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Friday, May 23, 2014

Taal Volcano: World's Smallest Volcano

Planning for a quick weekend getaway? Why not try to climb Taal Volcano, one of the nearest hikes in Manila. This volcano is found in an island within a lake that is surrounded by an island that is within a lake that is inside another island (whhaaaaaaattt???). You don’t have to think that much, but the geographic location of this volcano is really one of a kind. And did you know that Taal Volcano is the smallest active volcano in the world! 

Quick Facts:

Location: Talisay, Batangas
Altitude: 311++ MASL
Type: Tuff Cone Volcano
Main Crater Lake: 1.9 km in diameter; blue-green in color, 4 m above sea level, deepest point: 76 m
Number of Craters: 47 craters and 4 maars
Taal Caldera: 25 km across and formed between 140,000 to 5,380 BP (Before present years)
Taal Lake: inside the caldera; 267 sq. km and 2 m above sea level    (Caldera - formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption. Just imagine Kaldero or a cooking pot.)

This is my first climb, and I have told myself that this would also be my last. That time I still don't get it why there are people who are addicted in climbing mountains. The body pain, the heat from the sun, the heavy bags, plus the danger of falling and having your knees or elbows broken. I'm not scaring you, but let's be true to ourselves that those are the things that the newbies are thinking. I am very nervous and excited #feelingMtEverest. Together with me are my colleagues who are also first timers and my two great bosses from Belgium who are the reasons why we are having this trip.

We have rented a private van for this trip, but if you are planning to commute to Taal, here's a guide on how to get to there:
  •  From Manila, take any bus bound to Lipa or Batangas. Just tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Tanauan.
  • Then ride a jeepney going to Talisay Public Market. 
  • At the Public Market, there are already lot of commissioners offering for a boat ride in Taal Volcano. Boat rental is usually P1,500 and good for 6 people but you can still haggle for a lower rate.
  • Upon arrival at the island, you will then be asked for Landing Fee of P20 per boat and Tourist fee of P50 each for adult and P30 for children.

No need to take a guide since the trail is clear and straightforward. At the jump-off point, there are lots of locals selling face masks since the trail is dry and very dusty. There are also locals who offer horse ride up to summit (or back and forth) for P500 – P700. 

Prepare your body from the extreme heat of the sun and don't forget your sunblock if you don't want to be toasted along the trek. You can also bring umbrella and wear arm sleeves to protect your skin because there are no trees that can cover you. Also take note of having enough water supply, bring at least 2 liters of water. 

We take the regular route or the Spanish Trail (Daang Kastila). The trail was very dusty and traffic because of some vendors, tourists and horses. The other trail which is Christie Kenny Trail is less used by the hikers. This is a privately developed walking trail and is covered by trees but according to the locals, the view at the top was not as impressive as the Spanish Trail.  

Along the trail, there are some vents which emits small amount of smoke and you'll have a slight smell of sulfur from it.

After almost an hour, we have finally reached the crater/ summit of Taal Volcano. Our efforts have finally paid off and the panoramic view at the top was really breathtaking.

Here's a suggested itinerary if you're planning for a Taal Volcano climb.

7:00AM   ETD - Bus Terminal Cubao
9:00AM   Tanauan, Batangas
                 (Jeepney to Talisay Public Market)
9:10AM   Talisay Public Market
                 (Boat ride to Taal Volcano)
9:35AM   Taal Volcano Jump-off point
                 (Start trek)
10:30AM  Taal Volcano crater
                 (Explore the area, picture taking, and rest)
11:30AM  Start descent
12:15PM  Jump-off point
12:35PM  Boat ride back to Talisay proper
1:00PM    Talisay Public Market

Taal Volcano is a very nice and easy climb (despite the scorching heat of the sun). This climb is also the reason why I become addicted on climbing mountains.

One of my highly recommended dayhikes from Manila. 

For more photos, click on this link

1 comment:

  1. looks like this was a very, very memorable trip for you :)


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