The paradisaical beauty of Lake Taal, on an island in the archipelago known as the Philippines, belies the mammoth terror at its center: a highly active volcano that has taken thousands of lives and has been roiling since 1991 after a dormant period following its 1977 eruption. With 33 recorded eruptions, the Taal Volcano is the second most active volcano in the Philippines and a part of the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire,” a large swath of the Pacific known for its earthquakes and active volcanoes.
But the Taal Volcano is more than that. The region has some strange geological features that attract visitors from around the world. The way the features are arranged is something like nesting dolls. On the Filipino island of Luzon is Lake Taal. Within that lake is a volcano, Taal Volcano. At the top of the volcano, a thousand feet above sea level, is a basin, known as a caldera, carved out of the mountain hundreds of thousands of years ago. The caldera itself is filled with water, creating a crater lake, the largest crater lake in the world. At the center of the crater lake is a tiny island, Vulcan Point, which is one of Taal Volcano’s cones. To recap, that’s an island, within a lake, within another island, within a lake, on an island, within an archipelago, within the Pacific.