Hiking near Manila? Referred to by many as a beautiful disaster, Mt. Pinatubo day tour is not your typical adventure climb. It involves an epic 4×4 ride, river crossing, scenic ascend, and immersing in a local community.
Mt. Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano that can be reached around three hours from Manila. It is located in the boundaries of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. Experts claimed its cataclysmic eruption in 1991 as one of the deadliest in history. At present, it has become a favorite hiking destination.
About Mt. Pinatubo
Prior to its eruption in 1991, Mt. Pinatubo was dormant for 600 years. Comprised of complex lava domes, the said eruption was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. It was then that the beautiful crater lake, Lake Pinatubo, was formed.
Mt. Pinatubo is part of the Cabusilan mountain range of Zambales mountains. It also serves as home to the indigenous Aeta tribe. Mt. Pinatubo has an elevation of 960 MASL. It is considered as a beginner friendly hike with a difficulty level of 2/10.
Mt. Pinatubo Day Tour Hike
Mt. Pinatubo hike usually begins at the jump-off point in Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. From here, Lake Pinatubo can be reached for around 2.5 hours.
Together with my friends, I joined a tour from a provider called TRIPinas Travel and Tour Ventures. We left Manila around 2AM. It’s important to be really early because of the cut-off and a huge number of visitors was expected especially on a weekend. As we arrived at the base camp, there were a number of hikers already. It was also freaking cold. A short briefing was conducted after which, participants were grouped for the 4×4 ride.
4×4 Off-Road Adventure
Excited as we were, we proceeded with our badass 4×4 ride. The vehicles were assigned based on queue and you cannot really choose. Some can even get a 6×6 ride. We also shared transport with other groups.
I’m sure it’s more of an advice than a threat when we were told to secure our belongings especially our mobile phones and cameras. With no seat belts and with a very bumpy ride, some visitors before accidentally dropped their gadgets. Covered in lahar, the items can no longer be retrieved most of the time.
Windy and dusty, our ride can never get more exhilarating! I’m holding on to whatever I can grab every time I feel I’d be thrown out of our ride. I carefully took snaps when things get a little calmer. We were laughing and screaming at the same time. Our body started to ache but it was tolerable. There were very steep and narrow descent I almost can’t imagined how we managed to pass through them. As such instances, our driver informed us ahead so we’ll be cautious and prepared.
Surely, I will never forget our 4×4 ride experience. This contributed as to why Mt. Pinatubo hike is one of my favorite climbs to date.
Trekking Mt. Pinatubo
The 4×4 off-road adventure is just an introduction. After the bumpy ride, the trekking commences that can take around 2 hours on average. Add 30 minutes to an hour if you’re on a slower pace.
The hike in itself is mesmerizing. Aside from the usual mountain view, the stunning lahar-covered landscape is truly one of a kind. We passed by rivers and streams. There were rocky areas. The transition in scenery from time to time can’t get any better.
As we continue to hike our way to the crater lake, we came across a beautiful Aeta tribe inhabiting the area. Despite of language barrier, we felt their warm welcome. Make sure to bring extra trail food because the children will surely appreciate it.
Lake Pinatubo – Mt. Pinatubo’s Crater Lake
With aching body and feet, we finally reached the crater lake or Lake Pinatubo. You can say its sighting took all our exhaustion away. It was a beautiful disaster indeed. Despite the history of Mt. Pinatubo embodying a catastrophic past, the gorgeous scene laid before us is an image to behold.
Sample Mt. Pinatubo Itinerary
0200 – Meet up
0600 – Estimated arrival time at the base camp.
0615 to 0630 – transfer to the 4X4 vehicle for the off-road adventure.
0830 – Start trekking (around 2 hours).
1000-1100 – Estimated arrival time at the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo.
1230 – Start return trek (around 2 hours).
1430-1500 – 4X4 ride.
1600-1700 – Back at base camp. Freshen up.
1730 – Departure from the base camp to Manila.
2030-2230 – Estimated arrival time in Manila.
Mt. Pinatubo Tour Package
We got our hassle-free Mt. Pinatubo tour package from TRIPinas Travel and Tour Ventures. Our group joined their public tour (PHP2299/pax). They usually have schedules every weekend (unless the situation won’t permit like bad weather conditions). If you’re in a big group, you can ask for a private tour from them.
Mt. Pinatubo Tour Package Inclusions
- round trip van transfer (Manila-Pinatubo base camp-Manila)
- round trip off road vehicle transfer
- local guide
- all the fees
- certificate of conquest
- service of a tour coordinator
TRIPinas Travel and Tour Ventures
Contact Nos.: (+632)477-7446, (+63)9179037672
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/TRIPinasOfficial