Taal: An Island within a Lake on an Island within a Lake on an Island
Located in Tagaytay in Luzon, just an hour and a half by car from Manila, Taal Volcano has a complex and unique landscape and offers one of the most picturesque views in the Philippines. Taal Lake is a freshwater lake that partly fills the Taal Caldera, a large collapsed area formed during prehistoric eruptions. Within the lake is the nine-square-mile Volcano Island, which is the active part of the volcano and consists of at least 47 cones and craters, including the Binintiang Malaki cinder cone, which looks how you imagine a volcano should. In the center of Volcano Island is the crater lake, which hosts a small rocky island called Vulcan Point. So there is an island within a lake on an island (which is a volcano) within a lake on an island! (Vulcan Point is in the crater lake on Volcano Island, which is in Taal Lake, which is on the island of Luzon.) The volcano has not erupted since the seventies, though there are occasional signs of unrest. Visiting Taal's crater lake is a great day-trip option: You hop on a boat across Taal Lake to Volcano Island, where you can hike or ride on horseback to the crater lake. Or you can simply take in the great vistas from Tagaytay, enjoying the cool weather and exploring the many places to eat.
By Tina Lim, AFAR Local Expert
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Volcano and Vista
The view from the Vista's of Tagaytay Ridge are some of the most breathtaking in the Batangas Region of the Philippines. Taal may be one of the smallest volcanoes however it is one of the most active in the country. Posh resorts can be found at lake level, juxtaposed by impoverished communities.
See and Climb A Real Volcano
This is a great day trip from Manila, about a 2-hour drive on little bit of highway and lots of winding local roads. There is a lake in the middle of the volcano which is in the middle of a larger lake. Take a half-hour boat trip to the volcano island and then you can hike in about 45 minutes (or be led quicker on a horse for a nominal fee) to the top for a beautiful view into the inner lake and of the surrounding area. (Do this in the morning before it gets really hot.) There are some VERY basic concessions available at the summit, but no place to have a real meal there. You can have lunch of freshly caught fish plus traditional Filipino dishes in private lakeside huts when you take a boat back from the volcano. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
By Robin Simon
Wander Around the Volcano Island
It's actually a volcano on an island within a volcano on an island. Tricky I know, but it's quite true. The island you can access by boat and surrounding the giant lake is a looping road filled with food markets and local shops.
By Nick Pachelli, AFAR Contributor