The Taal volcano has had over 30 eruptions through the years with increasing seismic activity since 1991 and considered one of 16 Decade Volcanoes in the world. Its caldera is near the middle of Taal Lake, one of the most picturesque locations in the Philippines. Some might think trekking this area, is dangerous, but with constant monitoring, it’s safe.
After arriving in Tagatay, you’ll fist need to secure passage on a boat to cross Taal Lake to reach the trailhead. When you arrive near the lake area, there are scores of people ready to help you. There’s little worry about picking which one, since the boat prices are regulated. The fixed price for round-trip passage on a boat is 1500PP. It’s an easy ride and takes about 20 minutes.
When you arrive on shore, leave your boat behind (don’t worry, it will be there when you get back). Head over to the Tourism Center to pay the fees: Environmental Fee (50pp PAX), Guide (500pp), and Landing Fee (paid upon departure: 50pp). At this point you also have the option of getting horses to make the ascent to the view area. This will run you an additional 450pp PAX.
The hike up is fairly easy, but dusty. Many opt to forgo the walk and ride the horses, which I think is a shame, since the walk it quite beautiful and you get a chance to see some of the sulfur vents. It takes less than an hour for most. Once at the top, you have an amazing view of the caldera lake. The sari-sari stores at the top that have several snacks, water, and of course, San Miguel.
There are additional trails on the island (like one that goes down to the lake), but it is at least twice as long as the more frequented trail.
So how much did this all run us?
Car and Driver: 700pp
Road Tolls: 350pp
Environmental Fees: 100pp
Landing Fee: 50pp
Total: 3200pp or 71.03USD.
Not bad for a single, private excursion. Also, if you’re looking to make your time memorable, the main Starbucks sits on the ridge overlooking the Taal Lake and has some breathtaking views.