hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

mila | adventures . taal volcano

it was an adventure from the start.  laziness had set in... deep into my muscles. we talked about heading to taal for days but the weather would make me sleepy and the errands that we needed to run sounded simpler.  we finally mustered enough oomph to get my tookie off to a start (actually curtis threatened me).  it was 4 pm on a thursday afternoon.  rather late to set off on an adventure but better late than never.

we took the FX (it's a shared taxi transport thing out here) to the MRT (train).  this was our first time on the MRT.  such a time saver that thing!  just a tad confusing since there are no signs that help you identify direction properly.  someone needs to visit new york and check out how they did it there.  at the end of the rail is a crazy place called crossing...as in CRAZY hold on to your belongings crazy.  it's the bus terminal heaven, the port of call if you will and an ocean of people greet you when you come off the train.  all the different bus companies heading to every direction are found here.  we checked online to see which bus to take to taal.  unsurprisingly the online site was obsolete.  that company had dissolved.  it took 3 different misses to get to the right bus.  2 hours later we were finally on our way.

what would an adventure be without some disaster?  curtis lost his cell phone on the bus.  i lost mine on the bus ride home from la union last time.  i think we've decided that the bus is the cell phone black hole.  he was a pouty boy for the rest of the trip there.  but thank goodness his dark clouds don't last as long as mine.  we continued on.  we arrived at the inn close to 10 pm.  the winds were howling and it was brrrrrrr cold!  we slept well that night.  we slept so well that our plan of getting up at 7am failed miserably and we weren't ready to trek till 9.

taal volcano is a lake within a lake within a volcano.  did i confuse you?  so here's the deal.  there's a lake inside the volcano.  and the volcano itself is surrounded by another lake.  

here's a view of it from the distance (it's that strip behind us)

let's take a closer look at the end of that string of islands.  this is NOT taal volcano.  it's all over the photos and the internet but this little guy on the end of a string of land is actually just a mountain.  

to get to taal volcano you need to take a trip on a boat.  the day we went the winds were high, the water was choppy and we paid for a boat trip and a bath.

we set off on this adventure coz i needed excercise.  i've been an uber sluggish sloth of late.  all this holiday food, the cold weather, help around the house... you know.  lol.  anyway, we get there and the locals are offering horses for the "long" trek and dust masks.  we opted out of both.  i figured if i can do the "top of the world" hike in laguna beach (california) i can do this.  people that passed us on the way were impressed!  funny.  the walk was all of 30 mins made longer coz i kept taking pictures.  it really wasn't bad at all.  i'm not even sore from it.  the dust was pretty bad though.  the weather was dry and the horses were sharing the trail with us.

as you got closer to the rim you would find these thermal vents.  sulfuric steam would be escaping from the ground.  you could cook an egg on these things they were so hot!  horsies don't like the smell either i'm thinkin...

almost there but not quite... a few more steps and flags for motivation.  oh and beer, water and cold fresh coconut juice served at the top (for a price of course).

by now i'm rehydrated and picture happy.  then we spot a ridge that we could walk to.  a little short on time, we had to turn away.  bummer.  i'm seriously bumming and it's not just an excuse.  i really am ready to continue on a better excercise regiment.  really.  

this is the lake inside the volcano.  well worth the hike!  they used to let guests walk down to the lake and bathe in it (and come out smelling like eggs).  the water on the edge is somewhat warm and moving towards the center brings more heat.  watching the water you could see where the heat comes from below.  

still hell bent on getting my excercise on (i'm not lying) we walked down the trail .. following a train of lazy bums on horses.  good thing we had an early start.  any later and i would have been eating dust both ways.


  1. Fun fun! (Although I'm glad to say I can't smell the experience)Way more exercise then I ever want though :)

  2. love2! grabe!! so nice! not that i dont think taal volcano is a great place to see, we also went there (on a horse that was soo kawawa, i thought, he was perspiring!!haha.. and am so ashamed we actually felt tired when we got there - to be fair it was the peak of summer so very hot!!) and enjoyed the views but your pictures made it look more interesting

  3. WOW! It's been days since I checked your blog! Been busy as always, but WOW! I LOVE YOUR STORIES! Have I mentioned you make me miss home!? Whenever I go to PI, I stay in the CITY.. when I go to a province I get crazy mosquito bites! So I never get to explore Philippines. :( Beautiful photos and what an awesome adventure!