Travel Guide: Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake

This month, I was able to tick off one more item in my bucket list – trekking the beautiful yet disastrous Mt. Pinatubo. It is an active volcano among the Cabusilan Mountains in Zambales, four hours away from Manila. It was my first out-of-town trip with Oliver and both of us were excited to see the infamous volcano. Before I share my travel diary loaded with photos, here’s a travel guide to Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake.

A Beautiful Disaster

It was considered as the second largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century, producing mudflows, clouds of volcanic ash which covered most of central Luzon, and ashfall which crossed hundreds of miles to Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

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After its devastating and dangerous explosion which happened in 1991, the caldera was filled with water and resulted into a crater lake. Mt Pinatubo Crater Lake has then become a tourist attraction with an adventurous trekking through Capas, Tarlac route.

 

How to go to Mt Pinatubo?

TOURS

After we have decided to go to Pinatubo that weekend, I called Mt Pinatubo Tours and inquired if there are available slots for its public tour. I remembered it was Wednesday and I just got lucky that it was the last day for the weekend reservation. For Oliver and me, we took the public tour with roundtrip van transfers and meal amounting to 1, 699 pesos per person. The public tour is for five, so we were with three other people throughout the trip.

Pinatubo Public Tour (5 participants) – weekend/holiday tour

[4×4 jeep ride, roundtrip can transfer, local tour guide, all tourism fees, mandatory aeta fee]

For reference:

Website: https://mtpinatubotourhomestayphilippines.wordpress.com/

Contact: Sonia Bognot at mtpinatubotour_bognothomestay@yahoo.com / +639186021943.

PROS: convenient, no need to plan details

CONS: a bit expensive, meals not for vegetarian

DIY TRIP

If you are under a tight budget or simply want to plan your own trip, I have researched ways how to go to Mt. Pinatubo. Do note though that I haven’t tried this and information may not be 100% accurate.

By Car

  1. Drive to Brgy. Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac
  2. Hire a local guide (500 pesos)
  3. Ride a 4×4 jeep in the base camp (3, 000 pesos good for five people; 1 hour ride one way)
  4. Trek to the crater

By Bus

  1. Go to bus stations in Pasay or Cubao
  2. Take any bus that will pass Capas Tarlac Junction. Bus routes Baguio, Dagupan, Pangasinan, Tarlac are some.
  3. From Capas Tarlac Junction, take a tricycle to Brgy. Sta Juliana, Capas
  4. Hire a local guide (500 pesos)
  5. Ride a 4×4 jeep in the base camp (3, 000 pesos good for five people; 1 hour ride one way)
  6. Trek to the crater

PROS: cheap

CONS: more exhaustive

Travel Tips

  • Better plan your trip during the –ber months to March when the heat is not that harsh yet.
  • Don’t travel when the weather is bad.
  • Pack light. It is an easy hike.
  • Wear comfortable trekking shoes or sandals. There are some parts that have shallow streams to cross, so it is better to wear appropriate footwear.
  • Trek poles or walking sticks are really helpful. If you don’t own one, buy from those being sold at the base camp. I got mine for 20 pesos.
  • You can choose the 30-minute or 2-hour trek. I didn’t know that we could request our guide for this, so we ended up with the shorter trail.
  • Throw your trash in your garbage bag or appropriate waste basket.
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What to bring?

  • Trekking shoes or sandals
  • 2 liter bottled water (mine included in the tour package)
  • Full meals for breakfast + lunch + snacks (mine included in the tour package)
  • Sunscreen – very important!
  • Umbrella (if it was hot. It rained when we were there)
  • Sunglasses (to be safe from the dust and sand)
  • Hat
  • Extra shirt
  • Garbage bag

 

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Hope this travel guide to Mt Pinatubo Crater Lake trekking helps. Stay tuned to my Mt Pinatubo travel diary coming up next!

3 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake

  1. Thanks for sharing your trek sa Pinatubo 😀 Been wanting to go there and to think I already moved to Pampanga and supposedly I’m nearer. Will drag the boyfriend here soon and will take your advice on doing it during the BER months 🙂

  2. Awesome to hear that you ‘conquered’ Pinatubo! 😀 Back when I was still in the Philippines, I managed to conquer Mt. Pulag and it was such an adventure so I can guess how it felt for you. Good job! 😀

    I feel very blessed with my traveling lifestyle now and I hope that I can conquer more mountains, hikes, treks, etc. going forward. I wish the same for you — more travels!

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!