With its beauty, I cannot imagine how the volcano had destroyed communities in the last one hundred years since it erupted, fiercely releasing its magma and engulfing entire villages.
According to my brief research through the volcanic discovery website, Taal volcano with its lake-filled 15×20 km wide Talisay (Taal) caldera is a beautiful caldera volcano, but also one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes of the Philippines.
The site http://www.volcanodiscovery.com says Taal has had some of the country’s largest and deadliest eruptions: At least six eruptions during the recorded history of Taal since 1572 claimed fatalities, mostly from powerful pyroclastic flows, as well as tsunamis produced in the crater lake.
Despite the increase in seismic activity, Taal Volcano and the lake remain a tourist attraction to local and foreign tourists alike.
I’ve been to Tagaytay a number of times to see the volcano and enjoy the cold breeze there. Its a good weekend escape from the busy mega Manila. You can literally smell the flowers and simply enjoy the view.
If you are sporty and adventurous, you can spend the day for Taal trekking, and boat riding (with vest) at the lake for a fee. Tour packages are offered by some hotels.
A Holy Trip package includes a visit at La Pieta, Calaruega Church, Pink Sisters Convent, and Monte Maria. There are many retreat houses in the area which one can also tour. The Holy Trip package costs P 3,500 for four persons (at Days Hotel).
If you are looking for good food, there are many restaurants which provide good food such as Leslies, Gerry’s Grill among others. Sonya’s Garden is also a favorite especially for salad/veggie lovers.
During my weekends here, I always go to Tootsie’s Restaurant, which specialties include Taal’s delicacy – Maliputo, which is a delectable fish with a firm meat.
Maliputo is best if grilled or cooked “sinigang”.
The grilled Maliputo is served with green mango slices and special bagoong Balayan (a fish sauce originating from a province in nearby Batangas).
Also mouthwatering is the Chicken Lia, which is the favorite grilled (Inasal-style) chicken ala kebab. The native vinegar that comes with the dish gives a sour-sweet taste to the chicken pieces placed on a stick.
Also a must try is the restaurant’s “pinalutong ng pata” or crispy pata (pork knuckles), which is good to eat with pinakbet (a popular vegetable dish from Ilocos province).
Cap your lunch or dinner with hot native chocolate or the popular Batangas kapeng barako (coffee) and a plate of ube-filled palitaw (a sweet rice cake made from sticky rice).
Since the province is also known for fresh beef, there are many food stalls also catering to special dishes and Filipino beef bulalo or beef bone marrow soup.
You can also go other areas such as Palace in the Sky and the Picnic Grove for better view of the volcano. For billeting, a stay at the Taal Vista Lodge is very comfortable with a good view of the volcano.
You can also check in at Days Hotel which is very near the Rotunda.
Before you go back to Manila, don’t forget to go the Mahogany Market which sells fresh beef. Choice beef for sinigang or nilaga is priced at P 160/kilo. The price per kilo is higher at P 200 each for choice parts for steaks. You can also buy fresh vegetables and fruits here for cheap prices. Imagine, four heads of pineapple costs only P 100?! About a half kilo of peanuts costs only P 40. Don’t forget to buy the yummy buko (coconut) pie from Collette’s at around P 150 each box.
Tagaytay City is approximately 56 kilometers south of Manila. It overlooks Manila Bay on the north, Taal Lake and Taal Volcano on the south, Laguna Bay on the east.