Monday, October 10, 2011

Lil' bastard

Hooray! I finally actually did something in the Philippines, making the most of my last day in Manila.

I didn't spend it in Manila, obviously. I'm not insane. I went to a volcano inside a lake with a lake inside it.

I don't need to split costs with a lazy Canadian to make it more affordable either - I just relied on public transport, paid local prices and enjoyed a slightly stressful sightseeing adventure using 4 jeepneys, 4 scooter taxis, 2 buses and 2 boat trips to get from my Manila hostel to Taal volcano and back.

Was it worth it?

The 2,000-peso adventure

Of course. At least, it always seems worth it after I arrive safely back at my accommodaion, when I can finally relax and don't have to keep my eyes peeled for street names and landmarks I might not even really recognise in this homogenous city.

It's a lot harder to get around as a solo traveller in the Philippines than in most other Asian countries I've been to, unless you're prepared to pay insane prices for taxis. Especially as I had the bright idea of showing up in the rainy season. But it's fun to push myself to use local transport and get to a destination all by myself - I couldn't do it every day, but it's almost worth it just for the euphoric sense of relief once the whole edifying tourism business is over with and I can get down to the tedious matter of sorting through photos and writing this.

I set myself a strict budget of 2,000 pesos (just under £30) for the day. So strict that I didn't take along an extra safety-thousand or my Visa card. I was determined that I wouldn't spend more than this, and after some lengthy negotiations for the boat trip (the only expensive part of the trip, as I couldn't split the cost) I just scraped by.

I'm not sure whether to recommend this practice of extreme budgeting, but it's a great motivator to get the bargains when there's the threat of not actually being able to get back home. It was also fun and nostalgic to employ the classic walk-out technique while haggling for boat prices - I've still got it!

Taal by name. And that's all.

Not my photo; I can't fly

This attractive volcano is claimed to be the smallest active volcano in the world, and it certainly seemed a little amusingly puny after visiting Bromo and Ijen a couple of months ago. More interesting is its position in the middle of Lake Taal, and the fact that a smaller lake exists inside the crater, inside which is another small island. This fractal regression may continue to infinity and so on, I didn't get close enough to check.

It was a bit of a novelty sailing to this floating volcano (note to idiots: it's not actually floating), especially after the last couples of volcanoes I saw were surrounded by post-apocalyptic desolation and vast mountain wilderness, respectively. After the steep and intense climb to Ijen crater, this was a walk in the park. Those people on horses are pussies.

Look at them, the pussies! Why aren't you walking?

Oh... I see

Taal Volcano,

Crater (left)

Crater (middle)

Crater (right)

It might be the smallest volcano, but it's still a bastard to fit in frame

Taal Jr. (Vulcan Point)

Dave's attempt to dress for hot weather (polo shirt) + hiking (boots) + possible rain (swim shorts with no underwear).

The Philippines likes to challenge me. Today I won for a change

Getting steamy

It wouldn't be an area of oustanding natural beauty without stalls selling shit

Sooner or later someone's going to give into temptation and this horse is getting pushed

Coconut graveyard

Lava rocks or something. What am I, a geologist?

Better view of Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg Crater).

Because if it's eerily reminiscent of anything... it's a big leg (?)

Poor lil' bastard


  1. What camera you have? Dang, mine doesn't capture as clear crisp like yours!

  2. It's only a basic camera - the cheapest one I could find in a store next to Khao San Road in March (I think it cost about GBP 70). But it does have better colours than my last one.

    Apparently it's a Samsung ES65, with 10.2 megapixel (but I have it set to 5). That's as much as I know from reading the camera itself - I threw away the manual and everything when I bought it!

  3. Hi! After more than half a year, I noticed you left a comment on my blog post regarding Taal Volcano HERE LOL!! So I'm now visiting your blog and wow! Your pictures look so much better than mine! Clearer and nicer colours!! Love the photos!! : )