7 Beautiful Towns Near Philippine Volcanoes
Explore the picturesque towns that sit peacefully near these magnificent mountains
All eyes are now on the Mayon Volcano in Albay, as Phivolcs raised Alert Level 3 in the area last January 14, and its outlying barangays were evacuated. Though Mayon is arguably the most famous of the volcanoes, there are approximately 23 active volcanoes in the country, to date.
The Philippines is formed in such a way that its trenches are linked to volcano formation, hence, there is a presence of a high number of volcanoes in such a small archipelago. But in spite of the rumblings, there is a certain picturesque quality to the towns that are located by the foot of these majestic beasts—it could be the history, or the rich, volcanic soil that makes the towns verdant and lush.
Don’t fret, as these volcanoes are continuously and closely monitored by Phivolcs, so it won’t hurt to visit these towns for the weekend or on a long holiday.
1. Taal, Batangas
The volcano: Taal Volcano
The Municipality of Taal is most famous for its hundreds of beautifully preserved and restored ancestral houses and structures. In fact, the poblacion itself is designated a Historical Landmark. Don’t miss visiting the 1800s Taal Basilica, the two Villavicencio Houses, and the Agoncillo House.
2. Tagaytay, Cavite
The volcano: Taal Volcano
Because of its cool climate and proximity to Metro Manila, Tagaytay City is one of the most popular tourist and weekend destinations in the area. Tagaytay Ridge (where most resorts, hotels, and residences take root) directly faces scenic Taal Lake, which is part of the Taal Caldera (volcanic crater). Taal Volcano’s last major eruption was in 1977, but an alert level was raised in April to July 2011 because of increased seismicity.
3. Botolan, Zambales
The volcano: Mount Pinatubo
Everyone knows of the massive Mount Pinatubo eruption back in 1991 (it was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century), with lahar flows affecting areas as far as Pampanga. The town where Mount Pinatubo sits is Botolan, a quiet municipality known for its hiking trails, beaches, and the Sta. Monica Parish Church, a Catholic church that dates from the 1700s that is made out of coral blocks.
4. Dolores, Quezon
The volcano: Mount Banahaw
Dolores is located at the foot of Mount Banahaw, and like its mountain, is full of mystical beliefs and practices. The mountain is famous among pilgrims as a “holy mountain,” and visitors flock to the area mostly during Holy Week. Aside from its many waterfalls and springs, there are numerous resorts and bed-and-breakfasts in the town.
5. Camiguin Island
The volcano: Mount Hibok-Hibok
This island has so much more going for it than its famous lanzones. Aside from its beautiful beaches, cold and hot springs, and its sunken cemetery, visitors can hike to the summit of Mount Hibok-Hibok (DENR permits are required). Its last eruption was in 1951.
6. La Castellana, Negros Occidental
The volcano: Mount Kanlaon
Another famous hiking trail is that of Mount Kanlaon, which rises more than 8,000 feet. The municipality at the foot of this mountain is La Castellana, which is only an hour-and-a-half-drive from Bacolod City. Aside from the famous Mount Kanlaon Natural Park, there are numerous hot springs, waterfalls, caves, and resorts to visit. Mount Kanlaon is a fairly active volcano, and its last eruption was in 2016.
The volcano: Musuan Peak
Even though Bukidnon has no beaches (it’s a landlocked area), it doesn’t lack for tourist spots. The province has the famous Del Monte Pineapple Plantation and Golf Course, architect Leandro Locsin’s sculptural Monastery of Transfiguration, and the pine tree- dotted Kaamulan Nature Park (above). Mount Musuan’s last noted activity was in 2011.
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