The mythical bird, phoenix, always fascinates me. Legends tell it possesses the gift of immortality; living in a cycle of death in fiery flames and humbly being reborn from its own ashes.
The cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo happened on June 15, 1991. This disaster caused widespread destruction on agriculture, properties, and lives, more than 700 people died from the eruption mostly from collapsing roofs and diseases that emerged from evacuation sites. Today it is considered to be the second most destructive eruption in recent history. This is a tragedy that reminded us how nature can claim lives in one single event.
Today Mt. Pinatubo is one of the favorite hiking trails in the Philippines. A hiking spot that can easily be trekked and can offer a majestic view of its turquoise-green crater lake.
Hiking Mt. Pinatubo
Part I- 4X4 Ride
5:30 am As the daylight seeps through the horizon make sure to have yourself registered at Capas tourism office and secured your group for the exhilarating 4×4 ride. After securing permits and paying applicable fees and finalizing your group for the 4×4 jeep you will be given an assigned vehicle for the off-road track.
6:30 am We managed to secure our slot and headed off to the crater. It could take up to 2 hours for the off road vehicles to reach Botolan jump-off point.
7:00 am Stopover to enjoy the magnificent view of sand hills. These hills are made of sand that was a product of the last eruption. Constant erosion gave these land formations a unique look.
7:15 am The excitement is rushing through my veins to see the crater that they called A Beautiful Disaster. The view is simply out of this world!
7:30 am An unexpected thing happened! To our knowledge, our ride will take us to Botolan directly however because of a recent landslide we are forced to trek an additional 2 kilometers to reach Botolan.
Negative side: I was not ready for the said trek and my water allowance is only good for the 5-kilometer trail from jump-off and it was also drizzling.
Positive side: I was able to enjoy the journey more. It was fun walking on streams and managing your way through rocky obstacles. Honestly, I think it was a good thing that we had this extra trail to trek. Walking under rain is a new experience and it is a blessing otherwise it would really be hot in here if the sun is up and remember that I didn’t carry enough water!
8:15 am We are still on the trail and observing Aeta children playing is such a delight. A true manifestation that happiness is a mindset. It doesn’t count what you don’t have but what you actually have and enjoy everything you have.
Part II- Trekking
8:45 am Finally we reached the jump-off point and a 15-minute break is definitely refreshing, after-all this should be our starting point for the trek if the landslide did not happen.
9:00 am We have to proceed trekking to reach the crater. This part is a little bit challenging than our initial trail since we need to cross several streams but it is highly manageable since Mt. Pinatubo doesn’t have steep assaults.
9:15 am Constant stream-crossings and rocky obstacles greeted us and the rain is not forgiving either.
9:30 am Last stopover, adrenaline now kicking wildly as excitement to reach the crater nears! This post is kind of challenging as it speaks as if “Now prove your age!” Proudly I was able to manage to finish the last leg from 9:48-10:00!
10:00 am I am simply lost for words! The crater is majestic and simply stunning! Truly Mt. Pinatubo is one of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the Philippines and a good mountain to climb for beginners of this hobby.
10:15 am After enjoying the lake’s view from a higher perspective it is time to go down and dip into the waters. The water is so cool and refreshing that it compensate all the efforts given for the trek. The rain also stopped as soon as we reach the crater allowing us to fully enjoy the view.
Beautiful Disaster as Mt. Pinatubo is being called, definitely, it is. Like a phoenix’s death to a fiery finish so as Mt. Pinatubo on its eruption; Like the phoenix’s rebirth from ashes so as Mt. Pinatubo’s captivating beauty born from mud-flows and volcanic ashes.
Mt. Pinatubo reminds us that not everything that bad things happen for a reason, that a disaster once settled will bring out the best in us. May we all continue traveling to find more places that will stir our hearts to be our best selves.
- Bring enough water 2 liters at least.
- Most advisable to wear sandals or flipflops.
- Don’t rush on the trail it is more enjoyed on a slow pace trekking.
- Bring packed lunch.
- Best to have a group of 4 for comfort but can go up to 5 to lessen the cost.
- Public transportation is not advisable, better bring or rent a vehicle.
|3:00 am||Leave Manila bound for Capas, Tarlac|
|5:00 am||Arrival in Capas, Tarlac|
|5:30 am||Start your Registration|
|6:30 am||Start of 4x4 Off-Road Drive|
|7:30 am||Start of Trekking|
|8:45 am||Arrival at Botolan Jump-Off Point|
|9:00 am||Resume Trekking|
|9:30 am||Final Leg Rest Stop|
|10:00 am||Arrival at Crater Lake|
|3:00 pm||Arrival in Capas, Tarlac|
|3:15 pm||Freshen-Up and Eat Snacks|
|4:00 pm||Departure for Manila|
|8:00 pm||Arrival in Manila|
|Bus Fare from Cubao to Tarlac Crossing||185.00 Php||Per Person|
|Tricycle Rent going to Mt. Pinatubo Satellite Office||300.00 Php||Max of 3 Persons|
|4x4 Ride||3000.00 Php||Max of 5 Persons|
|Local Guide||500.00 Php||Per Vehicle Rented|
|Capas Tourism Fee||300.00 Php||Per Person|
|Botolan Tourism Fee||400.00 Php||Per Person|
Booking Officer, Capas Tarlac
(0949) 123 9685