The flight to Manila was at the worst possible time. I had to be at the airport at 00.30. So because of that, I forced myself to go to bed at 8 pm. I was turning from side to side, until finally… I slept shit.
Dozens of forms of transport
But it’s ok. My first time in the Philippines and cool adventure expecting me there. The expedition with a local guy to Taal Volcano, which is the smallest active volcano in the world, located just 60 kilometers south of Manila. Close? None of these things. Through the eternal traffic jams in the capital of Philippines and beyond, we were coming back from there 2.5 hours!
But one after another. On top of the aforementioned mountain, which is also an island, I went along with Eldon, Filipino, whom I met through Couch Surfing, a web portal providing free accommodation on the proverbial couch or just allowing people from different cultures to meet. As mentioned in the earliest posts, relatively rarely you can count on the crew, especially if the trip requires any effort or God forbid, take time needed to do shopping.
Wake up at 4.40 in the morning and we’re on our way. We were moving by numerous means of transport. from the bus, jeepney – something what was once a jeep, and today is jeep-bus
local rickshaw, in which I barely fitted, however ride in it was great!
and last but not least the Bangka, which is a traditional Filipino boat which I liked the most. Spectacular views, the sound of waves (drowned out by the roar of the engine) and wind allowing to forget about 90% humidity.
Trekking? Bitch please…
We moored to shore quite early, even before the entire mass of tourists. It also why immediately after placing the feet on the edge of the island, local vendors, starving of luck of tourist victims, began to offer the range of products. Water, fruits, hats, masks, which allegedly were supposed to protect us from inhaling sulfur.
The offer also included a services. Ride on a horse to the top and a guide. Neither was needed. The poor horses already looked miserable and trekking to the top… what trekking?! It was only a 30 minute walk one lane, so it was impossible to get lost. The only thing that bothered, mentioned earlier, was high humidity.
We reached the summit. After several “thank you, no” to offers made by the old lady to punch of o golf ball by stick into a lake located in the crater, we could finally enjoy the views. In which direction you wouldn’t look, everywhere blue water and amazing verdure covering the hills. Beautiful. I just love nature!
Small but pugnacious
All the time we were accompanied by smell of sulfur, which didn’t allow us to forget that this nature can be deadly. We’re on an active volcano, from which through dozens of holes in the mountain was gushing steam. Although the last eruption took place in 1977, the volcano doesn’t let to forget about itself. Almost every year causes a slight earthquake and a year ago there was observed an increase in water temperature in the crater by almost 1 degree Celsius and a decrease in water level in the basin by 6 cm.
The volcano is closely monitored by the Philippine Institute of Seismology , and on the island establishing settlements is prohibited, but locals doesn’t really care much about it.
Travelling without tasting the local cuisine loses half of its valor. It is also why here as well, in the town of Tagaytay, which is the base for the trips to the volcano, we went to a restaurant with good food, and even better view.
On plates such things as Adobo, Danigue, Pinakbet, which in shortcut are: meat, vegetables and fish. I won’t go into specifics of those dishes. Let me just say that was tasty and a portions were big :)
Full of good food and satisfied with the views we had, we sat down in the bus stop and waited until the jeepney will fill up with passengers that driver could go. All of a sudden, come to our ears the screams of the enthusiastic crowd. Curious, we head towards the source of the sound. It turned out that we came to cockfight, which is one of the favorite passions of Filipinos, especially in rural areas.
Cockfights are popular in many regions of the world. The Christian Philippines stem from the tradition of the cult of fertility. And even though it’s against the teaching of the Church, priests in the fight against this type of entertainment are powerless.
My initial excitement of finding myself in a place full of natives, slowly metamorphosed into a disappointment, sorrow and pain.
First, the owners presented their “players” and also instigated them against an opponent, inciting to peck. The audience estimates which cock is more likely to win and performer who runs show, accepts bets.
To the legs of birds are attached small blades, due to which they strikes heavier wounds. Performer grabs both birds and drops them on the ground in front of each other. The struggle begins. Roosters are hurting each other with their beaks and kicks.
After each wound the animals feels fatigue, and eventually lay down exhausted. Then again, performer grabs both, set opposite each other and drops them to the ground. The situation repeats itself several times until both exhausted and heavily injured birds refuse to continue the fight (final phase of the battle you can see in the video that I posted on www.facebook.com/FlyingPolackFP).
Usually the winner is the one who survives. In the case described above there’re assessed the number and severity of injuries. Wins owner of this one, which has fewer injuries. For me, such a spectacle was first and the last time.
I’ll come back here!
Nevertheless, this island country, enrolled in my memory scenic views, the beauty of nature and delicious cuisine. Eldon, assured me that the mountain Taal, it’s nothing compared to the rest of the country. Therefore, I add this country into my travel plans for 2016! :D