October 14, 2014 - Sightseeing Manila
Another thing we did while in Manila was hike up to the top of the Taal volcano. Taal is on an island in a lake. And it has a lake at the top with an island in it. Island-lake-island-lake-island. Pretty cool.
We opted out of taking public transportation, because our friend John had already booked a car and driver, and invited us to share the ride (and expenses). For 4400 pesos (about $100) for the two of us, we got door-to-door service and no hassle, and we did the whole trip in one day. I'm sure we could have done it for much less--probably a few dollars, but it would have taken a lot more research, planning, and anxiety, plus probably an overnight hotel stay in Tagaytay, the town next to Taal.
Taal Lake is about 2 hrs drive south of Manila. So we left Manila around 8am and arrived around 10am. Dave's friend Roy had told us to make sure we first went to the Starbucks Coffee overlooking the lake, and enjoy a good cup of coffee. It is on the ridge high over the lake, and has a beautiful view.
We had booked a Banka + Guide ahead of time via the Taal Lake Yacht Club (tlyc.com). You can wait til you get there to arrange something, but then you get besieged by people trying to sell you their services.
If you're ever there on a weekend, Taal Lake Yacht Club looked like a pretty little yacht club, with a fleet of Hobie Cats. They race every weekend there.
We had a great trip up the mountain, but we were the only ones walking--everyone else had booked a horse to take them up. It's only about an hour's walk, not very strenuous, and was a cloudy day. Easy peasy.