Road Trip: Taal Crater / Baguio City

Hello reader,

After a night’s rest in Manila, we were back to traveling again.  This time we were traveling by car and headed to Talisay to hike up Taal Crater, the second most active volcano in the Philippines.img_2006

After a two and a half hour ride we arrived at a local resort where we would be staying the night. Our driver and guide Romeo led us to the patio and pool area while we waited for our room to be ready.

After we freshened up, we headed down to the dock a short walk away to get on a boat that would take us to the crater.img_2013 img_2010 img_2018-2img_2039

The locals make their money taking tourists up to the peak with horses and selling handmade souvenirs and drinks. We started up the trail and Jamie decided she wanted to ride a horse.  I decided I wanted to actually hike the whole way up so I was exhausted by the time we got to the top.  Exhausted but accomplished. img_2030 img_2045 img_2060 img_2083 img_2072 img_2093 img_2094 At the top the locals had some shacks built and a lookout tower.  The view was pretty amazing. If you think about the island-inception going on here it’s crazy.  That little island in the below picture is actually an island within a lake, within an island, within a lake, within an island, in the ocean.

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My dad got to show off a few golf swings and hit some balls into the crater.  I’m sure they’re completely biodegradable.img_2135 img_2136

I decided to combine our two road trips into one blog post because I didn’t feel like there was enough content for making a post for each. I mean, I could have written a longer story about how our guide Romeo was not expecting such a hike at Taal and probably will never hike that again, but it’s okay, I know most people come to the blog to check out the pictures. Haha

A few days later we were on the road again, up to Baguio City. It’s about a 4 hour drive from Manila, a few hours of highway and then the rest of the way are windy roads up the mountain sides. Baguio is a place with a lot of history and the way they build the houses on the hills and mountains there create a very unique combination of buildings that seem to adapt to whichever way the terrain goes.img_2463 img_2543 One of our stops was actually a Chinese Palace. I honestly never got to hear the history of this place but the views from here were great.img_2568 img_2565 img_2588 Something we noticed a lot on our trip was the treatment of animals, particularly dogs. Most dogs there roam the streets unleashed without collars or any real identification, and I don’t really have a problem with that, but you see a lot of the smaller dogs sitting in these small cages and it makes you wonder how often they’re even let out or given actual room to run around.img_2595 img_2585 As we were driving through the city I saw these colorful houses on the other side of a river. I really had to shoot them so I asked our driver to pull over and hold up a bit of traffic while I jumped out.img_2628 img_2631 Baguio is also very well known for their giant strawberry fields and different strawberry products.  I had the best strawberry ice cream in my life from a street vendor there.

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Our next stop was Mines View Park.  It’s funny because they have these two St. Bernards that people line up to take pictures with.  The dogs in the Philippines are all around mid sized and smaller so when they see these big St. Bernards it’s a huge deal. Jackie took a few pictures with one and they even slid some shades on him.

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Aside from the nice views to check out, you could also check out some tribal inspired clothing for pictures.  If I recall correctly, my sister  and mom were wearing Kalinga clothes and Jamie and I were Igorot.  I’m going to end this post with these photos of us all dresses up.  That’s pretty much it for this post, thanks for checking it out.img_2662

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