Taal Volcano is one of nature’s greatest wonders nearest to Manila. An hour drive to Tagaytay will showcase the remarkably gorgeous view of this jewel situated in the middle of Taal Lake. Arguably the country’s 2nd most popular volcano next to Mt. Mayon of Legaspi, this little stunner’s beauty, however, is not about to settle for 2nd best. While many would content themselves merely seeing this stunner from afar, we thought of witnessing it up close delighting ourselves with a little adventure by hiking to Taal Volcano’s crater.
Allow me to show what it’s like up there.
Gaining an elevation of 311++ MASL, the hike to Taal Volcano’s crater doesn’t seem too challenging. However it is no longer my habit to underestimate any mountain so I expected everything from the best to the worst. Starting the adventure in Tagaytay, we rode a tricycle going to Talisay, Batangas. From there we hired a boat to take us to Taal Island. The boat ride lasted around 25 minutes. Arriving at the docks, we immediately walked to the registration area to pay the entrance fees then soon after, we started the hike.
From the registration area, we walked along a grass covered land for about 2 minutes then went on to walk on a concrete path passing by some locals and their horses offering us a ride. We continued to walk on the concreted road for about 5 minutes before turning left to a dirt path. The flat dirt road stretched to about 2KM before finally reaching the junction. There we had our tickets inspected by some staffs from the Tourism Office then went on.
The trail past the junction is gradually ascending. It was badly beaten and hikers will need to also share it with horses. We trekked along with other hikers consisted mostly of Koreans and Taiwanese tourists. Horses going down are some obstacles we needed to be careful with but this part of the hike, in general, is pretty easy. After probably 15 minutes, we reached the first resting camp.
We continued the hike after taking a 5-minute breather along the gradually ascending trail. This hike should pretty much be easy but the sun was slowing me down. One thing to always keep in mind if you don’t wanna have a hard time in the mountains is to start early. That way you wouldn’t have to battle your way against the scorching heat of the sun. Although the trail from the first resting camp to the next is shaded, we just happen to have hiked during an extremely hot day.
The trail from the first resting station to the next stretched to about 3KM but you wouldn’t mind the long hike as you will be entertained with the panoramic view of Mt. Tabaro and Taal Lake the moment you finish it. From the 2nd resting hut, the trek that follows is pretty easy. Probably the easiest part of the trail as it will be along flat, soft earth which would stretch for about another 2KM. You will find another resting hut before finally taking the last stretch of the hike to the viewing deck.
From the final resting hut, the trail that follows is comprised of steep ascents coupled with the hot sulfur steam emitted from the ground. If you happen to be hiking under the midday sun then this would be your greatest challenge. It will take about 15-25 minutes to finish the final stretch before reaching the resting stations just a few meters under the viewing deck. It seems pretty short of a time but if the sun has always been your weakness then just like me, you’ll find the final stretch taking for as long as forever.
We skipped the viewing deck as it was too crowded with tourists and other hikers. Instead, we went straight to the so-called Red Lava which promises an unobstructed view of the crater lake. From the resting camp we walked to the right for about five minutes. We arrived at a gated entrance to the Red Lava. We paid an additional P50 each to be allowed entry. A couple of muddy slopes along overgrown bushes later, we arrived in Red Lava.
As promised, Red Lava offers a breathtaking 360-degree scenery of Taal Lake and the faraway mountains of Maculot and Batulao. The Taal Volcano crater looked so immaculate in a pool of emerald green water. Another factor that made the scene so dramatic was the crimson red color of earth and the hot sulfuric fumes it emitted. Red Lava gave us all the best things Taal Volcano can offer which made the additional P50 totally worth it.
HOW TO GO THERE
From Buendia Bus Terminal, ride a Nasugbu bound DLTB bus going to Tagaytay (1.5Hrs ; P82.50). Alight the bus in Olivares or in Rotunda just in front of the Police Station. From there hire a tricycle going to Talisay or to your contacted boat station (30Min ; P150/tric/3pax). Pay the fees then ride a boat going to Taal Volcano Island (20Min ; P2000/boat/7pax).
USEFUL TIPS BEFORE YOUR TRAVEL
- The hike to the crater of Taal Volcano in general is easy although visitors are encouraged to get a guide for their tour.
- The tourism office is open as early as 4AM to accommodate visitors.
- Taal Volcano isn’t just for hikers and adventure seekers. Those who wish to witness the beguiling beauty of this little mountain but dreads the arduous task of hiking can simply get a horse and ride their way up for a fee of P500.
- The trail going up Taal Volcano is mostly bare so start your hike early in the day to avoid the sun on extremely hot days.
- The last stretch of the hike is the toughest as temperature tend to rise due to sulfuric steams from the ground.
- Bring enough water and hydration packs as those sold in Taal are really expensive. Bet you wouldn’t wanna pay P100 for a bottle of Gatorade.
- Going all the way down to the crater is no longer allowed.
- The tricycle ride back from Talisay to Tagaytay can cost double the price of you going there. Say P150 to take you to Talisay but going back can cost P300-P500.
INTERESTING PLACES TO STAY AT AFTER YOUR HIKE
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES, SAMPLE ITINERARY & OTHER ESSENTIALS
|SUMMARY OF EXPENSES (Commute/5Pax)||Round Trip Bus @ P82.50 - P165
Tric Tagaytay-Talisay @ P150x2/5 - P60
Tric Talisay-Tagaytay @ P300x2/5 - P120
Boat @ P2000/5 - P400
Guide Fee @ P500/5 - P100
Taal Port Landing Fee @ P50/5 - P10
Environmental Fee - P100
Food - P200
Total <<>> P1,155
|SAMPLE ITINERARY||0330 Assembly Buendia Bus Station
0400 ETD Tagaytay
0500 ETA Tagaytay Rotunda
0530 ETA Talisay Boat Station
0600 ETA Taal Volcano Tourism Office. Register. Breakfast
0700 Start Hike
0900 Taal Volcano Crater. Photo Ops.
1000 Start Descent
1100 Tourism Office
1200 ETA Talisay Boat Station. Lunch.
1300 Tagaytay. Tour People's Park | Skyranch
1600 ETD Manila
|THINGS TO BRING||2L Water
First Aid Kit
|LIST OF FEES TO PAY||Boat Rental (7pax capacity) - P2000
Environmental Fee - P100 (Adults) : P50 (Child)
Guide Fee (Optional) - P500/7pax
Horse Backriding (Optional) - P500/head
Red Lava Viewpoint Fee - P50
|CONTACT INFO||J-Cel Boat Station - 0920 294 1735|
This adventure to Taal Volcano simply proved to us the fascination both locals and foreign tourist has for her extraordinary beauty. She is absolutely stunning that a visit would never be a time wasted. So there you go! For questions, comments, suggestions and/or violent reactions, just leave them below.
Don’t forget to share! Until next time. Ciao!