Trekking Taal Volcano
I’ve seen the Taal Volcano for a number of times but have never seen its crater lake until an invitation from our team in our office came. Who am I to resist for an almost all-expense-paid trip to the crater lake? So few weekends ago I had this exhausting hike to Taal Volcano crater lake with my office mates. I have to admit it was one of the most exhausting hike I’ve had. Why? I almost passed out walking through the path to the crater lake.
It is said that Taal Volcano is a complex volcano with historical eruptions concentrated on Volcano island. It has several eruptions in the past that leads to loss of life in the island and areas surrounding the lake. Taal Volcano is one of the active volcanoes in the country and part of the Pacific ring of fire. The volcano and the lake is one of the most picturesque and pleasing views in the Philippines.
How to go to Taal Volcano?
Taal Volcano and Lake are entirely located in the province of Batangas. The northern half of Volcano Island is under the jurisdiction of Talisay, and the southern half to San Nicolas. Talisay, Batangas is much popular place for gateway to Taal Volcano.
The best way to get to Talisay, Batangas is to rent a van or self-drive. Drive through South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and Star Toll Way then take Tanauan City exit. Turn right and from then it would take about 15 to minutes drive to reach Talisay.
For those on a budget and doesn’t like to drive, you may take a bus to get to Talisay, Batangas. Take any Lipa or Batangas bound bus via Tanauan. Tell the driver to drop you off at Tanauan Bus Stop. From there, there would be jeepneys that would take you straight to Talisay.
It took us roughly 2 hours to reach Talisay, Batangas from Metro Manila. We headed straight to Taal Lake Yacht Club where we’ll be renting our boat to the volcano island.
Taal Lake Yacht Club
Lonely Planet called Taal Lake Yacht Club the “sailing Mecca of the Philippines”. The club offers number of activities from water sports to nature trails. These activities include windsurfing, sailing, rowing, kayaking, hiking and nature trails. Though it is referred as a club, non-members are welcome to enjoy the club facilities for a minimal entrance fee.
One of the sought after activity in the club is sailing. The activity looks fun to do. I’m curious on how to navigate a boat. I learned that the club offers sailing programs for all levels. I hope I could go back here and try this activity.
We rented two outrigger boats to get to the foot of the volcano island. Each boat can accommodate utmost 6 persons.
It took us about 20 minutes to reach the foothill of the volcano island.
All along, I thought that was the Taal Volcano but I was surprised it was just part of it, the whole lake is already part of the Taal Volcano.
Even though this area is already part of the volcano, there are still people who reside on this place.
Hiking through the Regular Tourist Trail
There are different trail to get to the crater lake. There’s the regular tourist trail (also known as the old trail), Secret Trail / Kalawit Trail wherein you can go down to the crater lake itself and the Ambassador Kenney Trail. We opted the old trail.
The sun was high, it was scorching hot. I checked the time and it was 12:00 PM. We started to hike by then.
There are horse available if you wanted to get to the crater lake viewing deck easier. At first no one availed the horse ride, we said we can do it by ourselves. So we moved on.
The beaten path up is too dusty. The dust were so unbearable so everyone bought dust mask to protect ourselves from inhaling these dust.
After awhile, when I looked back to my companion I noticed some of them are already riding a horse. They had given up trekking. But still some of us have the energy to do it the hard way. I don’t like to spend PHP 500.00 for a horse ride even it’ll give me a great comfort. I’ve done trekking Mount Pinatubo and this seems easier, I’ve thought.
A point came that I can already feel the exhaustion. With not enough sleep, hungry tummy, scorching sun above me and dust coming from the beaten path, I feel like I’m going to pass out. It made me almost. I suddenly sat on that little shade. I can’t take it anymore, seriously and I don’t want to make a scene. I was left behind.
It was like I’m walking on a burning road. One of my companions told me that I was like a zombie while walking. I don’t have the posture to walk smoothly.
After having a little rest on that small shade on the road, I got up and resumed walking. I was just thinking, “malapit na kaunti na lang”.
Finally after the hardships during my ascent, I made it to the top. I was so worn out. I need air. I need a drink to cool off.
Then at last, the crater lake of Taal Volcano right before my eyes.
Someone approached us if we want to do some golfing. My companions did while I approached the nipa huts to relax. I’m tired to impart on some activity so I rested for awhile.
There are refreshments and souvenir items available for sale.
I wish I could get down. I wish we opted the other trail so we can go down to the actual crater lake. The guide told us that the trail time for the Secret Trail is two times the old trail.
Look on how our feet / foot wear looked like after the ascend. 🙂
And here we are after the climb up to the Taal Volcano crater lake viewing deck.
After the much needed rest, I roamed around and did my job, to take pictures. 🙂
A combination of two photos taken separately. The almost panoramic view of the crater lake.
The Taal Crater Lake is said to be a lake within a lake.
It’s 3:00 PM when we decided to leave the area.
This time I had my sufficient energy to walk down through the path. I was able to appreciate the views surrounding the volcano island.
The descent is very much easier. Actually, it only took us about half an hour to go back down.
We were all tired and… famished. We haven’t taken our lunch yet.
We took a boat ride back to the club. Washrooms are available in the area. Good thing we were able to freshen up or washed up first before we head to Tagaytay for a super late lunch.
We paid our dues and left the club at around 4:00 PM. We went up to Tagaytay and had our lunch.
Yes, I almost gave up on this trek. I was so frustrated to finish it. But with courage and determination I did able to finish it. Epictetus once have said, “The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”
Horse (optional): PHP 500.00 for the old trail
To know more of the rates, you may visit the Taal Lake Yacht Club on the site provided below. The club is recommended for corporate group as they accept credit card.
- The best time to trek is early morning or before noon time.
- The final call time for guests entering the volcano island in Taal Lake Yacht Club is 3:00 PM
- Travel light
- Bring plenty of bottled water
- Eat heavy meal before trekking or bring food / snack
- Bring umbrella, hat or headware to protect yourself from the sun
- Apply sunblock or wear arm sleeves
- Bring dust mask
- Ride a horse for an easy way up to the crater lake viewing deck
Taal Lake Yacht Club
Barrio Santa Maria
Phone: 09178383726; 8113256