Mount Pinatubo, Philippines

Journey to the Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake

Located in the southern part of the island Luzon is the world-famous Philippine active volcano, Mount Pinatubo. Mount Pinatubo is a natural wonder that encompasses the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. After 600 years of dormancy, Mount Pinatubo erupted in June 1991, which was one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in recent history. Although many locals evacuated the area just in time, the Mount Pinatubo eruption left its mark by covering the surrounding areas with ash deposits and pyroclastic flows. The lahar that covered most of the nearby provinces also destroyed the homes of the residents.

The Mount Pinatubo hiking trip

Over a decade after the eruption, Mount Pinatubo reinvented itself by becoming a popular tourist destination. The crater lake of Mount Pinatubo is now a must-see for many hikers and trekkers from different parts of the world. The hike to Mount Pinatubo starts after an hour-long jeepney ride from the jump-off point near the Pinatubo Spa Town in Capas, Tarlac. Hikers need to descend a steep lahar slope before they reach the wide path to start off their Mount Pinatubo journey. The Mount Pinatubo hiking trail is a boulder-lined path that is adorned with sulfur-streaked volcanic rocks. Hikers journeying along Mount Pinatubo can still see the remnants of the 1991 eruption in the form of lahar river beds. The path leads to a concrete stairway that needs to be climbed before reaching the ridge of the overlooking crater lake. The hike to the Mount Pinatubo crater lake can be as short as fifty minutes or as long as two hours, depending on the skill level of the hikers.

The crater lake of Mount Pinatubo features blue-green waters that seem to twinkle even at a distance. To get to the edge of the crater lake, hikers must first climb down another flight of stairs. After a long walk to the crater, hikers can reward themselves by taking a dip into the blue waters in the Mount Pinatubo crater lake. Hikers can safely swim in the crater of Mount Pinatubo as long as they avoid going near the middle. Swimming near the middle of the crater makes people vulnerable to strong currents and pulls. Another way to enjoy a hiking vacation in Mount Pinatubo is to paddle around the lake while riding a kayak.

How to prepare for the Mount Pinatubo hiking trip

Hiking essentials such as good boots and water bottles are enough to help hikers survive the one-day hike to the crater of Mount Pinatubo. It is not advisable to go on a hiking trip to Mount Pinatubo during the months from May to September. The Mount Pinatubo terrain tends to be wet and muddy during those months because of the rainy season. Since it is located near the equator, the Philippines is also vulnerable to heavy rains and strong winds.

Where to find Mount Pinatubo accommodations

The journey to the crater of Mount Pinatubo is a one-day hike that takes only a few hours to complete. It is not necessary for hikers to set up campsites to stay overnight because the area is just a few hours away from the city. Hikers can reserve accommodations in any of the numerous inns and hotels in nearby provinces or in Metro Manila. Hikers can also visit the Pinatubo Spa Town for a relaxing “Pina-thai-tsu” massage or a sumptuous home-cooked meal after a long day of hiking.

Accommodation example:Microtel Inn & Suites Tarlac, Luisita, Tarlac

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How to get to the Mount Pinatubo hiking trail

Most hikers arrive to the Philippines in any of the several airports in the Philippine capital of Manila. The journey from Manila to the province of Tarlac takes around two to three hours of driving along the North Luzon expressway. Upon arriving in Tarlac, hikers need to ride a jeepney to reach the jump-off point of the Mount Pinatubo hiking trail.

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