PHILIPPINES: Mt. Pinatubo

Never in my wildest dream did I imagine myself crave for this kind of 'adventure'! But hey, there I was, literally grabbing myself to see the beautiful crater of Mt. Pinatubo. It was worth the pain in every inch of my body, since I'm not used to do this kind of activity. It was so fun, and also a good start for the year 2016! 
Mount Pinatubo is a volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Nestled in the central part of the Zambales mountain range, the volcano lies 55 miles northwest of the capital city of Manila.

After lying dormant for almost 500 years, the volcano’s eruption in June 1991 resulted in one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions of the 20th century. - http://mountpinatubo.net/

I remember when I was around 5 or 6 years old (1996/1997), whenever we go to Pangasinan, we always pass by the places that were greatly affected by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo - there was ash fall everywhere. It also affected thousands of lives in Central Luzon. We made sure that we have lots of coins to give to the Aetas who were begging on the highway/streets. I can still clearly remember that we used to put the coins inside an empty junk food pouch, and give it or throw it at them (because the car is moving).  And now, some of the indigenous tribe of Aetas remain to stay and make a living there. 


How did this Mt. Pinatubo come to a plan?
One of my travel buddies, Jem, messaged us if we could tag along with her friends to Mt. Pinatubo. They need 4 more people to complete the 10 slots and get a great discount , and aslo, the more the merrier, right? :)

We booked our Mt. Pinatubo tour through TRIPinas Travel & Tours Ventures.

This information were sent by TRIPinas

Tour Cost
For a group of 8 people Php2450/person
For a group of 9 people Php2270/person
For a group of 10 people Php2050/person

Inclusions
  • Round trip aircon van transfer (Manila-Pinatubo base camp-Manila)
  • Round trip 4x4 wheel drive adventure
  • Local guide
  • Conservation fee
  • Certificate of conquest
  • Assistance of a tour coordinator from team TRIPinas (we trek with our clients)
Optional add-ons :
Shower at the base camp: Php50

ITINERARY
0300 Meet up (McDonalds in Ortigas area)
Make sure to have your breakfast and buy your packed lunch and water
Meet the tour coordinator - Pay your balance – Orientation - Sign the waiver form
0600 ETA Brgy. Sta. Juliana (base camp)
0600 to 0700 Board 4×4 vehicles.
0800 Start trekking (around 2 hours walking using the old way, you can also choose the short trek: 45 minutes walking as long as it is available– as of today the short trek is not available)
0930-1000 ETA at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.
Relax, photos, lecture, early lunch (at clients' account)
1130 Start return trek (2h walking using the old way unless the short trek is available)
1330 Back to the 4x4s.
1430 Back at base camp. Freshen up
1500 Departure from the base camp to Manila.
1730-1830 (depending traffic) ETA Manila, McDonalds in Ortigas area

List of things to bring
  • sunscreen/cap/hat
  • dust mask (the 4x4 ride is very dusty)
  • rain gear/poncho/umbrella (afternoon rain is common)
  • light jacket (it can be windy and cold on the morning)
  • trekking sandals (there are several river crossings so use preferably open shoes)
  • extra clothes and extra pair of footwear (so you can change after the trek)
  • packed lunch, trail food(fruits, nuts..) and trash bag
  • water (1.5L or more per person)
  • small beach mat to use for picnics at the lakeshore
  • personal first aid/medications
  • camera
  • national ID (or passport for non-Filipinos) (it might be checked by the local tourism to make sure you are not more than 59 years old)
  • small backpack

45 to 60 min 4x4 ride going to the trail. Indeed a bumpy ride, got to hold on tight!

Wearing trekking sandals is ADVISABLE because there are rivers you have to cross.

Enjoying the picturesque scenery! This is the drop off point, and the start of the 2 hour trekking.



The Aeta kids whose families still live in Mt. Pinatubo

The supposed to be a 2 hr trek turned out to be 3 hrs just to reach this point. We were not real trekkers/hikers, I told you. Hahaha! Well, except for Arvin. :)

Feeling so restless, but happy that we have reached the destination! Nika, welcome to Pinatubo crater lake

Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake
The view was worth the body pain. It is a beautiful disaster.

Mission accomplished! We tried so hard to smile in spite of the feverish heat and body pain!


ll photos are owned by the writer and owner of this blog.
© Monica Peralta


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