The Smallest Active Volcano in the World
At just 7 hours after returning from Taipei back into Manila, our last day in the Philippines would become a special surprise thanks to our Philippine friends who planned this day on our backs and told us just once we were about to take the plane into Manila the night before. The magnificent Taal Volcano National Park. What best way to end this great trip than spending the last day with them and enjoying these marvellous landscapes and nature merely 2 hours south of Manila.
The heat again played against us, although I keep saying that I totally don’t mind the heat, but mind the cold. We were anyway lucky towards the afternoon, with the refreshing thunderstorm out of the sudden. Quite unexpected, but kept the rest of the day under clouds and fresh air. This is part of the magic in here, the unexpected. And not precisely talking about rain, but how about a volcanic eruption? Mind that this is one of the most active in the world, and as recent as early 2020 it has put the area on a stand-still once again.
Reaching this place is really straightforward and comfortable. For at least half of the way there is a good motorway where you need to pay several times for tolls along the way, while for the remaining of the journey this will be a single lane road in each direction. With just some traffic near one mall you will pass along the way, there seems to be no complication at all.
Although this guide will be quite explicit as there is not too much to be said, it’s a good point of orientation to know where you might head to. The photo album below speaks for itself with the beauty of this place, making it a very well worth it day trip from Manila if you count with a day to spare. Bearing our incredibly busy agenda, we really thank our friends for taking us there, otherwise we would have never had the time or even know this place existed.
Taal volcano is the smallest most active volcano and one of the 16 decade volcanoes in the world; the second most active in the Philippines and it’s located right in the middle of a much older former caldera, nowadays a lake. It’s an island in the lake, and as a curiosity, another of the tips we did not know until my friend told us, the “volcano” you see from any of the viewing points around the lake is not the actual volcano!. It’s just a coincidence that the shape of this mount is exactly as how a volcano looks like. The proper volcano we are talking is even smaller than this mount, and it’s farther behind, almost impossible to spot.
In any case, it does not matter if you cannot see much of the proper volcano itself; the views over the island and the many other smaller ones, lake and the mountains in the background is breathtaking enough.
Being a very popular day out for the residents of Manila, expect the weekends to be very full. Filipino people love picnics and barbecues and being in family, therefore keep in mind you won’t be the only person around but you will still have space enough for your perfect pictures with no one in the front.
Now how about getting one of the best cassava cakes you can get? That will be easy, along the way (obviously along the section which is not the motorway) you will see lots of small shops selling them, freshly just made. Not to mention pineapples! The whole region is famous for them. Stop by any vendor along the road and they will cut it for you and make ready to eat.
For more information about Taal check Wikipedia site. The Philippine’s currency is the Peso (PHP, ₱). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
How to get to Taal Volcano from Manila
As explained above, the easiest and most convenient way to reach this place is by car. The flexibility you will have to move around to other viewing points is something you won’t be able to enjoy if you come by bus. In any case, buses do come here, you will need one to Tagaytay which is a short distance to the main picnic area overlooking the volcano and lake. It’s at the end a bit more of a hassle and time consuming, but still perfectly possible, therefore no excuse to anyone in saying you cannot go because you don’t have a car.
As this was a short trip from Manila, our base, I can say nothing with regards accommodation in or around this place. It is for sure a very desirable place among toursits, and several guest houses are everywhere, however it’s best if you check all what relates to the hotels we stayed in Manila in the relevant guide.