9/02/2007

Tagaytay Philippines





TAGAYTAY, 70km south of Manila, perches on a 600-metre-high ridge overlooking Taal Volcano, and because of its cool climate – on some days it even gets foggy – is a popular weekend retreat from the heat of the nearby capital. Unfortunately, rash development and abuse of building restrictions have rather turned Tagaytay into the tourist town from hell, with congested roads and menacing shoals of tricycles. Thankfully, you don't actually have to go as far as Tagaytay itself to enjoy spectacular views of the volcano. The views are best if you get off the bus near the Taal Vista Lodge Hotel, where you can visit the gardens (free admission) and get a good Filipino buffet lunch. Taal Volcano is still active, and there are occasional rumblings that force the authorities to issue evacuation warnings to local inhabitants. The volcano last erupted in 1965 without causing major damage, but when it blew its top in 1754, thousands died and the town of Taal was destroyed and had to be moved to a new location on safer ground. If you want to climb it, the jumping-off point is the small town of Talisay on the shores of Taal Lake. The best way is to hire a boat and guide in Talisay for around P1000. If you make an early start, you can climb to either the new crater or the old crater (both are active) and be back in Talisay in time for a good fish lunch at one of the many native-cuisine restaurants along the shore. There is not much shade on the volcano and it can get hot, so don't go without sunblock, a good hat and plenty of water. You can find out more about Taal Volcano and other volcanoes at the Taal Volcano Science House, 5km west of Talisay in Buco, next to the Buco Resort.

Information by Rough Guides
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