Remote Botolan, Luzon, Philippines Published on: 13-11-2015
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Why Mount Pinatubo is special ?
Mount Pinatubo is a volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Nestled in the central part of the Zambales mountain range, the volcano lies 55 miles northwest of the capital city of Manila.
The Mount Pinatubo eruption on 15 June 1991 discharged millions of tons of sulfur dioxide in the air when it as awake after more than 600 years of nap, on what is considered as the largest and most catastrophic volcanic in the recent years. However, today, it holds a beauty that covers it tragic past. The blue-green lake on a gray-brown is a sight to behold. The irony is that, it is now attracting more and more people after its sudden eruption that fend off people from area more than a decade ago. Experience Mount Pinatubo, a day trek to crater will reveal the beauty that it drew, you will even forget its disastrous history.
What to explore at Mount Pinatubo?
The volcano today is a safe place to visit. The crater of the volcano is a beautiful lake that is 2.7 kilometers wide and the water is crystal clear.
The “lahar” laden lands of Crow Valley, the beautiful waters of Lake Pinatubo or Crater Lake or even the grand-looking canyon walls of ash and rocks, the fantastic boulders and rock formations are just some of the breathtaking views one can enjoy during a trip to Mt. Pinatubo.
For the more adventurous at heart, an off-road challenge where one can take on a wild, bumpy ride in old four-wheel drive jeeps in a safari-like journey across the ash fields and the dusty expanse of the valley to a campsite has to be endured before the trek begins. This adventure will take guests to see the lahar canyons, the Gate of Heaven and the other sites in Mt. Pinatubo.
How to get to Mount Pinatubo?
The most common and recommended jump off point is via Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac trail. You can go there via public transport, ride a bus going to Panasinan, Baguio or Ilocos Privinces (Victory Liner, Partas, Farinas Transit, Five Star Bus) or catch a direct to Tarlac bus and drop off at Capas Public Market. Fare is more or less P200.000 and travel time is around 3 hours. Philippine Rabbit (contact no. 734-9836) has direct trips to Tarlac every hour daily.
From the market, catch a jeepney or trike to fetch you to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana where Tourism Office and the base camp of Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Club Association are situated. You need to pay the Environment Fee in Tourism Office and rent a 4x4 here, they can assign one for you and you may contact any 4x4 driver you know in advance.
From here the crater is just an hour 4x4 ride via Skyway and a 30 – 40 minutes trek.
- A Stunning Place
- Beauty in destruction
- Awesome, out of this world Mount Pinatubo landscape
- It's a breath taking view
- off the beaten path
Botolan, Luzon, Philippines
Tips for you
You should take a walk at Campo Santo Municipio of O'Donnell Capas with its still Spanish colonial period identity still preserved. You should go to Bamban Hills, Sacobia River, Crow Valley, Kalaw Forest/Falls, Lake Canarem, Anao Quina Buntok Creek and Kamikaze Memorial Shrine. It's good to see the still existing Japanese Tunnels and Caves.What to see
Very simple to reach: Bus from Manila or Angeles (Mabalacat terminal, 'DAU') and get off in Capas. In Capas take a tricycle to Santa Juliana (200Php one way). St.Juliana is a tiny village were homestays are offered.Try to call st juliana tourismCouncil 09064623388 one day in advance to make sure you can go with a tour the next day. Tours start very early ~7am, return at ~12noon.The trip to the crater: 1hr journey on a pickup truck through a riverbed and volcanic ash, then 15mins walk to the crater. Descending to the crater lake is prohibited. Concrete stairs are there, but still not allowed for security reasons!?!The 15mins "hike" is less challanging than crossing a main street in Shanghai. NEvertheless we got in-depth instruction on how to walk and my blood pressure was checked, too (no joke); everything was considered!So much fun, very friendly people and the impressive volcanic scenery -> recommended trip, but not an adventure.
A nice hike after a couple of hours of jeep in the kind of a desert for 32 km. A guide and a driver is coming with us. It is not expensive and this helps some poor people to get a very little revenu. But the landscape formed by the mud and the larva is very impressive and it's brand new( 1991)
Going to Pinatubo to see its' wonder was never on my bucket list. After my trip, I asked myself why I did not even consider it as a viable option. I was dead wrong not to include it. So my friends, do not make the same mistake as I did. Mount Pinatubo; the view, the 4x4 ride going to it, the 20 minute hike up, everything was just breath taking!We joined this group tour Pinatubo bound last March 14-15 2015. The travel time from Manila to Capas, Tarlac was about 4 hours. The roads were paved nicely all to through that trip. At the drop point, there are parking spaces (for a minimal fee). The drop point is where you get your local tour guide, waiver forms and 4x4 ride transportation arranged. I found that the 4x4 ride was the only set back we had in terms of expenses. A 4x4 can accommodate a maximum of 5 passengers, 3500 pesos per day rental. So, it would be wise if you travel in a big group. You can split the bill among yourselves.It's a very bumpy 1 1/2 hour ride towards the hike drop point. I loved the experience of the 4x4 ride with all the ups and downs. The powdery ash white sight of the lahar was just beautiful! The hike up towards the crater's mouth is about 20 minutes. The hike was enjoyable since there are no steep areas. On the way, we also passed by streams. The path is very rocky; wear COMFORTABLE RUBBERSHOES or hike SANDALS. The path nearing the crater was already cemented. There are 2 lavatories on the trail.The view of the crater after that hike up was just a sight for sore and tired feet. Beautiful is such an understatement! We just spent the next few hours sitting under the kubo's (rest areas), eating lunch and just taking in the view. For those asking if they can swim? Sorry NO SWIMMING in the crater.Dont forget to bring:1.sunblock2.gallons of water3. a change of clothes4.lunch (yes!) You can eat at the crater. Just be mindful of your trash, what you bring up the hike will also be brought back down. Strictly no liter zone!
The best season to go here is during summer, so you get great photos. You have to ride a 4x4 jeep to reach the foot of the crater. Expect a bumby ride because the way to Pinatubo is rocky and has a rugged terrain. Once you reach the base, you will hike for 15-18 minutes to reach the crater. Quite tiring but so worth it when you see the beautiful calm green lake of the crater.