I cancelled my trip to the Philippines, including a trip to Taal Volcano due to the clash of dates with Kerala Blog Express. So, there’s no way that I am going to miss another trip to Taal Volcano! I was one of the twenty lucky travel bloggers who managed to secure a hike to Taal Volcano. The night before the hike, I arrived in manic Manila slightly after midnight. After getting lost with the Uber I hired, I reached the Pink Manila Hostel at almost 2 am. With only 2.5 hours sleep, Franzi and I left the hostel to the gathering point. Together with 9 other bloggers, I travelled on a coach heading to Talisay Green Lake Resort, Tagaytay.
There are many entry points for Taal Volcano hike. Most resorts along the lake offer Taal Volcano package and boat services. After having a quick breakfast and Taal Volcano briefing, we rode the boat for 20 minutes to reach Taal Island. Who would have expected the seemingly calm volcano island is the second most active volcano in the Philippines with a series of violent eruptions.
Taal Volcano is a complex volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It is the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. All of these eruptions are concentrated on Volcano Island, an island near the middle of Taal Lake. The lake partially fills Taal Caldera, which was formed by prehistoric eruptions between 140,000 and 5,380 BP.
Tread the wooden jetty carefully once arrived in Taal Island.
If your coffee dose is not enough, you can head off to Staalbucks Coffee Shop! Unfortunately, we arrived way too early to try this Staalbucks.
We had two options, either going on foot or horseriding. Since the majority of bloggers voted for horseriding, we were off for some cowboy adventures…
with funny hat!
I spotted this fee banner at the registration office not far from Staalbucks Coffee Shop. The price was true as at Nov 2016.
As soon as we walked to the wooden structures used as a mounting block, horses with caretaker each lined up for the ride. The sizes of the horses vary; some as small as a pony.
“Baaa, baaa”, ordered the caretaker to the horse so that the horse would be trotting fast enough to keep moving given the weight. I looked pitiful to those who resorted to sticks to control the horse. Other caretaker baited their horses using some grass. The horse I was riding was particularly stubborn. It would stop at every possible munch over every edible-looking objects.
The horse struggled to go uphill. On the way, I stopped to have a glimpse of the breathtaking view of the Taal lake. After unmounting the horse, the horse was taken to graze the grass and drink.
Meanwhile, we took awhile to explore the ridge of the Main Crater Lake and discover the Vulcan point, another island in a crater lake. As confused as it gets:
Taal has an island within a lake, that is on an island within a lake, that is on an island: Vulcan Point Island is within Main Crater Lake, which is on Volcano Island, which is within Taal Lake, which is on the main Philippine Island, Luzon.
There was a viewing point made of bamboo where you can climb for a better view of the crater lake.
Can you spot the Vulcan Point? Vulcan Point is the remnant of the old crater floor.
The viewing point is approximately 200m at length. The main crater lake is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world.
You can see the water is diluted by sulphuric acid.
Steam and sulfur also rise from the slopes of Volcano Island and the cliffs on the interior of the main crater lake.
The tour guide treated us with fresh coconut drink, which can be bought at the stall near the crater lake. You can also find souvenirs being sold at the stall.
After witnessing the crater lake of one of the deadliest volcanoes in the world, we proceeded to the Red Lava. Red what? Prior to the trip, I only knew of the crater lake and the horseriding/hiking activity. The Red Lava turned out to be an extension of the walking trail along the ridge of the Taal Main Crater. It lies on the right side of the walking trail. The ground and the interior crater surface are traces of the remnant of lava which poured out of the caldera. You have to pay an extra PHP50 to go to Red Lava.
The trip was part of pre-TBEX Asia 2016 activities, courtesy of Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. All views and opinions are my own.