Taal Lake

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Taal Lake
Taal Volcano satellite image.gif
Satellite image showing Taal Lake with Volcano island within it
Location Batangas
Coordinates 13°59′13″N 121°00′44″E / 13.98694°N 121.01222°E / 13.98694; 121.01222Coordinates: 13°59′13″N 121°00′44″E / 13.98694°N 121.01222°E / 13.98694; 121.01222
Type Caldera lake
Primary outflows Pansipit River
Basin countries Philippines
Max. length 25 km (16 mi)
Max. width 18 km (11 mi)
Surface area 234.2 km2 (90.4 sq mi)
Average depth 100 m (330 ft)[1]
Max. depth 172 m (564 ft)[1]
Shore length1 115 km (71 mi)
Surface elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Islands Bubuin, Lambauing, Napayon and Volcano Islands
Settlements Talisay, San Nicolas, Lipa City, Laurel, Tanauan City, Santa Teresita, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, and Agoncillo
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Taal Lake is a freshwater lake in the province of Batangas, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The lake fills Taal Caldera, a large volcanic caldera formed by very large eruptions between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago. It is the country's third largest lake after Laguna de Bay and Lake Lanao. Volcano Island, the location of Taal Volcano's historical eruptions and responsible for the lake's sulfuric content, lies near the center of the lake. There is a crater lake on Volcano Island, which is the world's largest lake on an island (Volcano Island) in a lake (Taal Lake) on an island (Luzon). Known as the Main Crater Lake, it contains its own small island, Vulcan Point.

Protected area and management[edit]

The Taal Lake basin was first declared as a national park, the Taal Volcano National Park, by Proclamation no. 235 on July 22, 1967 covering 62,292 hectares (153,930 acres).[2]

Under Republic Act 7586, otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, the area was reestablished as the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape by Proc. 906 on October 16, 1996.[3] The protected area is managed by a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and has a Chief Operating Officer called a Protected Area Superintendent. A Management Plan was crafted and approved by the PAMB in 2009 and now serves as the blueprint for lake conservation.


Philippines and Taal Lake

Taal Lake was once just an arm of Balayan Bay. However, after a series of major eruptions in the 18th century, Taal Lake's sole connection to the sea narrowed down into its sole draining river, the Pansipit River. Several centuries of precipitation have diluted the lake's once saline waters into freshwater.

Eruptions have also destroyed numerous lakeside towns, burying them with volcanic ash or submerged them by rising lake waters displaced by the erupted material. Lipa, Taal, Sala, Bauan and Tanauan were formerly located along Taal Lake. Presently, only three towns are on the lake's shore. Remnants of the old lakeside towns are reported to be seen under the lake's waters.[4]


Because the lake was until recently connected to the sea, it is home to many endemic species that have evolved and adapted to the desalination of the lake's waters. The lake has a freshwater-adapted population of trevally, Caranx ignobilis. These fish, also found in the Pansipit River, are locally called maliputo. Its most popular endemic species is the overharvested Sardinella tawilis, a freshwater sardine. The two other endemic fish species in Taal Lake are the gobies Gnatholepis volcanus and Rhinogobius flavoventris.[5][6]

Taal Lake is also home to one of the world's rarest sea snakes, Hydrophis semperi. This particular species is only one of two "true" sea snake species that are known to live entirely in freshwater(the other is Laticauda crockeri from the Solomon Islands). Bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas, used to be part of the lake's once-diverse ecosystem, but they were exterminated by the locals in the 1930s.

Introduction of a non-native fish[edit]

Jaguar guapote (Parachromis managuensis), a predatory piscivore, a carnivorous fish that primarily eats other fishes, was found illegally introduced into the lake. The alien fish could proliferate in all areas of lake because of the abundant aquatic vegetation which they use for spawning and feeding, plenty of natural food, and favorable warm environment. Its presence could seriously affect the native fish population.[7]

Fish kill[edit]

Taal Lake and environs

On January 5, 2008, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources announced that a fish kill at Taal Lake (January 2 to 4) caused the 50 metric tons or 3.25-million ($79,268) loss of cultured tilapia in the villages of Leviste and Balakilong in Laurel and in Barangay Aya and Barangay Quiling in Talisay. 6,000 maliputo fishes ($5,609) also died at Quiling. Toxic sulfur and high level of hydrogen sulfide in Ambulong while low dissolved oxygen caused the deaths.[8]

On May 30, 2011, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources announced a fish kill of 750 metric tons. According to the scientists, the onset of the rainy season brought a sudden drop on the water temperature, which lowered the oxygen levels on the lake.[9]


Regular tours of the lake are available to tourists. After crossing the lake, visitors travel to the top of Volcano Island on horseback. During their trip up and down the mountain, visitors are treated to a stunning view of the lake and its surroundings.

In mid-2007, controversy ensued when the Korean firm Jung Ang Interventure was given clearance to build a health spa on Volcano Island itself along the lake's edge. Over the course of the next few weeks, several government officials expressed their disapproval of the construction project.[10][11]

On June 28, the DENR suspended the Korean firm's environmental clearance certificate, rendering them incapable of pursuing further construction on the island until they secure other necessary permits.[12] Because of the unpopular public reaction to the project, the Korean company's permit was permanently revoked by the DENR in early July 2007.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lake Taal". International Lake Environment Committee. Retrieved on 2012-03-17.
  2. ^ "List of initial components of Nipas Act". Protection and Wildlife Bureau. Retrieved on 2012-01-13.
  3. ^ "Protected Areas in Region 4-A (CALABARZON)". Protection and Wildlife Bureau. Retrieved on 2012-01-13.
  4. ^ Hargrove, Thomas (1991). "The Mysteries of Taal, a Philippine volcano and lake, her sea life and lost towns". Bookmark, Manila. ISBN 971-569-046-7.
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Gnatholepis volcanus" in FishBase. November 2012 version.
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Rhinogobius flavoventris" in FishBase. November 2012 version.
  7. ^ (2006). "Biological Investigation of Jaguar Guapote Parachromis managuensis (Gunther) in Taal Lake, Philippines". Journal of Environmental Science and Management, Vol 9, No 2.
  8. ^ Luistro, Marlon Alexander (2008-01-05).Inquirer.net, "Taal Lake fishkill causes ₱3-M losses". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  9. ^ Celis, Noel (2011-05-30). "Philippines struggles under mountain of dead fish". AFP. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  10. ^ Ramos, Marlon (2007-06-25). "Batangas, Tagaytay execs oppose Taal spa project". Breaking News: Regions (Inquirer.net). Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  11. ^ Torres, Tetch (2007-06-27). "Vilma Santos takes oath, says vs Taal spa". Eleksyon 2007 Special Coverage (Inquirer.net). Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  12. ^ Contreras, Volt (2007-06-30). "DENR gives Taal spa firm 1-week ultimatum". Headlines: Nation (Inquirer.net). Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  13. ^ Andraneda, Katherine (2007-07-06). "DENR cancels Taal spa permit". Philippine Headline News Online. Retrieved on 2011-01-15.

External links[edit]

Dr Brian Cox "The Wonders of Life" BBC Series1 episode1. 2013. Discussion on L. Taal with footage.