Never thought to visit this place. I watched a show in television about visiting Mt. Pinatubo way back when I was in College. I was encouraged by that show to try this but my problem was, who will go with me? Time passed by and I was losing hope and didn’t think of that dream anymore until one day, my workmates mentioned Mt. Pinatubo as one of their itinerary next to Hot Air Balloon and I was like, is this real? Did I hear it right??? This is my chance to fulfill that College dream of mine! Finally, never thought that I am here now.
This is another bucketlist unlocked! Thrill-seekers out there, you better try this kind of adventure! More Filipinos aim to reach its crater and experience the wonder.
Mt. Pinatubo is considered as the number one most popular destination for thrill-seekers and adventurers in the country. It is located in between Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales that boasting a landscape covered in lahar that serves as home to Aeta Tribesmen. Its crater lake located at the end of a 2.5 hour trek. Its water color changes from blue green to deep blue per season.
Pinatubo were not known as a volcano until it was erupted in 1991 which discharge tons of sulfur dioxide in the air. The whole world was affected to its eruption since it changes the atmosphere. It was the most devastating eruptions that experienced here in the Philippines. I still remember the first time I’ve known this adventure. It was featured in Philippine television and with all the great videos it shows, I just wanted to come here. Since it is known as beautiful disaster, I just can’t believe its beauty. As time passed by, God shows me His creation through the nature that we have.
How to get there:
First things first, you need a tour guide in going there and to process the waiver together with the City tourism for your safety. There is no way for you to go there without a tour-guide/assistant. You can search some travel and tours online for their Mt. Pinatubo service. In our case, we booked PinayKeyPoint. I can say that their service is excellent! We just reserved our slot for P500.00 ahead of time via online payment then process the remaining payment upon arrival.
TOUR ITINERARY: (from PinayKeyPoint)
5:00AM – Pick up @ your Hotel/Resort. Please ask for the driver to show a driver’s license before riding the car to ensure that you are going with the right person.
5:30AM – ETA CAPAS JUNCTION. You may have a brief stop for your last minute buy and restroom needs. ROBIN CORPUZ is the assigned Tour Coordinator from Pinaykeypoint Team that will meet your group at Capas Junction. Your driver will introduce you to Robin. You must settle your remaining balance with him
6:00 – ETA 4×4 dispatching area. Robin will assist you to sign your waiver form and conduct safety briefing prior to climb. Don’t hesitate to Robin if you have further concerns.
6:10 – Transfer to 4wd jeeps. Please check your things and ensure that you don’t leave your valuables unattended. You will experience a very bumpy ride and there is a previous incident that phone and camera were accidentally dropped at the trail because tourists fell asleep. There is no assurance that you can recover it once you lost it along the trail.
6:15 – Military checkpoint/Inspection of climbing permits. There is a random check of valid ID upon crossing the Philippine Air Force Check Point. Please prepare any valid ID/Government ID all the time.
6:20 – Final Take off to Pinatubo/ off road driving. This is very bumpy and dusty ride. Please protect yourself by wearing mask or shawl
7:30 – ETA LIPIT/GMA 4WD jump off Station. Trekking starts here. This is roughly 1.5 – 2 hours depending upon your trekking speed.
9:00 – Final leg of the trek. Rest station/restroom/Spring water refill station
9:30 – ETA Pinatubo crater
FREE ACTIVITY – LUNCH & REST TIME: Bring your own packed Lunch
11:00 – Pack up time (earlier if there is a threat of rain)
1:00 – ETD 4×4 jump off Station
2:30 – Back to Dispatching Area. ETD to Angeles
4:00 – END OF THE TRIP
THESE ARE JUST TIME ESTIMATES BASED ON OUR PREVIOUS TRIPS BUT THIS MAYBE LONGER OR SHORTER DEPENDING UPON YOUR TREKKING SPEED, DRIVING SPEED, TRAFFIC AND TIME SPENT IN EVERY AREA.
TREKKING REMINDERS (from PinayKeyPoint)
- No Electricity and Cellular Phone signal at the crater
- Expect for sudden rainfall and protect your things and gadgets with waterproof covers
- Bring hat/ umbrella or sun & rain protection
- 4×4 jeeps might be trapped at the riverbeds or might have engine trouble so please be patient while we arrange rescue and replacement.
- In case of emergency, tour guides are with you to give assistance.
- You may seek refuge at the nearest Aeta Village in case of bad weather or emergency.
- Please don’t skip your breakfast because you really need enough strength
- You have to observe proper trekking attire: light clothing, light short or pants/leggings
- Please wear durable footwear: Rubber shoes or trekking sandal. Extra slipper is advisable
- If you opt to wear rubber shoes or trekking sandal, wearing tight & thick socks is highly recommended due to volcanic ash and sand that will penetrate your shoes. It will rub your skin while walking and might cause blister & bleeding at the end of the trek. It always happens to most of our clients who don’t wear socks.
- Big scarf or Shawl for female trekkers. This is very useful if you have to pee along the trail. Please note that it is a long trek so we cannot expect for comfort rooms along the first 6km of the trail.
- Sunblock lotion and sunglasses
- It’s very dusty please bring towels or mask to protect you from dust
- Cane or trekking sticks. This is very helpful in balancing (for elderly and kids)
- Please don’t bring valuables/jewelry during trekking because there is no assurance that we can still recover it once you lost it in the trail. Guides are there to lead the trail but they are not in-charge to keep your baggage & belongings. Please leave your valuables at home, hotel or private car. Check your things before leaving the area & 4wd jeeps.
- Bring at least 1liter water, candies and biscuits. This will keep your strength along the trail.
- Rule of the thumb, the lighter your baggage, the better.
We can find the glory of God and it is just around us! If you move out of your comfort zone and step outside to where you are, you can find it, everywhere! God provides and God is faithful to His children! Through this nature adventure that I had experienced with my friends, I was refreshed and I believe that God is everywhere!
Even how remote the place is, how far we’ve reached, God is always there. He shows Himself through our tour guide, the Aetas that were living in the place and through the natural phenomenon that happened in us, each and every day! Upon reaching the Crater Lake, all I can say is to worship Him because of His amazing creation. I am so blessed to be in this journey, to experience this one of a kind adventure with good friends. Experience the greatness of nature, visit the majestic Mount Pinatubo through Pinay Key Point.
Our rate for PinayKeyPoint Service: 5 stars (excellent)
Very accomodating, excellent service from all of the team (driver, tour guide, admin). Thank you so much pinay key point! We enjoyed our most memorable Mt. Pinatubo trip. We will share this experience to our friends. (facebook page review).
For further information, visit their website: http://www.pinaykeypoint.org/
Indeed, amazing journey in witnessing God’s awesome creation. To God be the glory!
Photos and Videos: RMB Design Studio and Photography and iAmDarwin
Travel Buddies: Darwin, Reymart, Gretchen, Venice, Jude, Franco and yours truly
PinayKeyPoint Team: Juliet Corpus, Robin Corpuz, Bernard and crew
Special thanks to: Zambales Tourism for allowing this kind of activity
P.S. We had another experience with Hot Air Balloon as well. Interested? Just click here.