Trek up to the crater rim of an active volcano, marvel at the Filipino-Spanish architecture of preserved houses and churches and experience excellent snorkeling with rich marine life all within three hours of Manila.
Batangas is only a couple of hours south of Manila and it holds some of the Philippines' best attractions. A volcano within a volcano, Taal's beauty and uniqueness make it one of the country's must see sights. Taal is an active volcano and most enjoy it from a distance on the tourism and leisure hub that is Tagaytay ridge. While the view from Tagaytay is truly picturesque, on this adventure we go deeper into the Taal experience by sailing across Taal Lake and trekking up to the volcano's main crater rim. Only there, peering into the crater lake with its water streaked with sulfur and shore dotted by fumaroles, can we appreciate the full glory of Taal Volcano.
Batangas also has Taal Heritage Town, established in 1572 and home to Asia's biggest Catholic church and a collection of old houses that showcase traditional Filipino-Spanish architecture. The town and its people played an important role in the Philippine revolution against the Spanish and is a great place to learn about the country's history and culture. Taal Town is also known for making the country's best barongs, our traditional formal men's attire, and it is the birthplace of the famous balisong or butterfly knife.
Finally, Batangas is home to Anilao Marine Reserve, the country's most popular snorkeling and diving destination. Located in Balayan Bay and protected from natural and human damage, the richness and variety of Anilao's marine life are world-class.
This adventure takes us through the best of Batangas in two days.
Highlights and activities
- View Taal Volcano from afar and up close.
- Visit preserved 19th century churches and houses.
- Snorkel at Twin Rocks, Anilao – one of the best marine sanctuaries in the country.
- hiking / trekking
Day 1: Taal Volcano and Taal Town
Taal is a small, very active volcano with a lake in its crater. It is located in the middle of a large lake which is actually the crater of another huge extinct volcano. We start the trip by driving 1.5 hours up to Tagaytay, a popular weekend destination for people who live in Manila. Tagaytay is actually on the crater lip of the huge extinct volcano and it offers a very picturesque view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. After seeing the view we drive down to Taal Lake and hop on a boat to get to the small volcano. We then do an easy 1-hour uphill hike to the lip of the volcano's crater. Along the way we pass signs of the volcano's activity: scorched earth and sulfuric fumes rising from the ground. At the crater lip we get a great view of the inner lake that has boiling water, sulfur streaks and fumaroles at its edges.
At noon we drive to Taal Town, a very old town established in 1572. There we visit Asia's biggest Catholic church, a collection of old houses that showcase traditional Filipino-Spanish architecture, and other points of interest. In late afternoon we drive to Anilao where we spend the night.
Day 2: Anilao Marine Reserve
We spend the morning enjoying the rich marine life of Anilao. The coral reef right in front of the resort that we are staying at is said to be the 2nd most bio-diverse dive site in the Philippines. You don't need to be a diver to appreciate it though; a large portion of the site is shallow enough to appreciate just by snorkeling/skin-diving.
Certified divers may choose to dive at extra cost – there are over 40 different dive sites in the area – and non-divers who want to try out diving may do an introductory dive (also at extra cost). In an intro dive, a dive master takes a participant underwater and controls all the SCUBA equipment for him; all the participant needs to do is breathe and equalize his ears. In the afternoon, we have the option of doing a moderate 3 hour hike to Anilao's highest point, Gulugod Baboy (which means "boar's spine" because it is a prominent ridge), that affords great views of the sea and the Anilao area.
In late afternoon we make the 3-hour drive back to Manila. On the way we can pass by a small shack to get two more Batangas specialties – coffee and chocolate.
This adventure is offered throughout the year. Contact us to schedule your Private Tour.
- All land and water transportation for the duration of the trip (private vehicle and chartered boat).
- One (1) night accommodations (twin sharing).
- Three (3) meals: dinner of Day 1 to lunch of Day 2.
- All fees associated with the specified activities.
- Snorkeling gear.
- Guiding service.
- Scuba diving.
- Travel insurance.
- Tipping. Tips to restaurant waiters, local guides, etc. are not expected but appreciated. Your trip leader can suggest an appropriate amount. Also, if you are happy with the service of your Trip Leader, a tip at the end of your adventure will be greatly appreciated.
Price is already inclusive of VAT (value added tax).
- Those with respiratory problems should consult their doctor before joining this trip. Aside from the aerobic demand of trekking, this trip involves exposure to volcanic fumes.
- Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry to the Philippines if you are coming from a yellow-fever infected country; if you are not, this vaccination is unnecessary. The following vaccinations are recommended:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Japanese encephalitis
- Measles, mumps and rubella
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