Taal Trekking the 2nd time around

emerald waters of Taal crater

emerald waters of Taal crater

Taal Volcano is a complex volcano located in LuzonIsland of the Philippines. It has been called the smallest active volcano. Taal Volcano is actually a volcano within a lake which used to be an old crater. Surrounded by the province of Cavite and Batangas, it is located about 50 km south of Metro Manila.

It doesn’t take an experienced mountaineer to trek Taal Volcano due to its fairly easy trail. Also, tourists have the option of riding a horse from the ground to the top. This would be my second time to trek Taal, and Taal being the 2nd mountain I climbed. The first one was Mt. Daguldol in San Juan, Batangas, and that has a steep upward path that could be a challenge for someone unexperienced and even not physically prepared such as myself. The trek to Taal is fairly easy in comparison.

So one early Friday morning, we traveled from Muntinlupa to Tagaytay, then asked for directions from the police station near the Olivarez Rotonda. The policeman asked a local to come with us and guide us on the way to Talisay, Batangas, which served as the drop-off point in reaching the Taal crater. There are three main roads that link Tagaytay City to the lake and the volcano. One is Diokno Highway near the border to Nasugbu, Batangas; the other is just behind the Tagaytay Rotunda (but this is a very steep road); and the most preferred way is the Ligaya Drive near the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa road, which leads to the town of Talisay, Batangas. The first time I went there, we commuted so the jeep took the Ligaya Drive. This time we brought our own vehicle and took the road just behind the Rotonda. After 30 minutes of driving slowly on a steep road, we reached a fork in the road and the local who came with us directed us to the left, to a resort named Tantiongco’s Resort where we can hire a boat that would take us to Taal lake. After discussing the price for a boat, they offfered us all the usual necessities such as the boat rental to and from the resort, tour guide during trekking, life jacket, cottage and parking for 2500 php, for 4 persons. There is also a tourist fee of 50 php per person which we chose to pay together with the boat ride. They also offered us horse rides but we refused as we are bent on doing the trek on foot. So after all the payments have been done, we rode a boat for a 30 minute ride to get to the island where the taal lake is situated.

boat ride

Upon reaching the shore, an elderly local assisted us with her bench that served as platform in alighting the boat. The person from the resort said that we should give at least 20php since this is her livelihood. Since we already paid for the tour guide and the tourist fee, we immediately started our trek to the taal crater. The initial ascent is the hardest part but afterwards, it was a bit easier trail. Essentially, one can easily follow the trail without needing a tour guide, but it would seem as if it’s mandatory that a group have one. There were also very persistent locals offering the horse ride, who went with us all the way to the top hoping that one of us might feel tired and decide to just ride their horse. Along the way, you will pass by vents in the ground that emits sulfuric gases.

vents spewing sulfuric gases

view from halfway to the crater

photo-op πŸ˜€

Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded by the sight of emerald green waters of the crater lake. The locals said that you can opt to go down to the crater lake and swim but would cost a bit more. The next time I go here, I would definitely try to go to the crater lake.

After resting and drinking buko juice, which is quite expensive here but nonetheless very refreshing, we decided to return back. The trek downwards is definitely easier, although the main problem was that during that time (before lunchtime), there was already a lot of foreign tourists making their way to the top on horserides. We occasionally have to stop so that we won’t be the recipient of too much dust as they pass. The boat ride back was wetter than the ride to the island because of the strong waves.

It would be best to book for the tour before going there. People tend to offer you deals that is not reasonable if they think you are not familiar with the place. Taal Yatch Club offers tours that is reasonable and hassle free. Definitely worth visiting this place. πŸ™‚

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