June 27, 2014

The Sleeping Giant

Brief History
Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano located at the mountain ranges bordering Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. Its eruption in June 15, 1991 is the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century affecting not just the country but the weather around the globe. 

The peak of the volcano was wiped out and this resulted to a depression, the caldera, which is 2.5 km wide; the volcano has been quiet since its eruption. 

Monsoon rains filled the caldera with water thus forming a lake, the Lake Pinatubo which attracted a lot of tourists.

Getting There

We hired two vans for our round trip transpo since there were 18 of us; travel time from Mariveles, Bataan to the base camp (Sta. Juliana Capas, Tarlac) is around 2 hours. 

The Trek

We transferred to a 4x4 wheel drive upon arriving at the base camp. On our way to the jump off point, the photos were taken using my ipod. 

The travel time from base camp to the jump-off point depends on the situation of the road. During our trip, one of the 4x4s was stuck and we have to wait so we can move on. 

Credits to FTuyay
The 7 km trek starts at the jump off station.

Credits to FTuyay
Our guide (yellow shirt) who walks too fast (we were the first in our group to reach the crater). But this doesn’t mean you can’t rest, you can always inform your guide to stop/walk slow if you’re tired. As for me, I was very excited to reach the crater that's why. 

Credits to SDimaapi

One kilometer to the crater is a rest station/spring water refill station (I didn’t know that there’s a refilling station, I brought around 3L of bottled water which is kinda heavy.)

Almost there.
credits to SDimaapi

At the Mt. Pinatubo crater. 

I was very tired and my feet were feeling numb when we reached the crater but I felt relieved when I saw the lake. It was amazing that I developed a crush on it.

I can stare at this beauty for hours

During our visit, we had the chance to swim at the lake. However, a few months later swimming at the lake was banned.

Credits to FTuyay

There were no shower rooms/toilets at the crater so we just changed our clothes. I cleaned myself using wet tissues. If you want to bathe, there are shower rooms at the base camp.


· 3:00AM – 5:00 AM – Travel to Capas, Tarlac

· 5:00 AM – Breakfast at Mc Donalds Capas Junction

· 5:30 AM – 6:00 AM – Travel to base camp (Sta. JulianaCapas, Tarlac)

· 6:00 AM – Arrived at Base camp

· 6:30 AM – 8:00 AM – Travel to jump off point (4x4 wheel drive)

· 8:00 AM – Arrived at jump off point, trekking starts

· 10:00 AM – Rest station/spring water refill/decent C.R.

· 10:30 AM – Arrived at crater/lake

· 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Rest/Wait for others to arrive at the crater :)

· 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM – Enjoy the scenery/Take pictures/Lunch/Swim

· 1:30 PM – Pack up

· 2:00 PM – Trek back down to jump off point

· 4:00 PM – Arrived at jump off point

· 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM– Travel to back to base camp

· 5:30 – Travel back to Bataan

***We purchased a tour package at a discounted price from beeconomic (from Travel Save Tours). Inclusions are: ride to and from jump off point/base camp via 4x4 off-road vehicle, trip arrangements, and tour guide.

Important reminders:

Pack as light as possible. You are going to hike so just bring the essentials. Pinatubo has a very rough terrain and you’re going to cross rivers/streams on your way to the crater. I listed below the items you can bring: 

a) Cap/hat – There aren’t a lot of trees/shadeson your way to the crater

b) Sunscreen lotion – Due to climate change issues, put some on

c) Extra pair of clothes– Do I really need to mention why?

d) Extra pair of slippers – in case your shoes gave up which happened to one of us

e) Mask/Scarf – the road to jump off point can be very dusty

f) at least 1.5 L of water – You need to hydrate since you’re going to perspire a lot

g) Food - I get hungry easily so I brought enough food during our trek, no regrets

h) First Aid Kit – so what does your first aid kit should consist of? I think these would be enough: band aid, betadine, alcohol and salonpas. Unless you can carry the complete set for first aid kit up the summit.

i) Wet tissue

Trekking Outfit

Light shirt and arm sleeves cover/sweater

Shorts or leggings/trekking pants

Comfortable/Durable shoes


· Have enough sleep the night before your trek. You don’t want to faint on your way to the crater.

· Don’t skip your breakfast on the day of your trek, you’ll need the energy.

· Observe cleanliness. Don’t leave your trash anywhere, put it in a plastic and throw it to the nearest trash can. If there’s none, put it in your bag and dispose it when you get home.

· Follow the regulations at the lake. Swimming has been banned, so don’t swim. Besides, Pinatubo is a volcano not a beach.

· Hike Pinatubo only when the weather is good. Do not hike when it’s raining.

· Always keep in mind “Safety First”.

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