lake taal or taal volcano

“On a clear day, Lake Taal is truly a marvel to behold. You can get superb views from Talisay and other towns that line the volcanic ridge around the lake’s crater setting. Like a set of Russian matreshka dolls, the aptly named Volcano Island in the middle of the lake in turn encircles its own little lake. Taal Volcano boasts over 47 craters and 35 volcanic cones.” Lonely Planet Philippines

One week after we landed at the Manila airport I found myself back there waiting for our friends to arrive from Leavenworth, WA. One of the things we really wanted to do with them while they were in the Manila area was to take them to Lake Taal or Taal Volcano. We decided to go on Sunday. We thought the traffic would be better and we had other things we wanted to do around the city on Saturday.

We don’t have our car yet, so we had to hire a driver and van. It wasn’t so bad. Patrick negotiated a great price. We worked with CheL from Continental Rental & Tours. Her number is 0918.908.1636. We had the van and driver for 10 hours and paid the equivalent of $80 plus gas,  about $16 and the driver’s lunch, another $4.

The driver arrived on Sunday morning at 8 and we headed out. The drive took us about 1.5 hours. We were surprised by the road conditions. They were very nice, paved and lined the entire way. We stopped at this look out point. While we were here we found a man who offered a boat trip to the island. We followed him down to the shore. He sat us down in a nice cabana and showed us their packages. They were really expensive. He wanted 4,800 pesos (about $110) for a trip by boat to the volcano, a guide, the use of the cabana, and a few other things that were not a big deal. I told him we would find someone else unless he could give it to us for 1,000 pesos (about $23). He laughed and said no. So we walked away. He came and found me and said he’d take 1,500 for the boat ride and 500 for the guide. Looking back I should have just taken the boat ride. You do not need a guide! But, we made the deal and headed out.

Once we arrived on the island the people tried to get us to rent a horse to take us to the top. Initially we said, no, but very quickly realized that hiking the 3K to the top with two kids was not going to be easy. We succumbed and rented two horses. Aydan rode with Bridget and I rode with Drake in the Ergo on my back. They charged us 500 pesos a horse. Once at the top they asked us to buy the horse guides lunch and a drink for 50 pesos.

The view from the top is spectacular. It was worth every peso. We were on a volcano in a lake looking over a lake within that volcano at an island on that lake… so cool.

Over all it was a great experience. The boat ride back was crazy because it started to rain and the glass lake turned a bit wild. We were soaked by the end of the ride but the kids loved it!

On our way home we made a few stops at the wood working shops and some fruit stands. It’s so fun to have roadside stops like that. I’m so glad we got out and experienced more of the Philippines.

ImageA view from the top of the road. The road down to the water was very windy.

ImageAll lifejacketed out and ready to go!

ImageOur useless guide and great boat driver.

Image“This is FUN!!!”


These were some crayfish houses. I guess they just camped out on the lakecatching crayfish.



Aydan LOVED riding the horse. Props to Bridget for riding the whole thing on half a saddle!




Here are the details once more:

  1. CheL from Continental Rental & Tours: 0918.908.1636
    1. 10 hours with a driver and a big van
    2. 3,500 pesos + 150 for driver’s lunch + 650 for gas = 4,300 pesos for the day ($100)
  1. Boat Ride, Guide and Horse
    1. 1,500 for boat + 500 for an unneeded guide + 500 for horse + 50 for horse guide’s lunch = 2,550 pesos ($60)

Bridget and Garrhet’s help with the kids = priceless! Thanks you guys for making it a perfect day!

4 responses to “lake taal or taal volcano

  1. Great to know about hiring a driver, that’s pretty reasonable! I think we’re supposed to get our car sometime in the beginning of September but if we get the itch to get out of Manila sooner we might hire someone!

  2. I love Taal and Tagaytay. It’s just so serene. I went all the way up to the crater by walking. So difficult because the ground was so sandy so you needed extra effort in pulling up your feet.

    The horses smell though, and I’m not a fan. 😦

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