I’ve been to Tagaytay numerous times already but I never had the chance to personally see the beauty of Taal Volcano up close – an active volcano that is still open for tourists (no worries, it’s being monitored by PhiVolcs) until last Sunday. We celebrated the birthday of my brother-in-law in Leynes Resort (where my Tatay usually bring his guests from abroad). At first, I’m a bit hesitant to go since I don’t prefer walking under the strong ray of sun (who does?). Plus, I was also told that we will consume 30-45 minutes walk just to reach the Taal crater. But after few more conversations, I finally gave in. realized that I’m already there and all I need to do is to move my feet and ride the banca. So the journey started at 2PM.
My siblings, nieces and nephews are with us. We are all 9 in the banca (some only allowed 7 people) but since my Tatay knows the owner of the resort, they have allowed us. So the ride going to the island where the Taal volcano is located took us 30 mins. Then, we paid Php 50 for the entrance ticket and took some pictures. There are several tourists coming over, mostly Koreans.
While at the lowland, we are all determined to go up with our feet. Some locales there are offering us tour guide services and horse back riding. The price for the guide, which you will not most likely need is Php 500 for the entire group and the horse rent is Php 500 (back and forth with tour guide). We did actually not mind them at the start of the trail as we have been warned about the prices.
I bought a mask to cover my face from dust and smelly shit of the horses. So we started walking but locales there are still persistent in getting us. At first, trekking is exciting but as we go along, I think after 10 minutes of walking under the sun, we’ve decided to be at halt. Then, after a few minutes of bargaining, we finally rented the horses. And we are all glad, we did! For non-hikers like us and especially there are children traveling with us, it’s a way to go. The narrow road is shared by both walking tourists and the horses with their passengers. I think we can do the walking if there are few tourists at that time.
After approximately 30 minutes, we finally reached the Taal Volcano crater. The first word I uttered is “awesome”. It’s my first time to see a volcano and it’s definitely worth the effort. I suddenly felt that I’ve conquered the world. (O.A. though). We also played golf!
Some tips and notes when going to Taal Volcano:
1. As soon as you arrived in Tagaytay, locales there will welcome you with a sign board, Boat Ride and Taal Trekking. Some will price you with Php 1,000-1,500 per head (no entrance fee and horse riding). We literally did not do the trekking because we rode a horse. Our rent for the banca is Php 1000. Some says you could rent a banca for 1,500 (good for 7 people) so try to do some bargaining.
2. Gear yourself. If you have already planned to go to Taal, I suggest that you bring a face mask, wear shades and hat. While you can buy mask at the lowland for Php 20 pesos and rent a beach hat for 50 pesos, it’s still advisable that you bring your own. I bet you during the sunny days, you’ll need them.
3. Wear thin clothing and comfy shoes/sandals. If you don’t mind the sunburn, you can wear anything you want. I don’t know what the proper attire would be but I wore a thin sweater that can be folded and jeans. While riding the horse, I still felt the heat of the sun penetrating my skin. I’m actually wearing shoes but decided to borrow my Tatay’s slippers because we will ride banca and I don’t want my shoes to be wet, in case.
4. Play golf at the top. Why not? Well, my first impression is that what if the crater will be filled with golf balls? The locales there told us that it is being cleaned by PhiVolcs peeps so we don’t have to worry about the environment. I think it’s true since they were told that the golf balls from the crater is being sold to them again. It’s Php 50 per ball but we got it for Php 25 each.
5. Bring water. Even if you decide to rent a horse, it’s also recommended that you bring one. The price of water and other sodas there is Php 50 (which is only Php 10).
6. Give something for our tour guides. I interviewed our tour guide and I learned that they only earn Php 60 pesos for every back and forth horse back ride and the rest of the payment goes to the owner of the horse. It’s sad to know that sometimes especially during weekdays, they only have one to two trips a day. Not really enough for the daily “baon” of their children. That’s her in red long sleeves shirt.
7. We were able to rent our horse for Php500 for two persons. Those horses don’t have numbers and you can find those after a few minutes of walking from the lowland. Try to bargain them.
I’d say that trekking is for people who want to challenge themselves. If you only want to see Taal Volcano, ride a horse. You can still enjoy the journey without tiring yourself so much. We headed back to Leynes Resort at 5:30 PM — almost sunset. Here are more photos to look at.