A Day Trip to Mount Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, 55 miles northwest of Manila. The volcano last erupted in June 1991 and was one of the most destructive eruptions of the 20th century. Previously, Mt Pinatubo had lain dormant for nearly 500 years. It was covered with tropical vegetation and was home to more than 30,000 people who lived in villages on its slopes. Fortunately, owing to accurate seismic predictions, the Philippines government, along with the American military, were able to carry out a timely evacuation and in doing so saved thousands of lives.
Visiting Mt Pinatubo Today
Today Mt Pinatubo is a safe place to visit and within volcano’s crater is a beautiful lake with crystal clear waters. Trekking Mt Pinatubo is a hugely popular activity and one that I would highly recommend, although it is probably best suited to older children due to the early start and the bumpy jeep ride across the ash fields. That said, I do know a few families who have enjoyed this trek with toddlers in backpacks.
Trekking Mt Pinatubo is a truly unforgettable experience. We organised our trip with Tripinas who were incredibly professional and punctual. You can organise the trip yourself but it is recommended that you join a tour or group. The day starts at 3am with a ride from Manila to the setting off point Tarlac. Once in Tarlac, Tripinas took us to where the jeeps drive across dusty plains created by the Pinatubo eruption in 1991. After an hour in the jeep your trek begins through rivers, over rocks and across grasslands till you reach the turquoise waters of the crater lake.
There are so many reasons why I loved this day out. For one, riding in a jeep across the ash fields is an utterly unique experience. Ash mountains tower over rivers where the local Aeta tribe convene to wash. The landscape is completely formed of volcanic ash and mineral deposits and looks like something from a Mad Max movie. For teenage boys and adventurous girls this is a true adventure. The ride is bumpy and long but the scenery is mesmerising.
Once you disembark from the jeep the gentle trek begins. It’s a peaceful meander over rocks, and riverbanks fringed with wild flowers. The hike itself is pretty easy and there is very little uphill gradient except a small portion at the very end, making it feasible for beginners. The trail snakes through contrasting landscapes of wild flowers and fauna, ash mountains and rocky river beds – perfect for children to explore. And the end reward of lunch by the crater lake is magnificent!
The tour was easy to organise thanks to Tripinas who told us everything we needed to know and who were excellent value for money.
- 3am Drive from Manila to Capas, Tarlac
- 5.15am Meet up Capas/Breakfast
- 6.15am – 7am Board 4×4 vehicles.
- 8am Start trekking (around 1.5 to 2 hour walking) using the old way
- 9.30am-10a ETA at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. Relax, photos, lecture, early lunch 11.30 Start return trek (around 1.5 to 2 hours walking)
- 1.30pm Back to the 4x4s.
- 2.30pm Back at base camp. Freshen up
- 3pm Departure from the base camp
I would highly recommend booking a trip though Tripinas, who will organise everything from Manila.
Tripinas also organise trips to destinations including Sagada – Taal Volcano – Pagsanjan falls – Mt. Pulag – Pinatubo – Corregidor – Intramuros/Manila city – Anawangin – Ilocos
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