Taal Volcano, situated amidst the freshwater Taal Lake, in the Batangas province, in the Luzon islands in the Philippines, which is about 50 kilometers south of Manila, Philippines capital city, is a complex active volcano. Hot fumes and ashes are often sighted coming out of the mouth of the volcano. The Taal Lake, covering an area of 243 sq. kms, partially covers the Taal Caldera, which has been formed by the powerful prehistoric eruptions of the volcano.
Mount Taal, on the other hand, rises up to a height of 984 feet, with the last violent eruption occurring as recent as 1970. Together, they present a very beautiful sight and picturesque views when seen from the Tagaytay Ridge, with the Taal Volcano enclosing another smaller lake in itself.
Highlights and Features
The western side of Luzon comes under the belt of active volcanoes, and Taal Volcano is one of them. In fact, it has the reputation of being the world’s smallest active volcano, taking only about 45 minutes to reach the island by a boat, and another 20 odd minutes to reach the summit of the volcano. The island formed due to the repeated volcanic eruptions has actually been named Volcano Islands and it almost an area of 23 sq. kilometers. Permanent settlements have, although, been prohibited by PHIVOLCS, or the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, as the risks associated with eruptions are always persistent. Despite the warnings, poor families have made this island their home, and earn a living by farming crops in the rich and fertile volcanic soil. Fishing is also an important form of livelihood.
The lake itself is a host to various endemic species, since its connection with the sea recently. The world’s only freshwater sardine, the tawilis, is the most important endemic species of fish that can be found here. Besides, one can also encounter a population of trevally, which is locally known as maliputo. Also, the lake houses Hydrophis semperi, which is one of the world’s rarest see snakes. The diverse ecosystem used to provide habitat to bull sharks, which were exterminated due to overharvesting and killing by the locals during 1930s.
This place has been developed into a tourist destination for good, as people are generally interested in doing adventurous things. Regular official tours are conducted, which never fails to keep the visitors excited and entertained. After having crossed the lake, visitors are allowed to ascend the gentle slope of the mountain by walking, or horseback, right up to the top. On reaching the top, visitors can see the fumes coming out of the vent, and the bubbling water inside the crater, surrounding the edge of the lake. One can catch a breathtakingly picturesque and stunning glimpse of the lake, along with its surrounding scenery and valley from the top as well. Visitors can even opt to visit one of the several fishponds located in and around the island.
This location is surely quite unlike any other, and guarantees 100 percent thrill, fun, frolic and excitement all throughout. Being different amidst the same is what works for Taal Volcano and Lake, and that’s the reason tourists are ready to risk their lives to be a part of one of nature’s most beautiful and dangerous spots.
- How to get there: Tourists need to hire banca from Talisay, Batangas, to cross the Taal Lake in order to reach the Volcano Island. To reach Talisay, tourists can opt between the more common public transport modes, including buses and jeepneys, or hired personal vehicles. It’ll take almost an hour to reach Talisay and about 45 minutes to cross the lake.