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Published: February 26th 2007
after surviving the boat ride
Five women and a lad out to conquer a volcano….ok….a little far-fetch. We’re just out for a little bit of adventure, and that is, to ride a horse up to Taal Volcano and enjoy a spectacular view.
As soon as we arrived in Tagaytay, a group of men lined on the side of the road are flagging us for a boat ride to Taal. We drove at the end of the line and asked for the cost. We managed to haggle a boat ride to Taal Island for about AU$40. The flaggers escorted us to a resort’s dock and caught one of their outrigger boats or banca. The trip to Taal was choppy. The waves got really rough. Our boatman gave us tarpaulins to protect ourselves from splashes. Mix of emotions flooded my senses. I found the cool breeze and water splashes invigorating. It was exciting, thrilling and at the same time frightening. Amid such myriad of emotions, Taal Lake has a way of soothing our senses. The constant bobbing, swaying and rocking of our boat gave such a calming effect.
At the island, we again haggled for a horse ride. I can’t exactly remember the cost but it’s
Standing at the rim of Taal Volcano (Tagaytay)... a small volcano, that is..
probably around AU$15 return. We have the option to just hike to the volcano, but we opted to ride the horses just for fun. For the first timers, however exciting it seems, it can be a perilous ride. A child was dangling with his foot trapped as he fell off the horse. There are no safety measures...no helmets...no warnings. We just hop on the beast and hope for the best. I was fortunate enough to have the basic training in horseback riding back in Australia. I was taught by a really nice English woman who apparently was the one of the queen’s horse trainer/carer many years ago. I want to believe she was telling the truth ‘coz it sounds so great on my curriculum vitae ;>
The donkeys/horses are guided by their owners or guides all the way up to the crater. I have been warned that the guides sometimes hop on the horse with you and can get way too close. If you’re a man with a male guide ….well….I’m not gonna go there ! … It can be a “Brokeback Mountain” experience…… confused ?????....just go see the movie ! ... even if the storyline doesn't interest you,
you'll definitely enjoy the scenery and cinematography.
Anyway, I was the only one in our group with a guide who asked for a ride with my donkey. I can understand how the guides can get tired trying to pull lazy donkeys like mine up the Volcano’s crater and all, but honestly….based on my experience, I think some male guides just want to cop a feel. Lucky for my 16 yr. old guide I didn’t feel any joy-stick poking my back, else he wouldn’t know what hit him….ok…I would have probably just pushed him off my donkey…That’s not harsh, is it ???
My ride has a habit of veering towards the edge of the cliff and had to keep pulling it away. I just knew I had to take control of my little beast ‘coz my guide was just there quite happy taking the joy-ride.
Men, women and children holding bottles of beverages approached us as we reached the crater. It is customary to provide your guides a drink. However unsatisfied, I was quite happy to oblige and buy my guide a drink. The important thing is I made it to the crater. The view at the crater
overlooking the islets and Lake Taal is simply breathtaking….It made all the minor troubles melt away as we immersed ourselves in such scenic beauty.
All feeling elated and serene, I didn’t expect the trouble we are about to encounter on our way back. First, my guide decided to rev my horse back to the base as if he’s in some kind of race. Then, we hit a gridlock where nobody wants to move their donkey’s @ass to give way. A female guide from the opposite direction started yelling asking for our entourage to give way as they’re cornered in a quite dangerous tight spot. Then the situation just got worse when we got hit by a dust storm. I was asked by my guide to close my eyes and he’ll guide me through…. I was stunned…. I felt guilty for judging him too early in his capability. I never thought that he’ll come through in times of trouble. My hat also fell off and didn’t want to ask him to stop ‘coz we’re just going to cause a further traffic. But as we got back to the base safe, I've got my hat back from another guide who found
Adventures such as this seem to always come with a twist. I gave my guide his well earned tip. His service seemed dodgy at first but his true-self sparkled through at the end. P.S.
Just a trivia: Taal Volcano and Taal Lake are truly an interesting geographical features. Taal Lake is not the crater lake of the Volcano but the massive body of water that surrounds it.
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