the bumpy 4x4 ride
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.
( he is the president of the 4x4 Association so you will be in good hands)
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 #
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
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.
8. BRING a CAMERA
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!!!!
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