Monday, August 25, 2008

Mountain biking at Lake Taal, Batangas, Philippines

One of the attractions of the Philippines is that the high rainfall and humidity tends to chemically whether most rocks into fine soils. This makes them great for mountain biking. I went for a drive on the weekend along the edge of Lake Taal. There are several attractions of this area.
1. The view of the volcano - better scene from Tagaytay, but from Laurel you can get a ferry over there.
2. The view of My Macolot near Cuenca
3. The mountain biking in the area
4. The boat services from Laurel to the volcanic island. For those of you unaware, Lake Taal has a resurgent cone in the middle of Lake Taal. According to family, Lake Taal had its last serious eruption around 45 years ago. It produced ashfalls over about a week before settling down. But that's the personal account of a 7 year old.

The mountain biking trail is actually the road running alongside the lake, from Tubig to Laurel. These towns are accessible from San Nicholas or Batangas in the south, and Tagaytay and Talisay in the north. Might route notes included:
1. Aguncillo is a small town after San Nicholas
2. Bgy Guitna
2. Bgy Panhulan has nice trees along the street.
3. Subic town.
4. Tubig has nothing of note, but its where the concrete road turns to the dirt we like for mountain biking. The road is only slightly undulating; its nice black soil, so there is little prospect of getting a flat tyre. The excellent soil arises because its unconsolidated ash deposited from the volcano over millions of years. If you are interested in geology, you will see great road cuttings on this section.
5. The road rises a little higher at Bilbinwang.
6. Bgy Buso Buso was a very nice, near the lake. There is a good view of the volcano there.
7. At Gulod the road goes up and back down. I didn't see any good views from the top. Take the right turn at Gulod that takes you the shorter and flatter route to Laurel.

The trip makes sense from Tagaytay since you can get accommodation there, or at Talisay or Laurel. there are a lot of resorts along the lakeshore. It might be a better MTB trip if you combine it with a boat ride to the volcano from Laurel. The 3rd photo above is a view of the volcano from the viewing deck of a resort in the area.
Andrew Sheldon
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