During my earlier vacation this year to the Philippines, there was sufficient time for nostalgia; to revisit where I once lived while working in Manila. Though I was doubtful that the Condominium might still be there after 32 years, I was pleasantly surprised that it has withstood more than 3 decades.
The Peninsula Hotel adjacent to the Tuscany Condominium too was there but for the rest of the nearby surroundings, it was dramatically changed by other high rise Condominiums, the Glorietta Malls, etc.,
Makati indeed has turned into a maze of high rise buildings and reeks with affluence that would be found in similar notable places such as Orchard Road, Singapore or Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Then on another day, I made a trip to see the sights at Tagaytay City. I was informed that being in a mountainous region, it had a cooler climate and there was Lake Taal and a volcanic mount by the same name to sight-see.
A taxi was hired to make this trip…
There was nothing exceptionally scenic as the taxi made its journey towards Tagaytay City. Shops and houses similar to those I saw in and around Manila filled the terrain throughout the way towards Tagaytay City.
I was brought to the peak of Tagaytay, a place called “Peoples Park In The Sky”.
Located south of Manila, the Tagaytay peak has an elevation of close to 2000 feet above sea level. Arriving there at past 10 in the morning, I did not catch a cool breeze at the peak. As it is with global warming and all the nearby industries spewing their toxic wastes in their surroundings, Tagaytay did not have a cooler temperature.
The panoramic view of the land beneath and the vast Lake Taal was a majestic sight.
Right at the top, there were refreshment and souvenir stalls. It was at this place that I had a photo pose taken with what I believed was a mannequin dressed as the Mountain Man. Immediately after the photo was taken, I was startled when the Mountain Man moved and it made me jump off the platform
animated avatar maker
Next, we headed to the shores of Lake Taal from where a boat ride would bring us to the shores of where the volcanic mountain stood. It was a snaky drive all the way down, down to the lake side. Entrepreneurs have spruced up this idyllic shore line with Guest houses and restaurants.
Ignorant at the time when I made my boat ride is the fact that Lake Taal boasts of being the only fresh water lake in the world that has the venomous Lake Taal Sea Snake. It is obvious now why the boat owner and the tour guide missed informing me about this fact. LOL!
On the other side of the lake, it meant either walking 4 kilometers to the top of the volcanic mountain or taking a pony ride with a hired guide in tow.
Along the trek, I soon realized the way was precarious. I clung gingerly to my pony as it made its way along narrow paths that had a drop of several hundred feet ravine. There were places where seismic vapor was rising out from the ground too. This meant that the Taal volcano is still belching happily beneath.
A few moments patting and stroking the sure footed pony once I arrived at the peak. Looking at the caldera of Taal volcano was a sight to behold.
The caldera has itself turned into a lake. Sinister looking without any ripples in its calm waters. To imagine that this gigantic hole once spewed molten rock, ash and trails of fire “rivers” is impossible by the serenity of its calm waters now.
And yes, I saw more seismic vapor rising from the shore grounds of the caldera lake.
Indeed, a worthwhile trip and something that I was never able to do when I lived and worked in Manila before.
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