Taal Volcano (2-3 hours from Manila) is regarded the world’s smallest active volcano and one of its deadliest. It also has the unusual distinction of being the world’s only volcano within a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano. The largest lake is inside a large volcanic caldera that was produced hundreds of thousands of years ago by a catastrophic eruption by a supervolcano. Inside the lake is a smaller volcano and lake with a small island topped by a relatively new volcanic crater.
and the most photographed spot in the Philippines.
I started my journey in Cavite. I drove to Tagaytay, then from Tagaytay to Talisay. Along the way from Tagaytay to Talisay people offering boat to Taal volcano, but I rented boat in Taal Lake Yacht Club. They offering 2 tours/trails:
– Regular Tourist trail. It is the traditional trail that tourists climb. It goes to the rim of the volcano, and you can look down into the crater and see the inner lake, with the island inside. On the way up, guides will steer you past steam vents, that are a true reminder of the volcano’s “Active” status. Most people go on horseback. and the top is a bit “touristy”. It is a sheer cliff down to the inner lake, so you cannot descend to the inner lake from here. It takes around 2.5 to 3 hours round trip from Taal Lake Yacht Club. As I said above, locals that living on the slopes of the volcano with offer you horse riding to reach your destination, but honestly I do not recommended it because animals are really abused, they using them as a tool to make money only. Price for boat (max. 5 person) is P3,300.00. If you are really lazy to walk 30-40 minutes to reach crater, you can rent a horse for P600.
– Secret trail. I took that one. The Secret Trail, or Calauit Trail, is twice as far from the club by water, as the regular trail. The difference is that it is the only trail that allows you to go down into the inner lake that you can just see from the Regular Trail. It takes around 4-5 hours to do the Secret Trail. It cost 4300 pesos (max. 5 person as well). Price is per group, does not matter if you are solo or 5 in the group.
Guide Fee: P350.00/Group
Municipal Tourism Tax = P70.00/person
Boat Landing Fee = P50.00/boat
Horses = P750.00/ horse.
You can see here photo of crater lake and me in the crater. In some parts of lake you can even swim. In some parts water boiling. You can see also sulfur at the edge of the lake.
Amazing facts you probably didn’t know about Taal lake and volcano:
– One of the more devastating eruptions occurred in January, 1911. During the night of the 27th of that month, the seismographs at the Manila Observatory commenced to register frequent disturbances, which were at first of insignificant importance, but increased rapidly in frequency and intensity. The total recorded shocks on that day numbered 26. During the 28th there were recorded 217 distinct shocks, of which 135 were microseismic, while 10 were quite severe. The frequent and increasingly strong earthquakes caused much alarm at Manila, but the observatory staff was soon able to locate their epicenter in the region of Taal Volcano and assured the public that Manila was in no danger, as Taal is distant from it some 37 miles (60 km). The eruption claimed a reported 1,335 lives and injured 199; although it is known that more perished than the official records show. The seven barangays that existed on the island previous to the eruption were completely wiped out. Post mortem examination of the victims seemed to show that practically all had died of scalding by hot steam or hot mud, or both. The devastating effects of the blast reached the west shore of the lake where a number of villages were also destroyed. Cattle to the number of 702 were killed and 543 nipa houses destroyed. Crops suffered from the deposit of ashes that fell to a depth of almost half an inch in places near the shore of the lake.
– The main lake at Taal is 30 kilometers across and is filled with dugout canoes, small boats, and motor-powered outriggers. Once part of an the ocean channel in Balayan Bay in the South China Sea, the lake was created during the 1754 eruption, when a huge lava flow surged into the sea and transformed the channel into a lake. As the water in the lake rose entire towns were submerged and the water became less and less salty. Today it is a fresh water lake, even though it contains salt water species, such as sardines and highly venomous sea snakes that have adapted to the fresh water. Up until 70 years ago, there were even freshwater sharks in the lake.
– Inside the small crater lake within Taal volcano is a tiny volcanic island that emits sulfur and steam. This island was immortalized by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” as the “amazing island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.” Steam and sulfur also rise from yellow furmoles on the slopes of Taal volcano and the cliffs on the interior of the crater.