Taal Volcano in the Philippines

It looks harmless from a distance but it’s an active volcano. Volcano Island, where its eruptions are concentrated, is in the middle of Taal Lake in the island of Luzon in the Philippines. A volcano within a lake within an island.

It seduces, flirts, “Come closer, get to know me.”
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I succumb. I get on a half-hour boat ride across the lake to Volcano Island.
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On the island, another half-hour by horseback up the mountain. Finally, the crater lake. Beyond the ridge, the surrounding Taal Lake is visible. Somehow it reminds me of an infinity pool.
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Swim at your own risk. The water is dilute sulfuric acid with some nasty heavy metals thrown in. I pass.
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There’s a small island within the crater lake called Vulcan Point. An island in a lake in a volcano in a lake in an island.
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It’s quite a thrilling if ambivalent experience — being on top of the mountain, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by the lake; at the same time being close to the edge, to the dark violence that can erupt anytime with nary a warning, cut off in an island. I can think of a few similar temptations.
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Back on shore I admire Taal Volcano from a distance. It is captivating from afar, but I’ve also seen its dark side. Maybe I don’t have to choose one or the other, they’re just two parts of this thing called Taal, this volcano within a lake within an island.
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