"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Monday, October 19, 2009

taal trek happiness!

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember,
and remember more than I have seen."
--Benjamin Disraeli

after i first set foot on tagaytay and got the feel of the place in 2002, there was never a year that i missed visiting the place. i've experienced the birth of many life-long bonds and heartwarming moments there -- intangible stuff which, aside from the uniquely tagaytay ambience, i look forward to in every visit.

i relish experiencing the beauty of tagaytay and the wonderful sights to see there and from there. from the numerous viewdecks (each one of them unique, i say) of tagaytay, one gets to see the taal lake and the islands in it -- one truly inspiring sight to behold, especially in the early mornings when the fogs let up and reveal the distant islands and during sunset when darkness slowly creeps and blends seemlessly with the mesmerizing scenery making it fade, but with the promise of being seen again along with the next rising of the sun.

with my yearly visits to tagaytay, those distant islands in the lake always caused me to wonder and to imagine a lot of great things. seeing them always reminded me of those times when i used to look into my sibika at kultura book in grade school and i'd be lost in those pages where pictures of the volcano in a lake are printed. for me, back in grade school, the sight was reachable and can be viewed only, at best, in full-colored postcards. needless to say, that changed and i got to see with my own eyes what i only used to see in pictures -- a lake and, in it, distant islands, beckoning.

taal lake as seen from the ridge

one of those distant islands in the lake and the most popular of them all -- by name, at least -- is the taal volcano, reputed to be the world's smallest active volcano. if that does not make taal volcano interesting enough, read what the travel guides say about it. it is believed to be a volcano within a lake within a volcano -- the ridges of tagaytay being remnants of a big, old crater of what used to be a big, big volcano in the biggest island (luzon) of this volcanic archipelago (the philippines) in this part of asia (southeast asia).

last october 11, 2009, which was a sunday -- and a sunshiny sunday to boot -- i laid my what-ifs and what's-in-that-island-thoughts to rest. i set foot on taal volcano and walked all the way to where i could get a full view of the crater, which is hidden when viewed from tagaytay.

setting foot on taal volcano | following the path to see the crater

it was a 4-kilometer uphill walk under the direct heat of the mighty sun with the awesome company of equally adventurous and travel-loving people, most of whom i first met and made friends with in el nido, palawan. for us, a trek is a trek is a trek is a trek...

taal trek buddies!

while most other tourists would opt to rent horses to reach the taal volcano viewpoint, we went for the old school alternative. we spared the horses and exercised our legs and lungs instead.

part of the 4-km regular path going to the crater of the taal volcano

we chose to walk the 4-kilometer regular path up and the 4-kilometer regular path down -- encountering earthworms, mountain snails, crows, malnourished papaya plants, one dead baby cobra, and lots of horse manure along the way. the volcano is gently sloping so the trek isn't really difficult. in fact, our tour coordinator walked with us on her wedge sandals. yes, wedge sandals! way to go.

the taal volcano crater

the sight of the crater is breathtaking. what's interesting about it? it has an island. imagine this: an island (vulcan point) within a crater (taal crater) within an active volcano (taal volcano) within a lake (taal lake) within an old volcano.

vulcan point in taal crater

apart from the sulfuric-smelling steam steadily coming out from some of the rocks we passed by, there's not much to see along the way that i haven't seen in other places. maybe, it's because it's the regular path, after all. i believe taal's secret trail (yes, there is a so-called secret trail which is not really so secret but so named because only a few people opt to take that less popular but more challenging path) would be something else and would reveal a lot of things that are really uniquely taal. there's always a next time, right?

two-hulled sailboats | taal lake yacht club

oh, i love, love, love the boat ride and the sight of colorful catamarans (two-hulled sailboats) in talisay's taal lake yacht club. the lake looked so big and blue and yet so calm; crossing it on our bright yellow boats felt so perfect.

crossing the taal lake on board the yellow boats from the yacht club in talisay

when our boatman lost control of our boat, dalag, and we hit the rear of pawikan (the other boat) even before we could reach taal volcano, i had the time of my life. it was one of those could-have-been very dangerous moments that i ended up enjoying because i had so much faith that the boats will hold together and the big, deep lake will not dare eat us up.

taal trek happiness!

(1) may tumalo sa tour coordinator namin... inakyat ang taal na naka-fishnet stockings and high heels! winner!
(2) na-dehydrate ako that day kasi nakalimutan kong uminom ng tubig during the uphill hike. ano ba? haha
(3) mabibilis kami maglakad pero tumagal lang kami sa trek path kasi picture kami ng picture.
(4) ok, ok, enough of this... next trip!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, stretching those legs on trekking Taal. Good for your heart!


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