I shot this with my GoPro. It definitely helps to have a portable camera while you’re riding a horse or climbing, etc. I am glad I left my DSLR in my hotel for this trip since I had to move around a lot and it was over 100 degrees.
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Quick background – Taal Volcano is a volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It’s the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. You can relax about that last part though because it hasn’t erupted since 1977. All of the eruptions are focused in the middle of Taal Lake and that is where Taal Volcano is. It is on it’s own island.
The crater lake on Volcano Island is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world. Now read that last sentence again — it wasn’t a typo 🙂
Some of the below photos may help illustrate that clearer.
So essentially, Taal has an island within a lake, that is on an island within a lake, that is on an island: Vulcan Point Island is within Main Crater Lake, which is on Volcano Island, which is within Taal Lake, which is on the main Philippine Island, Luzon.
Ways to Get There
First off you will need to make your way to Tagaytay City.
- By Bus – I hear it costs around Php 120.00, a lot of bus companies offer rides to Tagaytay. It is said that it’s best to choose those who are marked as “Mendez-Tagaytay-Nasugbu”. If in doubt, ask several locals and see what the common answer is. Whatever you do, leave early in the morning as this will most likely be an all day or half day excursion.
- By Car/Taxi – If you take a taxi make sure they give you a flat rate. The girl I went with lives there and had a friend of hers take us for $1,000 PHP (around $20 USD) roundtrip if I remember correctly. Again, leave early in the morning because traffic is horrible there and I left from Manila so it was about an hour drive. We left at 8am and came back near 5pm and got stuck in the traffic coming back. If you’re going to deal with traffic you want to fight it on the way back not on the way there AND back.
Once You’re There
- Once you reach Tagaytay, go to Talisay Bay. Whether you take a tricycle, jeepney or drive by car be careful because the roads are steep and there is a lot of people.
- Now you’ll need to hire a boat to take you to Taal Volcano Island. There should be several boat rental services that provide you a round trip boat ride to and from the island. I paid about 1,000 PHP for the boat ride. Others out there were charging up to 5,000 PHP so make sure you don’t get hustled!
- When you get to the island you will have the option of hiking up the mountain by foot or by horse. I tried both. Riding the horse hurts your ass but in my opinion is a better option than walking unless you just like to walk.
- You will get a guide with the horse, one of the locals who will walk with you and the horse up the entire mountain.
- If you walk just know either way your shoes will be destroyed by the end of the day but there’s a lot of places you will step in horse shit and loose rocks. If that’s cool with you then no big deal.
- Bring your own water. It will be very hot and dusty. You will sweat like all get out and on your like everyone will be trying to sell you water at inflated prices — like I said before, don’t get hustled. They will also want you to buy water for your tour guide as well. If you bring your own bottled water then you’re ahead of the game.
Below is some footage I shot while hiking up the mountain using my GoPro.
Again, bring lots of water so you don’t have to buy any on the way up! The vendors pretty much try to sell you anything they can think of but if you’re thirsty in that 100 degree weather the water begins to look like GOLD if you don’t have any.
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