55. Gently Tempting Fate

Gently Tempting Fate: After five days on our own in Manila, we were warmly adopted by the Filipino family of our Portland friend Emy. She’s here visiting as well, and spending time with her and her lovely family will surely make us even more homesick once we’ve moved on. More on that soon – for now, we’re greatly enjoying the benefits of access to a car and some local know-how. Most recently this meant a climb to the largest crater rim of the active Taal Volcano (above) and an overnight stay in the hit-me-with-your-best-shot volcano town of Tagaytay. The volcano is an island inside of an enormous freshwater lake, with some fifty steaming cones and craters from old eruptions. While danger may be theoretically high on a trip like this, you’ll rarely feel it, because every moment of the adventure has been tailored to the armchair weekend warrior. It’s all motorboat rides, well behaved horses, a kid selling cold Pepsi at the top and your own personal army of sweet-talking guides, one of whom asked Emy to be the godmother to his newborn baby (she declined). To our advantage on this day was our timing – we were on the island by 7am and at the top an hour later, well ahead of the crowds of Korean and Taiwanese tourists that would start arriving later in the morning. These quiet moments are the best, silence enough that you can actually hear the gentle hiss of imminent doom in the sulphur steam vents all around you. Ok, that’s enough. Bring back the horses. And fresh Pepsis.


  1. mikey says:

    how do you two manage to make so many international friends? I want in those skills. Do I need to move to Portland?

  2. S says:

    I think LA should be international enough, just start eating out more often. And to answer your voicemail, yes – the Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Koreans also wear facemasks over here.

  3. furey says:

    see ronnie, it’s not because of LA smog…