Opening Night and Taal Volcano
Week 4 was filled with anticipation as we prepared for Opening Night. We continued with previews from Tuesday until Friday and then officially opened on Saturday 25 August. It is theatre tradition to hand out Chukkas sweets before opening. These are sweets and gifts of good luck. I have no idea where the word Chukkas comes from but it is apparently bad luck to say “good luck” in theatre so instead we say Chukkas or Merde. The best part is coming back to your dressing room and seeing a pile of delicious sweeties on your spot.
Opening went great and the show earned some excellent reviews. Afterwards our hotel hosted the Opening Night Gala Party. It was incredible and had all the ingredients of a VIP event – great food, champagne, media and well-dressed guests. Here are some pictures.
Local celebrities were at the event!
Jonathan Roxmouth as our Phantom
The Phantom dancers with Claire Louise in gold as our “Christine”
The Gala party was so fun, there was a live band that played all the regular party starters and by the end we were up for a big night out. Luckily for us Tim Yap was at our Gala party and offered to take us to his club, Prive. About 10 of us piled into a mini van and off we went. The club was AWESOME!!!!!! The music was fantastic and we were treated to free champagne all night. Better still each time the bubbly was delivered it had a giant sparkler coming out of it so we all felt pretty special. The club was packed with local celebrities such as TV actors and even Miss Philippines. What a night, definitely wanna go back there!
The next day it was time for our first group adventure to the Taal Volcano, the smallest active volcano in existence. A bus collected us and we drove about 2 hours out of Metro Manila and our tour guide gave us lots of um….facts…about Manila….the WHOLE way there. (Note to tour guides: after 40 minutes on a cramped bus the only sound tourists prefer to hear is the sound of silence).
We arrived at an ocean resort where we swapped our bus for a canoe-like boat that took us on a 20 minute ride across the bay to the strip of land which hosts the Taal Volcano.
Once across the water we were kitted out with straw sun hats and each got our own horse which would take us up to the top of the mountain. The trek took about 30 minutes and I felt quite bad for the horses who were grunting and groaning with exhaustion by the end. I am also quite a scaredy-cat on a horse so I couldn’t enjoy the scenery and kept my eyes on the ground the whole way, fearful the horse would lose it footing on the really steep sections of the climb. I opted to walk down the mountain on the way back.
Finally we were at the top. The Taal Volcano is actually a volcano that lies inside a lake and has a lake inside of it, still following?
The view from the top is spectacular! In some places we were able to see steam rising from the ground and the mountain rocks were warm to the touch.
In the neighbouring ocean we could see hundreds of fishing boats docked and on the other side there were tall mountains on the horizon, all providing plenty of great photo opportunities…
When we got back to the resort we had a buffet lunch and then it was time to swim in the HUGE resort pool.
The pool also had an incredible ocean view and I couldn’t resist striking a pose…
After swimming we were treated to more snacks as well as a complimentary cocktail and a free cap from the resort. It was a great day and even more so because we were in a large group. We arrived back at our hotel around dinner time, exhausted, sunburnt and happy.