The trip to the volcano was entertaining to say the least. The drive from Makati out to Taal was fun but uneventful as was the boat ride over to the island. Upon landing we were met with the choice of walking (hiking) up the mountain or paying 500 pesos (about $12) to ride the rattiest looking horses on the planet to the top of the mountain. There was a group of 6 of us who had left the backpackers together. As poor sad backpackers money was an issue, as fat buggers the health of the poor horse was of greater concern. So we chose to hike the hill.
Under normal circumstances the hike is about an hour each way and it is a fair work out….however we picked a day when a monsoon hit the island. Around 10 minutes into the hike the heavens opened and remained open for the next 40 minutes. This had the net effect of turning our dirt path into a river of mud about 4 inches deep while we went up what at times was up to a 40 degree incline and the erosion grooves could not be seen underfoot.
Despite this we continued on, being passed by old Korean women on horses, because we were the only idiots who chose to hike the peak. Jill in her poncho me with nothing. About 25 minutes into the rain patch I had the revelation that my phone, wallet, passport and international drivers licence was in a pocket that had reached saturation point within the first 2 minutes of the monsoon start. We pointlessly paused under a tree to transfer the sodden items to under the poncho and boxed on to the top of the hill.
Upon arrival at the caldera of the volcano the rain miraculously stopped. We were met by the ubiquitous Filipino ladyboy holding a golf club asking if I would like to use the lake inside the volcano crater as my personal driving range. After an appropriate period of time admiring the active volcano (and catching our breath after some quite steep bits on the way up) we decided to head down. I was enthused to see that 2 other idiots chose to walk up as we were heading down. Other than that the rest sat atop ratty nags.
And we returned to Manila. It was our last night in Makati and we had a 3am departure from the hostel to get our 7am flight to Beijing. We jumped a cab that had been negotiated by the hostel staff as using the meter and as soon as we drove off he asked “how much you pay last time”. NO… TURN ON THE METER was the reply. This went on for about 200 meters until I opened the door and got out while Jill stayed in the Cab until I had the bags safely removed. We got into the next cab who promptly turned on the meter and the rest was simple.