Travel Spot: The Great Mount Pinatubo Adventure

26 March 2012


Travel Spot: The Great Mount Pinatubo Adventure


After almost 6 months, 4 reschedules, and several customer-experience-related-text-slash-phone-call-rants-to-the-trek-organizers, our Pinatubo adventure was finally on. The Pinatubo crater pictures were worth the 4 hour trek. Or were they? Judge for yourselves. My Pinatubo adventure was done. Your Pinatubo photo adventure begins now…


It was still dark when we left Manila. 100++ trekkers were at the Victory Liner Cubao station, excitedly talking about the adventure ahead (despite all the mishaps with the transportation, read: one big bus, one long van, and one car weren’t enough to accommodate the local and foreign trekkers, hence chaos).


Our Pinatubo tour package includes the following:

  • round trip transportation via A/C vans/buses from Manila to the base camp in Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac
  • packed lunch
  • tour guide
  • 4×4 landcruiser

*** Prepare PHP 390 per person for the Tourism fee.


Several trekkers go up the mountain during the summer peak season. Prepare to trek with 400 local and foreign trekkers. Basic preparation prior trek also includes the following:

  • Pack light. Take only your basic necessities such as extra clothes, extra footwear, and energy drink. My backpack weighed 5 kg due to one lens, ND square filters, and flash. The tour guide had to bring my heavy bag.
  • Protect your skin. The heat could be extremely cruel. Slather up with sunblock. I put the spf 100 version. I had a cap and a shawl too to protect my hair and face.
  • Pay attention to your footsies. Some prefer to wear sandals. I prefer to wear sneakers to protect my toes (read: I am accident prone. I almost always stub my toes). Bring extra footwear too just in case your sneakers get wet.
  • Hydrate. Have your energy drink and energy bars handy.


4 AM Victory Liner Cubao on March 18, 2012 – Leaving Manila
Copy Pinatubo Trek 001


6 AM Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac – After 2 hours (of trying to sleep in the van), our next stop was Sta Juliana in Capas, Tarlac, where breakfast was served. 4×4 Landcruisers dotted the side of the road, ready to bring the trekkers across sand and not-so-raging rivers.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 002


Breakfast compliments of TrekPros (complimentary for the bad CE in October and November, yes, we had to reschedule our trip thrice).
Copy Pinatubo Trek 003


And then our 2-hour 4×4 ride begins
Copy Pinatubo Trek 006


Dress appropriately for the trip. Be prepared to brave dust, sand, water, and the heat. I wore a light shirt to avoid heat stroke, put on arm warmers to protect my arms from dust and the heat of the sun, slathered on sunblock with spf 100, and wore sneakers to protect my toes from being stumped. I highly recommend that you bring sandals too, as your sneakers will get wet from crossing all those streams.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 008


Eating dust
Copy Pinatubo Trek 009
Copy Pinatubo Trek 012


Our 4x4s. A Mount Pinatubo tour always starts with a 4X4 ride.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 013
Copy Pinatubo Trek 016


The local Pinatubo 4×4 – Mr. Carabao.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 014


Appreciating the beautiful landscape aboard our 4×4.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 017
Copy Pinatubo Trek 018


Crossing Not-So-Raging Rivers
Copy Pinatubo Trek 022
Copy Pinatubo Trek 025


Meeting Aetas along the way
Copy Pinatubo Trek 023
Copy Pinatubo Trek 024


Observing other 4x4s in action as they cross the rivers through tire-deep waters
Copy Pinatubo Trek 027
Copy Pinatubo Trek 028
Copy Pinatubo Trek 031


Gawking at the majestic sand mountains. These sand mountains collapse when it rains.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 037


See how the mountains dwarf our 4x4s
Copy Pinatubo Trek 038a
Copy Pinatubo Trek 038c


After two hours aboard the 4×4, we’re finally ready to trek for another two hours.


Prior Typhoon Ondoy, there used to be a shortcut up mountains aptly named the skyway. The skyway used to save trekkers 2-hours-worth of walking across Crow Valley.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 041
Copy Pinatubo Trek 043


Be prepared to cross small streams.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 044
Copy Pinatubo Trek 045


and walk on dusty trails
Copy Pinatubo Trek 047
Copy Pinatubo Trek 048


For those who wore sneakers, be prepared to practice your balancing act, skipping on stones.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 049
Copy Pinatubo Trek 050


There wouldn’t be any trees to protect trekkers from the sun. Bring a bottle or two of energy drink with you, as the next stop would be visible only after an hour of walking.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 051


Goof around and pretend to fish at the tiny streams.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 053


Rest as you may. But be prepared for one more hour of trekking.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 052


Red streams. Yellow streams. Dirty sneakers.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 056
Copy Pinatubo Trek 060


After two hours of trekking comes the 15-minute ascent to the crater.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 059


Finally. Welcome to the Majestic Crater of Mount Pinatubo.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 061


Feel free to have lunch under the shady mango trees. Lunch was included in our package.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 072
Copy Pinatubo Trek 073


See the Pinatubo Crater Lake
Copy Pinatubo Trek 063
Copy Pinatubo Trek 062
Copy Pinatubo Trek 069


Climb 100+ steps down to swim in the lake. Please do take note that the crater lake is deep. Stay by the crater side at all times.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 068
Copy Pinatubo Trek 074
Copy Pinatubo Trek 076


Stay as long as you could on top of Mount Pinatubo. If you would stay overnight, bring a good tent with you. However, for those who wish to go back to Manila asap, leave the crater before 3 PM, as you have to trek all the way back to the 4x4s, cross the rivers again, and cross sand valleys again.
Copy Pinatubo Trek 079
Copy Pinatubo Trek 080
Copy Pinatubo Trek 378


You’ll get dusty and sweaty. The adventure was worth the time and effort.


Bring extra clothes and pay up PHP 70. Private shower areas are available at the restaurant in Capas, Tarlac. You’ll look and feel fresh in no time.



Travel Spot: Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
Address: Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga, Philippines
Telephone Number: TrekPros: +632.569.5946 or +63.916.242.0522
Website: TBD
Budget: PHP 7000 per person for the entire package


More food travels listed here:
International trips listed here:
But traveling is still more fun in the Philippines too:
Hobbies galore listed too:


Feel free to leave your comments.

Explore the world we live in,

mai signature

Mai Pascua


Add me in Facebook: mailovestoeatandtravel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s