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Volcano Vantage

First stop on the journey south...

View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

The bus trip to Tagatay was the shortest we've had in the Philippines so far, it only took about two and a half hours. We arrived in the dark though and it is always that little bit harder to get your bearings when you can't see much. For example we had no idea in what direction the lake and volcano we had come to see was.

As usual we were set upon by a whole host of people who wanted to offer their services. The slightly annoying thing is what they tell you tends to have an ounce or two of truth to it, it's just the way they choose to tell you that puts you off listening. It soon became apparent that staying right in the centre of Tagatay was going to be too expensive. It wasn't too upsetting though, the town itself simply straddles a main road and consists of four fast food restaurants, a few hotels and some shops. We went through the process of checking a few places, some of which did seem nice. I managed to lose my footing and slice a hole in my trousers which was a bit annoying. Thankfully though I didn't do myself too much damage.

We had some dinner at one of the four fast food restaurants and then got a tricycle to take us about ten minutes out of town. There is a park with a picnic area here and also a few guest houses to choose from. The first one was too expensive but at the second one we managed to get a room in a little self contained out-building, the people seemed friendly and we were happy to take off our packs and settle down for the night.

In the morning we headed over to the park as we presumed we would be able to see the volcano from the picnic area. We had to pay a small fee to go in and then we were pounced on by people asking us if we wanted to go horse riding or take a boat trip.
We declined both offers and headed over the crest of a hill and then we caught our first glimpse of the lake and the volcano. We went down the other side and found a spot with a good vantage point.


It was a little hazy when we first arrived and the volcano looked a fairly blurry out there in the distance. After a little while though the sun burnt through the cloud and it all came in to focus. The volcano sits at one end of an elongated island and you can see some of the way down in to the crater.
Although it is still considered to be active, it is hard to believe that fiery red lava has ever spurted out of it, the whole area is covered with trees and foliage.
The last big eruption was in 1911, and the itself lake was once an enclosed bay on the coast, but a series of eruptions in the 18th century sealed the entrance and turned it into a lake. We spent a little time discussing what we were going to do next and decided that we would try and make it down to the south coast of Luzon and catch a ferry over to Puerta Galera which is a small town on the northern tip of another Philippine island, Mindoro.

We returned to the guest house to pack up our things and then started off on our way once more.
Adam thought it was time for us to catch our first jeepney, so we jumped on one that was heading in the right direction and hoped that it would take us back to Tagatay. Thankfully it did and it only cost about 15p for the both of us. Once we were back in town we thought we should eat before we went any further, and we decided to try one of the fast food restaurants we hadn't been to before. Jollibee was the chosen eatery and we both had spaghetti. It was cheap, I'll give it that but I'm not sure we're going to become regulars there. We read somewhere that pizza in the Philippines is sweet but I would have to disagree, the pasta sauce on the other hand is most definitely sweet. In a very sickly way, and I wouldn't really recommend it.

Somewhat satisfied after our food we now had to figure out how we were going to get to our destination of Batangas. We thought there may be a bus passing through town so we stood, under the shade of a tree, on the side of the road and began to wait. A few tricycle drivers came passed and asked us where we were going and also whether we wanted to go on a boat trip. We explained where we wanted to go and everyone seemed to want to express to us that it was 'very, very far.' It wasn't really that far, about 120km and as it was where boats left from for the next island we thought it may have been a destination that was worthy of a bus route. It turned out though that there was no direct bus and we would need to go to another town first. In the end we jumped on a jeepney and again hoped for the best, it was at least going in the right direction. The price seemed to change though which annoyed us slightly, but the boy loosely performing the role of the conductor didn't speak much English and so in the end we just handed over the money. It wasn't a lot in the grand scheme of things but as you are not exactly sure how far you are going it is difficult to gauge how much it should cost. They asked us if we wanted to hire out the whole jeepney to take us all the way to Batangas, but it was too much and seemed a little extravagant. It did mean though that we were treated to the usual jeepney experience, which basically means that as soon as you pick up any spend you have to grind to a halt again to let people jump on and off. Nonetheless it was good and we were on the move.

We had almost reached our first destination when the conductor boy leaned out of the jeepney and waved down a bus that was driving along in the other direction. Quickly we heaved our bags out the jeepney and were trying to cross the busy road without causing an accident. Soon enough though we were on the nice airy coach which was headed for Batangas. We never got a chance to thank the boy in the rush, but it was good of him to help us out like that.

The bus took another couple of hours and once in Batangas we had to get a tricycle to take us down to the port. We probably over paid which annoyed us but sometimes it is just not worth arguing over what at the end of the day is pennies. Once down at the port we were told that the last boat to Puerta Galera left in 30 minutes, so all in all it had worked out well. We bought our ticket and were then informed that we had to pay an environmental fee and then when we tried to enter the terminal we were told we also had to pay a terminal fee. I wish they just wrapped it up into one price rather than sending you here, there and everywhere because it makes you feel like you're parting with a lot more money.

We found seats in the terminal building next to Gate 3 and waited, there were a few other Westerners heading over to the island. We really haven't seen many in the Philippines, it seems the backpacker trail hasn't found its way here yet but I am sure it is just a matter of time. I think the transport links may have to be improved a little bit if they want to attract more people though. It didn't take long for us to be called to the boat, we were both expecting a ferry I think so were a little surprised when we were confronted with a smallish vessel. After a bit of messing about though we were on our way to a new island and were excited to find out what it would be like.

More Soon

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 05:55 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world

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