Taal Volcano Protected landscape, Batangas

Date of Submission: 16/05/2006
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Department of Environment and natural Resources (DENR) - Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau
State, Province or Region:
Batangas
Coordinates: N13 55 00 E120 55 00 to 121 05 00
Ref.: 5026
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Description

Taal Volcano is an active volcano on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It consists of an island in Lake Taal, which is situated within a caldera formed by an earlier very large eruption. It is about 50 km from the capital, Manila.

The TVPL has an elevation of 600 meters above sea level. The volcano is a complex cinder and tuff cones formed inside a large caldera, the main rock type of which is Olivine Basalt.    The main crater lake of the volcano island is four (4) meters above sea level making the island one of the lowest and most active volcanoes in the world. The deepest point of the lake is approximately 172 meters. 

The lake and its environs is home to many species of flora and fauna a number of which are endemic to the lake like the "Tawilis" (Sardinella tawilis), the only fresh water sardine in the world and the Taal Lake Seasnake (Hydrophis semperi or known to locals as Duhol), the only freshwater sea snake in the world. The snake still has salt glands to eliminate excess salt, despite being in a freshwater habitat.  Other endemic forms include blue green algae, diatom, ostracod, sponge, reptile and fishes. There are many other species, which until now have yet to be documented, and whose natural histories have not been fully studied.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL), which is an active  strato-volcano on the island of Luzon, straddles the provinces of Batangas and Cavite, with an area of 62,292.14 hectares and situated in the municipalities of Talisay, Malvar, Tanauan, Laurel, Agoncillo, Sta. Teresita, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Mataas na Kahoy, Lipa City, Balete and San Nicolas in Batangas & Tagaytay City in Cavite.  It consists of an island in Lake Taal, which is situated within a caldera formed by an earlier very large eruption. It is about 50 km from the capital, Manila.

There have been 33 recorded eruptions at Taal since 1572. The most recent period of activity lasted from 1965 to 1977, and was characterised by the interaction of magma with lake water, producing violent phreatic explosions. These generated base surges and cold pyroclastic flows, which travelled several kilometres across Lake Taal and devasted villages on the lake shore, killing several hundred people. The population of the island itself had been evacuated when the eruption began.

Although the volcano has been dormant since 1977, it has shown signs of unrest since 1991, with strong seismic activity and ground fracturing events, as well as the formation of small mud geysers on parts of the island.

Comparison with other similar properties

Taal volcano has a unique geological history.  Formation-wise, it cannot be compared with other volcanoes because it was formed through one major eruption at the center of the lake, and since the lake itself is the crater of a prehistoric volcano. The vista from the rim is unrivaled.