Mount Pinatubo is a volcano and so the appropriate name should be Pinatubo Volcano. In any case, let’s stick to Mt. Pinatubo as it is known better by that name. According to experts, Pinatubo erupts every 400 years and its last eruption was in 1991.
Technically, it becomes dormant after every eruption and it shall wait roughly another 400 years before its next eruption. Many people in the Philippines knew well how violent that last eruption in 1991 but since then it has become a weekend getaway for trekkers and adventure seekers.
Mt Pinatubo is relatively an easy hike. It would take maximum three hours from the base going to the crater. First of all, you need to contact a travel agent organizing a trip to Mt. Pinatubo. There are many agents you can find online. Though you have to be very careful not to give payment in advance. Fee can vary depending on group size and it starts at 2,000 pesos including lunch.
After finding an agent, you will be advised to be at the base by 5:30 am. If you’re coming from Manila, it is advisable to spend the night at Clark. From Clark, it would only take about 45 minutes to arrive at the base. It is advisable to bring extra clothes and shower kit as you would literally be covered in dust after the trek. There is a place for taking a shower at the base.
At the base, someone will give a briefing concerning safety. It would take maximum 15 minutes and before the excitement begins. You will ride 4×4 trucks traversing the ‘dustland’ of Mt. Pinatubo. It is amazing to see how the drivers navigate through as the area is so vast without any sign of direction you’re heading to. You will then realize that it’s really impossible for you to go without a guide and you will realize paying for the fee is all worth it. And the trip has just begun.
The driver will take several stops along the way for taking photos. The scenery is so beautiful and unique that you won’t imagine a violent catastrophe made the amazing scenery. There are also natives in the area called Aeta. They look different in a sense that they have darker complexion and curly hair. Several Aeta kids pose for me and they were all having fun.
After the seemingly unending road and crossing a stream, the driver told us that we have to walk from here on. The ride was about an hour long. By that time, we were already covered in dust. Bringning a dust mask is a great idea. We were told we have to walk another two hours to reach the crater.
I was enjoying the scenery as I walk. It’s an easy trek and fit for beginners like me although there are several steep paths along the way but all manageable anyway. The driver and guide help to bring our bags and so the trek becomes easier.
There is a rest station one kilometer before the crater. It was nearing 12 noon and the sun was at its peak.
Before we know it, we already reached the crater and was greeted by a beutiful view. The guide told me that the depth of the crater is 300 feet and so swimming is prohibited for the safety of everyone.
At the crater, we ate lunch provided by our guide. He also brought along a tent where we can relax. Unfortunately, there is no other activity up there except from taking pictures of the crater. However, the 4×4 truck ride and the whole trekking experience are memories you will never forget.
We started going down past 1pm. The same process as going up and the same amount of dust accumulated during the 4×4 truck ride. We reached the base close to 5pm.