I slowly drew out my left foot from being sunk-in in the red mud when I smelt a rancid odor. It was a hydrogen sulfide-adulterated smoke that tried to escape from a long incarceration below the ground. Though dog-tired, it felt like a thorn was being pulled out of my throat. “Yes!”, I exclaimed, “I am close!”. I can already see the resting huts uphill, the summit of Taal Volcano Crater.
It was my second time to trek to the main crater of Taal Volcano but I really couldn’t resist exhaustion. My principle is: the first time is understandable but the second around time is intolerable. Disappointed, but I did have my excuse (fooling oneself), this time I took an alternate trail. I couldn’t tell which is tougher because my first trek was two years ago and there had been significant changes to my physique – I mean, my endurance.
We took the Kalawit Trail on our first trek the past two years. We went down to the very crater and my companies enjoyed wading the sulfonated waters of the lake within the volcano.
On last week’s trek, we took the regular tourist trail in which the summit is the limit, I mean, you can no longer go further down inward. Though you can loathe yourself to the “trekkable” areas of the crater summit.
I rented a horse (due to peer pressure, since most of my companies did) to complete half of the trek on my first climb while I completely snub the horsemen’s offer on my second. Of course that was for several factors. The sun was at its zenith, radiating a scorching heat on my first. On the contrary, the rain accompanied with an imperturbable wind cooled us when we got frenzied on the second.
My friend Teddy reached the summit first, followed by yours truly (yeah, as I don’t want to be called loser to this type of adventure), then Queennie, Jo Anne, and then the rest of the group (including the host couple Favis and Ghie, Wella, and the funny new acquaintances). It wasn’t a race but I felt a pressure of getting there first.
Cost of the Trip:
We took a bus ride from Buendia in Pasay to Tanauan City, Batangas and paid a fare of PhP 96.00. Tricycle from the bus stop to Talisay-bound jeepney terminal is PhP 15.00 and the fare from Talisay town center to Barangay Sampaloc, Talisay is free (yes, that was free and thanks to Favis and Ghie for giving us a free ride on their jeepney and for the free accommodation). Anyways, Tanauan to Talisay jeepney ride costs PhP 23.00 and the tricycle ride to the port costs an average of PhP 15.00. Double the sum and you’ll get the two-way fare.
A boat ride to the island volcano costs around PhP 1500.00 to PhP 2000.00 for six to eight individuals. You also need to allocate PhP 50.00 for the environmental/entrance fee (per individual) , PhP 500.00++ for your tour guide (per group), and PhP 350.00++ for the horse rent (per individual if you think you can not endure the trek).
I have no idea how Favis made the magic that we only paid PhP 300.00 each for the five of us for the boat ride and the trekking tour (without renting a horse of course). The native guavas we picked along the way were among the best consolation we got during the tour.
Thanks Favis and Ghie and Belated Happy Birthday to your daughter Brianna.