A post from some good friends doing some Volcano-beering in The Philippines!
Devin recently finished his teaching contract in South Korea and set off for an adventurous tour of Southeast Asia, but first stopping in the Philippines to meet his dear friend Pauline. Two of the best trekkers this side of the Mississippi- they decided to climb the most unique volcano, on an island, on a volcano, on an island, on a mountain, on an island, in the world!!! Yea, that’s right!! Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano is located in the province of Batangas, which is a little over an hour drive south of Manila. A lake, named Taal Lake, formed around the volcano due to eruptions thousands of years ago. Numerous eruptions afterward also created Volcano Island, within the lake, and formed a sulfur lake within the volcano. So basically, try to picture a sulfur lake, within a volcano, and that volcano within a fresh water lake, in the crater of another volcano.
Now onto Pauline & Devin’s Mountainbeering adventure: The alarm was set for 7am with an attempt of a departure time at 7:30am, but as with most scheduled plans, they ran late and didn’t leave the house until 8am. The directions were pretty straight forward, but one of the many problems in the Philippines is the lack of road signs. So as they neared the place, Taal Lake Yacht Club, a few u-turns and questioning locals were made. As they arrived at the Yacht Club, some workers approached them. They were offered two different types of tours: Regular Tourist Trail or Secret Trail. The Regular Tourist Trail includes a boat ride to Volcano Island, there and back, and a guide to hike with to the top. The Secret Trail enabled you to go to a different trail to reach the top, hike down to the sulfur lake, and swim inside. Unfortunately, due to monetary concerns, and the fact that D-Willy is one of the cheapest guys around, we decided to go with the former.
We set off for Volcano Island with high spirits. As soon as the boat’s engine started, and we were riding along, Devin proceeds to lose the fisher’s hat he was wearing to Taal Lake. The driver of the boat only shrugged his shoulders and kept going, while Devin proceeded to hysterically laugh out loud…mind you it was Pauline’s Aunt’s and not his.
We hiked up the volcano with a local tour guide provided by the Yacht Club. He was a 22-year old boy, but Devin swears he looked like he was 17 years old. From our hike together, we learned that he had only been working at the Yacht Club for about 6 months. His local pastor, who works there as well, referred him. He stays at the club during the week, and goes home on weekends where he teaches Bible study on Sundays.
The hike itself was not as rigorous as some advertisements on the Internet made it seem. It was about a 45-minute hike, going uphill for the entirety of it. The trail itself is filled with a lot of horse dung as most tourists trying to go up are fooled to believe they can only go up by riding a horse and additional fee that we were in no way paying. Along the way, we spotted smoke coming out of some holes on the mountain, and they were told it was smoke from the volcano. Devin proceeded to put his hand by the steam and confirmed that it was very hot. He even toyed around with the idea of burning his hand just so he could say, “Yes, I burned my hand with sulfur steam from a volcano.”
On the hike down, he decided against it.
Once at the top, the first things taken out were their beers. Devin, San Miguel Light, and for Pauline, San Miguel Premium Lemon Flavored Beer. The two stayed at the top for at least a half hour, chatting and taking photos for their beloved Bro’Malley.
Thanks Pauline and Dev for the adventure! Keep ’em coming!!