Taal Volcano Trek & Tagaytay Itinerary

When I started backpacking before moving to Singapore, the hardest part of the trip preparation was “informing” my dad that I’m off to somewhere. After graduating university, he totally changed his rule- “do whatever you want without asking for my permission but inform me. After all, I’ve walked that road before and… I’m your dad.”

I knew he likes traveling and adventures but he was too tied up with responsibilities and stereotypes. I wish I had loads of money when he was still alive, I could’ve brought him to Russia or someplace that he’d fancy. Haha. Anyway, he used to tell me that places will be different depending who you’ll be seeing it with and I tell you, a trek to Taal Volcano might not be as exciting as swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob for most Filipinos, but to me, it was one tough memorable adventure.

Our wedding’s after party last year didn’t need the tenacity to drink and dance till 6am but to be ready to trek Taal Volcano at 8am.

We were with these special bunch who survived thousands of horse poops, heavy rain and a couple of hours trek for a killer view.

Together with JMX Travel and Tours, a very friendly and reliable travel agency owned by one of favourite cousins Kuya Jodel, we’ve put together a short and sweet day trip for our friends and families!

We boarded the boat at Talisay, Batangas early in the morning.

… where our dear Singaporean friend, Wei Yi, enjoyed boating. Haha.

Weather in the Philippines is unpredictable but definitely still rainy in October. Yea, we started our trip sunny.

Oh! I love these bunch!

Seeing skyscrapers everyday is energy-sucking to me so the journey to the crater was a moment of “replenishment and rejuvenation.” 🙂
There are raincoats for sale in case it rains. Just tap your friendly guide for one! But most of us opted for a good rain shower while we faced all the horse poops along the way.
And if you’re a science geek, this trek will be a good one! They said that the volcano island sank from three to ten feet as a result of the eruption years ago. There was light smell of sulfur, which came from the gases that escape from the crater. (Not sure if it was sulphur or horse poop that Wei Yi smelled though).

There’s a small sari-sari store on top in case you need some refreshments (and slippers like us). But try to come prepared and just carry loads of drinks and tidbits cause as expected, goods there are expensive.

The package that we’ve put together for the group was inclusive of the following:

  • van rental min of 12pax (Whole day tour then from Tagaytay to Manila, SM Mall of Asia)
  • boat rental + tour guide to Taal Volcano
  • Tagaytay side trip: Puzzle Mansion, Palace in the Sky, Bag of Beans
  • Lunch

Note: Entrance Fees to side trips are not yet included (Puzzle Mansion and Palace in the Sky) estimated around 200Php each.

Here’s the itinerary for the Tagaytay Day Trip that we planned:

0830  ETA Talisay, Batangas; BRIEFING & Board boat

0915  Start of trek (45-minute walk)

1000  ETA at the main crater’s ridge view deck; photo taking

1030  ETD from the crater’s ridge view deck; trek back (45 minute walk)

1115  Board boat back to Talisay, Batangas.

1145  ETA Talisay, Batangas

1200  Lunch

1400  Go to Puzzle Mansion, maybe Coffee in Bag of Beans, grab some fresh fruits and Palace in the Sky

1700  End of tour; Travel back to Manila (SM Mall of Asia)

Some things that we thought you should bring and wear:

  • Comfortable hiking shoes and clothing
  • Sun cream/ Sun block
  • Hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Swim suits (if swimming in Taal Lake)
  • Drinking Water
  • Towel & extra clothes
  • Small back pack
  • Waterproof casing or bag for your cameras

In case you’re looking for other activities in Tagaytay, there are water sports adventures in Balai Isabel & Taal Yacht Club.

 

other-activities

If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can also check out Alfonso Hotel Farm (Alfonso Hotel’s sister company). It is a resort for large groups, but guests of the hotel are free to enjoy the farm for the day. There is a minimal charge of P100/head (price was last year) for use of the pool at the farm.

On a sunny day, it is a beautiful place to just because its athletic course is enjoyable for both grown-ups and kids and you’ll witness a variety of birds soaring around the fruit trees native to Alfonso. There is also a creek on the property. If you don’t mind the steep stairs, it is absolutely rewarding to cool your feet off in this clean stream called Lilitan River (named after the plant that thrives there).

alfonso-farm

If you want to experience Tagaytay Eye, you can definitely try to check out Sky Ranch Fun Park.

For the foodies, go for the Tagaytay Food Journey by following this infographic done by ourawesomeplanet.com!

As for me, my usual Tagaytay day trip consists of a good coffee at Bag of Beans, a good meal at Alfonso’s, Il Gallenero Inn or Sonya’s Garden, a great massage at Nurture Spa and a long shopping for some daing, tawilis and much more at Mahogany Market.

For your personalised travel itinerary, please feel free to contact JMX Travel and Tours.

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Taal Time Machine.

It seems like I traveled back in time when I stepped in the town of Taal in the province of Batangas. Aside from its very beautiful Church that stood strong for a long time, I am listing my few unconventional favorites in Taal!


1. I like these hair brushes, hair pins and mirrors from so-long-time-ago! I feel like there are some magical powers that will make my hair shiny and bouncy! You’ll see them as you visit the ancestral houses together with beautiful vintage luggage!


2. I wonder why this eyeglasses is not in the market now, seems like a specialty to me.

3. For the growing passion in photography among us, Filipinos, you might want to visit the impressive collection in their Camera Museum!


4. Of course, the rumor is true! You can dress up and live like an Illustrado in the Spanish era at Villa Tortuga! I like the hospitality of everyone who serves the local food while wearing Filipiniana and the extensive knowledge on Philippine History of the great Camp Suki designer, Lito Perez.


5. Looks like a portrait? This is my favorite placemat in Villa Tortuga. It portrays the old Manila. Manila would be so beautiful with people walking around in “saya!” I think this placemat is also for sale!


6. Among all the things that I’ve discovered as we check out the museums and ancestral houses, this is my most favorite. I flew back in time as I looked down the hole and imagined how Andres Bonifacio and several other Katipunan heroes conducted their meetings there with a gas lamp as their only light. I could imagine how passionate these people were in bringing the democracy to the Filipinos. 


7. But the most memorable food I had was the Tsokolate Eh which is a thick and rich chocolate drink which used to be a status symbol among affluent Spaniards and Filipinos during the Spanish Colonial era. It was matched with suman, a native rice cake wrapped in banana leaf. Taku and I always joke around that it will just be Tsokolate Ah for us, a lighter and watery chocolate drink that is good for sharing for everybody!

The Taal fun continues as you ride the cold bus on the way to Manila. We were feeling sick with too much coldness because it was a rainy day when we visited and he tried to tie the curtain over the aircon but the most successful technique was to put some old breads in it, doesn’t look good but helpful. haha.

PS. Don’t forget to buy tablea and balisong!