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Archive for December, 2008

My husband is a fan of Volcanos. He would absolutely wants his kids to see an active volcano since in France there isn’t. During our trip to the Philippines, the last days were spent with family as we were always on the go visiting the islands of Boracay and Palawan. I will tell you about the trip next time.

And so we headed to Tagaytay to show to the kids what is Taal Volcano. Along the way, it was a raining and foggy. Thus, husband kept on telling me that he made a mistake to go and visit Taal Volcano because of the bad weather. But we were hopeful that the weather will drastically changed since it is unpredictable everywhere. On the road, cousin’s boyfriend saw a mais vendor and asked how much is the price. The vendor told us is P50.00/mais. Everyone was complaining except for us. Obviously, we were overpriced because the vendor saw my husband. Sad to say, foreigner means money, this is how it goes everywhere. Normally, the price of good quality mais in Manila is P8.00/mais, we went away empty handed. We then continued and reached the Taal City Proper when we asked some tricycle drivers (with carton placard advertising “Boat for Rent”) where to find the Mushroom Burger (a good restaurant btw) to have our lunch before visiting Taal Volcano. Thanks to them they gave us the good direction but before we left they offer us P1,800 if we want to rent a boat. We thanked them and said maybe later and then left.

In the car, everyone was joking that next time before we asked someone husband should hide because we are always overpriced. It’s like husband has a magnet that attracts a certain substance. We found the restaurant and had lunch. At around 1PM we started to find our way going to the lake and hoping we will find a boat for rent. It was a bit scary because there were no cars passing by only us. Though there were people cleaning the environs telling that it’s the project of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still no cars, no tourists. Going to the lake is a zigzag and quite far. When suddenly a young man with his motorbike stopped us to offer a “boat for rent” with a price of P1,800 including the resort. We explained to him that we don’t need a resort we just need to have a banca to cross the lake and see the volcano that’s it. So the negotiation started. He lowered the price for P1,500. We were not still convinced. We started the car engine to look for another boat for rent. The guy tenaciously gripped the car to stop us and negotiated for P 1,300 and yet we found the price not fair enough. So to give you an idea why we wanted to negotiate because it will only take us about 15 to 20 minutes to cross the lake. And a 30 minute walk to reach the volcano, in short we’ll spend around maximum 3 hours in the island that includes taking pictures. After the hard negotiation we told the guy we will pay for P1,000 flat (200/head) if he’s not okay we will find someone. He didn’t have a choice as there were really no tourists passing by. It was the deal. I have already paid the rent before crossing the lake. The traverse was short. We have reached the place and saw around 50-75 people around us with their horses. The tour guy told us to pay the entrance which I did. There was a woman who’s apparently the Supervisor or whatever she is insisting us to get one horse for P800.00 because the hike will be difficult. I explained to them that we don’t need a horse and said thank you. When I told her that she started to be sound very persistent and demanding which I found very authoritative. She started to get into the nerve. When we walked away she threw us a devilish look with a long face. My sister angrily respond her for the disrespectful treatment to us because we didn’t take not single horse. I remember my sister’s words “This is how tourism works here. We are also Filipinos and this is how you treat us. If you think we are rich we’re not. That is why tourism is not moving because of people like you. Tourism are unlikely not improving unless you change your behavior towards tourist“.

My sister was also blaming the tour guide because he supposed to assist us during the trip and talk to the people to stop insisting. But instead the guide told us to pay the additional price of P500.00 if we cannot come back after an hour. Imagine, we have 3 kids to carry and because they were at first afraid to ride the horse. I understand the kids they are young and it would be their first time to do horse riding. The situation begun to get complicated. I calmly stopped my sister and get on with our hike. During the walk there were 5 people with their horses following us. It made us awkward seeing them like ants following the trail as a form of reinforce they say. Well, we ignored them but they were insisting for P500.00/horse just for a 30 minute walk. It’s a hold-up ! And because my husband just wants the kids to see an active volcano we needed to go through bad customer service. When my kids started to get tired and asking me if we they can ride a horse, it didn’t think twice. I initially negotiated for the price. I told them I will take 3 horses for the price of P300.00/horse. Fair is fair, I made a good deal.

While we get on with our hike the only conversation we have heard between the people with horses were :

1. How much did you get from the Korean clients?
2. Did you have some tip ?
3. Me, I have a client but not tip at all (complaining and even cursing clients)

Imagine, in front of me…a Filipino, I was ashamed as if I am one of them. I don’t think at that moment I was proud to be a Filipino. When I see my fellowmen comporting like this I feel profoundly disappointed. Unfortunately, this is happening everywhere especially when we come to a place as a tourist. When we reached the top of Taal Volcano, the people were un-shyly asking us to pay their snacks which my cousin did. Well, I personally will not tolerate but then again it’s the name of the game. It was a kind gesture from my cousin just to stop them from bugging us. And what is irritating cousin paid for it but they were throwing wrappers on the soil even if the garbage is just right beside under their nose.

Husband was proud to show to our kids what is an active volcano. We took pictures and rest a little bit. Honestly, all in all we stayed 45 minutes at the top then go back to the lake to find the worst tourist guide I have ever encountered in my life. When we reached the lake the guide was there and he was really ignoring us. We headed on to find our banca and the tourist guide followed us with the obvious bitter taste reception marked on his face. He started the engine and went on to cross the lake back to the barrio. I was so sure that he intended to rapidly traversed the lake because we were all wet kitties at some point because of the water coming from our direction. I don’t know if I will come to visit this place again. It is so sad and surprising to see that there are no tourists coming in to see this beautiful place. But here are some pictures of this beautiful volcano.

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I went to Taal Volcano 7 years ago and it was not like this. Apparently, tourism has changed the way people live.

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Happy Holidays!

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