The stunning scenery at Taal Lake, on the Philippine island of Luzon, makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Located just 30 miles away from Manila,
Taal Lake was once part of the ocean — a branch of the Bay of Balayan that extends to the South China Sea. It's not uncommon for bays to develop reservoirs. For example, during the last Ice Age, it took centuries for the planet to return to its pre-glacier elevations in several areas.
Rainfall has reduced the salinity of lake water during the last three hundred years, but there was enough opportunity for all of its fishy inhabitants to adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings.
Taal Lake is home to a toxic black and white "water serpent". This type is one of only a few snakes of its sort that live in freshwater. Taal Lake is also the world's largest freshwater sardine sanctuary, Sardinella tawilis. Bleniid Omobranchus ferox is also endemic to Taal Lake.