Taal Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines. Though it can also be considered as one of the smallest volcanoes on the planet, it has the most seismic activity ever recorded in the Philippines and can erupt at any time when it wants to.
We certainly had the chance to visit this famous mountain one hot summer day this 2018 thru the help of Batangas Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO) #LakbayLawaFamTour.
There are three main entry points to the crater: Talisay, Cuenca, and San Nicolas. The best route to be there is in the municipality of San Nicolas as they have the easiest and the best route for trekking to the mouth of the crater and experience its waters said to have healing capabilities. climb Taal volcano
How to get to the town of San Nicolas, Batangas?
San Nicolas can be reached through STAR tollways and exiting at Lipa. Head toward Cuenca and pass thru Alitagtag, Sta. Teresita, and San Nicolas.
To travel by bus:
Take a bus going to Lemery and then another jeepney ride to San Nicolas. Drop off at the Municipal Hall and look for the tourism office. climb Taal volcano
When to Visit Taal Volcano?
The Taal Volcano is accessible throughout the whole year but the most advisable time us during the sunny days because trekking in the rainy season could be difficult and dangerous due to the mud and slimy terrains.
Taal Volcano Hiking Experience
Because it’s summer season, the terrain is dry, and when we got there, it certainly was the driest and the dustiest hike I have ever experienced. Every step is like on a dessert, full of dust and soil. We came from San Nicolas municipality and rode a boat to get to the jump-off point of the trail.
There are two options you can try: (1) Walk by Foot or (2) Riding a horse. Being adventurous I am, I trekked by foot. The hike will be about from 1 hour to 2 hours walk depending on your pacing.
Note: Riding a horse costs 500.00 going up and down.
The trek was honestly easy if not for the heat. climb Taal volcano
If you are going to trek to the crater, I advise the following.
1. Bring at least 1-2 liters of water to help keep you hydrated during the trek.
2. The best time to trek is from 4 am to 9 am or 4 pm to sunset. Any time beyond that feels like hell (especially in the summer).
3. When the sun is out, please bring your sun protection lotions aka sunblock and apply at least every two hours.
4. If you don’t like the heat, do not push yourself to climb up. You’re just gonna be punishing yourself.
5. It doesn’t matter if you’re like a ninja with your hiking outfit, that’s more preferable than revealing more skin to the sun rays.
6. Don’t mind if you bring an umbrella, that’s just hiking smart and protecting yourself.
7. You are allowed to swim on the lake, so if you’re going, bring an extra shirt.
8. You may ride the horse at any time you feel like it.
9. Wear comfortable shoes. Two or three of my friends walked back with destroyed sandals or shoes.
The first few walks going up will be terribly easy as you still have trees and branches to cling to and as well, they provide shed. After the first 20 mins, you’ll feel a little tired but if you really want to see the crater, just go. My advice is to keep going and do not rest every five minutes so you can retain your momentum and that way you won’t get too tired easily.
Once you reach the point where there are black sands (eroded black lava), you will see a great scenery of the Taal Lake and its surroundings. You may opt to rest for a while. On this point also are the horses you can ride for a fee. We took some pictures of course.
The local tour guide told us that some of the people are also camping here. I am just not sure if an overnight stay is allowed now though, but I would love to try it. climb Taal volcano
Taal Crater View Deck
The next beautiful spot is the Taal Crater view deck. The local tour guide told us that some of the climbers are staying here for a while enjoying the good breeze and their glass of halo-halo. During weekends, there are halo-halo and soft drinks/water sellers in this area, however, since we went there on a weekday, there was none. We just enjoyed the scenery.
After getting mesmerized by the beauty of Taal Crater in the view deck, we were then headed to the Taal Crater itself. As mentioned, San Nicolas entry is the only way you can experience the waters of the Taal Crater. If you entered on the side of Cuenca, you will only be able to take a picture of it from above.
Now, heading to the Taal Crater itself is easier. It’s more of a downhill terrain. However, since we came here during the summer season where heat is indispensable, you better prepare yourself for massive dust particles and slippery steps brought by the drought. Literally, it’s like dessert downhill the crater. The soil is super dry.
But after a few walks and more bags of dust, you will truly be enchanted by how the crater looks up front.
It has this greenish-blue color of the water and rocks with the color of orange due to the sulfur and the chemicals it produces. The water wasn’t hot, it’s rather cold but it’s no drinkable. When you put the water in a clear bottle, it’s yellowish due to the sulfuric acid content. climb Taal volcano
Taal Crater (a lake within a lake)
The Taal Crater was surreal, more mesmerizing than the view deck. If only I am not wearing a white shirt, I would have jumped in to experience the water. The sulfur content on the lake is safe, I’m not sure if though if your eyes are okay to take the acid it has.
If you’re an adventurer with a good sense of fashion, you’ll love being a fairy in here. The water’s color surely blends in with nature and white. You sure will look lovely. That’s for your #OOTD!
We spent a couple of minutes in the lake, took pictures and videos, and rest as well.
Here’s the most dreaded part of the journey, going back to the base, to where started the trek. The heat was terrible and we were trekking in the middle of the day! That wasn’t the easy part. So really take note of the bits of advice I have written earlier. One more thing, “Don’t drink all your water on the way to the crater!”
After roughly 45 mins to 1 hour of walking under the scorching heat of the sun, I was able to go down to the base. Halfway to the track, I have advanced my pace and had my other walking companions left behind. It was really freaking hot I don’t wanna see the sun anymore for the next two hours HAHA! Most of our team also rented a horse on the way back to make it easier for them. climb Taal volcano
As mentioned earlier, it was an easy track and trek if not for the extreme heat of the sun.
Black Lava Walk
Taal Volcano’s eruption created a series of black molten lava throughout the whole island. It was unexpectedly beautiful! It’s a must experience when you are already there!
The government has created a pave way for the tourists to witness the beauty that lies in the hardened black lava that the volcano created a few years ago. It now has trees and a number migratory birds living in the area.
Fortunately, this Instagramable vista of the black lava walk is truly a blessing because it has cool waves touching your dehydrated skin (if coming from the trek). You can take a few minutes of rest in here and just enjoy the views it gives your eyes.
Suggested Itinerary to Taal Volcano
3:00 AM : Bus to Lemery to San Nicolas
3:45 AM: Boat to Taal Crater jump-off
5:00 AM : Start Trek to Taal Crater
5:30 AM : Reach View Deck
6:00 AM : Start trek from View deck to Taal Crater
6:25 AM : ETA Taal Crater / Breakfast (packed)
7:30 AM : Start Trek back to the Base
8:30 AM : ETA Jump off point / Start Lava Walk
9:00 AM : ETD Back to San Nicolas municipality
Things to Bring:
1. Sunblock climb Taal volcano
2. Water (at least 2 liters)
3. Extra shirt
4. Umbrella (if you are too afraid of the heat)
5. Camera for photo ops
6. Extra cash (for food and tour guide/horseback riding fees)
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