Taal Lake, Philippines

Lake Locations:

Philippines - Central Philippines Region -

Also known as:  Lake Taal, Bombon Lake

Taal Volcano became extremely active in January 2020. The content below was produced prior to that date. We are leaving our description of Lake Taal online, to preserve details of its history as a vacation destination.

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Taal Lake, formerly known as Bombon Lake, is one of the deepest lakes in the Philippines at 564 feet. This 57,871-acre lake was once an arm of Balayan Bay. After a series of major volcanic eruptions in the 16th century, the lake was closed off from the sea by newly-formed land bridges. Several centuries of precipitation have diluted the lake’s once salty water into freshwater. One of the biggest attractions of Taal Lake is a volcanic island in the middle of the lake which has a lake of its own aptly called Crater Lake.

Taal Lake is located on Luzon Island in the Philippines, 37 miles south of Manila. The region is still volcanically active, but this hasn’t stopped the growth of agriculture and industry in the area. The Philippine Government has designated the Taal region as a favored site for setting up new businesses.

An 11,211-acre volcanic island in the middle of Taal Lake makes the lake unique. A 74-acre crater was formed by an eruption in 1754 which blew the top off of the volcano and a large crater formed in the new opening known today as Crater Lake. Swimming is allowed in Crater Lake, but don’t stay in for very long; the lake’s water is a very diluted form of sulfuric acid with a high concentration of boron, magnesium, aluminum and sodium in salt form. Some believe the water has medicinal properties. Boat tours of Taal Lake are a popular tourist attraction in the area. After crossing the lake, visitors can walk to the top of Taal Volcano or make the journey on horseback. Visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and camping on the island. There’s even a small resort on the island. The Taal Volcano is an active volcano, but has been mostly dormant since 1977.

The best way to explore Taal Lake is by boat, and there are plenty of boat rentals to be found at the local yacht club. The yacht club also has a campground where you can pitch your own tent or rent one from the yacht club. Taal Lake is the home of four species of fish. Clupeids, mullets, maliputos, and jacks have the highest populations in the lake. Fishing is an important industry to the area and you will see many small fishing boats out on the lake. Fishing is allowed, but if your goal is to catch a fish to eat, you will find fresh fish for sale at open air markets on the lake or already prepared in local restaurants. The best fishing is said to be from the shores of Volcano Island.

There are some resorts and other types of vacation rentals on and near Taal Lake, but if you’d like to spend some time exploring the area, the nearby towns of Tagatay, Batangas, Lipa City and San Pascual are rich with historical and modern places to spend the night or a week. Bird watching, golfing, mounting climbing, and horseback riding are available for outdoor enthusiasts. Batangas is the place to go for seaside beaches, diving, wake boarding, snorkeling, and other beach activities. The Taal Cathedral in Batangas is one of the many attractions that you should not miss. If you need to go shopping, there are modern malls and stores in Batangas and Lipa City.

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With Taal Volcano in an active state, it is unlikely that Lake Taal will be in anyone’s vacation plans for a very long time.

Things to do at Taal Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Wakeboarding
  • Snorkeling
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding
  • Shopping

Taal Lake Photo Gallery

Taal Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 57,871 acres

Shoreline Length: 71 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 16 feet

Average Depth: 328 feet

Drainage Area: 93,900 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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