I've been to a few trek on my few years of travelling (if you call walking continuously just to get to my destination and walking for hours to see the 7 falls of Mambukal a trek) but never been to a major mountain hiking. When I learned that Pinoy Travel Bloggers group will be having a trek to Mount Pinatubo, I didn't hesitate to join and I set this event on my calendar. Being on my places-to-go list for the past 2 years, I was able to finally set my feet on one the most beautiful spot in the Philippines, the Mount Pinatubo crater lake.
One of the advantages of being invited on such trip with travel bloggers is you don't need to worry anymore on the travel plan and itinerary. But that doesn't mean opinion's or request's of each joiners doesn't matter. One must participate and share on everything. With that, I'd like to thank everyone who worked on this extravagant event for Pinoy Travel Bloggers.
We're 30 joiners for this trip. It was the biggest trip I've ever been to in terms of participants. We left Metro Manila at 3:00 AM via rented van.
We dropped by at a fast food along expressway and took our breakfast. It's going to be a tough hike, so better fill our stomach before the hike!
We arrived at Capaz, Tarlac at around 6:00 AM. I was surprised on the numbers of people already there who were going to trek the Mount Pinatubo. People came in different nationalities which only shows how famous Mount Pinatubo is.
After registration, we got our 4x4 ride to the jump-off point. We're too picky on which 4x4 to ride to, all wanted to have an open air ride. We only had 10 minutes before the gate closes so we hurriedly boarded on whatever 4x4 available. Me and my group got a closed 4x4.
The downside of the closed 4x4 is it's hard to take pictures unless you're sitting on the front seat but the upside is you can avoid the dust particles from the outside.
It was a bumpy ride. It will take you to cross the streams, upward and downward paths.
After awhile, we stopped on this area.
We got off and did some picture taking.
"Team Sagada invades Mount Pinatubo"
Photo by Mich Borlagdan of Chasing Philippines
We moved on and continued our 4x4 ride until we reached the jump off point which took us about an hour. The sky way ride (as they told it) is under repair so we're going to trek via the old route.
There was an assigned guide for each group. Each group consists of five joiners. Our guide told us that we need to stick together as a group but since we're a large group overall, it's hard for us to be together with our assigned group.
And our trek to Mount Pinatubo Crater lake started.
And this is why we are inseparable, picture!
Photo by Winston Almedras of Pinoy Lakwatsero
And we continued walking and walking.
It was good that the weather is fine. It's actually windy which also help us to cool off a bit from walking.
After 2 hours of trekking the terrain, I finally found relief when I saw a constructed shade area.
We rested for awhile while we wait for the others to arrive.
From there, there'll be a signboard that shows how many minutes yet per age generation to reach the crater lake. So where do "bagets" belong?
The way to the crater lake starting from this point is too narrow wherein we needed to be in line. There are a lot of hikers along with us causing trek traffic. After 15 minutes or so, we can't find anything yet but endless path. That signboard is untrue. Hehehe! =)
When I finally reached an upward stairway, I knew I'm closed enough to the crater lake.
I found relief when I saw a greenish / turquoise color of body of water. I knew that moment that it was already the crater lake.
It took few seconds before it hits to my head that I'm already here. I was in awe, all the weariness vanished when I saw this beautiful spot. The crater lake right before my eyes.
We looked for a shade. We settled ourselves under a small tree.
Our guides gave us our packed lunch. It was plenty consisting of two dishes and a side dish. Since our guides weren't have their own lunch, we shared our meals to them.
After we finished our lunch, we went down closer to the crater lake.
Some took a dip on the lake, some did some photo ops, some rested for awhile and some just nourished their moment (emotional moments).
I planned to take a dip but backed off after I felt cold. So I instead joined the others to kayak to the other side of the crater lake. The fee costs PHP 350.00 per person. One boat can fit up to 7 persons utmost (excluding the boatman).
The view from other side is awesome. It feels like we're in a setting of a movie in quest for something.
The lake's water is hot to warm. The water near the shore is steaming.
A sight like this shouldn't be missed. We couldn't helped but to take a lot of pictures. A group shot shouldn't be missed too.
Photo by Dong Ho of Escape Islands
We were only 2 groups left on the other side. Boats arrived and fetched us.
It was already 2:30 PM. Our group were already packing up for our decampment.
It was an overcoming experience getting to the crater lake. Witnessing it's beauty is indeed astounding and surprising.
"Pinoy Travel Bloggers conquered Mount Pinatubo"
Photo by Mich Borlagdan of Chasing Philippines
We left the crater lake and started our descent.
It was another 2 hours of continuous walking through streams and the terrain.
The trek back feels longer. I got blisters because of my sandals strap, my feet is aching. I just ignored it and have continued to walk.
I even walked fast and exceeded the others. It seems to have a race. Indeed, there is. I can't forget the running and brisk walking we did whenever there's going to exceed on our path.
We finished the trek in about 2 hours. Exhausting? Yes! But it was paid off by making fun along our way. We're among the first ten who finished the trek!
As soon as we arrived the jump off point, we boarded the 4x4 and waited for our guide to come. We then went back to the tourism area in Capaz, Tarlac.
When we arrived in the area, we looked for a washroom. We took a bathe and freshened up. The bathroom fee costs PHP 40.00 but we asked the owner to lower down the fee to PHP 30.00, and she agreed.
It was already 7:00 PM when we finally left Capaz, Tarlac. We dropped by at Isdaan for dinner before going back to Metro Manila. I wasn't able to enjoy much of the Isdaan because I'm too tired and sleepy.
We left Isdaan at around 10:00 PM and arrived in Metro Manila 2 hours after.
It was an amazing experience conquering Mount Pinatubo. Add more the fun persons with you on this experience, truly an awesome trip.
The day tour trek to Mount Pinatubo costs each of us PHP 1,600 including the van trip (back and forth) Manila to Sta Juliana, Capaz, Tarlac, 4x4 Rent, guide (one per five guests), Environmental fee, Tourism fee and Packed Lunch.
Breakfasts, dinner and boat fee were not included.
- Bring bottled water (at least 2 liters)
- Bring hanky or a small towel to cover up your nose from dust
- Bring extra set of clothes
- Wear comfortable trekking shoes, sandals or slipper. Probably wear socks when in sandals to avoid blisters and wounds.
- Bring snacks
- Bring personal first aid kit
- Bring cap, hat or head ware to cover up from heat
- Apply sunblock
- Condition yourself for a long trek