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August 15, 2017

A Journey into Taal Volcano’s Crater! (Photo Essay)

August 15, 2017

A Journey into Taal Volcano’s Crater! (Photo Essay)





by Monique Tendencia

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Taal Volcano is perhaps one of the most well-known and easily recognizable volcanoes in the Philippines – and rightly so. Taal Volcano's unique structure and location make it a constant backdrop and conversation starter.

Inside the crater is a tiny island called Vulcan Point. Its uniqueness remains solely on the fact that it is a third-order island.

 

What is a third order island?

lol-journeyman-7803 Vulcan Point is the tiny dot inside the crater.

A third order island is any landmass within a lake that reaches the third degree. Vulcan Point is inside the Crater Lake (3rd), which is inside Taal Volcano surrounded by Taal Lake (2nd), which is then inside Luzon Island, a part of the Philippine archipelago, and within the Pacific Ocean (1st).

 

So how does one reach Vulcan Point?


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Our journey to the Crater Lake begins at Club Balai Isabel. Balai Isabel is the closest and most convenient jump off point to the island.

 

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From there, we take a short ride to PHIVOLCS. We planned to stay overnight inside the crater, so we had to get the special permission of PHIVOLCS.

 

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The team at PHIVOLCS led us through a short orientation about the history of the volcano, its current activity, and the safety precautions we had to observe.

They guaranteed that volcanic activity was not something we had to worry about while we were at the camp.

 

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After we had loaded our boats with the stuff we needed, we took a 20-minute boat ride to Barangay Alas-as.

 

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Before we headed to the crater, we stopped by the elementary school to donate lights and other necessities to the families of the students.

 

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From the school, it was a one-hour trek to the crater. The weather was quite gloomy at the time, so we didn't have to worry about sweltering heat.

The soil on the trail was a bit soft though, so it made the trek difficult somehow.

 

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After about 45 minutes, you will reach the peak. At the peak is an observation deck that gives the best view of the crater.

All Taal tours stop at this viewpoint. From this point, it's just a 15-minute descent to the camping grounds.

 

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We were starting to lose sunlight, so we had to quickly setup camp and make ourselves comfortable before getting to the main reason why we were here.

 

_DSC8527(L-R): Basti Artadi, Julian Rodriguez, Gaki Moto, Illac Diaz

Lost and Found: Journeyman, an upcoming travel and advocacy show, has tapped into Liter of Light to be one of their benefactors.

They chose the communities in Taal Volcano as their beneficiary as it fits the mold of an adventurous place but its residents need support.

 

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Some towns around Taal Volcano receive very little to zero government support as they live in a permanent danger zone, which is prohibited.

These people rely on generators for their electricity, which becomes very costly over time.

 

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Liter of Light's solar-converted kerosene lamps are an alternative solution to their light shortage.

Only relying on solar power, the lamps are cost-effective and safe from fire hazards.

 

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Journeyman aims to shake the way travel shows are done. It doesn't just have to be about travel and adventure all the time – helping people and changing their lives along the way is the group's driving force for traveling.

We discussed our plans, our journey to the crater, and all the people we helped before reaching our destination.

 

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I even learned how to assemble the solar house lights on the spot!

 

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The night rolled in, and so did the dark clouds, the rain kept coming and going as we settled and slept in our tents.

We weren't in complete darkness though, our campsite was lit by solar house lights from Liter of Light – the ones I helped build in the afternoon.

 

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After battling with the weather days before, we were greeted with the sun rising on the horizon, clear skies, and calm waters the morning after.

They say that the key to happiness is in investing in experiences – I have to agree. This trip opened my eyes to the reality that our countrymen in off-grid communities face on a nightly basis. I had the time of my life meeting all the amazing people during this trip, and it made me even gratuitous that I was able to help our countrymen. I would gladly go on more adventure and advocacy trips!

 

Check out the Liter of Light x Journeyman Teaser ...

Liter of Light
Facebook: A Liter of Light (Isang Litrong Liwanag)
Instagram: @literoflight

Journeyman
Facebook: Lost and Found: Journeyman
Instagram: @lstfnd

 

Live an Awesome Life,

 

MONIQUE of TEAM OUR AWESOME PLANET

P.S. To reach the crater lake, you need special permission from PHIVOLCS. In our case, the team of Journeyman handled the negotiation with PHIVOLCS. The Taal Lake tours that are being offered around Tagaytay and Batangas will only take you up to the ridge, and not to the crater itself.


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