Dayhike Pinatubo

Famous from PH textbooks, the monster way back in 90’s and today’s one of the most remarkable historical site – Hello Pinatubo!

To say it in one word – AWE. This trip sums up trekking, adventure, culture and history. Here is a quick overview on our day hike experience and some tips for your visit:

How did we get there?

For convenience, we rented a van for the whole tour. The total price was 5,500 which was divided to our group of 13. This includes toll fees, gasoline and driver fees from Manila to Tarlac and vice versa.

Our van took on the NLEX route up to SCTEX. Then exits at Tarlac which drove straight to Capas.

For public transpo from Manila, you can ride through buses in Cubao station with Tarlac signages.

Are there entrance fees/registrations?

First thing you have to find when you reached Tarlac is the Municipal Tourism office. This is where you’ll need to register, look for a guide, rent 4×4 and sign up waiver forms.
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For our case, we opted to avail the Kuya Allan’s Pinatubo tour which includes all registration fees, guide fees, 4×4 ride, lunch and snacks. This is worth 1,300 per pax for a group of 13. You can contact him via this number: 09199349474

Before going to the tour, we visited his guesthouse to prepare, freshen up, pee break and eat breakfast.

What to do in Pinatubo?

1. Experience off road adventure via 4×4 rides. Pump up your adrenaline levels through bumpy, rocky and super fun ride with your barkada.
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From municipal tourism office, the ride would take 1 hour to reach the jump off point.

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2. Meet and greet with the local aetas along the way. Make sure to bring candies/chocolates for the kids who will greet you with their big smiles. šŸ˜‰
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3. Tell your driver to stop over with the toblerone like hills and have quick shots.
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Not really sure though if its toblerone or kisses! āœŒ

4. Once you reached the jump off point, prepare yourself to do the most awaited trekking. This will take you an hour or two depending on your pace to reach the crater lake.
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5. Marvel and mesmerize yourself with the huge rock and lahar formations developed during the eruption in 90’s and the effect of soil erosion throughout the years.
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6. Say no to dull and dry trails, you’ll never feel bored during the trek as free flowing streams and mini rivers are just along your way. Dip/swim with the cold waters coming from the crater lake and feel refreshed.
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Some streams are red and yellow. āœŒ
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7. Reach the gateway to Pinatubo crater lake and bring on the 15-20min challenge. Make yourself a record and be proud. šŸ˜…
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8. Reach your final destination and be amazed. Once you reached the crater lake, you would definitely say WOW.

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Feels like we’re overlooking ice mountain and Mordor. āœŒ

9. Swimming is not allowed due to safety reasons. But you could still spend your day tour there by making the most out of the view. Bring hammocks or tent to take a nap, relax, have chitchats with friends, play games, sip your favorite soda and eat your junks.
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10. Do all your photography to keep memories, everything around you is just picture perfect. Dont forget to take a #Squadgoals snap post. āœŒ

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Are there other tips/suggestions for this dayhike?

Start your activities the earliest as possible specially during weekends. Most of the groups flock around the crater at 10am.

Wear appropriate clothing and comfy sandals. Apply sunblock to protect yourself from extreme heat. Nice sunglasses and cute hat would be very helpful.

Do your grocery beforehand to lower your expenses. Make sure to bring a liter of water or gatorade to keep you hydrated.

If you need a pee break or looking for vendors, there is a resting station 20 mins before the crater. Softdrinks, mineral water and junk foods can be bought from the vendors in the station.

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Never leave your group, you may get lost as there are side trails that may mislead you.

You can do the snapshots on the pinatubo signage on your way home instead of staying there for so long before going to the crater.

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No network signal in all the area of 4×4 trail up to the crater. Bring extra batteries for your camera and phones.

You can also plan for outreach and bring goodies that may help the local aetas living in the area.

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Never leave your trash in the area. Bring a garbage bag with you or keep dumps in your bag.

On your way home, the road will be dusty and rough, you can take a shower and wash through Kuya Allan Bognot’s Guesthouse. This is 5 min walk from municipal tourism office, ask locals for direction. You can use their comfort rooms to freshen up before going home for 50 pesos fee.
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As all may say, photos do unjustice most of the time. Just go and see for yourself #SiPinatubo!

Credits to Leo De Mesa for the photos. āœŒ

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