Philippines country of contrasts – Manila, Taal Volcano, Corregidor Island

Polish

Rizal – Manila

Wake up before 4 in the morning. Together with Psyche and her sister, we went to San Pablo in a jeepney. There, after standing in a very long queue, we managed to push Audrey (sister of Psyche) to the bus. It was my worst trip in the Philippines. I stood 2.5 hours, squeezed like herring and bent like an article. I was only changing feet that I was standing at; even 10-hour trips in a crumbling buses were not as exhausting as this situation.

Manila

In Manila, I ate a „healthy” breakfast at Jollebee (fast food) and I was only dreaming about a nap. I stayed in Warderers, where a long-awaited kojo was waiting for me.
After a rest, I went to Roxas Bullavare. I do not recommend walking in the afternoon Sun, although it also has its pluses – no crowds.
After all, everyfew minutes somebody was offering me a lift in a three-wheeler or a britzka, shooting range or cockfighting (now I regret that I did not go to the „arena” to see the clashes of the titans).

 

Coconut Palace

Suddenly, a „guide” stucked to me. At the beginning, I pointed out that he would not get the money. In response, I heard that he was walking in the same direction. There was an exchange of courtesy and common questions were asked: where are you from, etc., etc. I knew where I was and which way to go. My goal was Coconut Palace. I wanted to go left, but the „guide” said that you had to go to the right. Although I saw from a distance, buildings that could have been a palace and I followed his advice – in the end he lived there.

He led me in the wrong direction. I wanted to give him 10 pesos so that he would not follow me and telling me wrong advices.
He refused because I offered too little :D. I hid my wallet and moved in my direction. He followed me for another 10 minutes. He kept telling me to give him more. I was already very annoyed. Once again I offered him 10 pesos. He accepted them and left. Again, I left for a miser, because it is a very small sum, but I did not ask for help and I do not like cheaters.
Eventually, the Palace was closed and I could not visit it – was it karma?

In the evening, I met with Psyche at dinner. In addition to roasted pork, I ordered a fruit and vegetable salad that we were not able to eat – it was so bad :). Probably the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. It contained healthy ingredients such as: avocado, cucumber, nuts and many others that I have not known before. All of them mixed together were the worst combination that you can imagine, bleee.

Daily expenses in pesos:

  • 174 „healthy breakfast 2 cheeseburgers, cola, fries, tuna cake
  • 200 taxi Makati – Malate
  • 350 bed for one night at the Wanderers Guest House
  • 66 over an hour of internet in a cafe
  • 44 some Chinese drink
  • 10 „guide”
  • 40 water
  • 114 Lunch – seafood: 2 prawns, 2 calamari rings and vegetables
  • 50 2 liters of water
  • 64 Internet – catching up
  • 35 4 skewers on the street
  • 200 taxi Malate – Makati
  • 80 fruit and vegetable salad (not good)
  • 170 2 cucumber lemonades, I did not know that they were so big
  • 100 Uber Makati – Malate
  • Tagaytay – Taal Lake – Taal Volcano

I lost track of the time – I did not know what day of the week and date it was, but it still made a plan for the next two days. I had some free time because the wedding I was supposed to go to was moved to other parts of the Philippines and because of the price I did not decide to learn paragliding – 300/400 PLN per day was far too much for my budget.

Taal Volcano

I decided to go to the Taal Volcano. By taxi (the most reliable and probably the most convenient mean of transport in Manila) I got to the ECDL station. At 9.40 I was already in the bus from Manila to Tagaytay. From Tagaytay by the tricycle I traveled to Talisay on the shores of the Taal Lake. It may sound confusing, but the travel plan was very simple.
The way to the banks of the lake was very steep and I knew then that there would be any negotiations related to the price on the way back. In one of the rental companies, I tried to persuade a couple to share the costs. Unfortunately, they were already convinced by a vigorous lady who wanted to be paid 2,000 + 500 from her head for a tour guide, or 3500 – definitely too expensive. What is more only they were offered 2000 including everything – so it was cheaper to go without me and this is how I was again rejected :).

On my own

I did not want to waste my time so I went on the road and immediately got an offer of 1,400. It was pointless to travel such a long way and being a stone’s throw away from the goal, without seeing it. I did not count on other tourists, so I decided to make a suggestion. Mr helmsman did not regret gasoline 🙂 – the crossing through the lake was very fast and pleasant – the Sun, warm wind, drops of water falling on the face, and you sitting comfortably in the shade :).

The road to the crater was very simple and took 30 minutes. Be careful when somebody will be trying to force you to pay for the guide as a volcano guide is not mandatory!
I spent maybe 30 minutes on the volcano – you cannot go down to the crater. The return journey also took me 30 minutes, even though it was down.

I forgot my hat and had to buy a straw hat – it saved me, otherwise I would probably fall somewhere along the way from exhaustion.

As I expected the price of the return trip from Talisay to Tagaytay was not negotiable.

You can easily go to the Taal Volcano from Manila and return the same day – although in my case it was not too cheap :). You can also get there along the way and stay overnight – more reasonable.

Daily expenses in pesos:

  • 700 bed for another two days at the Warderers Guest House
  • 115 breakfast
  • 180 taxis to the train station
  • 80 bus Manila – Tagaytay, travel time 2h 20 min
  • 10 water on the bus
  • 18.5 2 liters of water
  • 139 dinner at Inasal
  • 80 three-wheeler down to Talisay
  • 1,400 boat to the volcano, with entrance fee
  • 150 hat
  • 40 coconut
  • 200 Talisay three-wheeler – Tagaytay
  • 79 bus Tagaytay – Manila 2h 30 min
  • 40 water, crisps and nuts on the bus95 2 apples, pear, 3 oranges, 0.5 kg of bananas
  • 110 Smart top-up
  • 200 Taxi Makati – Malate
  • 50 Red Horse (beer) in the hostel

Corregidor Island

Psyche booked me a trip to Corregidor – I wanted to avoid problems with communication, previous phone calls with Filipinos were not very successful.
Price 2550 pesos, a bit expensive. I was negative about this trip, I did not expect too much – it was good that I was mistaken. The trip was very well organized, interesting and the guide was very funny – there were a lot of jokes.

There is also an individual sightseeing option. You can come from Mariveles’ side, but I do not know the price and you will have to be prepared to walk through the island – no one lives there except the service crew, which mostly works for the Sun Cruises. This is the National Park area and the civilian population has been displaced. It is also better to rely on the Sun Cruises, which will take you around the island by bus and meanwhile feed you, and the guide will tell you some interesting stories. It sounds like an advertisement, but I recommend it as I was very satisfied.

Daily expenses in pesos:

  • 2555 for the whole trip
  • 30 terminal fee
  • 200- 30 minutes’ walk through the tunnel / shelter on the island (not obligatory)
  • 100 ride with „the best taxi driver in Manila” – that’s what he said about himself, and almost would cause an accident. Modesty is the basis :).
  • 159 healthy food at Jollebee
  • 390 farewell dinner with Psyche
  • 167 Uber Taxi from Mall of Asia to Wardenerers Guest House