Okay, try this one : A volcano within a lake, within a volcano, within a lake, within a volcano. Sounds a bit like volcanological equivalent of a Matryoshka doll, but if you're local on Taal Volcano Island, this will make perfect sense to you. This island is actually one volcano, but eruptions in the past have created mini volcanoes and water filled calderas in it and have given the island its catchy slogan. Let me break it down for you again: The entire municipality of Talisay Batangas is believed to be a volcano, within which Taal lake was formed. Within the Taal Lake lies Taal Volcano Island, within which lies another tiny volcano islet. Now read that backwards and you will know what I am on about. When you walk to the ridge of the caldera, the earth, reddened by sulfur, spews out foul smelling streams of smoke. Stick an egg into one of those smoking holes, says my guide, and it will cook through in three minutes. There are two ways to get to the top of the Main Crater : you either walk or go the distance on horseback. Walking uphill is a tough task on the Daang Kastilla trail, but it's the easiest (though some say its treacherous because of the sulfur emissions) and most direct route to the top. When you finally get to the top though, look at the green waters of the lake within and you'll see white patches here and there. Those are bubbles- the water is literally boiling hot. Ask around a bit until you find the 'Secret Place' - a narrow path that leads to the absolute edge of the ridge. From here you can see the entire island in all its glory. Tufts of smoke curl up into the air from a little hole at the tip. It is almost like walking up the spine of the dragon, towards its smoking nostrils. Now is when you take a moment to let it sink in : you are standing on the ridge of an active volcano. You can almost feel the earth shaking beneath your feet, the heat penetrating the soles of your shoes. You now officially have bragging right for a decade!
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