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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

10 TIPS when hiking Mt. PINATUBO

 I already made 3 features about Mt. Pinatubo in my previous posts, specifically detailing the 3 stages of the hike to this insanely beautiful volcano as follows.

 the bumpy 4x4 ride
the hike
the crater

If you noticed this past few days, I've been going back to my early trips and giving some pointers for D.I.Y travelers. I've been getting lots feedback and queries lately kasi. Now, I wanna share to you 10 TIPS when hiking Mt. PINATUBO.

1. TRAVEL with a GROUP

In as much as I admire solo travelers because it is a show of independence, I believe travel is a social experience, it's at its best when shared and experienced with others. After all, its not just about seeing inanimate things. Sure, you get the chance to meet people along the way even if you travel on your own, but the certain level of commitment you give with your travel buddy is a lot different. After all, what's joy and learning if you can't share it?

the PINATUBO dozen, my travel team during the hike 

Amazingly, it doesn't end there. You will realize that its also practical if you have travel buddies around. In Pinatubo, you will be able to save a lot on your DIY tour if go in groups. Main reason, you need to take the 4x4 which you will be hiring for the amount of 2,500 php even if you go solo.

the best group size ?
5 or 10pax, 12 is fine, just like in our case. Why? the capacity of the 4x4 is 5pax.
you can't go beyond that because one slot is for the guide which is required.


If you are a group of 5 and above, you just have to pay 1,500 php per head ( the includes the 4x4, entrance fee, guide fee, skyway toll fee and lunch---already a good deal). Make direct transactions with somebody in the site and not with a travel company.

Wyndell- 0919.608.4313
( he is the president of the 4x4 Association so you will be in good hands)

amazing, amazing view

Other than the 1,500php , all you have to worry about is your fare from manila-Capaz vv. (310php 2-way, victory liner, a/c), your breakfast when you get to Capaz and the ride from Capaz junction to Spa town where you will register before the Mt. PINATUBO adventure begins. Public transpo is rare from Capaz junction to spa town so I would suggest you pay an extra 1,000 php for the 4x4 to fetch you there. Hiring a tricycle might prove more expensive and inconvenient.

en summary--the budget: ( per pax for a group of 5)

   310 php  : bus manila-capaz junction vv
   200 php  : 4x4 capaz-spa town vv
1,500 php  : per head for lunch, entrance fee, 4x4 to set off point, guide fee and skyway toll
2,010 php : total

Consider an extra cash for another activity which I will discuss in tip #

aside from the protective clothing, bring a boyfriend.kidding.:D

4. BRING extra clothes and something to cover your head and face.

The bumpy 4x4 ride is characterized by dust and more dust.no, more and more and more dust. lol. Better bring an extra piece of clothe to cover your head, take note, not just your face but your head, unless you want your hair to look blonde afterwards. Bring sunglasses to protect your eyes as well.

I was surprised because I never though the 4x4 ride could be fun. It actually is one of the highlights of the tour. The view is amazing and the bumping makes you feel so alive. hahaha. So be sure not to let that dust ruin the fun.

Of coarse I don't have to remind you of the sunblock ayt?

5. PAUSE for a GROUP HUG photo


6. STOP at the AETA settlement.

IA few minutes before the end of 4x4 ride, you will come across an area where there is a small settlement of Aetas (native Zambales folks) They build their houses along the way and you can easily notice them. They are peaceful people so you can opt to stop and interact with them for a few minutes. Something we failed to do. I didnt figure it out in my research prior to the trip so I was completely caught unprepared.

A famous blogger, DongHo of http://www.escapeislands.com/ went back to PINATUBO with a team the day before our climb and they had with them a noble cause to bring relief good to the Aetas in this settlement. Isn't that a brilliant idea?
READ his entry here: http://www.escapeislands.com/2011/03/team-three-one.html

what about some liquor disguised as juice concetrate? Cai? hahaha

7. Bring lots and lots of water

1.5 hours of 4x4 ride plus 1 hour of hike to the summit could definitely make you dehydrated. Be sure to carry with you a big bottle of water. Especially if you want to save, a small bottle of mineral water or a can of coke in the sole store in the summit would cost you 70 pesos.


You wouldn't want to let the moment just happen without any snapshot of the perfect moment ayt? never climb without a camera. Even if it is just a cellphone camera or a digital camera. Buy one or borrow one before you decide to climb. If you don't have one and insist on going to Mt Pinatubo, you are simply not ready yet. Translation: you are uncontrollably over-excited. lol

And don't even think your travel buddies have one. That's just a back up plan okay?:D


9. RIDE THE BOAT in the crater and go to the other side

One should not miss this. Once in the crater, anywhere you look you see amazing view. Yo will notice how vegetation has finally come back after 20 years of no explosion. That, despite the harsh environment. This place is the greatest manifestation of how potent mother nature heals itself. Underneath the calm and beautiful surface are molten rocks waiting to vent outside anytime.

That makes the whole experience more fun, the thrill of danger. But volcanoes are predictable, not to worry, they don't just explode without any warning signs. So I would suggest you take the boat and go to the other side where the view is really amazing. It would make you feel like being a cast in THE LORD of the RINGS movie.

This is where your extra cash comes in---the ride will cost 350php per head. It's not included in 1,500php fee as it is optional. I would suggest you take it though. Pusangkalye highly recommends it!!!!

boating in the crater of Pinatubo

10. SWIM, SWIM, SWIM in the crater

Involve the senses. Not just your emotion ( I mean being worried that it might explode anytime and the emotional torture which goes with it. hahaha). Be more physical and feel the water I really cant understand what my friend Chyng meant with the color of the water. When we were there it kinda looked dark green. They said it looked better before.

This is the strange part---when you step on the sand, especially near the shoreline, the sand is too hot you can't stay in one place for 3 seconds but the water is cold. Blame the water temperature on mountain weather and the hot sand on the magma below. Quite a contradiction. Another reason why this place is amazing.

The worlds largest hut tub? :D 


Again, my advice. It's summer. Get out. Take advantage of the good weather. When the rain comes, it would prove more difficult and risky to hike Mount Pinatubo. During extreme rainy conditions, they don't allow tourists in.

One more thing. Mount Pinatubo is still considered an active volcano. It means it could explode any time. Be sure to include this in your itinerary ASAP coz once it explodes, you can never tell when it will be made available for the hike again. 

In one of my conversations with a friend, I said, Alex, kailangan na nating akyatin to ngayon, baka pag nag-explode, kailangan na naman antay ng 10 years or more baka kailangan na ng planax nun bago makaakyat.hahaha


special thanks to Chyng Reyes
her blog entry helped me a lot in planning


  1. "liquor disguised as juice concentrate"

    Panalo hahaha =D

  2. oh yeah! summer na nga at magandang destinasyon ang pinatubo in fairness. wow travel guide ka na dito sa blog mo!

  3. boyfriend ka diyan? :p pero tama ka sa liquor disguised as juice concentrate :p

  4. naku, mukang kailangan na mapuntahan yan bago pumutok ulit.

    salamat sa tips

  5. Dito ba ako naaya? Haha. Parang hindi ko kaya humarap sa ganyan kadaming tao ah? Haha. Parang ang ganda ganda naman pala dun.

  6. mura na yung buget for 5pax. pude pude....
    kaso ang init pag ngaun summer ka pumunta,,, hehehe.. i think mas refer ko pag mid sept...

  7. travel guide na talaga ang dating wow naman hihihi thank you sa tips kuya!

  8. Very helpful and practical tips. I'm not really an adventure whore but this makes me feel like one. This should be in my summer to-do list!

  9. dear mount pinatubo,
    wait for me
    don't get all upset and wild yet
    i'm reserving this blog post
    as my guide if ever i set a date
    to go there...hihihihi. stay still pinatubo! ^^ hang ganda ^^

  10. wow, namiss ko na tuloy ang Mt. Pinatubo....

  11. is it true na nagbago color ng tubig sa pinatubo?

  12. Natawa naman ako dito: "aside from the protective clothing, bring a boyfriend." HAHAHA!

    Buti pa kayo nakapagboating. Nung nagpunta kami dyan, walang boat. Winasak daw ng bagyo :(

  13. love the pics! uy boyfriend mode ka ba dito hehehe!

  14. my girlfriend and i were planning to climb mount pinatubo.. is it allowed to go camping on the crater for over night stay? thanks.. really excited for this and looking forward for you r answers.. anyway i copied your tips and hoping that will really help us.. thanks..

  15. I understand that they do allow overnight camping stay but depending on the conditions on the ground.And that varies day by day so i would suggest you call them and ask if they allow on the day of your visit. Contact the number provided here.He is the head of the 4x4 association and he has access to the set off point where a tourism office is located and he can inquire if you will be allowed to do so. cheers!

  16. Great info! Thanks for letting us know about this one. Planning a trip this summer to Mt. Pinatubo.

  17. the water color used to be turquoise in color maybe it depends on the season..

  18. awesome, thanks for sharing! :D

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