On Chasing Crater and New Friends: Conquering Mount Pinatubo with the Pinoy Travel Bloggers
On Chasing Crater and New Friends: Conquering Mount Pinatubo with the Pinoy Travel Bloggers

On Chasing Crater and New Friends: Conquering Mount Pinatubo with the Pinoy Travel Bloggers

I have been dying to go to Mount Pinatubo ever since it has been opened to the public and was tagged as the newest tourist spot in our country. With my determination to settle this long-time craving, plans and itineraries have been laid out; I even tried to organize a trek to this crater last January among my friends and colleagues at work (yeah, that’s how I wanted it so badly!!!). While trying to squeeze my brain and pocket for even daring to organize a major trip for the first time, an unexpected invite from my fellow travel blogger Robx of Travelingdork.com surprised me and made me do some cartwheels and a little dancing.

Hmmm… Tell me who’s not gonna be happy? It was an invite for a Mount Pinatubo Experience together with the other Pinoy Travel Bloggers! Whoohoo! I tell you, That’s worth dancing for. πŸ™‚ Not to mention, one of my idol in travel blogging and photography, Dong Ho was one of the organizers. Then that’s another thing to celebrate on.

POINKS! What was that again??? I’ll be with the Pinoy Travel Bloggers
As in seriously???!
My non-stop dance for joy and excitement toned down a bit when details started to sink in. It will be my first time to go on a trip with these famous people in travel blogging. I got really scared. What if I don’t have enough english words in my backpack? What if they’re too famous, they’re not gonna like me? What if they’re too bigtimes, they only use The North Face backpacks? Yeah, that was the time I realized, I’m doomed.

30 bloggers, 1 goal, 1 crater

Hey! Pinatubo Crater, We’re coming!!!
After a bunch of hi’s and hellos, endless chatter continued as we headed to Sta. Juliana, Capas Tarlac. For about almost 3 hours, while everybody was busy catching up some sleep, tweeting, updating Facebook statuses, and sharing of Philippine whereabouts, we reached the Tourism Office at around 6:00am. I thought it was just an ordinary Saturday but the huge number of crowd at the registration was really surprising. (Ganun pala kasikat ang Mount Pinatubo, super dami ng tao).

We have been divided into 6 groups with 5 members each. Everybody was obviously excited to ride the 4×4’s. The open type land cruisers are limited; good thing, we were one of the lucky people who were able to get an open type 4×4.

My 4×4 Buddies

It’s not Your Ordinary Ride!
It’s a bumpy ride, period. Hehe

4×4’s come in different colors. They look cute, be amazed how powerful they are.

It’s very dusty, just after 5 mins, I assure you, everyone in an open type 4×4 will look like an espasol. But the view? Oh! It’s very astounding. Me and Ivan tried to stand up, hoping to take some good pictures. But oh, the road was too rough, we almost got thrown. And I think I had some intimate relationships with any steel that I could hold on to during that time, I hugged them as in very very tight to survive. Well, we’re all adventure-seekers so expect that all of us were still smiling and laughing after the countless ‘boom!-boogoosh-ouch-haha’ moments.

This bumpy ride kept us shouting like kids! hahaha

The ride itself is already an adventure!

We stopped for a while and had some photo ops. OMG! Nakalimutan kong magbaon ng espada, dito nagshu-shoot ang Panday, gayahin ko sana!

My Dora-WannaBe Peg
Columbia Women Titanium – Php350.00 (bought in ukay-ukay in Baguio)
Sandugo Strapped Sandals – P470.00
Scarf-scarfan – Php54.00 (bought in Landmark)
Fake Headware – Php150.00 (bought in Camp John Hay)

Sunglasses for this hike? Don’t fret, they’re not Prada sunglasses – Php199.00

Okay, let’s go ahead and continue the adventure…

To the Crater and Beyond!!!!
The sun began to shine when we started trekking, the sky became bluer too. Nice atmosphere! Whew! but the trek to the crater was tiring, actually, I cant compare it with my Mount Pulag Hike. This one was different, I cant see anything but endless path of rocks, lahar walls, and series of wild rivers.

Everytime I see a river, I stopped for a while and dipped my foot. Tinignan ko lang kung gaano kalakas yung agos ng tubig πŸ™‚

photo by Jerome Baluyut
Feel na Feel ko ang pagtulay, ang saya-saya kasi!

After 2 hours and so, there’s a semi-constructed shaded area where you can take a rest and have some weewee galore. I want to use the comfort room however the line was long so I just decided to continue heading up.
From that point, there will be a signboard that welcomes you to Mt Pinatubo.

So, where do I belong? πŸ˜›

Meeting the Majestic Crater for the First Time!
Weeheehooo! Happiness!!!

All I can say is… …”Wow!”

I don’t know how to explain it. But the feeling of seeing the Pinatubo Crater just right in front of you is like letting yourself witness how a miracle transpired. Mount Pinatubo is like a big painting. I can’t even take my eyes off it. I remembered my Tita, I want her to see this. We both love to paint. And I know she’ll be amazed. I know she’ll appreciate this undeniably beautiful God and Nature’s work of art. Beautiful, sooo beautiful…

I was too overwhelmed with the crater’s beauty when yells started to bring me back on Earth; the bloggers needed to call and remind me that they’re about to take their lunch. So I rushed under one of the mango trees and grabbed my packed lunch. Wootwoot! Eating Time!

And life can be as simple as this: sitting under a mango tree, enjoying God’s work of art while eating. Ang sarap! This is life!

Burp! When I’m already cleaning up my area and just savoring the last tastes of our meal. I heard 2 other girl bloggers uttered:“Pang foreigner yung servings nila noh? Ang dame and laki! Hindi ko maubos.” Then I thought, maybe, these 2 girls were on a diet. Then came the other guy bloggers started saying the same thing, they can’t even finish the food. I turned around and looked at them, obviously I had my meal empty, and asked them… “Ibig sabihin foreigner ako?” πŸ˜›

Our deliciously made all-Filipino packed lunch includes:Chicken Adobo, 1 Tilapia, Tortang Talong, Itlog na Pula, Bagoong, Kamatis, big banana, bottled water, and Binalot Rice.

After the sumptuous lunch, we took more pictures of the majestic crater.

I never knew that something as beautiful as this can be found up here. Unbelievable.
Visit Mount Pinatubo, please. Yes, it’s a must!

Taking a dip at Mount Pinatubo Lake

Oops! I know what you’re thinking. I have the same thoughts and fears before.
Is it really safe to take a dip at the crater?
Baka mainit yung tubig.
What if my skin might get irritated of the sulfur content.
Paano kung biglang sumabog?

It’s hard to think of answers to those questions, masakit sa ulo. So I decided to just dip my body and try it. Besides, we won’t know the answer if were not going to try, right? (I just made sure that I didn’t go on skinny dipping so if ever that the volcano will erupt, I can immediately run with my clothes on. Poinks! :P)
Kapag naiinitan, beach na kagad? Hindi ba pwedeng Pinatubo Lake muna? πŸ˜€
Hindi naman pala kasi mainit ang tubig, malamig siya.

photo by Ada Lajara

Important Things to Do while dipping your hot bodies in Pinatubo Lake:
*Taste the water. It’s different. Hmmm… it has a different level of bitterness as I may say.
*Sumisid vertically. πŸ˜› Take a peek on Pinatubo’s underwater. Wear goggles if you have any.
*Swim by group. The sand is very unstable. Dipping in the lake without basic swimming skills is a big NO.

Discovering What’s on the Other Side
The guide says that no one knows how deep the Pinatubo Lake is. No one have ever checked and discovered what’s there in the deepest part of the crater. (Then I thought, is it possible to do scuba diving in Pinatubo Lake?)

Another interesting fact shared by the guide: There’s no living organism can be found in the waters of Pinatubo. Before, they tried to grow tilapia fishes in the lake. But it was a major epic fail- all the fishes died.

Scary? Yes, quite. But the locals said, there’s something worth visiting on the other side of the crater. So, without second thoughts, all aboard! Wootwoot!

Bawal makulit and magalaw. Pero PTB’s are PTB’s, Picture picture muna! πŸ˜€

photo by Kaiz Belga

To get to the other side of the lake, the vast water should be traveled by kayak/boat. Each boat can fit up to a maximum of 7 persons. The fee is Php350.00/pax.

photo by Jerome Baluyut

Getting to the other side is like going to a place unknown. At that side, the rocks, the water, the walls of the crater are all smoking. Can’t really describe it exactly – but it’s like suddenly, you are in a different world that you can only see in Hollywood movies.

You need to be extra careful here, you can’t just dip yourself in the water. Temperature is at boiling point, you can even boil an egg for a minute or 2.

And of course, I would not let this day pass without having a photo with my idol. πŸ™‚

Pinoy Travel Bloggers going wacky

Going Home, Yeah, Maybe, Not Sure
The scene is too beautiful, it’s hard to let it out of your sight. But we have to go home, actually, our group was the last ones to leave the crater. Time check, hmmm… almost 3 pm. Realizing that we have to trek down back to the jump-off point for another 2 hrs, hmmm… no choice but to start going.

My departing shot. Bye Bye Crater! You’re so beautiful, I crush you πŸ˜€

Everyone was like in a hurry to finish the trek. This time, I changed my pace. I don’t want them to wait for me, no more. (Oops, I forgot to mention, I was the last one to reach the stopover something). I changed my pace so that I could still have moments for myself, that I could do unlimited stops without delaying the others.
I always keep in mind what I learned from my fellow hikers Paul and Jay of Sablay Bakod Mountaineering Group while we were climbing Mount Pulag. “If you’re tired, stop. If you want to stop, then stop. It’s not a race. That’s the reason why mountain climbing/trekking is not a sports, it’s a recreational activity.”

Some walk in group, I prefer walking alone. But oh, no I’m not a loner.

So, I slowed down a bit and seized the moment. Again, I made a stop, sat on a big rock and gave my eyes a wonderful treat – staring at the wild grasses on the lahar walls made me smile. It’s wonderful.

I paid a glimpse on my tired feet while I was sitting. Got 4 big blisters due to these sandal straps.
It’s super duper painful but it’s nothing compared to the beauty I saw that day.

Reminding me of what I really wanted, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the serenity of the moment. I loved how the birds were cheerfully singing, seemed like they’ve just gone from a climb too. It hit me on the head, life is more enjoyable if simple.

The road maybe rocky and difficult at times, but if we’re just going to keep on looking down, we’ll fail to see how beautiful it is up there.

*Make sure to take a heavy breakfast. Mount Pinatubo is a tough hike.
*Bring bottled water. Gatorade or any Energy Drink is also a must.
*Wear comfortable trekking shoes, or sandals. Give extra focus on the straps.
*Protect your head, bring headwear.

*Allot an extra Php70.00 if you wish to take a shower at the Tourism Office.

This Mount Pinatubo Trip cost Php1600.00/pax. It includes van transportation from Manila to Capaz, Tarlac vice versa, 4×4 rental fee, guide (1 guide per 5 pax), environmental and tourism fees, and packed lunch.


  1. @ Maxtermind,Hoping for more travel with you guys!Ui, nasa top 5 din ako nung una ah. Kaya lang napagod na ako eh. Dami ko kasing nakain eh.Wahahaha! Oo nga, ang hirap nyo habulin. Tumatakbo nga kayo, natatawa ako kay Robx. Meron pang “Ayan na xa, ayan na xa!”

  2. Anonymous

    We went there yesterday, March 24, 2012. Hiking started at about 6:30 am. It was sunny then, the skies are clear, and the sun was hot. rode th 4×4 to the start of the trekking are for about 1.5 hours. From there, we walked the sandy and rocky terran till the first stopover for about 2 hours. We stopped there for a while and used the restroom. And then we went trekking again, although the area is a little different this time, there are no more sands, there are trees, plants, little rivers, etc. We reached the peak at 12pm. We didn't go swimming there, just went down and stayed at the crater beach and sat there, ate our lunch and took pictures… at about 1:30pm, the clouds got dark.. and it rained…. that's when it happened… the scariest moment of my life!!Hindi gaano kalakas ang ulan. Normal na ulan lang, wala ngang hangin, pero umakyat na kami from the crater beach pataas sa may steps kung saan may mga 3 sheds to take shelter na rin from the rain. Pero dahil almost lahat ng tao from the beach have already occupied yung three sheds, we have decided to go back to the first stop over area. But it's different this time. Sobrang madulas na ang mga bato, yung mga maliliit na rivers got wider and deeper. Kahit normal rain lang naman. after 30 minutes, we reached the first stopover area and used the restroom ulit. Hindi parin tumitigil yung ulan sa mga oras na yun, pero nung medyo humina na, napagdesisyunan na namin na bumaba na, we didn't want to get stranded there. Pagbaba namin, theres this supposedly small na river nung umakyat kami, pero nung pababa na… Sobrang laki at lakas na, the running water is not even clear anymore. FLASHFLOOD is staring me right in the face. A little confused, scared, and just because we didn't want to get stranded there, people started crossing the river with so much difficulty. Even yung mga tour guide namin lost his left footwear!! After crossing, nakita namin na pabalik na yung mga nauna samin, they told us to go back to the sheds because it is impossible to continue. So yeah, we crossed the “river of death” again. We took shelter and stayed there. Freezing, and wet, we waited for an hour and a half before deciding to continue trekking back to the base of the mountain. Iba na yung itsura ng daanan pabalik, maraming parts ng bundok ang gumuho, sobrang mabato yung daanan, at sobrang dami din ng mabibilis flashfloods na tinawid namin. Rumaragasang putik everywhere you turn, and we endured that for 2 hours. Scared the sh*t out of me πŸ™ .Para sa mga nagbabalak na pumunta dun, just pray na sana hindi umulan, sobrang nakakatakot ma experience ang naexperience ko at ng mga tao na umakyat ng Pinatubo nung araw na yun. Hindi mo talaga masasabi na accurate and mga weather forecast.

  3. ang saya talaga nang trip natin sa Pinatubo and hongonda nya talaga! lol it was also nice walking with you on our way to the crater mich! tayo na ang mga mababagal maglakad! hahaha. hope to travel with you again in the future mich πŸ˜€

  4. Anonymous

    @ Miss N,It was really a blessing na ang okay ng weather nun… Nung una makulimlim, pero umaraw din, Saktong sakto lang ang ilaw for picture taking and a safe trek.

  5. Anonymous

    @ Sir/Maam,Thanks for sharing the experience that you had last March 24. It will be a lesson and a guide for everyone. Its great to know na nakauwi kayong lahat ng ligtas at walang nangyaring masama.Nasagot ng kwento mo yung mga tanong ko kung bakit ang laki daw ng pinagbago ng daan sa Pinatubo. I kept on wondering kung paano naiba at gumalaw yung mga bato. Sabi kasi nung guide nagkakaroon lang ng erosion kapag gabi. Naisip ko kasi paano kung may erosion tapos may mga taong naglalakad dun. Ganito pala yun. Maraming salamat for sharing.

  6. Anonymous

    We also went to Mt. Pinatubo last March 24, 2012. It was an adventure of a lifetime talaga kasi life mo yong nakataya.We went down at around past 12pm at medyo umaambon na, pero nung nasa may sheds na kami, mega ulan na. Pero we waited a bit na tumila yong ulan kasi sabi ng guides, normal lang daw yon. At nung ambon-ambon uli, niresume namin yong pagbaba, grabe, nung nasa may bato2 na kami, anlakas ng ulan, yong small streams, naging rumaragasang lahar na yata. Tapos may portion dun na yong gilid ng bundok, naglalandslide na. Our guides twice told us to stop sa medyo gitna kasi delikado na e. Basang-basa kami. Nagtatalo nga mga guides kung ano gagawin at yong mga guides namin except sa isa, decided to climb the mountain para pumunta dun sa skyway kasi yong susunod na trail, may nakita na kaming nagbabagsakan na bato at yong gilid ng bundok, landslides na, yong streams, lahar flow na. Naisip ko, pag minalas kami at mabagsakan ng bato or buhangin, wala na, katapusan nanamin. So we opted for the skyway. And what an experience it was. Instant mountain climbing, sa may maliit na waterfalls ang daan, I never looked down, kasi baka maloka ako. And I'm praying na walang maloosen na rocks kasi kawawa naman ang nasa baba. The good thing about the skyway e, may daan talaga siya, kasi yon yata yong daanan ng sasakyan dati before nasira ng Ondoy. The worst thing about it is yong climb up the mountain, thrice yon sa gilid ng bundok and the way down. Bangin ang tinurong daan nung Aeta boy na kinuha namin na guide na daan pababa. Nawala ang takot ko sa heights sa experience na yon. One miss, slide ka pababa ng bundok at kasama mo yong nasa harapan mo. When we saw the jeeps waiting for us sa baba, it was both a relief and agony kasi antaas ng pababa. The good thing and I'm thankful e lahat kami, 24 lahat yata if I'm not mistaken, safe na nakababa ng bundok. Pati yong mga naunang foreigners na nagsitakbuhan nung anlakas ng ulan e ok lahat sila. Sabi ng guides na kasama namin, second time pa lang daw na ginawa/ nangyari yon, yong ginamit nila skyway. First time nung Ondoy, 2nd time samin. So I was thinking, ano yon, swerte pa ba namin, hahaha.But anyway, it was such an adventure, one that my hubby and friends will not forget. Best and worst adventure we have, so far. We have the chance to try both trails, the oldway and the skyway, oh, isama na rin yong waterfall-way at bangin-way. My advice, be ready if it will rain. Have a sturdy footwear kasi baka maanod ang tsinelas like our guide, both tsinelas tinangay ng lahar. Don't forget to bring raincoat na extra large, payong too but I find the raincoat more practical kasi liliparin ng hangin ang payong. Put your things like cp/wallet/mp3/camera sa resealable plastic para hindi mabasa. Pag dala mo pamalit mo na clothes, ilagay mo rin sa plastic. Kung pwede waterproof na bag dalhin mo, marami sa kasama ko, basa to the bones ang bags nila. Buti may dala ako raincoat! at resealable plastics. Prepare for the worst. Mt. Pinatubo is both beautiful and dangerous. I would recommend going there pero you have to be prepared.

  7. Anonymous

    Maraming-maraming salamat for sharing your march 24 Pinatubo Experience. Nakakatakot nga talaga yun. Salamat at lahat kayonh 24 na umakyat, pti na rin yung mga foreigners ay safe. Sobrang makakatulong to sa lahat para sa karagdagang pag-iingat, pati na rin yung mga dapat dalin at gawin.

  8. Anonymous

    to AnonymousApr 3, 2012 09:20 PM , I was the one who posted on Mar 25, 2012 01:59 AM. Grabe! Yung group nyo pala yung nakita namin na pababa ng bundok, almost sabay yata tayo na nakarating dun sa area ng mga 4×4. One more thing, may 7 tao pala na na stranded dun sa bundok that time. Mga 9-10pm na sila nakabalik dun sa assembly area sa may Tourism. Imagine inabutan sila ng gabi dun sa bundok na walang kuryente.. Hay, nakakatakot talaga.

  9. Nice to meet you Mich! Woot woot! Worth it talaga yung trip na to palo na I flew all the way from Davao. Mount Pinatubo's so beauuuuutiful. Pero hindi mo akalain na two decades ago, pumutok to nang bonging bongga, killing thousands of life, affecting the lives of millions.AND ANG MAHAL NAMAN NG FAKE NA HEADWARE! 180-240 pesos ang orig na headware! :)) And natawa ako sa scarf-scarfan. HAHAHA ANG CUTE

  10. Anonymous

    @ RM Bulseco,Nice to meet you din. :)Oo nga sobrang ganda, nakaka-speechless.Kakaiba yung feeling pag nakita knowing na very destructive yung ginawa nya 2 decades ago… but now… whooo! unbelievable.180-240 lang??? bakit tuwing tumitingin ako, nasa almost 500 pesos???

  11. Anonymous

    hi po nice article, maybe we can invite u to do some travel around our province bulacan, by the way im marlo vistan of gmoc (gat. malolenyo outdoor group) tnx mam ,, looking forward to have you in one of our adventures,,, more powers

  12. Anonymous

    Light clothes, preferably dri-fit.For footwear, much better if you are going to wear trekking shoes instead of sandals. Most of us suffered from blisters because we were wearing trekking sandals.

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: