Cruising around Taal Lake

Taal Volcano Island is now a Bird Watching Site and a Bird Sanctuary
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Travel Guide: Cruising around Taal Lake

A lot of us have already experienced to see a bird’s-eye view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake from various view points in Tagaytay, but only a few have tried getting up close to the beautiful volcano island and cruising around Taal Lake.

View of Taal Volcano Island from Tagaytay
View of Taal Volcano Island from Tagaytay – “Sunrise on Mt. Taal and Mt. Tabaro June 2012 by Steven Rascoe” by Steven Rascoe – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons

Textbooks, postcards and other tourism promotion materials make us aware that Taal Volcano is that small volcano-like island with a huge crater which we see in Tagaytay. That is the same volcano I used to tell my friends whenever I tour them around Tagaytay.

Lima Park Hotel Philippine Hobie Championships
Lima Park Hotel Philippine Hobie Championships

However, during my recent visit to the Taal Lake, I got the surprise of my life. I was informed that the actual volcano was actually on the other side of what was called the “Volcano Island.”

The dormant Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg) Crater is the center of the 1707 & 1715 eruptions.
The dormant Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg) Crater is the center of the 1707 & 1715 eruptions.
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To start our day off, we went to Taal Lake Yacht Club in Talisay, Batangas to cover the Lima Park Hotel 2016 Philippine Hobie Championship. After being briefed on the race and watching the Hobie Championship participants braving the amihan winds, we headed to the town of Malvar in Batangas to check-in at Lima Park Hotel.

Lima Park Hotel boat named Lady of the Lake
Lima Park Hotel boat named Lady of the Lake

Instead of taking the usual route, which is by land, the organizers decided to give us quite an unusual takeoff at the town of Balete so that we’ll be able to experience how it feels to cruise the lake using their brand new boat capable of carrying more or less 20 passengers (the staff included). Yes, you read that right — cruising!

Cruising Taal Lake
Cruising Taal Lake

While enjoying the bliss of Taal Lake, Lima Park Hotel’s resident tour guide pointed us to the location of the actual volcano. He shared that the one we see today was just a remnant of an 18,000 feet towering volcano. It may seem small now but this volcano is still one of the most active and is probably one of the largest volcanoes in the world.

Volcano Island Up close
Volcano Island Up close

Taal has had at least 41 eruptions since 1572, the biggest of which took place in 1754 and lasted for about six (6) months. The eruption brought night time early in Manila with the city’s people walking around with lanterns at 10 AM. Some suggest that the eruption closed the once open channel and allowed for rainfall to collect into what is now the Taal Lake.

Our tour guide also added that inside the volcano island’s main caldera, there is yet another lake, called the “Crater Lake.” Locals believe that the highly sulfuric lake has medicinal properties.

Taal Lake itself has above normal sulfur content. I believe the lake’s sulfur content is good for the skin, especially if you swim in it regularly.

Fish Pens around Taal Lake
Fish Pens around Taal Lake

As we cruise towards the other side of the volcano island, we also observed a lot of fish pens covering huge parts of the lake. And as we moved towards the shore of the Volcano Island, we were surprised to see a lot of endemic birds as well as migratory birds populating the shores.

Intermediate Egrets at the shores of Taal Volcano Island
Intermediate Egrets at the shores of Taal Volcano Island

It can be remembered that in 2010, flocks of birds, numbering to about 5,000, migrated to Taal Lake’s crater which pushed the government to declare it as a bird sanctuary. Birds that can be seen include black-crowned night herons, purple herons, seagulls, and little and intermediate egrets.

Taal Volcano Island is now a Bird Watching Site and a Bird Sanctuary
Taal Volcano Island is now a Bird Watching Site and a Bird Sanctuary

Aside from watching birds, the lake also has the rarest of all sea snakes, the Hydrophis semperi, which is said to be one of only two freshwater “true” sea snake species — the other one being Solomon Islands’ Laticauda crockery.

Residential Houses on the shores of Volcano Island
Residential Houses on the shores of Volcano Island

There are also freshwater fish like the maliputo and tawilis which is the only Sardinella species found mainly in fresh water. From what I just learned, I wouldn’t be shocked if sharks did once live in these waters in the past. In fact, Dr. Dioscoro Rabor personally studied their biology before they went extinct due to overfishing in the 30’s.

When we docked on the shores of Balete in Batangas, we transferred to a huge van and proceeded to Lima Park Hotel in Malvar Batangas, to rest.

Cruising around Taal Lake was truly one amazing experience. I’d encourage you to try it out. Regular tours do take place. Once you’ve crossed the lake, you’d horseback on your way to the volcano island’s top and get treated to a stunning view of this beautiful piece of creation.

Lima Park Hotel (hotel info) is considered as one of the Partners in Development of the municipality of Malvar. It features its one-of-a-kind super powered boat, the Lady of the Lake, which can reach speeds of up to 100 mph. That’s quite fast like a limousine counterpart that travels on water.

Now, everyone can experience Cruising around Taal Lake for an hour-long stretch through the Lady of the Lake. All you need to do is pay a minimal fee and you’re good to go with tour guides to give you a piece of history that will truly compel you to learn more about the places you go to and with an accompanying on-board merienda. To know more about it, you may reach Jim Palma via telephone (043) 98-1555 or via mobile (09278771267).

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