Taal Volcano is the smallest active volcano in the world and the second most active in the Philippines. It had a history of 33 eruptions and has been calm since 1977. The northern part of Taal Volcano Lake is located at Talisay, Batangas while the southern part at San Nicolas.
This small natural wonder is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world.
It was around 11 in the evening when I called the tour operator of Taal Volcano Trek to arrange for us the boat ride for 8pax at 5 in the morning the next day. I found the contact details of Kuya Angelo (+63919-728-0514) via another blog and was able to also ask him how we can rent a tricycle that can take us from Tagaytay to Talisay. He referred to us Kuya Francis (+63920-168-5434) who was kind enough to agree to meet with us at a super early time.
December 30, 2016 — The weather was quite fickle-minded at 4 in the morning. Failing to anticipate the rain, some of us got wet from the sudden hard rain, clothes dripping in rainwater even before we start our adventure.
While eating our breakfast, Kuya Francis waited for us outside the fast-food chain. The tricycle we hired didn’t look anything like ordinary – it somehow had the attributes of a tuk-tuk or an auto-rickshaw. We hired two tricycles (maximum of 4 persons in one vehicle) and made our way to Taal.
It only took forty minutes of travel. We arrived at the Soriano Resort in Barangay Banga where we talked to the tour office, finalized the arrangements and rode the boat. Its maximum capacity is eight (8) tourist passengers. The boat ride experience didn’t take long as the waves were flat.
When I first saw the little sturdy vessel, it had an odd-looking structure. Each end of the boat had a high pointy bow. I asked our boatman Kuya Anghel about it, but he said all the boats in their area had that bodice. While navigating the stirring wheel, Kuya Anghel showed me their ID and told me that each boat operating tours in the Taal Lake must be accredited with the local government. (Please take note of this especially when you take tours from those offering it outside.)
Soon after, we docked to the jump-off point where we met Ate Amy, our tour guide. Before we start with the trek, we used the comfort rooms first and made sure we brought our drinking waters with us. While we were prepping up, one of us in the group realized that she has left her bag in the registration area back in the mainland. Kuya Anghel contacted the persons from the tour office and they promised to keep the bag safe until we get back from the tour. (True enough, they kept it safe and untouched.)
Initially, we wanted to see the sunrise at the peak of the view deck. However, the sun rose too early (vs. the 6:10 am sunrise time as per Google). Nonetheless, we were still thankful that we hiked at this hour because we were able to avoid the extreme heat of the sun. This was the best time to do the trek.
It was amazing how when we were getting closer to the top, the soil was redder and there were holes in the ground which emitted hot smoke. I guess these fumes are an indication that the volcano is very much active until today. While we walked on these holes, I asked Ate Amy whether it is true that people have already cooked eggs via the heat from the holes. She confirmed this and said that some trekkers have already boiled eggs, although not in this elevated area.
As we got higher and higher, the scenery surrounding the volcano was equally beautiful as the lake. Although the package was a bit pricey for the 4-hours experience, it was definitely worth this photographer’s haven.
The 40-minute trek was not particularly difficult, but what would count as a challenge is the lack of shade from the heat of the sun and the dusty path. (Make sure to bring an extra set of clothes!) There’s also an option to take the horseback ride instead of trekking should one feel like having a relaxing time while taking in the view.
In no time, we were approaching the concrete view deck that provided a breathtaking landscape view of the emerald lake. It was surprising to see that this area (with close proximity to this natural wonder) somehow got “developed” for tourists.
The view was nice from the deck but there was a better site to view the grandeur of the lake – the Red Lava. Although there is a separate fee (₱50) for the entrance to the Red Lava, it was one for the books. It gave us the best shots of the lake, please make sure you don’t miss it!
Guide to Taal Volcano, Batangas
- Bring water, especially when trekking after sunrise.
- Waterproof your things; the waves in the lake could get crazy.
- Bring an extra set of clothes – to free yourself from dust and lake water.
How to Get There
1. Ride a bus bound to Tagaytay and alight at Olivarez Rotonda.
2. Contact a tricycle service to transport you to Talisay. See the contact reference in the CONTACT PERSONS section below.
Taal Lake Tour Operator
Person to look for: Kuya Angelo
Mobile number: +63919-728-0514
Tricycle Service from Tagaytay to Talisay
Person to look for: Kuya Francis
Mobile number: +63920-168-5434
Itinerary and Budget
Note: This itinerary was based on a group of 7 people during a 2016 trip.
|December 30, 2016||2:00 AM||Meet up at Uniwide Coastal Mall Provincial Bus Terminal|
|2:30 AM||ETD from Uniwide Coastal Mall to Olivarez, Tagaytay||₱ 80/head (bus fare)|
|4:00 AM||Breakfast at Mcdonald’s Olivarez / Tricycle pick up point||₱ 120/head (average breakfast meal)|
|5:00 AM||ETD from Tagaytay to Talisay, Batangas||₱ 300/group (tricycle service fee)|
|5:40 AM||ETA at Brgy. Banga Soriano Resort||₱ 100/head (entrance fee); ₱ 550/group (tour guide fee + boat landing fee); ₱ 2,000/6-7 pax (boat rental service)|
|5:50 AM||Boat Ride to Taal Trek Jump-off Point|
|6:10 AM||Arrival at Jump-off Point / Washroom Break|
|6:20 AM||Start trek|
|7:00 AM||Taal View Deck / take photos||₱ 50/head (Fresh Coconut!)|
|8:10 AM||Red Lava View Point / take photos||₱ 50/head (separate entrance fee)|
|9:00 AM||ETD to Jump-Off Point / notify tricycle drivers|
|9:40 AM||Back at Jump-Off Point / Rest|
|10:10 AM||Boat ride back to Soriano Resort Office|
|10:30 AM||Back to Soriano Resort Office / wait for tricycle pick-up|
|10:45 AM||Change Clothes / rest|
|11:00 AM||ETD to Olivarez Plaza||₱ 300/group (tricycle service fee)|
|11:35 AM||Jeepney to Mahogany Market||₱ 7/head (jeepney fare)|
|12:20 nn||ETA at Mahogany Market Bulalohan||₱ 250/head (average meal price)|
|12:30 nn||Eat Lunch|
|2:00 PM||ETD to Pasay Rotonda via Bus||₱ 87/head (bus fare)|
|5:30 PM||ETA at Pasay Rotonda|
|ESTIMATED EXPENSES||₱ 1,280 / head (with meals); ₱ 853 / head (w/out meals)|
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