Monday, January 13, 2020


Location: Municipalities of Talisay and San Nicolas, Batangas Province, Philippines

This photo was taken by Arden Pimentel as he captured the January 12, 2020 Taal Volcano eruption from his place in Salong, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro

Taal Volcano as the second most active volcano of the Philippines with 34 recorded eruptions is being classified by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) as a volcano with complex system with 47 craters and 4 maars. A maar is a broad, low-relief volcanic crater caused by a phreatomagmatic eruption (an explosion which occurs when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava or magma). A maar characteristically fills with water to form a relatively shallow crater lake which may also be called a maar.

It is a part of a chain of volcanoes along the western side of the edge of the island of Luzon, which were formed by the subduction of the Eurasian Plate underneath the Philippine Mobile Belt. Taal Lake lies within a 25–30 kilometers (16–19 miles) caldera formed by explosive eruptions between 140,000 and 5,380 BP. Each of these eruptions created extensive ignimbrite deposits, reaching as far away as where Manila stands today.

Since the formation of the caldera, subsequent eruptions have created a volcanic island within the caldera, known as Volcano Island. This 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) island covers an area of about 23 square kilometers (8.9 square miles) with the center of the island occupied by the 2-kilometer (1.2 miles) Main Crater with a single crater lake formed from the 1911 eruption. The island consists of different overlapping cones and craters of which forty-seven have been identified. Twenty six of these are tuff cones, five are cinder cones and four are maars. With its highest elevation at only 311 meters (1,020 feet), Taal is one of the lowest volcanoes in the world.

A snap shot of mine from atop the main crater

It is a famous tourist destination of Tagaytay City but its location is actually within the municipalities of Talisay and San Nicolas of the province of Batangas. The northern half of the Volcano Island falls under the jurisdiction of the lake shore town of Talisay, and the southern half of San Nicolas. The cities of Tanauan and Lipa as well as the municipalities of Laurel, Agoncillo, Santa Teresita, Alitagtag, Cuenca, Balete and Mataas na Kahoy, all are within the jurisdiction of the province of Batangas encircle Taal Lake where inside it is the Taal Volcano.

Aerial view of Taal Volcano with identified peaks, craters and maars

Taal Volcano has eight peaks with varied elevations, namely: Mount Taal (238 meters), Mount Balantoc (204 meters), Binintiang Malaki (161 meters), Mount Mataasnagulod (150 meters), Mount Ragatan (83 meters), Mount Tabro (68 meters), Mount Pirapirasu (50 meters), and Mount Tibag (29 meters). Mount Taal is adjacent to the main crater.

The hardly hit affected areas of the January 2020 Taal eruption

The crater lake on Volcano Island is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world. Moreover, this lake contains Vulcan Point, a small rocky island that projects from the surface of the crater lake, which was the remnant of the old crater floor that is now surrounded by the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) wide lake, now referred to as the Main Crater Lake. Vulcan Point is often cited as the largest third-order island (island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island) in the world, though this is also claimed to be true of an unnamed Canadian island located within Victoria Island. Therefore, Taal has an island within a lake, that is on an island within a lake, that is on an island within the sea: Vulcan Point Island is within Main Crater Lake, which is on Volcano Island.

The view deck from the main crater lake with Vulcan Point on it - the small rock formation in the lake

Usually, Taal Volcano is mistaken to be that of Binintiang Malaki crater only which is very visible to Tagaytay City. This is even used as an iconic symbol of Taal Volcano in the souvenirs sold elsewhere in Tagaytay and Batangas tourist shops. However, the main crater is not visible, unless one does a trek towards the crater of its main crater. Out of its recorded eruptions, four had occurred thru Binintian Malaki crater in the years 1707, 1709, 1715 and 1729.

The Binintiang Malaki crater at an elevation of 161 meters with four recorded eruptions

Other than, the four eruptions occurred in Binintiang Malaki, there were 21 eruptions at the main crater (Mount Taal); one from Mount Pira-piraso crater; and eight from Mount Tabro crater. The most destructive eruption occurred was on May 15 to December 5, 1754 which lasted for almost 7 months where it buried four towns of Batangas under ash, volcanic rocks and water. Ashfall was as thick as 100 to 110 centimeter deposits where shock waves and acid rains were recorded as well.

The port where boats unload their passengers for horseback riding package or trekking to the main crater

Eruptions occurred at the main crater (Mount Taal) were recorded in 1572; 1591; 1605 to 1611; 1634; 1635; 1641; 1645; September 21, 1716; August 11, 1749; May 15 to December 5, 1754; 1790; 1805; 1825; 1842; 1873; 1874; 1878; 1903; 1904; January 27 to February 10, 1911 and January 2020.

Horseback riding package is pegged at P600 per horse accompanied with a local horseback rider

On the other hand, there was one eruption occurred at Mount Pira-piraso crater while Mount Tabro crater's eruptions were recorded on the following dates: September 28 to 30, 1965; July 5, 1966; August 16, 1967; January 31, 1968; October 29, 1969; September 3, 1970; September 3, 1976; and October 3, 1977.

This is the 45-minute ascending trail towards the main crater

The horseback riding operator assigned to me just a fragile pony

The fascinating charm of Taal is irresistible but behind it are numerous deaths every time it erupts. Obviously, economy is thriving most particularly in Tagaytay City where it has been perceived by many that the volcano is located. There was a boom in real estate development and since its proximity to Metro Manila is favorable, tourists have made the place as an alternative for staycation, not to mention that it has a cool climate.

The dusty trail towards the main crater viewdeck

Corporate companies and even government agencies prefer to pick Tagaytay as a venue for training and conferences. These activities not to mention tourism has made Tagaytay as the center of activities where one of it is as the hub of relaxation. Because of these, real estate developers like the Ayala Corporation and SM Development Corporation along with small real estate developers like the religious congregations had built retreat houses and convents as an alternative for transients and this trend is continuously invading Tagaytay City with one main purpose - to witness the majestic view of Taal Volcano.

Because of the stiff trail the local horseback riders are left while guests prefer to trek

The guests prefer to trek than to ride on their rented horses for horseback riding

I believe that no matter how destructive Taal eruptions are, tourists would always come and go just to witness its beauty. Any fatal occurrences of its eruptions will always be weighed down by its charm. I for one, will continuously patronize Taal Volcano to revisit it once in a while.

Sources: Wikipedia, Rappler

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Location: Sunrise Drive corner Pearl Road, Mall of Asia Complex, CBP-1A, Pasay City, Philippines, 1300

The verdant landscape of the 5-Pool Resort development

Sea Residences Mall of Asia is a 6-tower condominium development with a classification of a 3-star hotel with a world-class and modern resort-inspired at the heart of a city owned and developed by SM Development Corporation (SMDC). Its condo units sell at a price range of P8,200,000 to P20,700,000 but may change without prior notice.

An eco-friendly atmosphere

Some investors would buy units from this real estate development for the intention that they manage it as units for staycation. They either have it through direct advert online or Airbnb type of accommodation. I had first experienced Airbnb accommodation in Japan and it is cheaper compared to hotels. It is like an apartment where you can cook your own food, wash clothes and enjoy all the amenities like a condo unit offers.

A good place to unwind and relax most particularly early in the morning and evening

What makes Sea Residences unique is its accessibility to most of the services that a traveler or guest needs whenever he opts to stay in one of its units. For shopaholic individuals, the SM Mall of Asia is only 520 meters away or 15 minutes walk going to the mall equipped with all the variety of restaurants, entertainment, banking services, supermarket and other needs. For more information, you can search on its website at

Its 5 giant pools are less crowded in any time of the day

Even the city dwellers take Sea Residences an option for weekend staycation since its like a resort which offers the amenities that guests need. The mere fact that transportation, its accessibility is quite an edge considering that the Baclaran Light Railway Transit (LRT) Station 1.35 kilometer and EDSA LRT Station 1.69 kilometers away.

Its high-rise towers provide ample shade for the pools and its surrounding spaces

For foreign and provincial tourists, this location provides exceptional airport access in such a way that Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is only 13 minutes drive while the Subic Bay International Airport in San Fernando City of Pampanga is 81.1 kilometers away.

Truly relaxing poolside late in the afternoon

On other hand, its nearby landmarks are: (1) SM Mall of Asia Arena - 230 meters; Casino Filipino (Pagcor) Heritage Hotel Branch - 890 meters; Embassy of Japan - 1.06 kilometers; Pasay Area Manila - 1.23 kilometers; City of Dreams Manila - 1.42 kilometers; Roligon Cockpit - 1.44 kilometers; Cuneta Astrodome - 1.48 kilometers; GSIS Museo ng Sining - 1.62 kilometers; Solaire Resort and Casino 9 minutes drive for 1.9 kilometers via J.W. Diokno Blvd and Aseana Avenue and Okada Manila Resort and Casino is 10 minutes drive for 2.4 kilometers via J.W. Diokno Boulevard and Jose W. Diokno Boulevard.

I was enjoying a not-so-hot sunny December 18, 2019 swim.

In addition to, the distance of other landmarks are as follows: Manila Bay - 4.37 kilometers; Rizal Park - 5.56 kilometers; National Museum - 6 kilometers; San Agustin Museum - 6.32 kilometers; San Agustin Church - 6.33 kilometers; Manila Cathedral - 6.63 kilometers; Intramuros District - 6.68 kilometers; Fort Santiago - 7.06 kilometers; Quiapo Church - 7.31 kilometers; and Quezon Memorial Circle - 14.81 kilometers.

SM Mall of Asia as viewed from its Unit 815 Tower F

Sea Residences is comparable to a resort-inspired real estate development like Azure Urban Resort Residences where it features the famous beaches in the world.

The inviting pools early in the evening

SM MOA as viewed from Unit 815 Tower F in the evening

Shell Residences is just a stone's throw from Sea Residences

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Xinyi Special District, Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan

The iconic Taipei 101

Taipei 101, sometimes stylized TAIPEI 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center – is a landmark supertall skyscraper in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building was officially classified as the world's tallest from its opening in 2004 until the 2010 completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It stand at 508 CTBUH with 101 floors with the top floor at 439.2 meters or 1,441 feet. It was constructed through its architects, namely: Chu-Yuan Lee and C.P. Wang. (Wikipedia)

Just approaching Taipei 101 while boarding a taxi

The Main Entrance (Model: Louella Conde)

The Ground Floor Reception Area (Model: Teresa S. Corpuz)

The Food Court

The Hawker Chan

Surprisingly, I did not expect to enjoy a dinner at Taipei 101 for only NT$209 or P426.53 with drinks already where we bought from the Hawker Chan. Our group had our dinner from this fastfood.

The following pictures are nearby establishments and landmarks:


Location: No. 21號, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan

The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a famous national monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China. It is located in Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Republic of China. This memorial edifice was opened in 1980 with Yang Cho-cheng as the architect. Its gates closes at 6:00 P.M. (Wikipedia)

There is no entrance fee to access this memorial hall.

Its main gate

The interior of the main hall

Exhibit of flower arrangement display

Exhibit of flower arrangement display