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