Tall. Tale. Taal.
April 6, 2016 Leave a comment
A lake within a lake; A volcano within a volcano
Geologically unique, this complex formation has confused many, me included.
Taal Volcano is a 311-meter tuff cone volcano that sits inside a 1.9-km wide, 76-meter deep, 4MASL blue-green crater lake that is within a 23 sq km volcanic rock island formed between 140,000 to 5,380 before present (BP). The volcano island is at the heart of a 267 sq km, 2 MASL lake surrounded by adjacent volcanic structures–Mt Makiling in the northeast; Mt Malipunyo in the east; Mt Batulao in the west; and Mt Maculot in the southeast.*
Confused? Let’s try this:
Taal Volcano is a small volcanic rock island inside a small crater lake of a bigger volcano surrounded by a bigger lake, which is actually a caldera formed after the eruption of a much bigger volcano. Let me illustrate, crudely:
The Taal Volcano Complex (yes, it is a complex complex) is one of the world’s most beautiful yet dangerous volcano; in fact, it is one of the the country’s most active volcano, having erupted 33 times since the 1500s.
Beauty. Danger. Adventure. No wonder it is a popular destination for people escaping the urban stress of Metro Manila.
A bum-busting, dust-choking adventure
Our initial weekend plan to just chill in Tagaytay City and have ourselves stuffed on bulalo and tawilis turned unexpectedly into an adventure when an “ambulant tour guide” peddling his services talked us into visiting Taal Volcano Complex.
From Tagaytay City, Mang Jong (CP#09289493217) accompanied us on the drive to Talisay, Batangas and brought us to Lago de Taal Resort, where we boarded a motorized banca (regular rate is Php2000 good for six pax) for the 20-minute trip to Volcano Island (entrance fee is PhP100 per pax).
It was already noon when we were “talked into” making this trip. Note that it’s the height of summer and the sun was beating down relentlessly on us–and everyone else–when we arrived. Unprepared is an understatement. The trek hasn’t even started but I was already exhausted and panting from the extreme heat, the dust, and the crowd of eager tourists.
So, we saddled up for bumpy horseback ride (Php450 per horse; please DO tip the horse wranglers, please) through treeless, shadeless, dusty trail…
… and after bumbling through uneven terrain, we finally made it to the mesmerizing Crater Lake — its blue-green color, with the sloping greens surrounding it, is indeed a sight to behold.
A trip to Taal Volcano Island is a challenging one, especially during summer. It is best to plan an early morning start, if possible. Wear loose clothing, as well as, comfortable footwear. Be sure to bring sunscreen (lots of it!), a broad-rimmed hat or an umbrella, and a wide bandanna, a handkerchief or a scarf to cover your face with against the dust. Although face masks are available for sale, they’re priced steep.
Overnight camping is not allowed on Volcano Island anymore. Visitors are expected to leave the island by 6PM. Should you wish to spend the night in Talisay, A/C accommodations range from Php1000 to Php2500 a night.
* Figures are from the Philvocs website.