Adventure in Vulcanology

Trip Start Nov 13, 2007
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Trip End Apr 19, 2008


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Flag of Philippines  ,
Saturday, March 29, 2008

Adventure; Dictionary.com lists it as the following:
-noun
1. an exciting or very unusual experience. 
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure. 
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. 
 
So.  To say I had an adventure would mean it would have to have been "exciting", or "very unusual".  It may have been "bold", "risky" and perhaps even "hazardous".
 
So letīs assess from the end result.  I have saddle sores, a sun burn, dehydration, exhaustion, my back hurts, feet hurt, shoes are completely destroyed, a camera full of pictures and video and a story to tell for years to come...
 
Adventure?  Yes.  I think clearly it was!
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So to prepare I did what any cautious analytical geek would do.  I surfed the web.  Now what the web taught me is two things.
1 - No one, and I mean no one Iīve found that recorded their journey to the mouth of the volcano did it the "right way" the first time... Iīll elaborate more later.
2 - the "actual volcano" in the case of the Taal Volcano is hidden in two ways.
A - the little rock shape "volcano", that I and so many others (even Google shows pictures of the wrong thing) have posted on their websites, is in fact just a "vent" for the bigger volcano.  The "mouth" of the volcano is just behind it and slight higher. 
B - The "volcano" itself is enormous:
Taal Volcano is located about 60 km SSE of Metro Manila. It is a complex volcanic system composed of a small volcanic island (Volcano Island), which has been the site of almost all historic activity, located within a 20x30 km lake-filled complex Caldera (Taal Lake, in older texts also called Lake Bonbon), one of the great volcano-tectonic depressions of the world.  Taal Lake lies within a 25-30 km wide caldera formed by four explosive eruptions between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago.
So in short, what I discovered is that the very high "edge" of the Lake, is in actuality the current "rim" of the Volcano.  Once, long ago the mountain stood 18,000 feet and the "rim" as it stands now would have only been 1/6th of the peakīs previous height.
 
So to fully confuse everyone, what we have here is an island with a volcano, with a lake at itīs center, that has an island with a volcano with a lake at itīs center, that ALSO has (the 2nd island that is) has a "volcano" that has a lake at itīs center too!! 
Oh that is just too awful to print... so Iīm going to anyway.
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As with all trips in the Philippines we got up early, later than most, but early for a Saturday still.  Yet another kind and generous soul, a coworker, donated his time and money to transport us to a venue that we likely would not have attained had we gone about it ourselves.  This manīs name is Joseph, and his Uncle Sonny.
 
Now Joseph and Sonny took us back to the region of Taal Lake, purely for the sake of Chris, who has not had the pleasure of venturing that part of the isle.  However.  Unlike our previous outings this on was set to take us to the bowl of the Taal Volcano itself. 
 
How does one get to the bowl of the Taal Volcano?
Well, as I said you get up early, load into a nice and shiny red Ford pickup, and drive south out of the city to the town of Tagaytay.  Where you take a road that leads over the edge of the Caldera and down a sharp twisting road to the edge of the larger lake...
 
I think as I have written too much already, that this is where I will direct you to the pictures where I will continue the story...
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