Friday, February 3, 2017

Taal Volcano Tour

The Philippines are on the Rim of Fire that circles the Pacific and has active volcanos. A group of senior missionaries went to tour a volcano that last went off in 1964.

6:30 am - the before picture taken in the Area office parking lot.
After traveling for about an hour and a half we arrived at the 'resort' that our boat tour took off from. We got a quick run down of the volcano and safety precautions and then got in boats for the trip across the lake (very big lake) to the island that is actually the crater of the Taal Volcano.
The day was sunny with a few clouds and we traveled with the wind - about 20 to 25 minutes across to the island
The Bradshaw's put this wonderful trip together and got us organised with vans, drivers and totalled all the tour coasts
I took a few hundred pictures of everything
The boats were long and narrow maybe a little shallow with these outriggers to the side - it looks like bamboo poles
Getting off the boat was just as exciting as the ride - they did warn us to be prepared to get wet this trip
Lashed together bamboo poles, what looks like an old surfboard and poles to hold it altogether. I knew it was shallow water as two girls were shampooing their hair beside our "pier" as we tottered to shore. Luckily this is not where I got wet.
The little 'village', 'town", "settlement" consisted of a tourist registration, some homes and open shops and lots of horses for tourists to ride up to the crater. One guide told me that most of the money made  here was from the tourists. I saw lots of chickens, kids, dogs and cats, and one pig along with the rows of horses - maybe big ponies. I was taller than every horse I saw.
500 pesos will get you a ride up to the crater
This family told me it was just fine to take pictures of them - of course they did want to sell me a hat.
Some homes are made of wood, some are made of cement. Most are open air, some have glass in some windows, 
It was a perfect day to hike, overcast, slight breeze blowing and 14 markers to let you feel like you were accomplishing something. I did wonder if there was something interesting we were suppose to see at each marker. The first few were far between. It was so nice that the end ones were close together - like we were progressing faster.
A nice hike with a quick steep climb followed by a gradual easy up the middle
Sister Eckert elected to ride the pony/horse up to the crater. The man on the right is her 'guide'. Every horse has someone to lead and walk the horse up/down the crater.
The last 1/3 was up
Excuses to look back and take pictures of the beautiful lake behind us
We could see back to the lake and also another 'mountain' next to us. I didn't have my "ears" in but I'm pretty sure the guide said that crater was extinct - if it goes off someday then it isn't.
The last few meters were the killer. It was nice that those on top said it is worth it.
A place for the horses on the side of the cliff
Lots of little open air markets and shelters
This is the crater. You can see the rest of the lake we came in on beyond it. It is huge.
Peaceful little oasis......for now
There were all kinds of things to do up on the crater. Shopping is always an option. There were open air booths set up with tee-shirts, hats, caps, food, drinks (all kinds), chips, snacks, necklaces, etc. and my favourite a pony tail holder! These enterprising people will sell whatever will sell.
3 par (3 balls) to make a hole in one - of course there is an island to mark your hole instead of a flag. Elder Bradshaw did a pretty good job. The flight down was a very long one.
It was interesting to note the steam vents below the other tourist further along the crater. It made me wonder what was going on below me.
I asked what was growing in the water in those kind of rows. I think they said they were farming fish. That was believable because we have had all kinds of fish since we've been here.
How does it work?
On the way back down I decided to ride a horse and not worry about ankles working. It was very different than any horse ride I have ever been on. Interesting.

After talking to other visitors, taking pictures with some Japanese graduates, taking pictures over the volcano, golfing off the side of the crater, buying and exploring we decided to go back as the day was getting a little stormy.
The scenic views were better going down

Another view across the lake. You can see the high rises in Taytay and in fact just a little later we ended up close to those towers - where we ran into traffic that was bumper to bumper stalled. So our 3 vans made a u-turn in the road and went back home another way

The boat ride back home was wet and windy. The ride was about 40 or 45 minutes getting  back to the other side of the lake.

We laughed and fought the wind and water and bonded in a unique way

Sister Stewart used a hat, jacket and small garbage sack to take the brunt of the splash zone - for which I was grateful as I was sitting next to her - laughing all the way
Only my back, head, hand, and knees got wet because she was such a nice shield

Sisters Burtenshaw, Stewart and Peel trying something they sell to the tourists when they come down - coconut water.

The flowers growing over the hut at the resort where the boats docked were beautiful
A nice tired group of senior missionaries headed back to Quezon City. After traveling for about an hour and a half we were deadlocked in a street, so after making a u-turn in the middle of the street we went across the country roads and saw a whole different part of the country (I took many pictures out the window) and when someone looked at their phone gps it told us we had another hour and a half before we got home. Because of a mutiny in another van we stopped at Burger King and had supper. After another hour and a half we staggered into our own cars to head for home. That is just the way it is traveling in this unique beautiful country.

Totally worth it.

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