Tagaytay – A Trip To The Top
You can climb just about any mountain in the world, but have you ever trekked to the top of an active volcano that sits right in the middle of a freshwater lake?
Despite the volcano’s live state, however, it has become one of the most famous climbable peaks in the country.
Taal Volcano’s memorable crater adorns postcards, maps, books, magazines, postage stamps and websites. Its uneven summit provides a stark contrast to the relative calm of the lake around it.
Travelling to Tagaytay.
Before you can reach Taal Lake and the volcano itself, you first have to travel up to Tagaytay City, a few kilometres and only one hour south of Metro Manila. The city itself is a tourist attraction in its own right, boasting a cool climate and expansive views of the lake and mountains. Along the main highway, you can also find a treasure trove of specialty restaurants, hotels, fruit stands, souvenir stores and coffee shops to satisfy your cravings.
However, if it’s the volcano you’re truly after, you better get the right gear to make sure that you will be comfortable all throughout the trip.
It’s best to pack hiking boots or a sturdy pair of rubber shoes or sandals, sunglasses, shirt and shorts. You wouldn’t mountain climbing equipment to get to the top, but the least you can do is to wear baggy and light clothing to keep you as cool as possible.
Getting To The Lakeside.
You can pick any one of these people to take you to Taal, but try to haggle first so you can bring down the price to a more affordable and reasonable level.
If you’re bringing your own car, the boatman will ride with you to their guest house and berth. The paved highway to the lake has been cut from the mountainsides, so be prepared for a tricky 45-minute drive as you negotiate the natural twists and turns of the landscape.
Upon arrival, you will be treated to a beautiful view of lake and sky, with the majestic Taal Volcano dominating the scene. If you brought a lot of stuff with you, you can leave them with the guest house manager first so you can travel light. To get to the volcano itself, you have to take a 45-minute boat ride across the lake on an outrigger motorboat.
A Long Way Up
Once you’ve landed on the volcano’s “island”, you will be offered to trek to the very top via horseback. If you’re a little more adventurous, you can hike to the top on your own, but be sure to follow the other horseback riders so you won’t get lost.
The path is rocky and the ride bumpy, but the views all around more than make up for the slight discomfort of riding a horse for at least an hour.
There are times when you will have to dismount as the guide coaxes it across a fallen tree branch or a particularly narrow pass, but it still beats walking for hours to get to the top on foot.
From The Mouth Of The Volcano
The view from Taal’s summit is as breathtaking as you can imagine. You can take as many pictures as you want—of the volcano’s landscape, of the exclusive villages tucked in the mountain slopes, of the boats and fish pens dotting the lakeside, of the blue sky and the clouds scudding across it, and of the other mountains beyond.
The crater itself is most wondrous thing: it features a sulfurous lake inside where you can actually bathe if there are no irregular seismic activities or temperature fluctuations at the time of your visit.
Even from the lip of the crater you can see yellow blotches on the lake’s surface, which belies the water’s high sulphur content.
No other volcano in the world can offer you this kind of vista.