I've only been able to admire the beauty of Taal Volcano from a distance. I usually go to Leslie's, Starbucks or Dencio's to get a good view of the volcano. One thing I haven't done is to go to the island and climb the volcano. So when my bestfriend invited me to celebrate her birthday on top of Taal, I immediately said yes.
The drive to the edge of the lake was a bit longer than we expected. We then took a 20-minute boat ride to the island. I actually hate boat rides because they're always boring. I felt we were on it for more than 2 hours.
Upon arrival at the island, we were greeted by all vendors - dust masks, ginormous hats, souvenir photos, drinks, etc. I understand why some foreigners would feel this is a tourist trap. Some locals were a bit aggressive in selling their products. For example, the guide was adamant that I remove my mask at one point only to find out that there was a photographer lurking and waiting to snap a photo.
We rode a horse to the top of the volcano. I have to say it was the most uncomfortable ride I've ever had. The horse was obviously too tired that day that it almost threw me off the cliff. Good thing the guide was there to help.
When we reached the top, the spectacular views took my breath away.