low lands but once we left the trees, we were exposed to the open and the sun beamed brighter and hotter. I couldn't take photos while I was riding the horse (because falling in a horse is not an experience I would want to write about, haha!) so I can just tell you that I saw smoke coming out of the soil once in a while. It was kind of scary especially when I learned that these are indeed vents of the volcano and the realization that I am indeed on an active volcano set in. But there's really nothing to worry about. Really.
After 15 minutes or so, I reached the summit and waited for my friends. The view took my breath away. Literally.
|Huwaaaaw! What a view. Ask the horse, I'm sure he's enjoying it too. ;)|
|The trek is long and winding but the summit's worth it.|
|Riding a horse is an exciting experience.|
|Oh wowwwwww! The lake within a lake!|
|To the right...|
|To the left... (Mt. Maculot on the background.)|
|To the middle. The small rock-like formation is Vulcan Point.|
Looking at the shimmering green waters of the crater lake reminded me how truly beautiful my home country is. Everything on this place heightened my senses but relaxed me too. My friends and I drank coconut juice and took photos. It was funny when a group of Arab tourists tried the "golf" being offered at the summit. They were so excited and were so game to take a swing at the golf ball. One of them asked, "Where's the hole?" The Filipino guy in charge of the "golf" pointed to the crater lake and exclaimed, "That's the hole!" They were all laughing. Guess, it wouldn't be so hard to have a hole-in-one because the hole is so huge it's hard to miss, right?! Well, some of the balls ended up on the grassy side of the ridge instead of the water. ;)
|The Binintiang Laki crater as seen from the summit.|
We went down after an hour. Going up the crater lake has been a good outdoor experience and a good bonding time for me and my friends. I haven't seen them for a year and this opportunity to see and spend time with them is one of my most awaited moments while working in Saudi Arabia. (I daydream of these road trips while looking at the bleak buildings in King Fahd Road, hahaha!) I guess being away from the people you love the most for most of the year makes every second spent with them, no matter where, very special.
|Colorful boats on the island shore. There were many visitors that day.|
|The lake was rough somewhere in the middle. We were drenched! Hahaha!|
|The waters look calm from the shore.|
I couldn't express how much I love to travel but based on the travel entries on this blog, you probably know by now. Haha! If given the chance to explore the many islands of the Philippines, please do visit Batangas. Whether you just want to lounge around the many resorts in the lake shore town of Talisay or go up the crater lake, Batangas offers a lot of activities for you, your family, and your friends. I'm sure I have only explored the tip of the
|Goodbye for now, Taal. Thank you for welcoming us.|
There are many more wonderful things to be discovered and learned in the Philippines. Join us in our next adventures! :) ~ Sundrenched