Bulusan, a volcano on the southern extremity of the island, resembles Vesuvius in shape. For many years it remained dormant, but in 1852 smoke began to issue from its crater. In some respects the most interesting of these three volcanoes is that of Taal, which lies almost due south of Manila and about forty-five miles distant, on a small island in the middle of a large lake, known as Bombom or Bongbong. A remarkable feature of this volcanic mountain is that it is probably the lowest in the world, its height being only 850 feet above sea level. There are doubtful traditions that Lake Bombom, a hundred square miles in extent, was formed by a terrible eruption in 1700, by which a lofty mountain 8000 or 9000 feet high, was destroyed. The vast deposits of porous tufa in the surrounding country are certainly evidences of former great eruptions from Mount Taal.
The crater of this volcano is an immense, cup-shaped depression, a mile or more in diameter and about 800 feet deep. When recently visited by Professor Worcester, during his travels in these islands, he found it to contain three boiling lakelets of strangely-colored water, one being of a dirty brown hue, a second intensely yellow in tint, and the third of a brilliant emerald green. The mountain still steams and fumes, as if too actively at work below to be at rest above. In past times it has shown the forces at play in its depths by breaking at times into frightful activity. Of the various explosions on record, the three most violent were those of 1716, 1749, and 1754. In the last-named year the earth for miles round quaked with the convulsive throes of the deeply disturbed mountain, and vast quantities of volcanic dust were hurled high into the air, sufficient to make it dark at midday for many leagues around. The roofs of distant Manila were covered with volcanic dust and ashes. Molten lava also poured from the crater and flowed into the lake, which boiled with the intense heat, while great showers of stones and ashes fell into its waters.