Taal Volcano Protected Landscape
Just 55 kilometers south of Manila, the 62,000 hectare Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL) boasts of a natural beauty which the ridge-top holiday town of Tagaytay City in Cavite and the other surrounding 15 towns of Batangas enjoy. It sustains the Taal Lake, which is the 3rd largest lake in the country and the Taal Volcano, which is the world’s smallest active volcano at 311 meters tall. Taal Volcano is one of the most active and deadliest volcanoes in the Philippines, having erupted 33 times since 1572.
The TVPL is a Key Biodiversity Area as well as a national park proclaimed under the National Integrated Protected Area System. About 4 endemic fishes thrive in the lake, with the Sardinella tawilis as the most important for its commercial value. Also called “Tawilis”, this is one of the only two freshwater sardines in the world. The Duhol (matapang) Hydrophis semperi, a freshwater sea snake, is a testament to the geologic and evolutionary history of the lake, as it still possesses salt-processing gills. The regular Jack or Trevally Caranx ignobilis when caught inside the lake, is locally called “Maliputo”, and locals swear by the difference in taste as compared to the salt-water caught “Talakitok”, which is of the same species.
Around 32 bird species are sighted in the area. Some of these are endemic to the country, such as the White-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron leucotis, Elegant Tit Periparus elegans, Philippine Tailorbird Orthotomus castaneiceps, Grey-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus derbianus, Philippine Bulbul Ixos philippinus, Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus, Red-crested Malkoha Dasylophus superciliosus and Stripe-headed Rhabdornis Rhabdornis mystacalis. There were also reported sightings of the Luzon Bleeding Heart Gallicolumba luzonica, a Luzon-endemic pigeon.
photo credit: Angelizza Ramirez