Standing at Mt. Pinatubo’s Crater

Hiking was never my thing, do not get me wrong, I love nature, the sea, the trees and all things in between. I just haven’t pictured myself carrying those big bags (bags bigger than I O.o) just the thought makes me tired already, haha. I always wondered, being the kikay that I was, what should be the proper attire for hiking, trekking or mountaineering (I know it’s shallow problem but hey, I still wanna be a fashionista when climbing up somewhere).

When my sister Lily Rose said someone backed out from their planned Pinatubo trip, she immediately asked if I am available knowing I am a “kaladkarin” (someone whom you can drag anywhere) obviously I agreed. My first and only climbing activity was way back 2007 somewhere in Quezon (if I am not mistaken, they call it ‘7 falls’) after all the beaches that I have been to it’s time to make a change, I accepted the call of climbing Mt. Pinatubo.

Mt. Pinatubo (1) We left Manila at around 3 am and arrived at Capas Tarlac by 5 am. It was a short and fast trip, kudos to the driver. Was not able to get the chance to write anything on the way to the area since it was dark inside the van and my sister was all over the place, lol! But it’s true, in the end, I just decided to let her sleep on my lap (I am such a loving sister!) 🙂 When we arrived at the tourism base camp for Mt. Pinatubo, this is what I did, stretched! Even short legged person like I need this.

Mt. Pinatubo (2)Morning coffee’s are great. ALWAYS, there’s no exception, whether you are drinking it alone or with a group of people. This trip was planned by the office mates of Bianca, one of my sisters best buds. Here I am meeting new people, sip, exchanging a few good stories, sip and yes, laughing my ass out, sip, while the dawn is breaking. For me this is one of the best part of the trip, it’s nice to meet new souls, learn a little bit something from them in return like where they came from, their culture and see beaming faces when the jokes are out.

Mt. Pinatubo (3)Do they look they are really stretching? Nope they are not, they are playing around, haha! Everyone, the three idiots (from left to right, my crazy kick out sister Lily Rose, the ever thin Donna and Bea de Bianca). They are all grown ups! They use to be so little and not so tall? I am behind my a lot of inches when the height issue rises.

Mt. Pinatubo (4) I just have to have a photo with her, look at her fringed top! So cute and we also got this wooden thing that she’s selling. Useful for the climb, only 20 pesos each!

Mt. Pinatubo (5)

Just having some fun before going up. We are a bunch of crazy people! 🙂 Introducing the lovely lady in the green jacket, that’s Mayi (aka Alay) lol, she really made me happy.

Mt. Pinatubo (6)Shoes? aqua shoes or whatever that fits well,slippers are not advisable.

Mt. Pinatubo (7) Tadah, and this was my outfit! My arm bands are adorable, got them from SM Department store for 169.75 pesos, aqua shoes for 249.75 pesos and Monakiki leather leggings for 150 pesos. I cannot afford to get any darker since I’m all tanned up from my Boracay trip. Plus, it is highly recommended to cover yourself up with light clothing since the road trip was dusty and hot.

Mt. Pinatubo (8) The group before leaving the base, all smiles!

Mt. Pinatubo (9) Ready for the best rough ride of our lives!

Mt. Pinatubo (10)After a 3-5 minutes drive, we stopped and waited for the other 4×4’s. So as you can see, we took this time to have a few photos taken.

Mt. Pinatubo (11) The 4×4 models, should I say sexy models? haha!

Mt. Pinatubo (12) Excited for the trip eh? Bunch of energy!

Mt. Pinatubo (13) The ever epic jumpshots

Mt. Pinatubo (14) And another one, these four were my 4×4 mates, Rose, Bianca, Donna and the guy in green is named Daniel. He is really not part of our group, he is Italian on a solo world journey. Since we lack one person for our ride, they allowed him to ride with us. Good thing he was all game with all our weirdness. Being the chit chat lady that I am, I ended up conversing with him most of the time which was great because he also shared stories about his place and other countries he visited.

Mt. Pinatubo (15)After a few minutes of waiting, the ride began. Look at all these cars, very much like a movie scene. The guide and driver explained that any group has two choices. 1) Ride the 4×4 for 1 hour and 30 minutes and then hike for 20-30 minutes to the crater 2) Ride the 4×4 for 30 minutes and then hike for 1-2 hours to the crater. We chose the first one since it was super hot and it’s kinda late to take option 2. Please do not quote me on the exact travel time, these were the only information shared by our guide and driver. I guess in the end it will still depend on how fast you can trek the area 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (16) And the view in front, welcome, to the powdery sand of Mt. Pinatubo 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (17) A normal car won’t fit here, when we talk about deep holes, it’s really deep. If you will notice, there were two children on the right side. They still live here and they sell banana’s and ginger.

Mt. Pinatubo (18)Our tour guide, Kuya Rey said that the normal land level was up to the top of those mountain look alike. We are traveling on the area where the lava during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo way back 1991 flowed that’s why it’s this low. It is quite dangerous to travel when the rain is pouring since these sand filled mountains can just fall anytime.

Mt. Pinatubo (19) See how they fall? Really dangerous to get close to this sand mountains. But they look amazing for real and in photos.

Mt. Pinatubo (20)A good pair of shades? A must! You don’t want the sands on your eyes, and if you have any asthma problems, something to cover your mouth and nose will also be helpful like what my sister wore.

Mt. Pinatubo (21) The second stop where we needed to wait again for the other 4×4’s. We need to go batch by batch so if one gets stuck somewhere, they can help pull each other.

Mt. Pinatubo (22) The man who looks like a Nat Geo photographer because of his yellow shirt, lol!

Mt. Pinatubo (23) On tippy toes for this shot since I am beside Daniel and my sister.

Mt. Pinatubo (24) Now time to roll!

Mt. Pinatubo (25) Under the heat of the sun 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (26) 20 minutes to the crater! Yeah! Almost there!

Mt. Pinatubo (27) Our wooden ‘tungkods‘ were very helpful, happy we bought them. There were areas where the streams flowed along the hiking trail, those were not coming from above the crater. There is a large waterfall but is very dangerous to travel and explore as our guide said. Only the natives are allowed to visit the place, he said it is really beautiful but the trail were surrounded by mountain sands, so it’s a no no for tourists.

Mt. Pinatubo (28)Now here we are! The majestic crater of Mt. Pinatubo waiting to be discovered by us first timers 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (29) My smile is as big as the crater, lol! So I got a few things to share from our tour guide again, I do hope he didn’t get tired from answering my questions. Mt. Pinatubo as they said was just a small mountain, then it got bigger and bigger because of the lava that was forming inside, thus it was called Pinatubo. “Tubo” is a Tagalog word for grow. It is also the type of mountain where only few trees and plants grow because of the hot land. I wondered how the water got on top of the crater, really weird so I have to ask our guide about it too. He said that the water was not there before, after the eruption that’s when it appeared, it was also high so they needed to create another hole that leads to Zambales area so it won’t overflow. It depends on the sulfur level if it’s safe to swim or not, just this January 2013 the tourism group has not allowed anyone to swim. The water has not been tested yet and I am not so sure about the rumors if someone really drowned in here that’s why they discontinued it. Anyhow, I really wanted to try and float in the waters but I won’t break the rules. The crater might eat me alive for not following, haha!

Mt. Pinatubo (30) A good place for the cross to stand on.

Mt. Pinatubo (31) Stunning view, didn’t know that the crater was this big.

Mt. Pinatubo (32) People resting under the big tree. See Mayi? the lady in green, happily smiling 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (33)Friends of Bianca 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (34) I thought the massage was after the hike, lol! Little did I know Mayi can also do that.

Mt. Pinatubo (35) Going down the crater, steep.

Mt. Pinatubo (36) Down the crater, where the photo op began.

Mt. Pinatubo (37) They were willing to carry me. I told them at first that I am heavy as a log, they didn’t seem to care, so why not try, lol! Lechon ready pose?

Mt. Pinatubo (38) High with fun at the crater!!!

Mt. Pinatubo (39) Charlie’s angles not angels, haha!

Mt. Pinatubo (40) I loved how the mountain reflected on the water, so pretty.

Mt. Pinatubo (41) Singaporean, Pinay and Italian on the lose 🙂 Thanks guys for being such a sport and embracing the weirdness that I have.

Mt. Pinatubo (42) Mayi’s ANTM pose, it’s just that she didn’t know the three idiots were making fun of her 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (43) Sony Ericson models vs Samsung

Mt. Pinatubo (44) Now it’s time to take photos on the other side.

Mt. Pinatubo (45)Cover needed? All smiles 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (46) Who’s scared of her? 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (47) This was our group shot, if I am not mistaken, only 2 were not included here. Big happy group!

Mt. Pinatubo (48) Happy as we can be! 🙂

Mt. Pinatubo (49)The crazy ones and trouble makers!

Mt. Pinatubo (50)Naks, they look good together right? 😉

Mt. Pinatubo (51) Bianca and her baby

Mt. Pinatubo (52) Colors!

Mt. Pinatubo (53) Pinay beauties

Mt. Pinatubo (54) Of course, will I let this trip pass without any of my poses!? Haha, I kinda loved my outfit, time to get away from bikinis? Sporty look for my peg.

Mt. Pinatubo (55) You will never know thyself, unless you go out there and travel.

Mt. Pinatubo (56) If only I can push them, haha!

Mt. Pinatubo (57)They made me a human tripod and I was that willing. Thank you so much Bianca for letting me grab some photos. This post would be impossible without you.

Mt. Pinatubo (58)

“I read; I travel; I become”
― Derek Walcott

Hope you loved this as much as I enjoyed my 2nd hiking experience. Meeting new people has always been a great joy for me. Daniel, thank you for taking time in experiencing our country, may you be blessed in your future travels and do not forget to share our country once you go back to your land. Alexus, since you still have a few months here, I do hope I can join you on your Gawad Kalinga activities. It’s really heartwarming to know you chose our country of all places. To Bianca’s officemates and friends, thank you for the invite and for allowing us to be a part of your Mt. Pinatubo trip. I was not able to converse and thank you personally but I had a great time. Cannot count how many times I laughed because of so many reasons.

A few things to remember before climbing up Mt. Pinatubo

  • Make sure you wear light clothing since the road trip is both hot and sandy
  • Do not forget your sun glasses or shades, A MUST even though you don’t like wearing it.
  • Still apply sunblock on your skin just to prevent sunburn
  • Closed slippers or anything with straps or rubbershoes both good for water, dust and rocks is advisable.
  • Make sure you have something to hold on to during the 4×4 ride, it’s a rough ride and you don’t want to fall anywhere.
  • Walk slowly and do not be so excited to see the crater, you will get there. They said most accidents were caused by too much excitement.
  • Bring your own water bottle if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on top. (small bottles costs 50.00 pesos each)
  • When you go back to the base camp, it’s your choice if you want to take a shower or not, it costs 50.00 pesos.
  • Check our other blogs for other what to do’s and what not to do’s for Mt. Pinatubo climb. Bullets above are from my experience only. 🙂

This travel has opened my big brown eyes to a different level, now the willingness to try and hike other places is 100%. The thought of carrying heavy bags is still there, but what is heavy bags compared to overlooking places, streams, falls, green lands, new people and great stories? Now that’s a weightless bag! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Standing at Mt. Pinatubo’s Crater

    1. Hindi sila nag allow ng swim ngayon, did you just visit this Feb or Feb 2012? Mataas daw ang sulfur level. I really wanted to swim. Hey next time we can travel to the place in Tanay, the one I told you before. Walang gustong sumama sakin! Haha!

  1. Hi Joycelyn,
    FANTASTIC!!
    You did what is sometimes called “getting out of your comfort zone”. Those moments where you leave everything known,easy and routine for adventure.
    Your photos were fun and creative.I enjoyed seeing you guys and the famous Mt. Pinatubo.
    Cheers!

  2. Sounds like the hike for me and my girl. And thanks for all the helpful and funny tips. 😀 It’s also nice that you shared some background about it. My mother said she was carrying as a baby when it erupted while attending a wedding when we were still in Zambales. Glad to have found your blog.
    Sarap tignan talaga ang barkadahan tema ng mga post mo. 😀

    1. That would be a fun hike 🙂 Also, do not forget to bring sarong or anything that you can sit with. Para pede kayong mag rest under the trees once you got up there. Sarap mag power nap, haha!

      That was a real experience for you mom I bet. The only thing I can remember was when I woke up, I told my parents na may snow sa labas, lol! Sands pala yun!

      Thank you so much for always visiting and commenting on my blog posts Rommel. Keeps me empowered ^^

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