Mt. Pinatubo: An Unforgettable Trek Through Nature’s Masterpiece

Mt. Pinatubo

MT. PINATUBO: A BEAUTIFUL DISASTER

Nestled within the borders of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga in the Philippines, Mt. Pinatubo stands as a testament to nature’s immense power and beauty. Known for its catastrophic eruption in 1991, the volcano has since transformed into a breathtaking trekking destination, attracting adventurers from around the world. My recent trek to Mt. Pinatubo was nothing short of exhilarating, and I’m thrilled to share this unforgettable experience with you. If you’re planning to trek to Mt. Pinatubo, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make your journey safe, enjoyable, and memorable.

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How to get to Mt. Pinatubo

There is only a little difference in the amount we will spend if we do a DIY trip so we just decided to book a package tour. It was convenient and well-organized, allowing us to focus on enjoying their trip. We paid PHP 2,500 each which includes van transportation from/back to Manila, 4×4 ride, registration fee, guide fee, environmental fee, and climb permit. If you are interested you can book a tour via KLOOK using the link below.

BOOK A TOUR VIA KLOOK —> Mt. Pinatubo Hiking Day Tour from Manila

If you opt to DIY via Capas, here’s how:

  1. Bus from Manila, Cubao or Pasay to Capas, Tarlac (Mc Donalds Capas Junction)
  2. Trike to cc Tourism (the cheaper alternative is to take a jeep at P30 per pax or trike for at least P150 per trike to Patling and transfer to a trike at P60 per trike to Sta. Juliana Tourism)
  3. Register at Sta. Juliana Tourism who well then arrange the 4×4 ride, be five in a group to maximize the sharing cost for the 4×4 ride.
  4. The ride will take about an hour which will be followed by at least two hours of trekking

If you are alone and on a DIY tour, you may join a group at Sta. Juliana Tourism to share the 4×4 ride and guide cost. Remember that 10 AM is the cutoff at Sta. Juliana Tourism, no one is allowed to go to the crater lake beyond that time. If you are going to bring your car, you need to find a parking space near the tourism area because from there you need to ride a 4×4.

The Journey Begins

The tour agency picked us up at MOA at around 2 AM going to Brgy. Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac – Mt. Pinatubo’s jump-off point. The trip took 2 and a half hours. Upon arrival, we registered at the tourism office and secured our guides. They arranged the 4×4 ride for us. Four pax in one 4×4, and you cannot select which 4×4 you want.

Our adventure began early in the morning, with a 4×4 jeep ride through the lahar-filled terrain of Capas, Tarlac. The rugged landscape, sculpted by the volcanic eruption, created an otherworldly backdrop. As we navigated through the ash and rock formations, the anticipation of what lay ahead grew with every bump and turn.

During our 4×4 ride, we stopped over what is called Toblerone Hills.

The jeep ride took us to the drop-off point, where our trek would officially commence. After a quick briefing from our guide, we set off on foot, eager to reach the crater lake.

The Trek

The trail to Mt. Pinatubo’s crater is a mix of rocky paths, river crossings, and gentle ascents. As we trekked, the scenery constantly evolved, showcasing nature’s resilience and beauty. Towering canyons, remnants of the eruption, flanked our path, while small streams provided a refreshing respite from the heat. We were advised to wear masks.

One of the most striking aspects of the trek was the contrast between the desolate, ash-covered landscape and the lush greenery that had begun to reclaim the area. This juxtaposition served as a poignant reminder of nature’s ability to heal and regenerate.

If you are thinking if is it hard or difficult to hike Mt. Pinatubo, it is not. Enjoy a mild 4 km walking trail surrounded by wide open lahar fields. Some foot trails is flat with very little elevation gain and paved stairs. It is good for beginners.

Reaching the Crater

After approximately two hours of trekking, we arrived at the crater rim. The sight that greeted us was nothing short of spectacular. The caldera, filled with a serene turquoise lake, was a stark contrast to the rugged journey we had undertaken. The water, reflecting the sky and surrounding cliffs, created a picture-perfect scene that took our breath away.

The sight of the turquoise crater lake is your reward for the trek. The lake’s calm waters and surrounding cliffs offer a breathtaking view, perfect for photos and moments of reflection.

Standing at the edge of the crater, I felt a profound sense of accomplishment and awe. The journey, challenging yet rewarding, culminated in this moment of pure beauty and tranquility. We spent time soaking in the view, capturing photographs, and simply enjoying the serenity of the place.

The Descent

After a well-deserved break, we began our descent, retracing our steps through the same scenic path. The return journey provided an opportunity to reflect on the experience and savor the memories we had just created. The trek back, though familiar, still held its own charm, with the changing light adding new dimensions to the landscape.

Remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles. Carry your trash back with you and respect the natural surroundings.

Best Time to Visit

  • Dry Season: The best time to trek Mt. Pinatubo is during the dry season, from November to April. During these months, the weather is more predictable, and the trails are less muddy and easier to navigate.
  • The best months to hike is from December to May. The crater lake’s color is blue-green and sometimes you get to see reflective mirror lake.

What to Bring

  1. Trekking Gear:
    • Comfortable trekking shoes or boots. I prefer sandals.
    • Lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing
    • Hat and sunglasses for sun protection
    • Trekking poles (optional but helpful)
  2. Essentials:
    • Sufficient water (at least 2 liters)
    • Snacks and a packed lunch
    • Sunscreen and insect repellent
    • First aid kit
    • Waterproof bag or cover for your belongings
  3. Other Useful Items:
    • Camera or smartphone for capturing the stunning scenery
    • Extra clothes and a towel for after the trek

Conclusion

My trek to Mt. Pinatubo was an experience filled with wonder, challenge, and a deep connection to nature. It reminded me of the resilience of the natural world and the beauty that can emerge from even the most catastrophic events. If you ever have the chance to trek to Mt. Pinatubo, seize it—it’s an adventure you’ll cherish forever.

So pack your gear, lace up your trekking shoes, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure to Mt. Pinatubo!

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If you choose to book a tour through the KLOOK link above, here’s the itinerary for that trip.

Inclusions:
Van Service
4×4
Reg.fee
Guide fee
Environmental fee
Climb Permit

Exclusions:
Shower Fee 50
Tungkod (optional) 50
Own Food

ITINERARY:
02:00am – Meet up in MOA KFC Northwing
02:15am – Pick up in Greenfield (Mayflower Parking)
02:30am – Pick up in Centris (McDo beside BMW, EDSA North bound)
– Departure
*Pwede po ang pick and drop along the way
– Bulacan & Pampanga (near NLEX Exit)
– Tarlac (Bamban & Capas)
05:00am – ETA Jump off, Breakfast
– Register, acquire guides & 4×4 jeep
05:30am – Ride 4×4 (Adventure Begins)
06:30am – End of 4×4 Ride, Start Trek
08:00am – ETA Botolan Junction
08:30am – ETA Crater view deck
10:00am – Start Descend, Backtrail
10:30am – ETA Junction, Rest
11:30am – End of trek, Ride 4×4
01:00pm – ETA Jump Off, Wash up, Lunch
02:00pm – Departure
05:30pm – ETA Manila, drop off
-end of activity-

If you have questions let me know in the comment section below. You can also check my blog – Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola Twin Dayhike Guide, Budget + Itinerary.

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