Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
54Trip End Sep 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
We arrived in Clark at about mid morning. Cathy and I have been to the Philippines twice before and it was nice to be back. Clark is two hours north of Manila and used to be a huge American air base. We quickly found the Manila shuttle bus and set off. As we passed through Clark it reminded me of Dhahran. Dhahran is or was an American camp in Saudi Arabia were my family and I spent a lot of time in my youth. The similarities were striking and it really took me back to my childhood. The Americans pulled out of the Philippines in 1992, well they were asked to leave actually. The Philippines had been an American colony since 1898 and before that they were a Spanish colony for hundreds of years. In fact the Philippines were actually named after the Spanish king of the time, King Philip
Two hours later we were in Manila. Our plan was to leap frog through Manila by catching another bus to a place called Tagaytay. We planned to stay in Manila at the end of our stay in the Philippines. However I sit here writing this blog in Manila, so much for well laid plans!! After much a to do we found the bus to Tagaytay and two hours later we were there. Tagaytay is a city that sits on the rim of a volcano called Taal. Taal is an active volcano, actually very active. It has not erupted since 1977 and is well over due blowing it's top again. Cathy and I were surprised at how populated the area around the volcano was. We quickly found a hotel that sat directly on the rim of the crater with spectacular views down into the crater. The crater is about ten miles across and has lake in the bottom of it. In the middle of this crater lake protrudes another mini volcano and within it's crater is another lake!! A volcano within a volcano, weird!! When this baby goes off again and it will, I do hope the thousands of people living around Taal get plenty of notice.
We went to bed early that night after a very long day traveling. The next morning we hired a guy with a motorbike and sidecar to take us down to the lake shore
In our room we had a DVD player, so while we were in town we bought a couple of movies and that night we watched them laying in bed. The next morning we packed our bags once more and headed over to the Jeepney station. Jeepneys are unique to the Philippines (PP)and I suppose you could call them THE symbol of the Philippines. They are literally everywhere you look in the towns and cities here. They are essentially long wheel based jeeps that the Americans left behind. These jeepneys are a real practical way of getting around town, once you understand how they operate. Another thing about jeepneys is the owners love to "pimp" them up. They do this in many ways such as covering them in chrome, lights and mirrors.
It took us two jeepney rides to reach the place where we were to catch our bus down to the south of Luzon. We have since traveled a lot on jeepneys and I am a fan.