Nature, Travel Stories

Taal Volcano Stories: Clean-up Drive with Starstruck Avengers LOL!

I rub elbows with celebrities.

Just kidding!

I just happened to work as a segment producer and writer for a TV network years ago, a long time ago. And those celebrities that I got the chance to interact with were not really big stars but upcoming stars. Hahaha!

Our show was a Public Affairs program that helps communities with activities and projects through the power and influence of celebrities.

Since our show has a very low budget, we couldn’t afford the big stars. Most who would agree to our very low talent fee were those who wanted exposure like new celebrities, mostly past finalists of the network’s reality show, Starstruck!

One of the most memorable episode was my trip to Taal Volcano. The episode was a clean-up drive, at the tourists’ vicinity around the crater area.

I was with 2 Starstruck Avengers that time. They were 2 nice dudes, very respectful to others, both teenagers at that time. I will not mention their names because even me, I couldn’t remember their names anymore. Hahaha Obviously, they did not turn out to be the stars that they wanted to be. I guess they already have their own lives outside showbizness.

Starstruck GMA

Early in the morning we traveled to Talisay, Batangas then another boat ride going to the island, the Taal Volcano, where the crater is located.

It was an eye-opening experience for me to realize that there are actually people, like a small village on the island. I was just naïve then. It was still years before I became an avid traveler that I am today.

One of the main source of their income is tourism. There were horses there that tourists can rent to transport them to the crater, much like a horseback riding experience.

Some locals immediately flocked at us the moment we arrived, asking if we will avail the horseback riding. I just told them that we’d walk going there. I can manage that, as well as my cameramen. But hey, I realized that I have two celebrities with me. Hahaha!

As a Segment Producer, I was in-charge of the budget for the shoot. But the problem was, we didn’t have enough budget. Hahaha! That was one of the struggles of producers like us during our time, budget. The budget that was given to me was just enough for our food, and the payment for the rental of our boat going to the island. The horses were too expensive.

Most of the time I use my own money for some expenses during the shoot, that mostly were not reimbursed because of some technicalities. The production was strict. All should have receipts. Do you think the local who owns the horse could provide receipt?

So what’s going to happen with my 2 celebrities?

I guess they felt our struggle while me and my cameramen were discussing, so they just said they we didn’t have to worry. They would love to experience the horseback riding, and they would pay for it.

So that’s it. The two reality show stars did the horseback riding going to the crater. While us? We walked. I mean, we hiked under the heat of the sun with all those sand and dust.

We finally arrived at the crater of the volcano. The view was just breathtaking. There was not much tourists at that time, so we really enjoyed it.

I still have work to do. I looked for my celebrities and I saw them chilling at the other side.  So the general concept of the show is being able to contribute to the community through the help of celebrity power. So in that episode, I featured these two celebrities while helping and leading a clean-up drive.

Taal Volcano Batangas
Photo by Eric / Creative Commons

At that time, I was only thinking of work. I was so busy I didn’t have that much time to really feel the place.

Looking back, I am still thankful for my progress. Over the years, I have come to realize the importance of living a life. That’s probably the reason why I left the job after a few years. The demand of  work was too much. I wasn’t sleeping for days because of that job!

It was already dark when we left the island going back to Manila.

My cameramen were off to their homes once we arrived at the office. But me? I still have to write the script, and endure days at the editing of videos for the episode. At that point, I was too tired hiking the volcano, shooting and coordinating. But I still have a lot to do. Oh those were tough times, but I learned a lot.

Looking back at those memories of Taal Volcano, I reminded myself that when I go back, I will do the horseback riding going to the crater, just to try something different and to experience the real sense of travel.

Important Details of Taal Volcano

  • One of the most active volcanos in the Philippines with 33 historic eruptions. The last eruption happened in 1977.
  • Although the volcano has been quiet since 1977, it has shown signs of unrest since 1991, with strong seismic activity and ground fracturing events, as well as the formation of small mud pots and mud geysers on parts of the island.

How to go to Taal Volcano

Via Private Car

If you’re going there through a private car, it is better to go there via the South Luzon Express Way or (SLEX). There’s also one route which is via the Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite which is has a terrible traffic, so much better to go for SLEX. Trust me I am from Cavite. Take the Eton Greenfield Exit, then just follow the road going to Sta. Rosa and then straight to Tagaytay.

Once you reach the Tagaytay Rotonda, turn left  and look for Talisay-Laurel. From then drive straight to Talisay Bay where you can rent boats going to Taal Volcano.

Via Public Transport

If you’re going there via Public transport, just take the bus going to Tagaytay-Nasugbu. There are buses in Cubao or Buendia to take you there. Once you’re in Tagaytay, you can ask around and hire a tricycle going to Talisay Bay. Then from there, there are boats that you can rent going to Taal Volcano.


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  1. Ah those were the days Kuya Jon. Kahit tapos na ang shoot, di pa tapos ang trabaho sa atin kasi marami pang kailangan gawin. At first, it was okay for me. But after years of doing media work, I knew it wasn’t the life for me. I had to leave. hehe So yeah, super nakaka relate.

    At dahil dyan, we should hang out talaga and just relive these days lol :))

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