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Monday, March 14, 2016

Mt. Pinatubo: Chaos and beauty intertwined

(c) Rizza Salas Travels

          The violent eruption of Pinatubo last June 12, 1991 has not only caused nightmares or chaos, but also beauty.

Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
Major jump-off: Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac
LLA: 15°8’35″N, 120°20’54″E, 960 MASL
Days required / Hours to crater: 1 day, 45 min to 1 hour 4×4 + 2 hrs hike
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1

Tour begins at the base camp in Brgy. Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac, 28 kilometers from the crater lake. Climbers must register first at the Local Tourism Office wherein a brief orientation and a waiver must be signed. All are welcome, but they require ages of 40 and above to have their blood pressure checked - blood pressure of 140 and up will be barred from the hike. 

After a safety briefing, hop in your enclosed 4x4 vehicle and enjoy the thrilling 45 minutes to an hour of bumpy and dusty ride.

You will cross wide terrains of ash-land and some massive lahar canyons. I cannot imagine how hard the Delta V trail is. Thank God there's that badass! It's a lot more difficult than it seems. 

(c) Rizza Salas

Enjoy the breathtaking Crow valley Canyon, you are allowed to ask the driver nicely if you want to stop over for a few minutes - have your butt take a rest and take as many photos as you can but please don't ask them to stop every 5 minutes.

(c) Rizza Salas

Lovely aetas everywhere - give them tokens, or share with them your trail snack. They love it :)

You may ride the 4x4 for an hour (old way - 5 to 7 kilometers) or an hour and a half (new way). The new way is currently open, trek will only take about 15 minutes to 20 minutes depending on which group you belong.

(c) Rizza Salas

(c) Rizza Salas

Streak of yellow sulfur rich stream

(c) Rizza Salas

'YOUR TREK STARTS HERE' (applicable for those who took the new way)
Max time: 20 minutes to the crater FOR SENIOR CITIZEN (remember that)

Before the final leg, we took 10 and bought ice candy from this lad, named John Lloyd, he sells different buko flavored ice candies for only 20 pesos. I thanked him, and even told him we're bffs already haha Ang sarap sa pakiramdam! Tamang tama sa init ng panahon! By the way, all bottled drinks costs a hundred peso :)

(c) Rizza Salas

I thought that the last 20 minutes of trek will be tad easy, I mean the trail was no doubt easy, but expect that you will still be crossing series of wet and rocky trail. It's better to invest a sturdy footwear or sandals for trekking, your feet will thank you for that.

Did you know? Pinatubo local guides are being paid 400 pesos per tour, often times with only two tours a month. Perhaps, you won't mind sharing a little extra from your pocket money. *smiles*

What to wear:
Anything you're comfortable with. Slippers are okay, especially when crossing wet portions.

Things to bring (pack light):
- SUNBLOCK or Petroleum Jelly! Don't just bring them, USE them! I didn't use mine, I got minor burns on my nape area, and unwanted tan lines on my extremities haha whilst, apply petroleum jelly to protect your feet.
- 1.5 to 2 liters of drinking water - There are locals selling drinks anyway, but the price are way too steep.
- Cap or towels - to cover your face
- Extra clothing
- Toiletries
- Garbage bag (LNT)
- Extra 50 pesos shower fee (base camp)

Greeted by this flight of stairs. Yesss, ayan na yung crater!

Welcome to Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake

View from the photo den area

Another concrete stairs, a quite steep one on the way down to the crater (going back up is a little challenging).

The crater lake is too beautiful for words. Its color changes, depending on the weather. Swimming is prohibited though.

Photo ops

Right area of the crater

Rizza Salas x Crater Lake Mt Pinatubo Philippines

Met these awesome individuals, hello to my new friends! (R-L: Erwin, Steph, Gello and me)

Kuya Mateo, a dear man, and our friend. He carried our trashes, assisted us all the time, he even insisted on taking photos. Please look or ask for him.

Pinatubo Crater Lake view from top

Going back (same route, the 'old way')

rizza salas

Group F7

Now tell me these beautiful terrain isn't worth the burn that pains me now? Haha Mt. Pinatubo is truly perfect for beginners, and even for kids! The only thing you have to be worried is the weather, whether it will rain, or the scorching sun.

I would like to thank the very accommodating Ma'am Hydee of Mt. Pinatubo Adventure Tours Phils.. Visit and like them on facebook: Mt. Pinatubo Adventure Tours Phils

As for those who will be bringing their private vehicle, but will rent a 4x4, you may park (at your own risk) near the base camp, or if you are in search of a local guide, I can provide you our guide's digits (Kuya Mateo). Feel free to email, or message me at any of my social account. Thank you.

"Kill nothing but time.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Take nothing but pictures.
Keep nothing but memories."

All photos are mine unless stated otherwise. Feel free to use, but please give credit. Thank you.

Mt. Pinatubo, Capas, Tarlac
2016 March 13



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