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Taal Volcano has been called the smallest active volcano in the world. It
is located about 70-km south of Manila in the middle of a lake called Taal Lake.
What makes Taal Volcano unique is the fact that the volcano itself forms an
island that has a lake of its own inside its crater which is called the "Crater Lake",
thus, it is a lake within a lake.
How to go there.
The volcano island can be reached by taking a half-hour boat ride from practically
any town on the the shores of Taal Lake. The more popular jumpoff point is from the town of
Talisay. We chose to start from the town of San Nicolas because we heard that,
due of its remoteness from Manila, less people take this route, thus making it
less crowded, and boats can be hired at much cheaper rates from this town.
Manila to San Nicolas via Cuenca: From Manila, take the South Luzon Tollway
from Nichols or C-5 entry all the way to the south end. At the end of the tollway,
take the exit that points to Lucena and drive along this National Road for about 6km
until you reach the Calamba boundary. About 1.5km from the boundary of Calamba,
turn right and take the Star Tollway (Batangas Expressway) up to the Batangas/Lipa
exit. Upon exit, head westward towards Batangas City.
1.2km from the tollway exit is the Fernando Airbase and about 2.5km from the airbase,
there will be a junction the leads to Cuenca. Turn right at this junction.
Head for Cuenca then Alitagtag then Sta. Teresita. At Sta Teresita,
head nortwest towards Lemery/Taal. About 3.8km from Sta Teresita, there will
be a junction to bypass Taal and Lemery with signs that point to Agoncillo.
Take this bypass route on the right, and about 2.5km from the said junction, there will
be a small road on the right side that leads to San Nicolas. This small road will
be about 5km and will end straight into the Town Hall of San Nicolas. There will be a
Y junction midway, just take the left road on this junction.
Right behind the town hall of San Nicolas is the majestic Taal Lake.
The boats that can take you to the volcano island are docked on the pier behind
the town hall. You can inquire about boat rides from the people in the town hall.
The boats can take you to either of two destinations on the island. One is to a
point where you can start a hike to the crater's highest point called the "ridge" where you can
get a bird's eye view of the crater lake and the other to a point where you can start a hike
to the crater lake itself. We chose to go on a hike to the crater lake itself.
Total hike distance from the boat landing point to the crater lake and back is about 6.2km.
Because of the steep terrain and soft (and hot) nearly powder-like ash surface,
the hike takes nearly 4 hrs (four 10-minute rest/stops included).
If you like, you can hire a horse and save yourself about 4.5km worth of hike.
But even on horseback, you have still have to hike 1.6km as there is a portion of
trail down the crater where the terrain is too steep for horses to pass.
Bring lots of drinking water. Probably double the amount of water that
you would normally take on a hike of similar distance. It is one hot hike, very little
shade, hot ground and steep climbs.
Waypoint narrative by: EPPGarcia 2002 follow EPPGarcia on Facebook