A day trek at Mt. Pinatubo is one of the favored getaways of those living near Manila area. It is not just its accessibility and breathtaking scenery but also the experience that comes along with it that makes it a popular choice among adventure seekers.
People often labelled Mt. Pinatubo as “A Beautiful Disaster” due to the fact that after its major eruption back in 1991 it now offers stunning views and Instagram-worthy scenery.
One rainy morning, two introverts decided to venture out and see Mt. Pinatubo for themselves. Here is another of our DIY Travel stories we would like to share.
HOW WE GET THERE
Victory Liner in Pasay is our transportation of choice for this trip. They have regular bus trips that pass by Capas, Tarlac. We left Pasay at around 4 AM and it only took us 2 hours to arrive at McDonald’s Capas, Tarlac.
We had our breakfast at McDonald’s first before hailing a tricycle that will get us to Sta. Juliana Tourism office. Our tricycle ride went for almost an hour.
At Sta. Juliana tourism office, we were asked to register and pay for the 4×4 jeep rent, Botolan Fee, and tour guide fee. The rent for a 4×4 jeep is good for 5 people, but in our case it is only the two of us.
THE FUN STARTS
Oh, what a ride! A bumpy one actually! Over one hour of dusty and adrenaline-pumping ride before we arrive to the drop off point where the trekking starts. We were able to take decent shots of the lahar field even though we were tossed from side to side inside the vehicle.
We expect the trek to the crater of Mt. Pinatubo to be a challenging one, but it is actually like a stroll-in-the-park. We see quite a lot of children and old people going to the crater with us.
AT THE CRATER
We can sit for hours just looking at the view in front of us. We can never comprehend how terrifying the crater when Mt. Pinatubo erupted because looking at it or rather standing in it right now is very calming. We took a few snaps and after a while decided to just sit beside the crater lake and enjoy the moment.
Swimming in crater lake is prohibited. So there are really no other activities that you can do aside from taking photos, doing jumpshots, and posing for Instagram. Many brought food with them and enjoyed a picnic beside the lake.
At around 1PM we decided to head back. Another stomach-churning 4×4 vehicle ride and at last we arrived to the Tourism office of Sta. Juliana. We took another tricycle ride going back to McDonald’s Capas, Tarlac where we catch the bus bound to Manila.
Here are some of our tips based on our experience for DIY travellers:
- Bring lots of water. Price of small bottled water at the crater is PHP100. Too expensive for us.
- Bring your own food. There are no food stalls that offer lunch in the crater. There are a couple of locals selling biscuits, candies and refreshments at a high price.
- The lahar field is dusty and hot. Bring something to cover you.
- 4×4 vehicle is good for 5 people. You can wait and join other groups if you are travelling in solo or in a pair to minimise expenses. In our case, we opt to rent the vehicle for only the two of us so we can have full control of our time.
- Arrive early before the cut-off time. Yes, there is a cut-off time in going to the crater. During our trip it is at 10AM.
- There are comfort rooms in the area near the crater.
- The trek is long but the trail is easy so don’t worry too much.
How much we spent for this trip?
PHP 360 (180 per pax) – Bus fare from Pasay to Capas, Tarlac
PHP 300 – Tricycle fare from Capas to Sta. Juliana Tourism Office
PHP 3,000 – 4×4 vehicle rental (good for 5)
PHP 500 – Tour Guide Fee
PHP 1400 (700 per pax) – Botolan Fee / Environmental Fee
PHP 300 – Tricycle fare from Sta. Juliana Tourism Office to Capas
PHP 360 (180 per pax) – Bus Fare from Capas to Pasay
Total for 2 pax = PHP6,220
Hope you will enjoy your Mt. Pinatubo day trip as much as we did!