Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trekking Taal Volcano, Batangas

The Philippines is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and thus, having several active or dormant volcanoes in the archipelago is quite normal.

Taal Volcano is an island near the center of the Taal lake in Batangas -- 60 kms. south of Manila. It is referred to as a volcano within a volcano and described by scientists as a complex volcano. It is one of the world's smallest volcano as well.

Why a complex volcano? Consider these definitions:

A volcano consisting of a complex of two or more cones. It is a volcano with more than one feature and they are formed by changes in their eruptive locations or characteristics. It is also called a compound volcano. 

To heighten the complexity of Taal Volcano are the seven different eruption parts including the Taal Lake. This is not to scare people, but the thrill to feel is everywhere whenever you start to trek in the volcano island. Your imagination starts to play with several "What Ifs."

Taal Volcano is unique, the fact that the volcano itself has a lake of its own inside its crater which is called the "Crater Lake." There is even a tiny island in the Crater Lake that you can see in the pictures below.

Can you swim? Yes! But you can't stay too long for it has high concentrations of boron, magnesium, aluminum and sodium in salt form.

There were 33 eruptions since 1572 and seven were destructive. The last eruption was in 1977.

As you trek along, you will see several thermal vents (sulfuric vapors) and fissures making it more exciting to witness. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Enigmatic Beauty of Polangui, Albay

It takes 12 hours of bus ride to reach Polangui from Manila. No doubt that this small and quiet town prides itself of scenic landscapes not to mention that it projects Mayon Volcano in a different manner.

Back in the Spanish times, Polangui was designated as a distinct district with assigned letters on a particular community. To prove this, family names starting with the letter S were situated in Centro, Polangui, while family names starting with the letter R, were and are still located in Oas, Polangui. Fascinating isn't it?

I made a short visit of Polangui for two days just to observe and take pictures of its development. My Mom hails from this humble town and was a colegiala at St. Peter's Academy.

Centro, Polangui also prides itself of the miraculous Santo Entierro of which the devotees have several anecdotes to share as well. 

Did I say you can eat the famous fried banana in flour called "sinapot" for only 3 pesos here? You must try as well the addicting sweet Polangui-made Pili Mazapan/Marzipan.