Overcoming the Mountain(s)

Greetings friends! It is about 8pm here on Tuesday, and currently Lark and I are hanging out in our [slightly problematic] apartment. These past few days have been full of whimsy and adventure, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

On Saturday, we decided to ditch the seemingly endless amounts of outlet malls around and head south to taste some nature and climb Mount Taal (pronounced tah-ahl). To get there, we first rode a van to Tagaytay, where we explored the very large marketplace there. There seemed to be everything and anything one could want – including some live chicks and rabbits – and we ended up having lunch there, a tasty concoction of pork, tofu, vinegar, and soy sauce. I could’ve spent there entire day there, but we had a dormant volcano to climb.

A former (and soon to be) vegetarian’s nightmare!

From Tagaytay, we tricycled down to Talisay, where we took a boat to Mount Taal. Definitely the most tourist-y destination we’ve been to, we hired a tour guide and set off to the top of the volcano.

The view of one of the peaks of the volcano from our boat

The entire hike was incredible, even if I was struggling to keep pace with the tour guide (Joel could walk fast!). About halfway to the top, we stopped to rest, and Lark and I shared a wonderfully cool and refreshing buko (young coconut). We set off, and much to my dismay the actual climbing of the volcano began, as up to this point the hike had mostly consisted of getting to the base of Taal. After several lonely pauses up the steep slope (Joel was killing it ; Lark has long legs), I arrived at the top.

The view from the top

Luckily, I wasn’t too hot and tired to not appreciate the beautiful view of the crater below.

The next day, I bought a bike, a purchase I have been enjoying thoroughly. I attempted to bike along a path google maps told me about that began wonderfully, but soon became entirely unnavigable.

On Monday, we had to wake up around 4:30am to get to the office at 5:30am, to head off to Human Nature’s warehouse to involve ourselves with inventory taking. I soon realized that having only coffee for breakfast is not the best idea when walking around an un-air conditioned Filipino warehouse for several hours. Some of our coworkers from the office that were in attendance took us out to lunch, and after inventory we all went out to a restaurant called Silantro, a self described “Fil-Mex” restaurant. Complete with an image of Abraham Lincoln in a lucha libre mask, this restaurant did not fail in its attempt to mix cultures.

To mention briefly the reason I am here (see: internship), I continued to research waste management in the Philippines, and drafted an email regarding the petition for cosmetic refill stations to be available in commercial stores. I hope to send this out to various colleges’ student affairs offices, who would ideally pass the petition along to student environmental groups on their campus. You can check out the petition here.

Apologies for the long update again (and the lack of promised jeepney and tricycle pics). More to come!

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