Tagaytay is a favorite weekend spot for everybody not just from Manila, but the whole region. With its altitude of just over 600 meters above sea level it s always a bit cooler and the wind from the South China Sea gives it a constant breeze which makes breathing so much nicer than the stickiness of Manila.
We live only 20 minutes drive away from Tagaytay, so it is easy to get there even for an afternoon. This time we decided to walk up the Taal Volcano, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Philippines. It is a bit of an adventure to go up there but you will see it is done by so many people.
Best is that you drive straight down to the lake, there are two roads leading down, both very steep and curvy, but no problem to drive, just be aware, the one from the city center is in repair at the moment (and will be for a long time to come) so best to take the road on the left side of town down to the Taal Yacht Club.
Once down we rented a boat, enough space for 6 people and the cost was 1500 Pesos. Negotiate a bit, but this is about as low as they will go (we rented the boat from friends) Take enough water with for the way up, but otherwise you will be able to purchase water and cool drinks on the island.
Now, the big hike: Take either the option of walking (this is what I did) or rent a horse. The rental is around 400 Pesos each. You don’t really need a guide, especially as often one of the boat guys will come up as well. The entrance fee is 50 Pesos per person. I have to admit, even so the walk is not as long as advertized (4 km) it is still strenuous and it is hot. I guess it was good 2 km to the top, but it is very steep in some stages, so the horse is actually a good option.
When you reach the top it is beautiful. While we were there the volcano was very quiet, just some smoke came out on the side and then of course if one walks along the edge the till the end, there the stone is hot and some steam is coming out, smelling a bit foul, so this volcano is very much active still. On top one can buy as well more water, cool drinks and even beer, there are fresh water melons and other snacks and of course some souvenirs. It is really worth going up there.
The downhill was a lot easier and went very quick. To my surprise my muscles were ok the next day, I did expect them to be very sore, but this time I guess I was lucky.
To walk up the Taal Vulcano is a great day trip and if one goes with a fun group like we did, one is guaranteed a good time here.