Mt. Pinatubo Trekking

In 1991, a dormant volcano north of Manila discharged millions of tons of sulfur dioxide in the air when it was awaken after more than 600 years of nap, on what is considered as the largest and most catastrophic volcanic eruption in the recent years.

Ashes covered the entire Luzon landmass and even reached Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and other neighboring Asian countries.

Close to a thousand perished, more than a hundred thousand lost their homes, and billion worth of crops were damaged. The eruption also brought down the world temperature by a few centigrade.

Today, it holds a beauty that covers it tragic past. The blue-green lake on a gray-brown  crater is a sight to behold. The irony is that, it is now attracting more and more people after its sudden eruption that fend off people from the area more than a decade ago.

mt pinatubo boating

Photo source

Experience Mt. Pinatubo. A day trek to the crater will reveal the beauty that it drew. You will even forget its disastrous history.

How to Get There

The most common and recommended jump off point is via Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac trail. Going there via public transport, ride a bus going to Pangasinan, Baguio or Ilocos Provinces (Victory Liner, Partas, Fariñas Transit, Five Star Bus) or catch a direct to Tarlac bus and drop off at Capas Public Market. Fare is more or less P200.00 and travel time is around 3 hours. Philippine Rabbit (Contact No: 734-9836) has direct trips to Tarlac every hour daily.

From the market, catch a jeepney or trike to fetch you to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana where the Tourism Office and the base camp of Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Club Association are situated. You need to pay the Environmental Fee in Tourism Office and rent a 4×4 here, they can assign one for you or you may contact any 4×4 driver you know in advance.

mt. pinatubo 4x4

Photo source

From here the crater is just an hour 4×4 ride via Skyway and a 30 – 40 minutes trek.

Activities

  • Kayak and boat ride in crater’s lake
  • Try the volcanis ash massage and mud pack at Pinatubo Spa Town
  • Drop by at Capas Shrine and have a glimpse of Philippine History. It is a memorial shrine for those Filipino and American soldiers who died during the Bataan Death March during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines of World War II. See the 70-meter obelisk towers above the grounds of the former interment camp and imagine yourself  seeing The Needle of Washington DC
  • Witness the man-shaped rock formation in Sta Juliana, popularly called as Telatau - a massive totem-shaped rock
  • Go to Museo de Tarlac in Capas
  • Take a walk at Camposanto Municipio of O’Donnell Capas with its still Spanish colonial period identity still preserved
  • Attend a mass at O’Donnell Catholic Church and see its Spanish façade decorated with lining of centuries old acacia trees
  • Feel the heat of Dolores and Bueno Hot Springs
  • See the still existing Japanese Tunnels and Caves
  • Visit the different ancestral houses scattered in the province
  • Go to Bamban Hills, Sacobia River, Crow Valley, Kalaw Forest/Falls, Lake Canarem,Anao Quina Buntok Creek and Kamikaze Memorial Shrine

Tips

There are a lot of travel groups based in Manila that organize a Mt. Pinatubo Trek, Travel Factor and TriPinas are among those. The good thing about these organized trek is that you don’t need to worry about most of the stuff, since they take care of almost everything, designed actually for busy people. The package rate ranges from P1700 – P2000 from Manila, in exchange you get to trek Mt. Pinatubo less the hassle of organizing it and you gain travel friends from fellow joiners.

pinatubo tours

Photo source

Mt. Pinatubo Town Spa on the other hand offers a local rate of P1500.00 from Sta. Juliana for the package, it includes 4×4 rental via Skyway, toll fee, conservation fee, a local guide and a meal. Contact No: +63928 3410402/(63-45) 493-0031.

Meanwhile, Capas Pinatubo Four-Wheelers Club has P6,250.00 Pinatubo package from Sta. Juliana that is good for five person and inclusive of 4×4 rental via Skyway, toll fee, conservation fee, a local guide and a packed lunch. You may contact the President of Capas Pinatubo Four-Wheelers Club, Wendell Mercado at 0919-6084313.

But if you are keen on organizing your own Mt. Pinatubo tour,  a Do-It-Yourself is of course cheaper. Aside from the expenses for foods and transportation cost to and from the jump off point, other expenses are:

  • Conservation/Environmental fee – P300 per person
  • Guide fee – P500 (for one to five trekkers)
  • 4×4 rental – P2500.00 via Skyway (good for five)
  • Skyway toll fee – P500.00

Optional Expenses:

  • Shower fee – P20.00 at Baranggay Hall/P100.00 at Mt. Pinatubo Town Spa
  • Tent rental – P100.00
  • If you bring your own 4×4, a P500.00 fee is required

Source: www.lakwatsero.com

Teaser photo source: www.pinoymountaineer.com