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“Water highway”
Review of Lake Taal

Lake Taal
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Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano
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Tagaytay Ridge Tour from Manila: Palace in the Sky, Taal Volcano and Las Pinas...
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Owner description: This lake is the deepest in the Philippines.
Reviewed March 29, 2014

Its a nice view when you are looking at it on top of a mountain, but once you are in its shoreline its already full of resorts offering a ride to taal volcano. I wish the local gov't would take out the fishponds surrounding it. The lake also provides a good tasting fish called tilapia. Its better to visit it with a good guide.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 16, 2014

Me and my friend went in january to Talisay, Lake Taal. We took the bus from Manilla to Tagatay (2,5 hrs) and from there we picked a tricycle to Talisay (20-30min). Talisay itself is nothing special. We stayed at Touristar, we do'nt recommend! Very expensive (1500 peso) in relation to the lack cleaning, interest & attention. The owner was suppressing other people with boats to take us to Lake Taal/Taal Volcano. She asked us 1500 p for the boat (normal price I guess) and promised a good english speaking guide. Not at all: Afterwards we heard it was her husband. He didn't speak english at all, was very lazy and didn't take us to the lake!
We were on time at the volcano (left at 6 pm and whe were back at 8 pm) so we didn't payed Island fee. But we understand also afterwards that she planned to bring us home so early to have another group to the volcano.
The Volcano itself was not special at all (In Indonesia you can see thousands more) and the walking trip to it was boring. It took us only 25 minutes by a very dusty road. The horses the want you to take them where very thin and we got very sad of them. We didn' take one and apart from their bad health you don't need them!!!

There are so much more nice things to see in the Philippines: we don' recommend this spot

11  Thank MariekeNldse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Just a two hour trip from Manila, and another one and a half hour of boat ride and hiking to the top of the volcano and down to its crater. Here you will experience what is inside the crater of a volcano. Taal volcano, well this is a lake inside a volcano surrounded by a lake inside an outer volcano. There are two ways to experience the volcano, either you hike to the top which is the viewpoint, a spectacular view of the crater lake. Or you ask the boatman to bring you to the other side of the volcano. Here either you hike or rent a horse to go up and then down to the crater.
Standing on the floor of the crater, you could feel the crater floor is hot, and there are part of the floor with water boiling. And sulfur gas rising from crack on the crater floor.

2  Thank Vinzon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2013

Well we'd heard about the "island in a lake in an island in a lake in an island in the sea" and so we took a short weekend trip to the area to check it out.

It seems there are a couple of key elements to doing this successfully:

- book a package containing transport to the lakeside and the boat trip, plus, if you really want to, the horse ride;

- go early: the boats are available from 7am; we were on a boat by 8:45am; by the time we finished our walk back down (at about 11am on a Saturday) the trail was starting to get a bit busy, presumably with day-trippers from Manila.

If you book a package (from a hotel/B&B in Tagaytay) then the tricycle driver will take you directly to a specific "resort" where the boats go from and you will avoid all the people touting boats. We had no trouble insisting when we booked (the night before) that we wanted just the tricycle down from Tagaytay (PHP500 round trip) and the boat across (PHP1500 round trip): no guides, no horses. The only additional costs were PHP50 per person to the "Government Tourist Office" on the island, and PHP50 per boat to the guys who put a "bridge" out for you to dis/embark without getting your feet wet. All the boats that we saw supplied lifejackets, and note that you will get wet on the boat ride (basic sheets of plastic seem to be provided to keep some of the spray off if you can be bothered).

Once on the island, the "regular tourist trail" is simple to follow up to the crater rim. Some of the other comments make me really wonder about some people's perceptions of fitness. The trail is about 2.3km long and climbs 200m. It is an easy dirt trail and just slightly steep for one short section near the top (and then not even close to steep enough that you might think about using your hands, for example). For a reasonably fit person it is less than 30 minutes walk up, and not much more than 20 minutes down, plus however long you stop to take photos. Even for people who don't take regular exercise it shouldn't be more than 40 up, 30 down.

The trail is dusty, so I would recommend closed shoes rather than sandals or flip-flops, but, certainly early in the day when it wasn't windy, we didn't find a significant amount of dust in the air. Suggestions of wearing a facemask were laughable, although we did see a couple of people who had been suckered into it (as well as groups of 4 people being accompanied by 4 guides!). Again, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for a guide if you plan to walk up the regular tourist trail and back down again.

We didn't find the touts particularly troublesome, and certainly not as bad as in some of the tourist areas in India, for example. A polite, but firm, "no thank you" seemed to be accepted and they moved on. The "resort" where the boat goes from offers you the possibility to order some lunch for your return, but we had no pressure when we declined.

Once you get to the rim, the view of the crater is nice, and, when we were there at least, there were a few vents of steam. The views of the lake and surrounding caldera from the island are also good. Again at the rim, the offers of drinks, photos and golf swings were declined and we weren't repeatedly hassled.

So on the basis of our one trip, I would say that it's an enjoyable half day from Tagaytay: an hour's exercise, a fun boat ride (if you don't mind getting a bit wet), and nice views both of the crater lake and of the wider area.

And if you're getting a package with a tricycle down from Tagaytay then remember to ask for a sidecar that's taller than normal if you're bigger than the average Filipino!

11  Thank TheSmogs
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Reviewed November 13, 2013

We had a blast over at Taal; to be fair we were invited by very knowledgeable local friends who arranged and paid for everything so we did not have to deal with the many hassles other foreign friends told us about; first and foremost the aggressive touts. In fact, two of formerly mentioned said friends came with us so they very quickly took care of any potential irritants. To the positives: getting there in itself is a bit of an adventure and great for anyone who likes a good drive; then there is the gigantic lake itself; just what you need after the road to sit back; and then the volcano where we had some amazing walks; some great snapshots in the (very!) tall grasses; well over two meters. I got the feeling a few of the paths we were shown were not the habitual ones but a special so we can't vouch for some of the other experiences. Our other friends have three (very energetic!) kids and they had the time of their lives and, seeing it is a pretty hefty day out, they were fast asleep early on :) It was HOT! So a hat is a must! We would definitely go again but we'd make sure our Pinoy friends would step in to organise as we did hear some few unpleasant stories...

1  Thank S E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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