Even going on a day trip requires some serious planning if you don’t want to spend half of your day getting lost. Going to Mt. Pinatubo on your own can be challenging especially if you are not an experienced hiker. So when my sister and I came across the Conquer Mt. Pinatubo tour on Travel Factor‘s website, we booked our slots immediately.
Travel Factor took care of everything for us: the early (3AM!) morning bus, tourism fee, 4×4 ride, tour guide, and of course the transfer back to Manila. We did nothing really but eat and go with the flow.
The road was rough, tough, and dusty. At some point during the ride, it was drizzling but mostly it was dry and our driver said the weather changes often and that they even have to cancel trips because of heavy downpours.
I must say taking pictures during the ride was almost impossible. I was at the back with some girls and because I had to hold on to my seat every shot was blurry. Guess the one below is a lucky shot.
After an hour you get to rest to take pictures. They’d let you off to see the beautiful land forms. When you get to see things like those for the first time, you can’t help but question yourself what took you so long to visit the place. For me, the mountains look like a pile of carefully chiseled granite. Frodo must’ve been there before they shot a scene from the Lord of the Rings. It was magnificent!
Visitors of Mt. Pinatubo used to trek 7km to the crater from the drop off point but they found a way to shorten the distance. Now, you only have 5km to hike.
At least 4 huts were placed strategically where hikers can rest, drink water, take pictures, and eat. Most of our stops were less than 10 minutes. We were reminded not to get close to the mountains as rubles tend to fall. Every time people tell me not to do things, I defy them. So on our way home, I walked pretty close to the side of the mountain and stroked my palm against its walls.
We avoided the possibilities of getting our feet wet. The rustic color and the smell tell you that the water has sulfur in it. But we couldn’t help it, on our way home we had to play with the water.
When we thought we had enough trekking, we reached a point that told us we had 20 more minutes to the crater. There were shrubs, boulders, streams, and stairs to climb.
Our guide told us that the closer we are to the crater, the less water we see.
It took us approximately 2 hours to get to the crater. We thought we were already out of breath but the view still managed to take whatever remained of it. Beautiful is an understatement.
The volcano looked calm and peaceful. You could not imagine how many lives were lost and destroyed when it erupted in 1991.
We stayed there for a little while to admire the view, ate our lunch, chatted a little, and even met a solo traveler from Israel.
The locals said you can swim or rent a boat if you’re up for an adventure towards the middle of the crater but we decided we didn’t need more sulfur and heat.
A Side Trip to Capas Shrine
The group went to Capas Shrine before going home. The shrine was built in memory of the Filipinos and American soldiers who died in the concentration camp during World War 2.
The sunset was a reminder of how wonderful this county is. Of how beautiful our place is and how lucky I am for an opportunity to travel with my sister.