One of my Bucket lists is to explore the crater of Taal Volcano and during our recent trip last month in Philippines I managed to get some extra time to explore it with my backpacking friends.
While my daughter was still past asleep, I woke up around 4:30am and started our trip to Talisay, Batangas to explore the craters of Taal Volcano.
This beautiful, small & yet mysterious Volacano is among the world’s 16 Decade Volcanoes as classified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. Decade Volcanoes bring the attention of the scientific community due to their large, catastrophic, and frequent eruptions and their proximity to large populated areas.
The photo above of the view of Taal volcano where Binintiang Malaki is seen is my fondest memory of the frequent trips to Tagaytay. We always go here because it has a very nice cool weather compared to other places in Ph. It’s the summer getaway in the Southern Tagalog region. I have always thought that it was the crater, but I was mistaken. I have learned that its only one of the 47 Craters that this volcano have.Yes, 47 craters!And I thought that the crater lake is the only attraction but I was wrong.It’s so much more.
A closer look at the Crater Lake
The crater lake on Volcano island is the largest lake on an island in the world.Moreover, this lake contains Vulcan Point, a small rocky island that projects from the surface of the crater lake, which was the remnant of the old crater floor that is now surrounded by the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) wide lake, now referred to as the Main Crater Lake. Vulcan Point is often cited as the largest third-order island (island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island) in the world, though this is also claimed to be an unnamed Canadian island located within Victoria island.
We set off to drive to Talisay to meet our tour guide-Bryan .He gave us a very warm welcome in his place and did the orientation. We were given Buri Hats, orientation and briefing on how the tour will be done. Then He brought us to his boats and we have a nice, quiet boat ride to the Crater lake.The boat were colorful , unique and is of typical of this place.
I could see seaweeds from the clear waters of the lake and I knew from the boatman that Taal Lake is home to the only known species of sea snake that inhabits fresh water, Hydrophis semperi. The lake itself has a sulfur content that is higher than normal, and it is good for swimming.The weather is not that 100% clear when we go and I frequently hoped that It won’t rain.
As we neared Volcano Island, we had a clear view of Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg, in English). This is a large parasitic cone that erupted violently in 1707 and 1715. Today, it is dormant; but Mother Nature is unpredictable.
After we arrived at Barangay Look,we registered to the local municipality and Tourist registration office and immediately our horses arrived with our Guides are waiting for us. It was a very nice and one-of a kind experience to horseback riding in the coarse terrain going up to the steep and hilly path going to the crater. Some people prefer to walk but it was so dusty & hot and we have elderly persons with us so we chose to take the horse with us.
The easiest way to reach the core of Volcano Island is via Daang Kastila, The trek up the crater can be a hot and dusty one via Daang Kastila which takes 45mins to 1.5 hours. Hiking on foot is relatively easy, yet there are options to get to the crater on a horseback. Pack your sunscreen, sunglasses, hat or umbrella, snack and enough water for the hike. Be aware that although this is the easiest route to the crater, recent volcanic activity has been noted in this area
I had seen the volcanic fumes coming out from the rocks and smell the sulfur. We need to pass the 14 station in order to get into the summit and reach the crater. There are other route/treks that can be accessed by tourists . It all depends on your choices and experience. I recommend to always go with a guide for safety reasons .
We managed to get into the crater in time and was overwhelmed by the scenic views we passed through our horseback riding.It is worth all the dust, heat , sweat, and bumpy ride to be able to see this majestic view.The skies were a bit cloudy and yet we managed to see foaming bubbles that said to be burning sulfur.
I highly recommend to explore this place. You’ll never regret it.It is a small and yet a big nature wonder hidden.
When you visit Taal Volcano, make sure to bring water, hats and plenty of sun screen lotion. Wear light clothes for it can get very hot, it being located in a tropical country. It is most recommended you get a head start early in the morning. You can either take a hike or ride on horseback to go up the ridge and see the beautiful Crater Lake.
Our guide was very helpful,and informative and If ever I would visit Taal once again and bring friends, I would definitely go with Bryan once again and for sure I would love to bring along some eggs to boil in the boiling waters of the crater!
What’s the off the beaten path thing you have done lately?