Identifying the Taal Volcano and Taal Lake is not simple as seeing the crater surrounded by the lake. It turns out that the Taal Volcano has dozens of craters and a few other shallow ones. Its Main Crater Lake found within its core crater extends to almost 2 kilometers long. The pointed crater on the other hand, which is the Tagaytay Ridge, is known as the extinct crater. Taal’s central crater is found inside the Taal Caldera, which extends 25 kilometers across. Within the Taal Caldera is then the Taal Lake, which is 267 kilometers long. This is the reason why the Taal volcano is the largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island.
Thirty-three eruptions have been recorded since year 1572 at Taal mostly from the Volcano Island. The impacts of these eruptions were mainly confined to the intracaldera area of the volcano. But in 1754, during a violent activity, an eruption affected the entire region, which also included the country’s capital located 60 kilometers away. Other eruptions such as the one during 1749 followed crustal disturbances and strong earthquakes that generated land fissures and marked subsidence that extended across the Taal Lake. To this date, the Volcano Island has been labeled as a permanent danger zone.
The Taal Volcano was originally a huge volcano that towered 18,000 feet into the sky. People don’t realized how tall the volcano is as it is submerged beneath the Taal Lake. The Taal Lake was also known as Lake Bonbon during the olden times and up to now has a low sulfur content that is good for the skin when used to swim in. The Tagaytay Ridge that we know of today is actually the rim of the volcano and is only about a sixth of the way to the top of the volcano.
Visitors are now able to see the volcano up close with a short twenty-minute boat ride over to the volcano and a donkey ride up to the top. Renting an entire boat will cost about 1,250 to 1,500 pesos depending on your bargaining skills and abilities. Hiring donkeys will cost another fee at about 1,000 pesos per donkey. Riding donkeys to take you to the top and back down are optional unless you’re a person who is in great physical shape and are experienced hikers.
But with any tourist’s destination, tourist traps are plentiful. Make sure to put your haggling skills to good use and try to extract the lowest price possible. It’s also recommended to hire an authorized tour guide for an additional cost to explain pertinent facts along with useful information about the Taal Volcano and Lake. Most of them speak in perfect English and at the same time that they help you, you’ll be helping them by paying a small cost of using their services. Make sure to choose a guide with an official picture ID badge noting that they can be verified with the local authorities.
A trip to the Taal Volcano and Taal Lake will take at least half a day so make sure to allot plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s a fantastic chance to visit one of the unique wonders of nature that took thousands of years to create.