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No. 071- 2006; S.E.C Reg. No. A 199804466
History of Taal
Taal Volcano is part of a chain of volcanoes along the island of
Luzon, which were formed by two tectonic plates colliding over
500,000 years ago. Since the formation of this large caldera
(Taal Lake), subsequent eruptions created another volcanic
island, within Taal Lake, known as Volcano Island.
Over thirty eruptions have been recorded at Taal since the 16th
century, mostly small eruptions restricted to Volcano Island.
However, occasional violent activity has affected the entire
region with the death toll estimated at over 5000 people.
Because of its proximity to populated areas and its eruptive
history, Taal Volcano was designated a Decade Volcano.
Volcano Island (in Lake Taal)
Taal Volcano is the smallest active volcano in the world. Its
unexplained shape and location on an island within a lake within
an island, makes it a unique geologic wonder, enthralling
thousands of tourists and geologists yearly. This island covers
an area of about 23 km², and consists of forty-seven different
overlapping cones and craters. It is one of the active volcanoes
in the Philippines and part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’.
Permanent settlement in the island is prohibited by the
government. Despite the warnings, poor families have settled on
the island, risking their lives, earning a living through
tourism, fishing and farming crops from the rich volcanic soil.
Crater Lake (on Volcano Island)
The lake's water is a diluted form of sulphuric acid with high
concentration of boron, magnesium, aluminium and sodium in salt
form. Its average depth measures 20m. Swimming is allowed in the
Vulcan Point (an island in the Crater Lake on Volcano Island in
In 1911 a devastating eruption claimed over a thousand lives.
The deposits of the eruption drastically changed the floor of
the main Crater Lake creating Vulcan Point. Vulcan Point is the
world's largest island within a lake on an island within a lake
on an island. (An island in the Crater Lake on Volcano Island in
Lake Taal on the island of Luzon)
Lake Taal (freshwater lake)
Lake Taal is a large freshwater lake with a high sulphuric
content. In the 18th century large eruptions sealed Taal Lake
from the sea, eventually leading its waters to become
non-saline. The lake is only 2.5 metres above sea level and its
surface area measures over 230 square kilometres. The lake is
fed by over 30 rivers but has only one outlet, the Pansipit
River which drains into Balayan Bay in the South China Sea.
For decades Taal Lake has been used and abused by local
communities, to its detriment. Most of the abuse has been in the
form of overfishing and exploitation, with the deployment of
fish cages for aquaculture-profit. With the ever increasing
scarring of the mountainsides and valleys for housing projects,
the removal of the forests and the pollution of the rivers and
streams that feed the Taal Lake, are now Taal Lake’s greatest
Pansipit River (sole drainage outlet of Taal Lake)
The Pansipit River is the sole drainage outlet of Taal Lake. The
river has a very narrow entrance at Lake Taal and stretches nine
kilometres before emptying into Balayan Bay. The lake's
freshwater population of giant trevally conduct its annual
migration run through the river. At one time, more than 80
different species of fish were found to inhabit the river's
waters, either as a migratory channel or as a permanent
residence. This once included Taal Lake's now-extinct population
of bull sharks.
The construction of fish cages has long been a problem for the
river's natural ecology. Fish cages, oftentimes spanning the
width of the entire river; physically block the natural
migratory paths of fish species that move between the lake and
the sea. Over the years, numerous measures have been attempted
to curb the growing number of illegal fish cages in the river.
Freshwater Sardinella (Tagalog: Tawilis)
Taal Lake is home to the world's only freshwater sardine locally
known as Tawilis. Found exclusively in Lake Taal it is the only
member of the sardine family that is known to exist exclusively
in freshwater. In the 18th century large eruptions sealed Taal
Lake from the sea forcing the trapped Tawilis into evolving into
a purely freshwater species.
Tawilis stocks in Lake Taal have been commercially fished for
several decades. The fish is a popular food fish in the
Philippines, and tons are shipped to most of the major cities in
the country. In addition to raw consumption, tawilis are also
eaten dried and salted. The species is threatened by overfishing
with many experts believing that they will eventually become
Garman's Sea Snake
The Garman Sea Snake is a rare sea snake found only in Taal
Lake. It is the only known species of sea snake to live
-exclusively in freshwater. The snake is usually 50 cm to 70 cm
in length and coloured much like a typical sea snake, having a
dark blue or black body with alternating yellow bands encircling
Like many other species endemic to the lake, it is vulnerable as
a species to any effects on the lake's ecosystem. The numerous
commercial establishments, towns and plantations dumping
chemicals and sewage into the lake, combined with the dense
population of fish farms in the lake's waters may yet have an
adverse effect on the health of the species as a whole.
Giant Trevally (Tagalog: Maliputo)
A population of giant trevally ‘maliputo’ were once common in
Taal Lake. The ‘maliputo’ is prominently featured on the reverse
side of the newly redesigned Philippine 50 Peso bill.
Bull sharks used to be part of the lake's once-diverse ecosystem
but were unfortunately exterminated by the locals in the 1970’s.
Mount Macolod can be seen in the distance from Tagaytay Ridge
and Lake Taal. The mountain is roughly 2,000 ft tall and part of
Taal Volcano’s crater rim. It is a popular destination for
Tagaytay City is a popular summer tourist destination because of
its cool climate due to its high altitude. The city lies on top
of the Tagaytay Ridge, which is 2,100 ft above sea level and is
the highest point in Batangas. The ridge provides a spectacular
view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano.