Right, here’s the post where Miss Hoggy had gone to conquer a volcano, the torrent of a massive water fall and had braved herself a small sip of the very exotic ‘Kopi Luwak’.
First off, Tagaytay, a high-altitude city, is quite close to Manila. It has a much cooler climate and personally, I did prefer it so much better than the hot and humid Manila. Over here, I visited a ‘barako’ farm, the Filipino word for luwak, or caveat cat. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. I’m in no mood to tell you that I drank some cat poo. Here’s some sample of the ‘coffee bean.
Anyhow, went to see the farm, and while I had my sip of the very ‘interesting’ coffee, I had this view to feast on.
Amazing, isn’t it? Well, get amazed-ball later with the views from the volcano later, because now we’re going to Lake Taal, a crater lake of an ACTIVE volcano.
This crater lake is situated at the top of Taal Volcano. This mischievous little crater had almost caused a panic attack 2 years ago for a nearby town. Anyhow, I crossed the waters and went to ‘hike’ the volcano on a PONY! You might asked: “What sort of hiking is that, much less conquering a volcano?” Hehe, gotcha, as much as it is an active volcano, Lake Taal has become an attraction of its own. And the pony, you could do without one, on the dry season. However during the wet season, slushy mud combining with the steam from the volcano, you might want to use the pony half way and walk the other half, to save you from being a dried mango. And drink plenty of water, you’ll be sweating in this make shift sauna. This is what you’ll get when you do get up to the top.
Pagsanjan Falls (pronounced as pag-san-han)
This famous waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. There’s an amazing folk lore behind it, you can read all about it, right here. Anyhow, I rode a canoe with 2 boatmen upstream of Pagsanjan River. I found myself in between the gorgeous gorge laden with little waterfalls.
And as we went upstream, I then rode on a raft (yes, a raft) to Pansagjan Falls itself, and the raftmen took me to a cave, called the Devil’s cave behind the falls. Then I was then ‘encouraged’ to swim right behind the falls. Imagine really strong current, pulling you towards the fall itself. It was a surreal experience. Very refreshing though, in a very hot day.
Now that was just the south of Luzon. Now let me take you to the north of Luzon, where I spent my last 3 days, trying to recuperate before my big trip to Georgia.
‘The Summer Capital of the Philippines’, as it was coined by the American in the 1900’s, is a surprisingly laid back highly urbanised city in the Cordillera Region. This city has an amazing history. Maybe let’s just start off with it was NEVER conquered by the Spaniards! I know, right? I, myself, was not aware of that until I got myself to this Anthropology museum in St Louis University. This student-run museum has an amazing wealth of knowledge, regarding the ancestry of this place and the region. Check these houses out.
They are handicrafts by past students of this university. Yeap, handmade.
But not to say the least, I stayed in one of the oldest townhouses in the region, Casa Vallejo, gorgeous place that had withstood the weather for 103 years. Everything that I love in this place, those vintage style. Absolute love. And the in-house restaurant is amazing. Local produce, local dish, by wonderful chefs. Love it. And next door has hourly massages for only P200 (AU$ 5) in the rainy season. For book-lovers, check the Mt. Cloud Bookstore downstairs, it’s more like a boutique bookstore, antique bookstore, whatever you call it. I want to live here forever. What a way to finish my amazing trip here in the Philippines.
And if I had stayed longer in this region, I would’ve made a trip out to the other towns like Banaue to see the rice terraces, or to Kamayan to see some cool mummies. If you have the time, I urge you to do so.
There’re heaps to explore in the Philippines, just don’t go during the typhoon season (Jun- Nov), like what I’ve done here. You’ll be forced to stay out of the outer islands and starved yourself of the gorgeous beaches the Philippines has to offer.
Miss Hoggy signing out of the Philippines. Georgia, here I come!!