LIKE most every Juan would know and say, Taal volcano is situated within another volcano. Right. Yes. However what many of us do not know is that Taal is not that what most of us would think it would be. We always have a thinking that a volcano is that which looks like Mount Mayon or Mount Fuji. Not. Taal is actually the volcano behind some mound looking like a volcano. It is actually the one behind that we all know. Sure there is one that looks like one but that is not it. It must be the most pictured part of what most would think that is Taal.

Atop Tagaytay Juan sees what looks like a volcano and we say it is Taal. It is pictured by almost every Juan every time along the side of Tagaytay we would always assume that to be Taal volcano. What looks like Taal was a remnant of some explosion many years ago. It is the most visible though that is why it is assumed to be Taal.

There was a time when I was asked if I wanted to go to Taal. I asked, was it possible, of course it was. It hosts a community within the area. We traveled by boat to an island surrounded by water. Of course it looked different from when viewed from Tagaytay. From there we were asked if we wanted to ride a horse atop of it. I was joined by my daughters. I made them ride the horse. I trekked going up of course. I ride horses but for this I will hike going up.

Heading upwards Juan can feel the heat. There are many areas where steam is visible, just like when Juan would just burn dried leaves in a certain area. From above indeed Juan gets to see what the crater exactly looks like and it is of course breathtaking. Waters still and oddly colored of hints of blue green over dark colored water. Seemingly there are fish although I was told the locals do not eat them. They say the fish were bloated than normal and insides of black. But yes there are living things inside the crater. Fishkill is something that regularly happens, it is believed that it is caused not by lack of oxygen but more of a sudden change in temperature of the water. Of course it is a volcano. It is also hot around the area, like a sauna.

I was actually invited by then Governor Vilma Santos as her guest in the Province, she handed to me a mold of what we all thought was Taal but she would also insist that that was not it. Funny. She would always reiterate that which is not because it has always been a good story to share to whomever. It made always for surprised faces and it amused every Juan especially Gov. V whenever she would share her story about it.

One particular thing about it that sets her on a different mood from happy to mad is when she would relate that Tagaytay enjoys the benefits of Taal but the volcano is not a part of Tagaytay nor is it even a part of Cavite. Taal is part of Batangas. There you go. She says Tagaytay should be paying royalty to Batangas or at least a share of tourism revenue in Tagaytay should be given to the community within Taal. Rightly so I would say.

At that time I was still Mayor I was friends also with the Mayor of Tagaytay, Bambol Tolentino now Congressman. I even related to him what Governor Vilma mentioned. He would just smile and at one time he said that it was a topic for consideration for the two provinces. However nothing has happened, obviously.

Business in Tagaytay has indeed been booming. Tourism is high. And just like me I would go there, first to have some bulalo and tawilis by the mountainside where I can see the volcano. A prop volcano. Not Taal. In the end who is fooled by it. At least for Tagaytay they get the better of it, real or fooled. What happened may have been revenge for some. Now I wouldn’t know who got the worse end of it, “bawi bawi lang.”

Funny how many would share different stories, tall tales of other volcanoes like Mayon and Bulusan. They are active and both have level two and one respectively. There is no truth that they also are part of what others are making up in social media. Another too is what goes on abroad, that is there and this is it only. Let’s not make tall tales from this to scare people. While social media may have helped disseminate information some would rather use it to instill fear.

Last Sunday I was flying home from Sydney when I noticed an oddly shaped cloud that stretched so high, it didn’t look like any of the clouds nearby or around it. Sunset was indeed beautiful but strangely was a cloud that went upwards. Upon looking at it I was surprised to see some lightning emanating from its side also shooting upwards and around it and not away from it like what we would normally see. I would stare at it for what it was. I always take pictures of clouds, I just love to.