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Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Places to go, Things to do | 14 comments

Hiking Mt. Pinatubo

Hiking Mt. Pinatubo

The possibility of seeing endless expanse of ash unfolding in your line of vision is 100% guaranteed. If you’re looking for some hiking action coupled with the thrill of perhaps getting buried under tons of lahar, welcome to Mt Pinatubo.

Situated in the 15.1300° N, 120.3500° E coordinates just off the center of Tarlac, Mt Pinatubo has been a popular hiking spot of the country. It’s friendly to the weak knees and kind to the non-hikers. It promises the beautiful and peaceful Pinatubo lake at the end of the 2-hour hike.


You first have to register in the Municipal Tourism Satellite Office to make sure you sign the waiver that you completely understand what you’re doing. You then pay the sum of P1,000 to make sure you make the most of the experience and not forget that you paid for this. The payment includes the environmental fee (Php 300/person), tour guide fee (Php500/group of 1-5 people), and the

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rental of the 4×4 (Php3,000/vehicle) which will save you the pain of walking a 45-minute drive on foot.

You must also be warned that your equipment must be fully protected. The dust is unforgiving and can ruin your gears if you’re not careful.

Arriving at the entrance of the trek will remind you of the words Mordor, Gollum and Hobbit. It’s like an entrance to another world altogether. The excitement escalates of course.


And your trek will start.


If at the first few moments, you feel like taking photos, don’t hesitate to do so. Every mountainous formation of the ash fall has its own signature. Don’t ever miss the vandals representing different countries on the big boulders strewn around the trek to add to your sightseeing.

Professions of everlasting love are best done in Mt Pinatubo. These can be seen

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anywhere to the point of annoyance. Be reminded, however, that everything you see in your trek is to be respected. So in thinking of ways to immortalize your name, more

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so your loved one, you must skip doing it here because it’s a sin against nature.

The heat will take the best of you so better be ready. Bring enough water. There is no reliable water source from which you can refill. Unlike other mountains, Mt Pinatubo is free from enough vegetation to keep you from entering a coma due to sun stroke. There are sprouts every now and then but a shrub can’t provide you with enough protection from
the sun.

Streams will be crossed over every now and then. Feel free to rest in some areas, but be mindful that when your guide screams “Run!” you really have to run, because the trek as a whole is moving. Melai even told me that years from now, the very trek we’re trudging on will be gone. It’s constantly evolving with landslides perennially haunting your every step.

Alas, after two hours of traipsing, you will finally arrive at a hut with two bathrooms 5 yards away. Here is a place of refuge, after soaking in the heat of the unforgiving sun.

Don’t forget to have fun. After two hours of what seemed to be forever you will be greeted by this: a sign half-mocking the non-adventurous. You will enter the trail that leads to the crater. If you’re “young enough”, you’d get there in 15 minutes. That is if

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you’re young and have absolutely no regard for boulders blocking the trail, slippery stones, mountain trek traffic and you simply can fly over plants.

As you reach the crater, you will be greeted by steps that seem to be out of place in the area. How in the world did they manage to import cement to glue together this stone pavement? Ask the aliens. But for me, the steps that stretched perpetually will always jam into your head that you are, after all, nearing the crater.

A few more steps and the images of the wallpapers from way back in college will greet you. There is no word apt for this moment. I won’t even describe it for you except that you should go and leave your computer/mobile phone and hike to Mt Pinatubo because it’s really something.

You can eat lunch – Pinoy style

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or whatever style suits you as long as you keep your garbage to yourself. There’s a bar there that has drinks. Feel free to order anything you like. Just make sure you know you’re paying for the sweat of the people who took those goods up there for you. And have them refrigerated.

Once you decide to go down to the lake, an activity I doubt you can pass on, you may opt to swim. Be warned though that the depths vary extremely so you may be walking with the water to your knee one second and falling into the pitfall of death the second. I’m not exaggerating. They are warnings everywhere.

You may choose to stay longer or head back. Depending on your stamina, I suggest if you don’t have the right gear, head back before if gets dark.

All in all, Mt Pinatubo is fun for all ages. It doesn’t necessitate preparedness of a pro, but it requires rumination to the dreamy. It makes you wonder that more than a decade ago, this place was a landmark of hell and witnessing just how still it has become will leave you a feeling of being awed.

You may also visit my website for other senseless information. Click here for my other guides.



  1. We’ve been there last year, WORTH IT..!!!!!

    • Awesome stuff right Jenefer?! Sana bumisita na mga tao as soon as possible kasi the site itself will not last for a long time given the constant erosion of lahar.

  2. do we need to arrange a travel tours for trekking? or we can go straight in municipal hall?

    • Hi Maurenne :) Yep, you can go straight to the registration site. No need to go to their municipal hall.

  3. hi, how true that DOT prohibits tourists from trekking the mt pinatubo crater? or is it just the swimming to the crater’s lake? thanks!

    • Hi Keith! Trekking Mt. Pinatubo has been temporarily closed for trekking. There have been no word on when they will reopen to tourists. You might want to consider trying other sites for now :) other trekking sites :)

  4. Hi, I need help in knowing precisely the mode of transport from Capas to Sta Juliana , especially the cost .we a group of 4 people , and will be departing from Angeles City . It would be a great help if you know of a contact that can provide transport from Angeles City to the tourism office ( at a acceptable cost) . Thank you .

    • hi… if you want you can join with us on this month of June we’ll be going to Mt. Pinatubo. 09173286398

  5. is pinatubo open for trekking this month? and suppose we plan on going (2 persons) would it be better to book or just head straight to the tourism office and find other people we can share the 4×4 ride. we want to keep the expenses on the minimum. thank you. btw we plan on going this weekend.

    • Hi Nizza! Yes, Pinatubo is definitely open. It would be good if you can find your group of 4-5 already because most of the guests are in groups once they arrive on site. You might have a hard time waiting for an open group. Hope you enjoy the weekend!

  6. Is it possible to trek on saturday morning? And if we want to register in the municipality what time are we supposed to arrived in there so we can fix our time, it will be a great help if you will response to our quiries.. Thnks asap

    • Hi Delma. It would be best to ask Capas Municipality if they’re allowing guests given our unpredictable rainy weather. The registration is in their satellite office in Sta. Juliana, not in the tourism office in the Municipality of Capas. For me, it’s best to arrive in Sta. Juliana around 6am and start trekking by 6.30am so it will not be hot (given sunny day).

  7. Hi, you mentioned that we can go straight to the municipal hall, where is that in Tarlac exactly and what time do they open? (It’ll be my first time going to Tarlac.)I’ve visited several sites and have seen that most of the guided treks start early in the morning like 6-7AM. Does this mean that the hall will be opened that early?

    And when you do rent the 4×4 and pay for the guide, the guide will be driving the rental, right? I believe 4x4s are manual transmission and neither my friends nor I can drive one.

  8. Hi Tammy :) You can go straight to Capas Municipal Tourism Satellite Office (not the Municipality of Capas) which is where you need to register for the Mt. Pinatubo trek. It’s before Mt. Pinatubo Wellness Spa (A private company offering Mt. Pinatubo trekking package). Check this article to see direction.

    I’m not sure what time they open but we were able to register as early as 7am before. If they open earlier, maybe you can contact their tourism office here:

    Capas Municipal Tourism Office
    Contact Marissa Vidal
    Tel. No. (63 45) 925-0112 loc 109 (Tourism) / loc 124 (Mayor’s Office)/ 925-0154
    Mobile 0922-280-7921

    Last, the driver is included already when you pay for the 4×4 ride. The guide is a different person from the driver. So it’s you & your company, the driver, and the guide in the 4×4 ride :)

    Hope that helps! Cheers ;)


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