Monday, June 10, 2013

Travel Guide: Mt. Pinatubo - A Majestic Climb

The beautiful Mt. Pinatubo Crater
Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano that once gained international notoriety because of its disastrous eruption that heavily affected the local region. However, through the years, the disastrous explosion give rise to one of the country’s most prominent and beautiful travel destinations. The once harmful volcano has turned into a popular tourist spot that continuously lure local and foreign travelers who want to witness its visually-appealing parched landscapes and experience the trek to its volcanic crater. To set foot at the crater of the world-renowned Mt. Pinatubo is a must-do for every Filipino and outdoor enthusiast who want to see the crystal lake that offers a glorious and majestic vista to behold. Tourists who climb Mt. Pinatubo will definitely enjoy the dazzling view of the lake that changes color from blue to green to blue green depending on season.

How to Get to Mt. Pinatubo

  • Private Transportation
  1. From Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway and exit at Sta. Ines toll gate.
  2. Continue driving to McArthur Hwy onwards Bamban and Capas, Tarlac.
  3. Once you reach the the public market in Capas, take the left turn to Brgy. Sto. Rosario.
  4. Continue driving past the Capas National Shrine and Camp O' Donnell until you reach Brgy. Sta. Juliana. The 2-hour 4x4 ride and 20 minute trek to Mt. Pinatubo crater starts here.  

  • Public Transportation
  1. From Manila, take a public bus transport bound for Lingayen or Dagupan, Pangasinan.
  2. Get off at Capas Tarlac and take a jeepney that is bound for Patlin.
  3. When you reached Patlin, take a tricycle ride to Barangay Sta Juliana.

The registration area in Sta. Juliana
Projected Expenses

Bus Fare from Manila to Tarlac
Php 160 one way (aircon bus)
Jeepney ride to Patlin
Php 8
Tricycle Fare from to Sta. Juliana
Php 150 per person
4x4 rental
Php 3,000 (good for 4 persons)
Local Guide Fee
Php 500 (good for 5 persons)
Conservation Fee
Php 450 per person

Sample Itinerary (with own service)

0400 ETA Manila for Capas, Tarlac
0600 ETA Capas, Tarlac. Breakfast
0700 ETA Brgy. Sta. Juliana
0800 Board 4x4 vehicles (Adventure begins here!)
1000 End of 4x4 ride. Start trek to summit/crater
1100 ETA crater of Mt. Pinatubo. Explore the crater
1130 Lunch
1200 Start return trek
1400 Back at jump-off point
1500 Wash upr
1700 ETD for Manila
2000 ETA Manila

barren land - covers 80% of the view during 4x4 trip
Travel Tips

  • Mt. Pinatubo is located in the vicinity of Zambales but the only access point and registration area is located in Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Tarlac.
  • There is no convenience store available along the way or at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo so it is best to bring your own food and drinks.
  • Do not swim in the crater’s lake until the Department of Tourism (DoT) lifted the ban. A travel advisory has been released January of this year prohibiting tourists from swimming, kayaking, and other water activities because the crater lake has said to have harmful substances that may affect the human health in various ways.
  • Aside from the harmful substances in the volcano’s lake water, other potential threats also include rock falls or landslides from the wall of the volcanoes, so it is advised not to stay too close to the lakeshore.
  • Dress properly and accordingly. It is important to use trekking shoes/sandals as the train can be slippery especially during rainy season.

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