“Will the real Taal Volcano please stand up.”
This trip was way overdue. After years of constant planning and rescheduling, we finally found a hiking trip me and my high school friends can go to. Though, it was only the three of us, it’s a start. Also, we were joined by some of our friend’s friends so we got to meet new hike buddies. It’s a relatively simple hike and the best of all, budget friendly. Two hours away from manila, and an hour hike takes you to this breathtaking view on top of the smallest active volcano in the world!
TAAL VOLCANO: OVERVIEW
Contrary to popular belief the little volcano featured in post cards and text books labeled as Taal Volcano in Batangas is not the actual Taal volcano. That little show-stealer is actually called Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg) and is a dead volcano located at the northwestern part of the Volcano island. It was the center of eruptions in 1707 and 1715. The real Taal volcano on the other hand is at the center of the island, still active with 47 craters, and holds a lake inside which is the main crater. On that lake is a small rocky island called the Vulcan Point which is a remnant of the old crater floor. So basically it’s an island (Vulcan Point) within a lake (Main Crater Lake) within an island (Volcano Island) within a lake (Taal Lake) within an island (Luzon). Inception! (∩╹□╹∩)
PLANNING THE TRIP
At first we were just thinking of a summer destination where my high school friends and I could go. Then came the talk about schedules and budget. We eventually decided to do a day hike, somewhere near and for beginners. Our friend Xian (kimi-hana) who has climbed several mountains already suggested to do Taal Volcano. It also helped that she has a friend whose hometown is Talisay, Batangas which the jump-off point for boats going to the volcano island. Xian also invited some of her friends from work and other hiking friends so we had formed a group of 6.
The plan was to meet at the bus station going to Tagaytay at 2am then have breakfast. Start the approximately 2.5hr travel to Tagaytay at around 3am then ride a tricycle down to Talisay. At Talisay, we’ll meet up with Leni (the friend who’s from Talisay) and ride the boat to Volcano Island. Start the trek by around 6am, reach the summit by 8am, stay for the view and pictures, and be back at Talisay by lunch or earlier. We were discussing things we could do after the hike and we decided to have lunch at a resort in Talisay c/o Leni (thank you very much) and chill there before going back to Manila. Again, rough itinerary but somehow worked. (๑>ᴗ<๑) Find out how it went:
There are 2 ways of commuting to Talisay, Batangas: via Tanauan and via Tagaytay.
If taking the Tanauan route,board a bus bound to Batangas city (via Tanauan not Calabarzon) and get off at Tanauan town proper. From there, ride a jeepney going to Talisay then take a tricycle to take you to the port.
If you choose to go via Tagaytay, board a bus going to Nasugbu and alight at Tagaytay rotonda where you can ride a tricycle going down to Talisay.
We chose the Tagaytay route because it’s more familiar.
Basically we started late but lucky so everything went quite smoothly. Someone *cough Xian cough* overslept lol so we met with the others at McDonald’s near the bus station around 4am where they had some breakfast. (I’m on intermittent fasting so boo-hoo) After eating we boarded a bus going to Nasugbu at DLTB bus line. Since we were not really sure where to get off at Tagaytay we repeatedly asked the bus conductor to drop us of where we could get a tricycle to Talisay. That conductor didn’t just guide us where to get off but got us a tricycle as well! Bless his soul haha! So we traveled down this long curvy road down to Talisay and met up with Leni at the docks. She got us a boat and guide for the trek. The published rate for boats going to Volcano Island is 2,000php/boat good for 7pax and you can get a guide for 500php or opt to ride a horse for 500php/person 2 way trip.
(Tip#1 Suit up for the cold. Especially when travelling in the early morning on an open tricycle/multicab, the cold wind blows right to your face.)
(Tip#2 You can actually choose not to get a guide, the path up the summit is pretty much a straight line and they have the station of the cross you can follow. Also, when you go on weekends, there’s a lot of people going up so you can just follow them.)
The boat ride to the island was kinda wild. The waves kept splashing water onto us so I had to bring out my umbrella for shield. When we got to the island, there’ s an environmental/registration fee of 500php/boat (I think regardless of the number of persons on the boat, we paid for everything before we went off so the boat driver/guide made the arrangements at the registration). There are a lot of vendors selling us masks telling us it would be dusty on the way and we would need them. They ar selling the disposable mask for 20php each but we didn’t get one cause YOLO (jk), well cause everyone kept walking and thought we don’t need them. Well~ true enough, because of the wind and the horses, we literally ate dust as we trekked.
(Tip#3 Bring mask and protective eyewear. It’s better to wear closed shoes or you can put on socks with trekking sandals becaus the path is sandy and rocky.)
We were lucky to have started the trek with the air still cool and the sun wasn’t that high up yet. Taal has the station of the cross,to our surprise, and since we hiked on Palm Sunday, it was a nice coincidence.
We started chill and then came the assault! When they said simple hike, it did not occur to me that there were some steep rocky roads. My body was not ready! haha! I should’ve strecthed (≧▽≦) Though it wasn’t like the other mountains, Taal only has few short assaults but man~ did I feel assaulted haha!
Anyway, all was worth it because the view from the top was breathtaking! We had an awesome time taking pictures with the main crater and at red lava (50php entrance).
(Tip#4 It’s best to start trek early so it won’t be too hot going up and there are less people at the top.)
By thetime we got back to Talisay, it was already lunch time. We were fortunate to have Leni prepare lunch for us, freshly delivered by her parents. Thank you so much! (♡´౪`♡) We ate at Foothills Resort, rested and had a swim. We were supposed to only relax and swim for a bit before returning to Manila but the water at the resort (I think the whole area) was cut off. We had to wait for the water to come back so we could shower and before we know it it was already night time haha!
(Tip#5 There are a lot of options for side trips after Taal hike. There are a lot of lakeside resorts you can relax and have a swim or you can go up to Tagaytay for a chill hang out. If you finish the hike early, you can also go to Batangas beaches or the famous Fantasy World in Lemery.)
GOING BACK TO MANILA
We chose not to go back via the Tagaytay route because it was already late and we might get stuck in traffic since it was a Sunday and people are getting back to Manila where they usually take the routes from Tagaytay. We went ahead and follow the way home via Tanauan as instructed by Leni.
- Tricycle to Talisay town proper (jeepney station going to Tanauan)
- Jeepney to Tanauan public market
- Tricycle to Manila Bus Stop
- Bus back to Manila
At Tanauan town proper, we didn’t ride a tricycle to the bus stop since we were looking fo ATM adn it was a walkable distance from where the jeep stopped. We thought he Manila Bus Stop was station for buses bound to Manila, but it was really just a bus stop where you wait for buses going to Manila. We couldn’t find a bus so we decided to eat dinner at KFC while waiting. Right as we finished our food an empty bus bound to Buendia stopped infront of KFC and we hurriedly hopped on.
Breakdown of expenses:
- 100php Uber to Buendia
- 083php DLTB bus to Tagaytay
- 070php Multicab to Talisay
- 333php boat + environmental fee (2000/6)
- 083php guide (500/6)
- 260php Foothill resort
- 015php Trike to Talisay town proper
- 020php Jeep to Tanauan public market
- 064php KFC dinner
- 096php Jam bus to Buendia
total = 1124php
check out Xian’s entry on our Taal hike >>> Kimi-hana: Explore Taal Volcano （＾∀＾）