Travel Post: Fun With A Selfie Stick

Happy 4th of July! The Americans are celebrating here at IRRI! I cannot believe it is July already and that we are at the halfway point.

Last weekend, the IRRI interns made the trek to Taal Volcano. It is a complex volcano located on the island of Luzon and is the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. All of these eruptions are concentrated on Volcano Island, an island near the middle of Taal lake. The lake partially fills Taal Caldera, which was formed by prehistoric eruptions. It is located about 50 kilometres south of Manila. So basically, it is a lake in the crater of a volcano, surrounded by a lake, surrounded by land. No wonder it is compared to a Russian doll.

The scariest part of the day was not the possible eruption, but having to leave IRRI at 3 A.M. (eep!) The coolness of the air and the views of the sunrise were worth it, though:

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From Talisay, we took a half-hour boat ride to island and then hiked about forty minutes up to the viewing platform a the top of the volcano. The views were absolutely incredible. Pictures do not do it justice:

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Around the rim of the volcano, there are several holes that emit noxious smoke:

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We were very grateful that Annika brought her selfie stick which are very popular in the Philippines. Unfortunately, about half of the pictures we took are of me sneezing because we were facing the sun. I could tell the rest of the group was getting annoyed even with their laughter haha:IMG_4162.jpg

The most memorable part for me was being able to drive golf ball into the crater for only $1. I wished I had practiced more at the country club before coming, but the hole was pretty big so you could say that I finished under par:

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Overall, we had a great morning! We finished the day by eating breakfast, visiting local souvenir shops, and driving up the hill in Tagaytay to look at more of the beautiful country:

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Happy Independence Day USA!!

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