While the others were preparing, I busied myself capturing Aroma Apartelle. When everyone was ready, I texted Kuya Anthony. The plan was to eat at a Karenderya first before going to the lake. But Kuya suggested why don’t we just ate there. Thinking we could save time if we do, I agreed.
I wish I didn’t. The ride to the lake took about 30 minutes downhill. And the food was served about 1 and half hour. Our energy was drained. For the first few minutes, we were smiling and teasing. The next minutes was torture. I remembered how Erwin slumped unto the table. My stomach was screaming food. My heart goes out to Charina, Ricco and Lawrence who haven’t eaten breakfast.
When the food arrived, everyone got busy. After a while, the usual energy of the group was back. We had Bulalo, Pancit and Pork Belly. I don’t know if the food were really good or it was just good because we were so hungry.
The negotiation followed after the meal. We didn’t waste much time and hurriedly proceed to our boat that would take us to Taal. We were 10 so we had 2 boats. Charina, Lawrence and Ricco were with me and Migo. On the other boat were JJ, Mira, Brian, Nie and Erwin.
I was in awe when we reached our destination. The row of bancas was picturesque. And the horses were amazing. We had to walk a little to reach the main entrance. We were escorted, told about the things we could do and settled for payments. The entrance was PHP 50. The horse ride was quite expensive (PHP 450) so we had a consensus not to ride. They discouraged us about the walk but we were deaf. Aside from the entrance, we had to pay for the guide for PHP 500. We spent PHP 100 each.
The walk was hard at first. Annoying horseback riders followed us, continuously haggling their service. But we remained firm with our decision. We were right. The walk was not that far. They just discouraged us so that we would get their service.
When we arrived at the crater, I feel a sudden surge of victory. We did it! We’ve seen Taal up close. We took some pictures and enjoyed the scenery.
Some time later, we decided it’s time to go. Migo and I was the last on the trail. I was busy sliding unto the dusty pavement when Migo asked me about his camera. Told him I don’t have it. So we went back to the crater spot, tried to retrace our steps hoping we would find it. It was all for nothing. Our guide went back to look for it too. Nothing still.
I was so down…tried hard not to cry. The walk suddenly becomes unbearable. Then I saw Migo. He had that distant look but it was not a losing face. I asked him and for the nth time, he got me in awe. I hugged him saying, I would copy his resolve. Besides, we could always buy another one. When I did that, the moment was back.
The lost camera had become a favorite joke. We laughed at it till the remaining days of our 4-day trip. We lost it on the 1st day. On the next days, Migo and I have become a camera leech. Thanks to Ricco and Charina for being very understanding. “Bayad to sa nice weather ang camera, Miga!” Says Migo. I didn’t say anything. Silently wishing it would cover for the whole trip.
We were exhausted after Taal. Slept on the uphill ride. When we reached Olivarez Plaza, we asked Kuya Anthony to just drop us. We decided to have dinner and bought snacks for the next day. The next stop would be Picnic Grove and People’s Park!