Honeymoon – Part Two
Manila had little to offer. Our first impression of the city reminded me heavily of Panama City, only far crazier. People everywhere, abhorrent air quality, and masses of fast food restaurants that blew me away (a McDonalds, KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner. Literally.) So when our flight from Boracay landed in Manila, I had no interest in staying 2 or 3 days in the hectic capitol city as we had initially thought. Instead, we went straight from the airport to the bus station and high-tailed it to the mountains. Tagaytay sits on the ridge above Taal Lake, which is home to Taal volcano. Most of what this small city boasts is incredible views of the lake below, and after one night here we opted to visit the smaller community of Talisay, right on the lake.
During our two day visit, we hiked Taal Volcano to enjoy the beautiful views of its sulfurous crater lake and the surrounding lake area. Excellent views.Taal Lake has consistent winds and warm water, which made it perfect for taking sailing lessons, which we did. The area truly was stunning – the light had a quality I’ve not seen before that made everything look pastel blue.Because of the lack of tourists, however (we saw none), food in Tagaytay and Talisay was truly Filipino. Apparently, we don’t enjoy Filipino food much. Nearly everything has tons of sugar in it – even the butter. As a vegetarian, I had an especially difficult time finding good food, or even food at all. At one restaurant a dish specified as vegetarian turned out to be noodles with liver. Another restaurant brought me a “vegetarian” dish full of chicken. (Keep in mind that English is one of the official languages in the Philippines and every menu was in English – this was not the result of a language barrier.) Good thing John was willing to taste my food first to identify meat products so that I wouldn’t get sick :) The one food we did enjoy was the Buko Pie, pictured above, which we only found in the Taal Lake region. It’s essentially a flaky pastry full of tender coconut meat and a light custard, and it quickly became John’s new favorite dessert. Before we left Tagaytay he bought 3 pies for the road, and enjoyed them for the remainder of our trip, often on long bus rides. He’s such a nerd (and I totally love it :))
After another hop through Manila, we headed further north into the Cordillera Mountains. More on that next!