One of the Most Dangerous Volcanos in the World

One of the Most Dangerous Volcanos in the World

Volcanos are dangerous. However, there is a list of the most dangerous, and Taal Volcano in the #Philippines is on it. It's an #active #volcano, and I decided to climb it. The journey up was long, but I stopped along the way for a coconut break, which gave me the strength to reach the top.


Taal Volcano, The Philippines

Did you know that there’s a special list of the most hazardous volcanoes in the world? 

There are just 16 of them on this list, from all around the world, and they have the nickname of ‘Decade Volcanoes’. (The name sounds quite cool but it only came about because this project was started during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.)

Taal Volcano in Batangas, Philippines

So from Russia to Mexico, Spain to Japan, these potentially deadly volcanoes are given special attention because of the danger they pose to humans. They were chosen because of their history of destructive eruptions and their proximity to large populations.

One of these volcanoes is called the Taal Volcano and it’s in the Philippines. Oh, and I’m climbing up it at the moment.

from  $161

Taal Volcano Trek

Active
 Taal Volcano Island, Batangas, Calabarzon, Philippines
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Climbing Up

The Taal Volcano is often described as ‘an island within a lake within an island within a lake’ because of its rather interesting geological formation. The larger of the lakes is in the Taal Caldera, which was formed by ancient eruptions. The mountain rising out of the middle of it is the active volcano. Water has collected inside its crater to form a new lake and there’s a small island popping up above the water surface.

This makes the journey a little different to the way you might normally approach a volcano (if there is such a thing as ‘normal’ in these situations).

This makes the journey a little different to the way you might normally approach a volcano

 It’s certainly nothing like the time I climbed Villarrica volcano in Chile!

These small boats are commonly used to charter tourists around the islands
A touch of colour 

The first step is to take a boat across the large lake for about 20 minutes, landing on a sandy beach at the foot of the mountain. From here, the options are to either trek up the steep slope or ride a horse. 

From here, the options are to either trek up the steep slope or ride a horse

I opt for walking, partly because I quite enjoy this kind of trekking and partly because I feel sorry for the horses and am unsure of how well they’re treated.

Horses and ponies can be rented for those who prefer not to walk 
A tour guide and his pony

The Trek

Although I don’t question the ethics of my decision, there are a few times I do curse myself. The climb up Taal Volcano is long and takes at least an hour. 

The climb up Taal Volcano is long and takes at least an hour

The sun is rising higher and sweat pours from my body. There is no shade and the horses kick up dust as they race by in both directions. I feel my skin burning and my leg muscles doing the same.

Almost there

Halfway up there is a spot to have a break at a stall where a young boy chops open coconuts and sells them under the watchful eye of his father. Enterprising. And just what’s needed ahead of even more uphill.

Coconut juice refreshments

Eventually, the climb to the top comes to an end. I feel like I’ve been sunburnt and I’m desperate for a bottle of water. Thankfully there are quite a few shops here with all sorts of food and drink. This is a natural site – a potentially deadly one bubbling away with lethality – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to buy a cold beer, apparently.

The trek

Whether the visitors here choose to trek up like me or ride on the back of a horse, the main attraction is not the journey but the destination. Standing at the rim of the volcano, looking around the 360 degree panorama, the views catch you in every direction. Whether it’s back out over the lake I’ve just come, across to the other mountains and green landscapes in the far distances, or down into the centre of the Taal Volcano itself.

Taal Volcano
View from the top

It doesn’t look too intimidating, I have to admit. There’s no fierce bubbling or gushes of toxic-smelling gas. No lava spews forth and the ground doesn’t rumble. At one end of the viewing platforms, a Filipino man is charging tourists to hit golf balls out into the centre. With the warm sun, the beautiful views and the gathering of visitors, it’s actually quite peaceful.

With the warm sun, the beautiful views and the gathering of visitors, it’s actually quite peaceful

Perhaps that’s the most frightening thing of all. Something that appears so serene hides an enormous danger. This is nature at its geological, uncontrollable, scariest. A quiet blue lake is actually the entrance to a fiery inferno in the bowels of the earth. And it’s right beneath me.

This view is worth the climb
Taal Volcano is an island within a Lake and that lake is also located in an island

As a Decade Volcano, researchers are keeping an eye on Taal and I’m not worried there’ll be a sudden eruption, but who really knows when it will next explode and bring destruction with it. It could be coming sooner than any of us realize. Time to climb down and cross the lake to safety again.

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