The Habit: An Unexpected Journey (Trip to Taal Lake and Taal Volcano Crater with Red Lava Trail) -

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The Habit: An Unexpected Journey (Trip to Taal Lake and Taal Volcano Crater with Red Lava Trail)

Borrowing the title of a Lord of the Rings prequel, it was an unexpected journey for us because our original destination was Tagaytay. Countless establishments in the city were closed including Picnic Grove and Sky Ranch due to the repairs after typhoon Glenda wrecked havoc recently. People were already recovering then but the commercial places were still undergoing repairs. We were supposed to head home but due to our usual habit of unplanned trips and spur of the moment decisions; we parked by the road side to ask about boat rides to Taal Lake.

The trip going down to the Talisay, Batangas was dangerous. There were countless debris of fallen trees and even electrical posts left by the road side down through Ligaya drive. The road itself can be comparable to a snake road due to numerous curves similar to Baguio City. We didn’t drive through the same road again going back to Manila and passed through Star Tollways and then SLEX instead.

Going back to trip, we managed to safely get through the resort anyway and paid for a boat reserved just for our group. A boat ride (back and forth trip) costs Php 1,500. It was sunny while touring the lake. It took about 25 minutes to reach the lake side where boats are temporarily parked while waiting. Sadly, there were numerous dead fishes floating. Most likely, they were killed during the recent typhoon.

Next, we went horseback riding following a trail which you can actually hike although it may be tiresome to walk and climb. A horse ride costs Php 500 for each passenger and another Php 500 for all tour guides of the entire group (not each) assisting you while riding the horse. If you’re scared (like me :), you can request for your guide to ride the horse as well. They will ride several times anyway even without you requesting. A child will be accompanied throughout the ride of course. Just a tip when riding; lean forward when the trail is ascending and lean backward when it’s descending to prevent falling and to make it easier for your horse which you should be nice to by the way.

When it’s hot, you can rent hats and rain coats when it’s rainy. You should also bring your own water or energy drinks and purchase them before the horse ride because refreshments available on top of the volcano are costlier. Also, the place is buzzing with tourists both locals and foreigners during weekends and holidays so expect human traffic.

Along the trail, I eventually softened up from being stiff with fear and learned to balance because my guide was conversing with me. The view was breathtaking too. You’ll see hills and the lake surrounding it as well as hear birds of various types all over the place. You’d also pass by a path with hot volcano gases coming out of underneath. The trip took almost an hour because we were slow although it normally takes just about 30 minutes.

On top of the volcano, it was awe inspiring. I could say “wow” unceasingly! Below, you’ll see water surrounding the crater and can view the lake around the mountain range. I could also see high rise condominium buildings and the Sky Ranch eye at Tagaytay from afar.

A nearby trail called Red Lava is also available for just Php 50 per person. The place is made of lava formations that are reddish, hence, the name. You’d feel steamy sulfuric gases coming out too. And the view from this section is even better compared with the one that’s free for the public.

Be careful with the slippery slopes when going down the volcano to where your horse rests. I slipped and cut my right leg because I was in a hurry. The horse ride going back to where boats are docked is less stressful. However, it rained and I got soaked a bit because we were traversing the trail ever slow again. On the boat, it was also wet with waves but the breezy wind can easily dry your clothes.
All in all, this habit of unexpected journeys is really worth it after seeing the breathtaking view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano’s crater.

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