Friday, August 27, 2010

Going to see "the beautiful places"

The best part about being posted in Manila is what's outside the city. Last weekend we had the opportunity to visit Tagaytay and Taal Volcano, and we saw some of the "beautiful places." (Every consular officer's favorite phrase.)

The view from People's Park

The view from Picnic Grove

Zip line at Picnic Grove

Tagaytay is built around the edges of Taal Volcano. In order to get to Crater Lake, you take a boat across Taal Lake to Volcano Island. I recommend driving down to the lake and buying your boat ride there. The road to the lake resembles the Mt. Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire and/or the road to Hana in Maui. Villagers greet you at the island and sell you a guide and a horseback trail ride up to the crater. The guide is likely necessary as an escort through the village, but we didn't go for the horseback ride. The horses are small ponies, and although the trail is hot, it only takes about an hour to hike up to Crater Lake. Haggling is acceptable. If you don't buy a horseback ride but get tired or overheated on the way up, no worries--the villagers follow you up the trail with a pony--just in case. 

Boat ride across Taal Lake

The village on Volcano Island

 Crater Lake at Taal Volcano 

Reminders that we're standing on the inner rim of an active volcano

I highly recommend enjoying a delicious meal at Antonio's

We enjoyed fresh air, good food, and great company. I can't wait for our next trip!

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