Batangas also has Taal Heritage Town, established in the 1500s and home to Asia's biggest Catholic church and a collection of old houses that showcase traditional Filipino-Spanish architecture. The town and its people played an important role in the Philippine revolution against the Spanish and is a great place to learn something about the country's history and culture. Taal Town is also known for making the country's best barongs, our traditional formal men's attire, and it is the birthplace of the famous balisong or butterfly knife.
Finally, Batangas is home to Anilao Marine Reserve, the country's most popular snorkeling and diving destination. Located in Balayan Bay and protected from natural and human damage, the richness and variety of Anilao's marine life are world-class.
This adventure takes us through the best of Batangas in two days.
Activities and trip highlights:
- View Taal Volcano from afar and up close
- Visit preserved 19th century churches and houses
- Snorkel at Twin Rocks, Anilao — one of the best marine sanctuaries in the country
Day 1: Taal and Taal Town
Taal is a small, very active volcano with a lake in its crater. It is located in the middle of a large lake which is actually the crater of another huge dormant volcano. We take a 2-hour drive from Manila to get to this large lake and hop on a boat to get to the small volcano. We then do an easy 1-hour uphill hike to the lip of the volcano's crater. Along the way we pass signs of the volcano's activity: scorched earth and sulfuric fumes rising from the ground. At the crater lip we get a great view of the inner lake that has boiling water, sulfur streaks and fumaroles at its edges.
At noon we drive up to Tagaytay, a popular weekend destination for people who live in Manila, and have lunch. Tagaytay is actually on the crater lip of the huge dormant volcano and it offers a very picturesque view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. After lunch we drive to Taal Town, a very old town established in the 1500s that has Asia's biggest Catholic church and a collection of old houses that showcase traditional Filipino-Spanish architecture. In late afternoon we drive to Anilao where we spend the night.
Day 2: Anilao Marine Reserve
We spend the morning enjoying the rich marine life of Anilao. The coral reef right in front of the resort that we are staying at is said to be the 2nd most bio-diverse dive site in Philippines. You don't need to be a diver to appreciate it though; a large portion of the site is shallow enough to appreciate just by snorkeling/ skin-diving.
Certified divers may choose to dive at extra cost — there are over 40 different dive sites in the area — and non-divers who want to try out diving may do an introductory dive (also at extra cost). In an intro dive, a dive master takes a participant underwater and controls all the SCUBA equipment for him; all the participant needs to do is breathe and equalize his ears. In the afternoon, we have the option of doing a moderate 3 hour hike to Anilao's highest point, Gulugod Baboy (which means boar's spine because it is a prominent ridge), that affords great views of the ocean and the Anilao area. In late afternoon we make the 3-hour drive back to Manila. On the way we can pass by a small shack to get two more Batangas specialties — coffee and chocolate.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Philippines Nature & Wildlife Volcano Tours Snorkeling