So, you’ve been planning to travel or go on a hike with your sweetheart but don’t know where to start? Tagaytay is the nearest designation I can suggest you. One of the possible highlights of your trip could be visiting the Taal Volcano Crater. Interested? Read on for your frequently asked questions.
Disclaimer: having a “sweetheart” to go there isn’t a requirement. Call your girl squad or relatives to join you. Yes, I think even kids ages ten above can enjoy the trip.
How do I get to Taal Volcano?
If you’re The Flash, you can simply wear your red suit, look at Google Maps and go to the place in an instant (just kidding). But I assume you’re traveling from Metro Manila to go there, so the first destination you need to reach isn’t the Taal Volcano summit, but Tagaytay City.
If you’re driving your car, take South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) road to Sta. Rosa Laguna. It will eventually lead you to Tagaytay, City. Taking Calamba road is also an option, but I recommend Sta. Rosa since you can also stop over at Nuvali Park.
If you’d like to commute, take a bus with Tagaytay or Nasugbu signages from Cubao or Buendia terminal station. If you’re planning to go there on a weekend, travel earlier than 6 am to avoid traffic. Yes, we have many travelers going out of town on a Saturday making the road more prone to get crowded.
From Tagaytay, there is a transport terminal at the Tagaytay Rotonda or Plaza going to Talisay Batangas. Ask them for the jeepney rides to Talisay, it should take you more or less 45 minutes to your destination. You can also hire a tricycle to take you to Talisay Batangas. You can even ask the tricycle driver to wait and pick you up again after 4-hours going back to Tagaytay.
We did not commute when we went to Talisay because our hotel from Tagaytay referred a van rental service who took us for a whole day tour in Tagaytay. You can hire a van rental services to drop you off and pick you up at Talisay, then head to Leslie’s Restaurant or Picnic Grove. This will cost you around P2,000-P3,000 for a whole day tour of the city including van with driver.
When you reach Talisay, you will need a boat ride to Taal Lake. Drop off point Ligaya Drive. There is a road signages when you reach Ligaya Drive. This is easy to find because you’ll see men lined up in the streets offering you a boat ride to Taal Lake.
You can hire a boat ride at P1,500 which can accommodate 5-6 passengers. (There are offers of P2,500-P3,500 for walk-in visitors – do not accept this). And yes, you can get an exclusive boat for you and your honey to make it more romantic. You just have to pay the same price.
You can actually get a cheaper deal renting the boat alone and not the whole package. Why? You can talk to a tour guide or skip the horse ride option when you arrive at the foot of Taal lake.
By the way, prepare to get wet in the 20-minute boat ride. Do a weather check before you go there – even a drizzle in the rain can cause strong tides.
What is the trail like?
If you are fit, geared up for a climb, and can survive a 30-45 minute physical workout, hiking by foot is better than the horse ride to the crater. The terrain is manageable and you can stop anytime to take photos and rest for the regular tourist trail.
There is a second trail to the Taal Volcano crater, referred as the Secret Trail. It’s a longer route for more experienced hikers and may take you 4-5 hours. So make sure to specify which trail you’d like to take. The Secret Trail requires additional fees.
Who can I contact for a packaged tour?
When we went there, I made a bad decision taking a boat ride and tour package from Soriano’s Beach Resort. I trusted them because they were referred by our hotel in Tagaytay. But this wasn’t the best option because they insisted that the horse ride was required (even showed us a document stating that all options in the package should be taken). The initial rate was also high and I needed to haggle.
Here’s what I recommend:
I found a contact from Facebook with good reviews, PRECIOUS BOAT STATION 325 Sitio Gulod Barangay Banga Talisay (in front of mini cockpit). They will respond to you right away when you text their number or send a message on Facebook. Look forBryan Malvataan (09172032792 / 09208490951). He offered a rate of P3,500 for 2 persons inclusive of the following:
- two-way boat ride
- local tour guide
- entrance fee
- life jacket (all service providers of boat rides should let you use their life vest)
- facemask (just in case you’d like protection from the dust)
- hand gloves (the trail will require you to hold on to some rocks)
- mineral water
- fresh buko juice
Go to Taal Yacht Club and avail their packaged tour with the same rate (P3,500 for 2 pax). From your hotel. You don’t need to reserve but go to their front desk as early as 7am.
Want a cheaper option for a group of 6? Club Balai Isabel offers P3,300 packaged tour for as many as 6 pax if you are checked-in at their hotel. Standard room rate for couples is around P5,500 per night.
Wondering what’s the view at the top? Watch this video.