You could be an Australian doing business in the Philippines, or a skilled worker looking forward to coming home. Either way, the same mental image often comes to mind – long stretches of pristine white beaches to visit.
With over 7,100 islands to explore however, you can count on this country to offer you things that are not a usual part of the usual itineraries to begin with, places other than the usual long list of popular white-sand beaches. And these surprises are not exactly the usual things you’d see or hear about in travelogues or in other tour resources.
Introducing seven of the most beautiful crater lakes around the Philippines, giving you more reasons to realize that the country still has the kind of beauty that conquerors around the world have always yearned for right from the start.
Taal Crater Lake in Talisay and San Nicolas, Batangas
A lot of people go to Tagaytay to enjoy the cool weather, as well as the breathtaking view of the Taal Volcano and the lake surrounding it.
What a lot of these people do not realize however, is the fact that if they actually come closer to that wonder of nature they’ve been eyeing from afar, the experience is even more awe-inspiring. For right in the middle of that volcano’s crater is another lake waiting to be explored.
The Taal Volcano is the smallest active volcano in the world. And to make things even more interesting, the crater lake we’re talking about found on Vulcan Point is a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano.
Confused? The best way to understand how this works is to go see this spectacular scene for yourself.
Pinatubo Crater Lake in Botolan, Zambales
The second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century happened right here, after 500 years of this giant’s slumber. Its impact can still be felt up to this very day, especially by the indigenous tribes who used to seek shelter around the sleeping giant.
Despite the huge disaster, a wonderful discovery was thankfully made. For right in the middle of that crater, a picturesque lake was formed, the deepest in the country at 800 metres.
With its changing colour, plus the scenic 4×4 ride across lahar fields and the 2-hour trek to get there, it has been declared as one of the most beautiful crater lakes in the entire world.
Despite the beautiful, inviting waters however, swimming is not allowed here. Aside from the absence of a lifeguard, the water can also be very acidic and still contains some substances that could be harmful to swimmers.
However, you can still explore the lake by renting boats and rowing to the other side of the lake where magnificent views of the volcanic walls can be witnessed. You can even see some steam rising from the water and a few parts where the water still bubbles, reminding you that you still are inside an active volcano.
Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao in Sibulan, Negros Oriental
Although they are two separate crater lakes, Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao are only separated by a narrow mountain ridge, making it seem like they are a single lake split into two especially when viewed from above.
Surrounded by lush forests with an amazing mix of different bird breeds flying around this hidden paradise, the long travel is all worth it.
Balisasayao is also the name of one of the birds that are often seen around the lake. Danao, on the other hand, is a local term that means ‘lagoon’ or ‘lake’.
Lake Holon in T’boli, South Cotabato
Mt. Melibingoy is considered as a sacred place for the indigenous T’boli tribe, and its majesty is accentuated even further by the impressive crater lake found in it. Surrounded by rainforests, the four-hour trek to Lake Holon is all worth it once you see its vibrant blue and green colours shimmering under the sun.
The lake is found 1,350 metres above sea level, so it is not surprise that the water here is extremely cold. It is also one of the cleanest bodies of water in the country.
Lake Apo in Valencia, Bukidnon
Lake Apo is not as huge as the other crater lakes on this list, nor is it very popular around travel circles. The fact that this 24-hectare lake formed inside one of Bukidnon’s volcanic cones is not as intimidating however, is the very reason that this is a must-try on your travel list. It offers the kind of peace and serenity that you may not find in other tourist-ridden spots.
The shores of Lake Apo are perfect for those who would rather sit on the grass with a good book, not minding the hours as they go by. That’s the kind of charm that goes with this place – it offers the perfect venue for your mind to rest.
So if you think you’ve seen it all, this list will definitely prove you wrong. The perfect way to deviate from mainstream travel, these additional destinations could give you several years’ worth of conversation pieces that no one could compete with.
Special thanks to Allan Barredo for the main image.