I am not expert adviser when it comes to climbing or hiking mountain since I am a seasonal hiker. But the following tips that I listed below are the things that I wanted to share if anyone wanted to climb Mount Pinatubo. The list are not comprehensive but I hope it helps even in a small way. My adventure in the mountain fully described here.
I recommend to hike the mountain during cold months, we had it first week of January. Don’t go during rainy season and if there is heavy rains. Tourism will not allowed you to do so, but if warnings is ignored, you know what’s possible thing can happen.
If you are really on a budget and do not want to sleep in accommodation before the trek the next morning, travel to jump-off area which located in Barangay Sta. Juliana in Capas around 6:00 AM in the morning.
Start the climb early to be able to finished the day trek as early as possible.
During registration they will ask your age so tell them the true information as the tourism center required to checked your BP (blood pressure) once you registered for the hike and please follow their advise if you are allowed or not allowed to climb the mountain.
Bring sun glass and mask to be used during the river bed drive as it is dusty along the road because of combination of dried lahar and sands.
Bring enough water and food (at that time, our tour guide just brought our packed-lunch and bottled water).
Wear comfortable shoes that can go wet or under the water as there are astray river pathways along the walking trail and it helps for faster walking and trekking.
It is not allowed now to swim in the Crater Lake, it was prohibited so follow the announcement.
The general rule of the mountains applies even in Mount Pinatubo – “Take Nothing but Pictures, Leave Nothing but Footprints, Kill Nothing but Time”.
Plan to climb Mount Pinatubo?
I cannot recommend specific website for the official information of climbing Mount Pinatubo. But this link (I am not affiliated on this site) I found the information as useful for additional details.
We stayed at Bognot Lodge (Look for Alvin) and they helped as well to arrange our climb at Mount Pinatubo. You can search this and you can find them in AirBnb and Tripadvisor websites.
Public Transportation :
From anywhere in Metro Manila, go to Five Star Bus Terminal in Cubao (or other bus terminal) and take bus going to any of the following : Vigan, Baguio, Alaminos or Bolinao. Next, get off at Capas Junction in Tarlac. Then, take tricycle to Sta. Juliana (P300/tricycle) and get off at Mount Pinatubo jump-off (we get off at Bognot Lodge).
Pinatubo Crater Lake is one of the lakes that I can say met my expectations. Because of crystallized scenery, I thought that is was similar to lakes that I found in Banff, Canada. These photos are part of Mount Pinatubo Trekking Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#27) : Mount Pinatubo
Before my hike in Mount Pinatubo, seeing similar photos before made me felt envy with people who were able to hike the mountain. And when I got a chance to be within the crate of Mount Pinatubo, one of my wishes became true. These photos are part of Mount Pinatubo Trekking Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
It was year 1991 when Mount Pinatubo erupted and categorized as an active volcano. The tragedy happened at my young age where I witness ed in the news how this volcano created sufferings to my fellow countrymen specially to those who lived in the surrounding areas of the mountain. I remembered that a lot of people died and lost their homes because of heavy ashes and lahar flowing in rivers coming from the volcano. It’s been decades that people lived nearby suffers every year specifically during rainy season.
After decades or more, the crater lake of this active volcano started to be noticed by hikers and adventurers. I had seen photos and blogs in the past years from whom climbed the mountain and whom reached the stunning crater lake. Every time I see the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo in photos, it reminds me the lakes that I saw in Banff, Alberta Canada. I started to dream to climb the mountain and wanted to reach the crater lake but the opportunity was elusive for me in a time being.
This year 2017, last January 4, my dream has been fulfilled. After more than two decades of tragic eruption of the volcano. My friend from USA invited me to join climbing Mount Pinatubo. The schedule was weekdays and I never hesitated to accept the invite and I immediately filed my vacation leave.
After my work on January 3, Tuesday night, I reached the Five Star Bus Terminal in Cubao few minutes before 12AM. I was lucky because there was a bus leaving the terminal within 10 minutes. I took bus that goes to Bolinao (any bus goes to Vigan, Baguio, Alaminos or Bolinao will pass Capas Junction). I traveled alone, I was tempted to sleep but I never slept because I don’t want to miss the junction that I need to get-off. Its midnight and first week of January, my travel to Capas Junction was smooth and I arrived almost 2AM. From Capas Junction, I took tricycle to Sta. Juliana. I thought the travel will just few minutes, I was wrong and with the price of P300, it’s not just far, but really far. As I traveled early in the morning, I felt the cold wind that passed through my skin and I had been in that situation for 30 minutes. At last I reached Bognot Lodge accommodation where my friends are staying. My friend Nits woke-up and able to meet me outside.
I had 2 hours of sleep. We were three together, myself, Nits and new friend Marisa. All of us are first timer in climbing Mount Pinatubo. We started preparing ourselves past 5AM and had our breakfast. Because it’s not yet peak season, we were allowed our stuff to remain in the room where we stayed over night. Then, took 4X4 jeep and we went to Municipal Tourist Satellite Office where Nits and Marisa required to check their blood pressure before the climb, the result are good and were all set.
The adventure begun past 7AM and we rode again 4X4 vehicle. We were advised that we will drive the ground for an hour. On the way, the first thing that I saw was plain white and dusty ground. The ground that we were driving on was lahar that flowed in the river before that has been cemented through times. We never expected to see beautiful and unique spots along the way that adds enjoyment in our jumpy ride.
Before we reached the jump-off area around 9AM, where the long walk starts, I realized and understand why there is a need for 4X4 vehicle. I was thankful because it helped a lot of people who wanted to climb the mountain. Our jumped-off area was farther than the original jumped-off few years back. As per our guide and driver, the jump-off are before was near the climbing trail to crater lake but now it was not because of the effect brought by heavy rains and typhoons. According to the signs of I saw, we have to walk of 7km to reached the climbing trail.
We reached the jump-off area and it means that we reached the start of our long walk adventure. I figured out that the track that our 4X4 jeep and the trail that we took for a walk is actually a river pathways, it means that during rainy season, it is not safe to climb the mountain, the tourism office will not allow you to do so.
During the whole trek, we had guide and we’re thankful to him as I survived without soaking my feet under the water as too many strayed waterways along the way and he kept assisting us (I recommend to wear sandals and shoes that can go wet).
The walk was not an easy feat. Because the track is not as simple as plain road. The track was where lahar flows and become a solid ground. There are big and small rocks all over the place which need careful attention. We reached the half of the trail and station where there’s toilet and water, where people can rest.
Our treacherous walk continues, as we come nearer the climb trail, bigger rocks and boulders are to be found and walk become more difficult. We reached another station where there is haven for resting and toilets too. It is the station where the climb begins. At the station we saw a notification where it categorize people’s age how long the climb will be before reaching the crater lake. All the three of us jokes ourselves where we belong in the category list, whether we belong in young, middle age or senior.
We rested a bit in the station and then started the climb. I don’t have options to avoid my shoes to get wet because the trail is smaller and narrower where water stream flows too. We took stairs to reach the viewpoint of the crater lake. When we reached sightseeing view of the lake, all my fatigued that I felt along the way immediately gone as I saw up close the fascinating crater lake of Mount Pinatubo. We had our lunch inside the crater and went near the lake to enjoy the amazing views in front of us and to have our photos. After an hour of enjoying in the crater lake view, we decided to go back to finish our adventure.
Name Of The Place (Post#36) : Pinatubo Crater Lake
When we reached the crater lake of Pinatubo, it was an achievement for us. The trek was not really difficult but since we walked around 7 kilometers, it was a tiring trek. At the viewing area of the lake, there are people having rest and lunch and enjoying the scenic view in front of us. The photo is part of Mount Pinatubo Trekking Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
Chromatic Outlook (Post#40) : Lahar Carved Canyons
During our trip towards the jump-off area of the walking trail towards Mount Pinatubo, I did not expect that there are scenic wonders that we will see along the way. I am referring to Lahar Carved Canyons. Seeing these lahar carved canyons made me felt that I was in another world while we were taking the river bed. These photos are part of Mount Pinatubo Trekking Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
Transportation (Post#9) : Zambales – 4X4 Owner Type Jeep
Trekking Mount Pinatubo requires 4X4 to be able to reach the walking trail towards the mountain. Because of Lahar that flows in the river, the change in the Lahar deposits that became concreted after years that passed had major effects on the river bed that used by 4X4 to send tourist and hikers near the walking path which still kilometer distance to the Pinatubo Crater Lake. These photos are part of Mount Pinatubo Trekking Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.
Juncture With Folk(s) (Post#3) : At Silanguin Beach
Summer Season is the period that most of Filipinos got a chance to go to beaches and because my country home is an archipelago and surrounded by body of water, there are lots of beaches available in the country that we can adore and enjoy. Last March this year (2016), I got a chance to join the mountaineering group that I was affiliated with and this year’s summer season I was able to be with them after such a long time. It’s been 6 summer seasons that I never joined them because I was out of the country and for other scheduling conflict reasons. I was glad that this year I was able to go with them once again.
During summer of 2009 (March 2009), the mountaineering group where I belong used to schedule summer adventure every year and that year was quite a lot. One of the itinerary we had that time was Capones Island where historical lighthouse built. It was historical because it is one of the oldest light station exist in my country. It was first lit last August 1, 1890. The light station still active until today and its lenses has been replaced, but the sad things about it is its surrounding area was left ruined and as far as I know it still the same as of this writing. We took a boat to reach Capones Island to visit this historical site from Anawangin in San Antonio Zambales.
Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#3) : Mount Anawangin
This is one of the magnificent view that I had while at the top of Mount Anawangin. I captured this photo from Mount Anawangin when we had the climb last March 2009. The scenery is looking towards the Anawangin Cove where we enjoyed our time after the trek. It is one of the great holiday I had back home. This mountain is beside Mount Pundaquit which located at San Antonio in Zambales Province of Philippines.
This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following: