From Madras to Manila

Wednesday, October 05, 2005



[No, not that way. It’s pronounced tagai-tai, with the ‘t’ having a soft accent and ‘ai’ rhyming with ‘tie’ … nope, still not right. I really must learn some of that phonetic spelling with the inverted ‘e’ symbol]

Let’s start over.

Tagaytay, however you pronounce it, is a lovely place that’s between one to three hours from Manila, depending on the traffic. For the finicky among you, that’s about 60 km.

[Traffic will be the subject of a later post. I need time to do justice to all the emotions – none of them being of the softer kind – that well up inside when dealing with this topic]

Anyhow, Tagaytay, to cut a long story short, is a lovely place in the neighbourhood of Manila. It’s where you go to see the Taal volcano that’s set in the midst of a wonderfully misty lake that brings to mind the one in Nainital, which is identical to this in every respect except that it’s not in Philippines and does not have an active volcano in its midst.

Yes, Tagaytay has an active volcano – one that, on its day, is capable of belching forth fire and brimstone and making the earth shake to its very foundations. I must state for the record though, that this one is not quite over-active, if you know what I mean. Its last belch was recorded around the early 20th century and it has not misbehaved since, except for the occasional burp.

It’s not really among the big boys either, so far as volcanoes go – in fact it is reputed to be the smallest volcano in the world. But what the heck - I’ve seen a volcano, which is more than you can say!

A Day in Tagaytay

[No, the ‘Day’ is not pronounced like the ‘tay’. I wouldn’t have been here to write this piece then, would I?]

Thanks to the hospitality of Sandi’s boss (name withheld on request), we were going on our first excursion outside Manila. She and her husband (name withheld on account of weak memory) whisked us off in their super-sized SUV type vehicle one Sunday morning for a day of fun and frolic at Josephine’s, a restaurant conveniently situated on the fringes of the Taal lake.

It was simply wonderful. The weather was cool, with the occasional drizzle to make it seem just like a hill station back in India. The volcano itself rose out of the water, a large, rocky mass, majestic in purple and I was simply captivated till I was gently taken by the shoulder and pointed in the direction of the actual volcano, which was only a little dimple on the shoulder of the mountainous mass I’d been contemplating.

I didn’t let this little incident get me down, though, and took 63 pictures of the little depression with my trusty camera phone, stopping only when Sandi asked me whether I was expecting it to make any sudden moves that I wanted to capture on film because, if not, we might have taken enough.

Having satisfied my trigger-happy self, I joined the others inside and gorged myself on Halo-Halo and Puto Bumbong while watching an open air wedding that was taking place next door.

It was a fairy-tale wedding, with a gentle breeze, a beautiful backdrop and a radiant bride in a pristine white gown, and I was idly wondering whether it would rain before the service ended, when it did and the service ended.

On the way back, we bought some fruits and veggies to keep Sandi happy and also some Buko Pie, which is like a sponge cake with shredded coconut topping. Or perhaps I’m thinking of something else.


  • Finally a picture...but of what? there something there?

    By Blogger Sumit, at 5:32 PM  

  • Nice post. Thanks for pointing out the crater :)

    Also, it might help if you used a real camera.

    Incidentally, Halo-halo reminded me of an Ice Kachang and the Puto Bimbong seems to be the Filipino version of the Keralan Puttu.

    By Blogger Vibhu, at 6:34 PM  

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