Mt. Pinatubo Trek

After months of longing, we finally made it to Mt. Pinatubo! (Thanks to a really good offer we found on Ensogo. Seriously, we have so much love for group buying sites.)

With Gia (read her blog: Travel Tales by Gia) and Erika (our experienced mountaineer friend), we braved the extremely hot March sun and trekked to the crater lake of one of the most popular volcanoes in the country. 

Mt. Pinatubo is famous (or infamous) for the 1991 eruption that caused world-wide environmental hazards as well as massive damage to the surrounding areas due to lahar. It's right in between three provinces - Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga. 

Our trek was facilitated by this group called Trek Pros. We couldn't say that their services were superb, but we did make it to the crater and back, so it's not so bad. 

Here's the itinerary we followed (and yey, we were on schedule all throughout):

3:00 AM Registration *683 EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City( Victory Liner )
4:00 AM Departure *Guest with own transpo will convoy with the tour bus
6:00 AM Arrival Sta. Juliana Capas, Tarlac *Breakfast, transfer to 4x4 vehicles
7:00 AM Depart for Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake *Journey across Crow Valley begins
8:00 AM Arrival at the trekking jump off point ( trekking starts)
11:00 AM First Sighting of the stunning beauty of Mt. Pinatubo *trekkers may take a swim and explore the crater.
12:00 PM Lunch time
2:00 PM Trek back down the mountain.
4:30 PM Arrival at Crow Valley Pick up point of 4x4 off-road vehicles
5:30 PM Arrival back to Sta. Juliana *shower, snack time and buying of souvenirs.
7:30 PM Journey Back to Manila
9:30 PM Arrival in Manila

We registered with the group in Cubao and convoyed to Tarlac. Once in Tarlac, we had a quick breakfast break, bought some lunch at a local carinderia and jumped on the 4x4 assigned to us. 

From there, we rode for an hour through sometimes dusty, sometimes wet, and a lot of times bumpy terrain. We had quite a lot of laughs, trying to hold on for our lives, hoping not to fall off the vehicle. And because of the dust, my throat went really dry.

The group behind us looked like they were really enjoying themselves.

After an hour, we arrived at the trek drop-off spot. No vehicles go beyond this point, so our trek officially starts here.

And trek we did... for 3 grueling hours of intense heat. The terrain was okay, a little bit challenging at times, and we had to cross quite a number of streams, but it was generally okay. The biggest obstacle was Mr. Sun. We felt like we were dying of dehydration.

We had countless "Are we there yet?" moments. Sometimes, it felt like the rocks and sand would stretch out to forever.

A few hours later, we arrived at a junction where we could refill our water bottles with fresh water. Also, we were greeted by a sign that said "Your trek starts here..." Um, will someone please tell me what on earth were we doing for the past 3 hours??!!?

It was only a few days later that we found out the reason for this. Apparently, treks really did start at this point. We were just unfortunate because the roads were being fixed at that time, so the 4x4 vehicles couldn't drop us off at a nearer area. But well, we did "enjoy" the long version of the trek. The journey was well worth experiencing.

We were challenged by the sign and decided that we wanted to finish the short trek in 15 minutes to fall under the "young age" category. Unfortunately, we finished the trek as "senior citizens." Losers. If we didn't have tired knees from the 3-hour trek, we probably would have made the 15-minute mark. (Defensive!) But well. Have to accept that we are growing old.

We were super tired by the time we finished climbing the last steps towards the viewing deck, but we literally went running to look at the view. It was nothing short of breathtaking. 

We then proceeded to secure ourselves a picnic spot. Others were really prepared. They came with tents and all sorts of camping stuff.

The place was filled with trekkers, so we took whatever small piece of shade we could find on the outskirts. It's not much, but with the crater lake so close, we couldn't really complain.

After a quick lunch, we decided to go for a swim. Though I didn't initially plan on swimming, the heat made the water a gazillion times more inviting. I expected the water to be warm (reason why I didn't plan on swimming), but it was actually so cool and refreshing. Eliel couldn't stand the cold so he got out earlier than us girls.haha Now we can cross "swim in a volcano's crater" off our bucket lists. Cool.

You can also opt to go boating, but why stay on a boat when you can get wet? :) 

Group photo!

It's a wonder how something this pretty actually caused so much destruction. 

I'm so happy we finally saw Mt. Pinatubo up close. 

Treking back to the pick-up point took us half the time because by then, it wasn't midday and sweltering hot. Also, we spent the whole walk talking. Chika-chika really does make tiring things easier.hehe

We went home tired and a couple of shades darker, but it was definitely worth the trip. Until the next adventure! 



  1. Jealous! I can't cross it off my bucket list yet. I'm still waiting for the road to be repaired and start at the "your trek starts here" sign. Haha!

  2. I don't think it'll get repaired soon, rach! life's too short. :p