Outdoors & Nature

Active Volcanoes in the Philippines

Cecille
Written by Cecille

It’s interesting how a country with a land area as small as the Philippines has almost 400 volcanoes and around 25 of it are active or those that has recently erupted and will possibly erupt in the future. This is because the country lies in what the experts call the “Pacific Ring of Fire” or in layman’s term, an area where it is ideal for a volcano to form.

Over the years, several of these volcanoes in the country have erupted, some just once while some more than 50 times. While many volcanoes are destructive especially when they erupt, they ironically produce something beautiful – hot springs, geysers, and mud pools to name a few. This in turn gave way for tourism, particularly geotourism, adventure tourism, and ecotourism, to flourish. In the Philippines, many volcanoes, active and inactive alike, are popular tourist attractions. It’s about time you get to know them…

Volcanoes in the Philippines

Active Volcanoes in the Philippines

Ambalatungan (Mount Binuluan)

Location: Kalinga (Luzon)

Ambalatungan has reportedly erupted in 1952 and 1986 or 1987 but they are unverified. Nevertheless, it is recognized as an active volcano due to its hot springs and fumarole fields (an area surrounding a volcano with openings that emit steam and gas).

Babuyan Claro

Location: Babuyan Island Group, Cagayan (Luzon)

Babuyan Claro erupted two times only: in 1831 and 1860. There were reports of volcanic activity in 1913 and 1993 but are not confirmed. A hot spring referred to as Askedna can be found at the southern part of Babuyan Claro.

Banahaw

Location: Laguna and Quezon (Luzon)

Banahaw is popular not only among mountain climbers but also among pilgrims as it is also considered as a Holy Mountain. This volcano complex boasts of caves, streams, boulders, and springs which the locals deemed to be sacred and are a source of holy water.

Biliran

Location: Biliran, Leyte (Visayas)

Biliran has only one historical eruption and that sole eruption caused the formation of an island. It also has four hot springs.

Bud Dajo (Jolo Group of Volcanoes)

Location: Jolo, Sulu (Mindanao)

While the PHIVOLCS recognized Bud Dajo as cinder cone (volcano composed of particles such as hardened lava), the Global Volcanism Program lists it as an active volcano. Its been declared as a national park and has a game refuge where vulnerable and endangered species like Philippine cockatoo and Sulu hornbill can be found.

Bulusan

Location: Sorsogon, Bicol Region (Luzon)

See below

Cabalian

Location: Southern Leyte (Visayas)

Aside from hot springs, one of its thermal features is solfataras. A lake called Danao Lake occupies the summit crater of Cabalian.

Cagua

Location: Cagayan (Luzon)

This volcano covered by vast lava flows has erupted twice only with the last eruption in 1907. It has six hot springs.

Camiguin de Babuyanes

Location: Babuyan Island Group, Cagayan (Luzon)

With one verified eruption in 1857, Camiguin de Babuyanes is an active stratovolcano that houses fumaroles and a boiling spring.

Didicas

Location: Babuyan Island Group, Cagayan (Luzon)

Didicas used to be submarine volcano but re-emerged from the sea in 1952. It has six recorded eruptions.

Hibok-Hibok

Location: Camiguin Island (Northern Mindanao)

See below

Iraya

Location: Batan Island, Batanes (Luzon)

This heavily forested volcano last erupted in 1454 but seismic activity activities were recorded in 1998.

Iriga

Location: Camarines Sur (Luzon)

Last eruption was in 1642. It is about a kilometer away from Lake Buhi, home to several marine life such as sinarapan – the worlds’s smallest commercially harvested fish.

Isarog

Location: Camarines Sur (Luzon)

Mount Isarog used to be a guerilla hideout during the Japanese invasion. It is now a protected and home to endemic rodents, mammals, and several bird species.

Kanlaon

Location: Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental (Visayas)

See below

Leonard Kniaseff

Location: Compostela Valley(Mindanao)

It has strong thermal features but no recorded eruption in modern times.

Makaturing

Location: Lanao del Sur (Mindanao)

PHIVOLCS lists Makaturing having 10 eruptions but Smithsonian’s Institution’s Global Volcanology Program disputes that the eruptions in 1865 and 1882 were that of Ragang’s.

Matutum

Location: Cotabato (Mindanao)

Matutum is about 30 km away from General Santos City. It has two hot springs – Acmonan and Linan.

Mayon

Location: Albay, Bicol Region (Luzon)

See below

Musuan (Mount Calayo)

Location: Bukidnon (Mindanao)

With an elevation of 646 meters asl, Musuan is a lava dome and tuff cone. PHIVOLCS lists two eruptions.

Parker (Mount Melibengoy)

Location: Provinces of Cotabato, General Santos, and Sarangani (Mindanao)

While locally named as Melibengoy, Mount Parker got its English name from an American named Frank Parker who claimed to have discovered the mountain in 1934. Its last eruption was in 1641 which caused the formation of the crater lake.

Pinatubo

Location: Zambales Mountains (Central Luzon)

See below

Ragang

Location: Provinces of Cotabato and Lanao del Sur (Mindanao)

Also called Mount Piapayungan and Blue Mountain by the locals, Ragang is the 7th highest mountain in the Philippines and the most active volcano in Mindanao.

San Pablo Volcanic Field (Laguna Volcanic Field)

Location: Laguna (Luzon)

Aside from Mount Makiling as its most prominent volcanic feature, the field is also home to several maars, crater lakes, scoria scones and stratovolcanoes. There are also mud and hot springs in the area.

Smith

Location: Babuyan Island Group, Cagayan (Luzon)

Smith has a record of six eruptions with the latest in 1924.

Taal

Location: Batangas (Luzon)

See below

Unnamed Volcano (Ibugos)

Location: Ibugos, Batanes (Luzon)

This unnamed volcano is a submarine volcano 5 kilometers off Ibugos Island. Last recorded eruption was in 1854.

Most Active Volcanoes in the Philippines

Mayon

Location: Albay, Bicol Region (Luzon)

Known as the “perfect cone” for its perfect symmetric conical shape, Mayon is the most active volcano in the country with more than 50 recorded eruptions in the past 500 years. Its eruption in 1814 is considered as the most destructive one – burning trees, damaging rivers as well as the areas surrounding the volcano. The Cagsawa ruins, with only the church bell tower existing presently, is a prominent reminder of this unfortunate event.

Mayon Volcano is featured in the back portion of P100 Philippine money. There are also ATV and 4×4 tours and trekking offered by several operators.

Taal

Location: Batangas (Luzon)

Taal may be one of the lowest volcanoes in the world with just 311 meters elevation but it is recognized as the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. It’s a caldera volcano near the middle of Taal Lake. Both the lake and volcano are a popular backdrop when in Tagaytay City.

Tourists can take a boat to the volcano and the more adventurous ones can hike up to the crater.

Kanlaon

Location: Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental (Visayas)

Kanlaon is the third most active volcano in the country with a record of 30 eruptions since 1819. This highest point in the whole of Visayas stands in the middle of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. Most of its eruptions produce minor ash falls except in 1902 when it erupted lava and gas fumes.

Mount Kanlaon is a favorite destination not just by mountain climbers but even by families and friends because of the several waterfalls and hot springs including the popular Mambukal Hot Springs where guests can stay for a day or overnight.

Bulusan

Location: Sorsogon, Bicol Region (Luzon)

With a record of 15 eruptions since 1885, Bulusan is recognized as the 4th most active volcano in the country. Most of its eruption produce ash falls which caused only minor damage to surrounding areas. Bulusan has four craters and four hot springs which are enjoyed by tourists.

Hibok-Hibok

Location: Camiguin Island (Northern Mindanao)

Hibok-Hibok erupted just five times since 1827 but one of its eruption destroyed a town and created the sunken cemetery, now a popular tourist destination in Camiguin Island. Hibok-Hibok, a popular hiking destination, has three craters and blessed the island with six hot springs which are visited by tourists local and foreign alike.

Pinatubo

Location: Zambales Mountains (Central Luzon)

Pinatubo may only have two recorded eruptions but one of it, the 1991 eruption, is considered the most destructive volcano eruption in Philippine history and the 2nd largest eruption in the world during the 20th century. Thousands of locals (indigenous Aetas) inhabiting the dense forest covering the volcano have been displaced and nearby areas were severely damaged thus affecting the livelihood of many. This eruption was mentioned in the movie “Dante’s Peak”.

Several tour operators offer Mount Pinatubo tours and trekking packages which allow you to see the crater lake.

Inactive Volcanoes in the Philippines

Presently, there are over 300 inactive volcanoes in the country. For a volcano to be considered as inactive or extinct, it must not have a record of any volcanic activity in a long time and is not likely to erupt again due to lack of magma supply.

Extinct is often confused with dormant. For volcano to be considered dormant, it must not have erupted for thousand of years yet showing signs that it could possibly erupt in the future.

About the author

Cecille

Cecille

Cecille produces the written content for the site & guides and handles all the administrative tasks. She also blogs about home and family life, beauty and food in her personal blog.

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