Kristin and I were not too adventuresome while I was visiting her in the Manila and for the most part this is because the Philippines is not very tourist friendly. The island was fairly devastated during World War 2, given how heavily the Japanese defended it, and that seems to have created a vacuum of things and places worth seeing. Furthermore, the transportation infrastructure is very lacking, it takes about two hours to get out of the city to anywhere and the places Filipinos recommend seeing are typically over ten hours away by car as there isn’t a real highway system. Or it could be that what you want to see is on another island, in which case your best bet is to go by plane which is fairly expensive. Even our little trip out to a volcano was pretty expensive due to the fact we had to get a car and driver for seven hours to complete the journey at 1,200 Pesos (roughly $25) per hour.
Anyway, we made a trip out to the Taal Volcano which you can read some more information on here.
On to the pictures! 🙂
That was our big trip. With sun shining down on us, it was actually still fairly pleasant but warm and we drank a lot of the water we had packed along. Seeing people from all around the world going up and down the mountain was interesting as we saw folks from Europe, the middle East, Asia and of course the U.S.
It took about 40 minutes and 200o Pesos ($40) to get the horses and 3000 Pesos ($60) for the 20 minute each way boat ride. On the way back out boat driver was a jerk and we got pretty wet. I don’t know if we missed a point where we were supposed to tip him or what exactly happened. A vendor tried to ding us for 50 pesos each at the top of the mountain for “a refreshing drink for our guides.” Surprised by this, we declined which seemed to upset our non-english speaking guides, but I think we over tipped them with 100 pesos each when we got to the end. It is hard to know when and how much to tip when everyone has their hand out.
We went for lunch at a place a coworker had recommended, Mushroom Burger. It was OK, but I think we prefer our burgers to only be beef or pork 🙂
On the way out and back we observed the slums, new developments, crazy traffic, pineapple fields and over all congestion that is typical of the area around Manila. On the way back, we must have looked quite the sight to our cab driver, falling asleep and tipping all over the back seat. Who knew it would take so much out of us to ride up a hill on horses? I think it was mainly the heat. I managed to burn my forehead pretty convincingly.
It was cool to go out of our comfort zone a bit, it would have been nice if more activities like this one had been within reach of the city.
Don’t tell the Hausers that you rode a horse when that thing would hardly pass as a pony.
@Rick: Hah! True – you should have seen the first one they pulled up for me – old and obviously blind in one eye. They looked at the “horse” then back at me and brought me back the younger, healthier one you see in those pictures. I really wish I had been quick enough to snap a picture of that old one!