Mount Taal Volcano: An Easy Day Trip From Manila, Philippines
During my second visit to the Philippines during my round the world trip, I took a day trip to Mount Taal from Manila. I have vague memories of going to Mount Taal and Tagaytay with my family when I was about 5 years old. In 2012, so I could explore as I wished, I stayed in a guest house in Manila rather than with my family. Other travellers at the guesthouse were thinking of going, so I agreed to go also and revisit this active volcano close to Manila.
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What is Mount Taal?
Mount Taal is part of a chain of volcanos on the island of Luzon. Since the formation of the large caldera, more eruptions created another volcanic island, within Taal Lake, known as Volcano Island. Volcano Island is the smallest active volcano in the world.
It is located on an island within a lake within an island which makes it very unusual. Thousands of visitors come to explore the volcanos every year. Even though permanent residence on the island is forbidden by the government, poor families have continued to settle in hopes of earning income through tourism, fishing, and farming crops on the rich volcanic soil.
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While I was in Manila I stayed in a guesthouse in the Makati area of Manila. There were a lot of solo travellers and young backpackers staying there. As we were sitting around talking in the common room, someone mentioned going to visit Mount Taal for the day.
Not having visited since I was five, I wanted to see Mount Taal again. So that we could hire a van just for our group in the guest house, I rallied a crew of people. I don’t recall the exact price for the whole van but I took charge and bartered a price with the tour company. It was roughly $20 each for the whole crew. I love to barter. It’s in my blood.
The trip to Mount Taal takes about 2 hours from Manila to Tagaytay in the Batangas province to the south. From there we got on bangka or catamaran boats that take you across Lake Taal. You arrive at a dock and you either hike up the mountain or ride horses up. It was insanely that day (May 2012) so I negotiated a price for all of us to ride horses up. When we got to the top of the volcano, we ate snacks, drank coconuts, shot photos, and explored.
Tips For Taal
- If you will be in Manila and have time, be sure to ask your hotel concierge/guesthouse management about a day trip to Taal.
- The ride to Mount Taal is about 2 hours each way.
- If you prefer to go with a reputable tour company or are staying at an Air Bnb, Viator has many tours to choose from. Click here or below for a list of tours.
- Check the weather forecast. It gets very hot in the region. I went in May and it was going to be too hot to hike up the volcano so we paid a separate price to ride horses up.
- Bring water or make sure to buy some when you stop at a store.
- Our group did not eat at Taal but we all brought snacks and drinks there.
POPULAR TAAL TOURS WITH VIATOR
Here are photos from my Mount Taal excursion:
Van ride with everyone from our guesthouse
A rooster just hanging out near the lake
We're on a boat!
Someone has crazy boat hair
The terrain to get to the viewpoint
Looking at a volcano in a lake while on a volcano
If you want to hit some balls into the lake, you can!
A little volcano crew
This little toughie cut open my coconut with a machete
Hanging with the volcano locals
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