January 12, 2020 was when Taal Volcano started erupting. Just a couple of weeks before that, my family was actually there, trekking to its crater.
Listening to the news as the eruption was happening, we felt foolish for being so daring. But more than that, we felt lucky that it didn’t happen when we were on the island.
Rest stop during the trek at the Volcano Island
Taal Volcano, also called
Volcano Island, is one of the smallest active volcanoes in the world. It sits on a crater lake (caldera) that formed from ancient eruptions. Taal is classified as a complex volcano system with multiple volcanoes, small conical hills and 47 craters. There have been over 30 eruptions since 1572*, some of them violent and deadly.
Volcano Island lies in the center of Taal Lake
At the center of the island is the
Main Crater Lake, a caldera of 1.9 kilometers in diameter. The Main Crater was where we climbed to, and which had been dried, emptied by the 2020 eruption.
At the Main Crater. Joaquin was too busy recording for his Vlog here hahah…
signs of the imminent disaster which at that time, seemed like normal occurrences on the island. Have a look at the next two photos and the short clip.
On our way up, the ground was too warm I could only sit less an a minute to take this shot. Do you see the white smoke/gas seeping from the ground?
Bubbling in the Main Crater Lake
Here are the other photos from the trek…
This small conical hill is Binintiang Malaki and is part of Volcano Island. The Main Crater is behind it.
We took a motorboat for about 20 minutes from the town of Talisay (a few kilometers from our accommodation in Escala Tagaytay) to Volcano Island.
Map of Volcano Island
There was typhoon the day before, but this was the only wet part of the trail.
The kids said the gas smelled of rotten eggs
This is the trail, I think about 45 mins from the shore up to the crater.
We finally reached the Main Crater Lake of Volcano Island which sits on Taal Lake (a larger crater lake).
Joaquin having a good look at the lone island on the crater lake. Being able to go to Taal was a dream-come-true for this boy.
This is the small island on the crater. It was reported by Nasa as one of the biggest islands in a lake in the island in a lake.**
On our way back we met these horses
And these ominous-looking birds
Other animals on the island
Flowers on the island
The kids and our guide, Angel (in gray shirt), reached the foot of the volcano earlier than us. We found them playing basketball.
I wonder if they were able to save the roosters and babe (pig behind the boy in orange shirt) during the eruption.
Looking back at the Volcano Island on our way back to Tagaytay.
TAGAYTAY, PHILIPPINES – JANUARY 12: Lightning strikes as a column of ash surrounds the crater of Taal Volcano as it erupts on January 12, 2020 as seen from Tagaytay city, Cavite province, Philippines. Local authorities have begun evacuating residents near Taal Volcano as it began spewing ash up to a kilometer high Sunday afternoon. The Philippine Institute of of Volcanology and Seismology has raised the alert level to four out of five, warning that a hazardous eruption could take place anytime. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images). Article from: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2020/01/photos-eruption-taal-volcano-in-the-philippines/604819/
TAAL VOLCANO ISLAND, PHILIPPINES – JANUARY 14: Dead trees near Taal Volcano’s crater are seen covered in volcanic ash from the volcano’s eruption on January 14, 2020 in Taal Volcano Island, Batangas province, Philippines. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level to four out of five, warning that a hazardous eruption could take place anytime, as authorities have evacuated tens of thousands of people from the area. An estimated $10 million worth of crops and livestock have been damaged by the on-going eruption, according to the country’s agriculture department. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images) Article from: https://time.com/longform/taal-volcano-philippines-eruption/
Trekking Taal was part of our
volcano road trip in the Philippines last December 2019. It’s our 2nd volcano. Here are the earlier posts on the road trip:
Three Volcanoes and a Road Trip
Mount Mayon: The Majestic Lady and the Rugged ATVs
Mount Mayon: ATV Summit Trail Video – All the Way Up
Albay Province: Hiking on Quitinday Green Hills
Albay Province: Jovellar Underground River and Dry Cave
Albay Province: Sumlang Lake and FarmPlate
Albay Province: Misibis Bay Resort
Camarines Sur: Ocampo Deer Farm
Taal Volcano: Serenity in Escala Tagaytay