Finally in Manila
My sister-in-law’s (Irene) sister, Esper picked me up from the airport and we were lucky that we bypassed the gnarly traffic that Manila is known for. Despite my late arrival, I was greeted with food. Filipinos love to eat and Irene’s youngest sister, Hilda has already vowed to make me fat by the time I leave the Philippines and at this rate that will more than likely be true. My late night meal consisted of rice, upo (squash) and some yummy or in Tagalog, sarap Shanghai rolls, kind of like small lumpia and fresh mango. Quite delicious and then it was off to bed. I was grateful that I arrived at night because I was able to sleep pretty well on my first night as it’s 16 hours ahead of LA.
The next morning started pretty early with of course some breakfast, fresh coconut, rice, eggs and pork. Not my typical breakfast like LA which usually consists of almond milk, flax cereal and a green vitamin drink. LOL My stomach is holding up well despite it expanding each day. Here’s a helpful plug for travelers, definitely invest in Ortho Biotic probiotics, it totally helps in making sure your gastrointestinal system is healthy. Okay enough of that. 🙂
We were then off to Tagaytay. I was joined by Esper, Hilda and their cousin Ate Zin. Ate, pronounced as A-teh is used in a respectful way for an older female relative or peer. It’s about 2 hours south of Manila and it was then that I saw the true madness of Manila traffic. I will snap a photo of it when I have the chance later today. I’ve never seen this type of traffic madness in any other city and talk about skill for not having multiple dents in their cars or taking people out on their motorcycles, the jeepneys and trikes as well as pedestrians walking wherever they please. LA has nothing on Manila when it comes to traffic. Our drivers here certainly have a special talent.
After escaping the day traffic of Manila, we arrived in Tagaytay. This city is known for it’s amazing views and you’re able to see down into the Taal Volcano that is still steaming. In the main photo of this entry, you’re able to see it on the right hand side. It’s behind the crater that you may see at first in the front. That main body of water is Taal Lake and we had the pleasure of eating at a restaurant called Josephine’s for some authentic Filipino food along with being able to enjoy the view.
My hosts were apparently told that I wanted to get up close and personal with the volcano, when in reality I just wanted to see the view since it was marked as one of the 1000 places to see before you die. I had to reaffirm them that I wasn’t planning on riding a horse to the top of the steaming volcano but when they told me that was something I could do, it was an activity I started to entertain. Esper and Ate Zin said that I was going alone and that they would stay on the other side of shore. LOL
Before we made the trek down to the shore, we visited a honeybee farm called Ilog Maria, that made some great soaps, shampoos and various products which of course featured honey. After that we briefly visited their family home in Tagaytay which when my brother Kevin visited here came across a huge monitor lizard. No lizard this time.
We then were finally on our way to the shore and after some convincing to Esper, we all boarded a boat to get closer to Taal Volcano. Our boat was called Ocean Lucky and I of course had my handy recorder with me. 🙂 It was definitely worth trekking to the other side and hearing about how it’s still so hot below in the water that other spots in surrounding areas still steam aside from the crater itself. The water in the crater apparently still bubbles up because it’s so hot. Yeesh! Yet the water was pristine and so blue, they also had several fish traps that farmed milkfish and talapia (photo will be posted later). Our boat driver showed us the trail that the horses go up to and as tempting as it was I opted not to as we got there around 4pm and hadn’t docked on the other side. It takes about an hour round trip and by that time the sun would begin it’s descent. It did kind of freak me out that it might be getting darker as I headed back down the crater. But regardless, the sights were beautiful and I would certainly return to this area and next time plan for an earlier time to ride the horse up the Taal crater.
As we headed back, what took us about 2 hours to get to Tagaytay it was like double that to get back into Manila. Holy crap was traffic insane! I thought we were originally going back home but of course we made a stop to eat – ha! We grubbed at a place called Frankie’s that served some yummy chicken wings and of course I accompanied that with some cold beer. I ended the night with a full-body massage which was the perfect way to end the long day.
After a good night’s rest, I’m able to kind of just relax this morning and get my mind straight from jetlag, food, more food and food. LOL I’ll be joining my brother’s mother-in-law today for lunch and then will be taking a tour of Intramuros, which is a walled city that was the heart of Spanish Manila. It’ll be good to take a dose of history today. Till next time, “Paalam na.”