Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Trail to the Taal Lake and Volcano

Fifteen years ago, my college friends and I were almost that close to seeing the Crater Lake up close when we had our lunch by the banks of the Taal Lake in Talisay, Batangas.

Fast forward to last week. Finally, I made a trek together with my Pink Family travel group to the Taal Lake and Volcano and the lake within the volcano.

As the sun rose, we were cruising down the long stretch of the South Luzon Expressway towards Batangas. After about a little over an hour, we reached the Tanauan Exit, got off at the intersection and proceeded to the terminal near the exit to take a Talisay-bound jeepney. Since we were a large group, instead of dropping off at the Talisay market to take a tricycle to the Taal Lake Yacht Club or the TLYC (jump-off point to Taal Volcano), we requested the driver to take us directly to the yacht club.

I looked for Sonia Lucero who is the caretaker of the resort, presented to her the bank deposit slip and registered the group, and made arrangements for our lunch. At around 9:30 A.M., we were already in the Taal Lake en route to the volcano. Contrary to popular belief, the crater lake cannot be found within the most photographed, almost cone-shaped volcano from Tagaytay ridge. It is found in that land mass behind it, in Brgy. Pulo.

The ride

Contrary to popular belief,
the crater lake is not found within this picturesque land mass.

There are three trails to choose from: the Regular Tourist Trail, the Kenney Trail (named after US Ambassador Kenney) and the Secret Trail. The inner lake can only be reached via the Secret Trail so our group decided to take this trail (also known as the Calauit Trail) and we had Manong Marcelito and Christian as our guides. The trek to the ridge and down to the crater lake is manageable even for newbies. There are horses that can be rented out at Php 750.00 for the duration of the trek.

Christian, our guide.

Another guide, the very fit Manong Marcelito.
We never saw him huff and puff during the trek.

It took us forty minutes to reach the view deck. We stopped here for about thirty (30) minutes to get some rest, enjoy the breathtaking view of the lake and take photos.

Then it was time to descend to the crater lake. Many times, we found ourselves slipping as we would lose our grip on the rolling stones and pebbles. It didn't bother us as it was all part of the experience and it was kinda fun when we would all slide like falling dominoes. 

Finally, after 30 minutes, we reached the lake. According to our guide, there is a portion where swimming is allowed while the other areas are restricted due to its high sulphuric content. 

We stayed inside the crater for almost an hour and it was really hot at high noon. Then it was time to go back to TLYC. The trek back to the boat took us about an hour and a half.  

The water in the lake was rough on our way back to the yacht club and as expected, we were drenched. When we reached the TLYC, our lunch was already being set in our cottage. We had sinigang na hipon, grilled tilapia, liempo and chicken. 

TLYC has several cottages that can accommodate large groups. Camps can be pitched at the TLYC grounds. There are also other activities apart from the volcano tour such as sailing. You can bring food without being charged a corkage fee. The yacht club also has a convenience store at the reception area, manned by Sonia Lucero. 

For more details and reservation, you may check out the TLYC website here.

Here's a breakdown of our expenses for a group of ten:

Volcano Tour (Php 7,100.00 for 10 pax) -  Php 710.00
Pasay - Tanauan Exit (Bus)                      -  Php   95.00
Tanauan Exit - TLYC                                -  Php   36.00
Food (prepared by TLYC) and Drinks       -  Php  378.50
TLYC - Talisay                                         -  Php    20.00
Talisay - Tanauan                                    -  Php    26.00
Tanauan - Makati (Van)                            -  Php  100.00

Total expense per pax                             -  Php1,365.50

(We also gave additional tips to our guides.)

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Thank you for visiting Traipsing Chronicles. I hope you will continue walking with me as I wander and see the world. Cheers!

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