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
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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.
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Breakfast compliments of TrekPros (complimentary for the bad CE in October and November, yes, we had to reschedule our trip thrice).
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And then our 2-hour 4×4 ride begins
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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.
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Eating dust
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Our 4x4s. A Mount Pinatubo tour always starts with a 4X4 ride.
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The local Pinatubo 4×4 – Mr. Carabao.
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Appreciating the beautiful landscape aboard our 4×4.
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Crossing Not-So-Raging Rivers
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Meeting Aetas along the way
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Observing other 4x4s in action as they cross the rivers through tire-deep waters
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Gawking at the majestic sand mountains. These sand mountains collapse when it rains.
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See how the mountains dwarf our 4x4s
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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.
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Be prepared to cross small streams.
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and walk on dusty trails
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For those who wore sneakers, be prepared to practice your balancing act, skipping on stones.
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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.
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Goof around and pretend to fish at the tiny streams.
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Rest as you may. But be prepared for one more hour of trekking.
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Red streams. Yellow streams. Dirty sneakers.
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After two hours of trekking comes the 15-minute ascent to the crater.
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Finally. Welcome to the Majestic Crater of Mount Pinatubo.
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Feel free to have lunch under the shady mango trees. Lunch was included in our package.
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See the Pinatubo Crater Lake
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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.
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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.
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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,

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Mai Pascua


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