You know the old saying that if life gives you a lemon, make lemonaide?
Well, the Philippines is now planning to start a new trend: Volcano Tourism.

The hottest “tourist destination” in Luzon are the eco tourism groups visiting the devestation around Mt Pinatubo.

There are nature tours of the region,  which stress the devestation and the natural recovery of the ecosystem, along with teaching about the traditional ways of the local people. Of course, swimming in the crater’s lake is also available for those healthy enough to climb to the top…

But if you like less “Mordor” like scenery, try hiking up the Mayon volcano instead. 

The Mayon volcano is beautiful, and is still having minor eruptions. But the hiking and camping will be in green forests, not dry lahar beds, and there are tourist places near the volcano itself.

There are other volcanos for the more adventerous, of course:

But Iraya, Kanlaon, Bulusan, Banahaw, Hibok-Hibok, Isarog and Kalatungan, to name a few, are physically remote and inaccessible.

Apo, the country’s highest peak and a potentially active volcano on the southern island of Mindanao, is visited mainly by mountain climbers who hike up the 2,938-meter (9,639-foot) summit and back over three or more days.

But if you are old and creaky, like me, but want to see a volcano and still have time to go home and party at discos the same night? Well, we have a volcano for you…

Taal…the “worlds smallest volcano”.…in the southern suburbs of Manila.

This  volcano has a road that goes up by the lake so if you are like me and have left your backpaking days behind you, it’s ideal.

The lake is beautiful, and right in the middle is an island with a small mound. People live in the Island, and you can visit the place if you want…When I visited, the volcano was smoking…the mound is why they call it the “world’s smallest volcano”, but don’t be fooled: The lake is the Caldera…and if the volcano ever starts acting up, the entire area (including Manila) could be in trouble…

taal

Of course, the dangers of even a small eruption to those on the island or lake shore would be huge. But that didn’t stop a Korean Tourism company from trying to build a spa on the island. Right now it’s bogged down in red tape, with locals complaining about environmental problems if the spa is built. In the meanwhile, just stay in Manila and drive up for a day and enjoy the site.

Taal is one of the fifteen potentially most dangerous Volcanos, because it has erupted 34 times in the last 400 years, and is so close to Manila.

But right now, no problem, so drive up, take a boat ride, and enjoy.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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