Trek to Mt. Pinatubo Crater, Winner!

My last gala for 2011!!! Nakahabol pa sa bucket list checking hehehe! It was during 2010 that I started thinking about visiting the famous Mt. Pinatubo, a dormant volcano in Zambales, after seeing lots of beautiful pix from friends. However, due to the hectic sched and unavailability of always-on-the-go friends, I wasn’t able to carry out the plan that year. So in 2011, I included Mt. Pinatubo in my must-go places! :D Before the year 2011 ended, I invited some high school friends to join me in this trip, and luckily, napapayag ko sila! :D We were supposed to be 4 in the group, but the other one had to go back home to Zambo City the day before this trip! so ang ending, tatlo lang kame! :D dami no?! ehehe!

Since we were only three, we decided to go for a public/shared group tour organized by:

Ms. Ann Pablo
TRIPinas Travel and Tour Ventures
http://tripinas.blogspot.com
email: tripinas@gmail.com
mobile: 09179037672
landline: (632) 392-2006

Tour cost: Php 2050/person for Filipinos and Php2850/person for non-Filipinos ( for additional conservation fee). A private tour, on the other hand, costs Php2690/person with the same inclusions but with a private van.

Tour inclusions:
round trip a/c van transfer (Manila-Pinatubo base camp-Manila)
round trip 4×4 vehicle with driver
local guide
conservation fee
certificate of conquest
service of a tour coordinator

**Instructions on how to book for this tour are detailed in their website.

THE PINATUBO TREK ITINERARY (old way*)

0300 Assembly time. (McDonalds, EDSA corner Quezon Ave. close to the MRT Quezon Ave. station)
Breakfast and buy your lunch (at clients’ account)
0630 ETA Brgy. Sta. Juliana (base camp) to finalize prior arrangements.
0645 Board 4×4 vehicles.
0800 Start trekking (2 to 3 hours walking)
1030 ETA at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. Swimming, taking of photos, lunch (at clients’ account)
1200 Start return trek (2 to 3 hours walking)
1430 Back to the 4x4s.
1530 Back at base camp. Freshen up.
1600 Departure from the base camp to Manila.
1900 ETA Manila.
*Old way – will not use the Pinatubo Skyway; during our trip, the said skyway was closed because it was recently destroyed by a typhoon.

Optional add-ons:
Boat ride: Php 350/person
Use of Pinatubo skyway* (shortens your trek to 45-60 minutes, one way) : CURRENTLY CLOSED
Massage: Php500/person per service (Full body or Volcanic ash or Mud pool)
Use of shower and locker facilities at the base camp: Php 100/person


 

THE TRIP!

It was raining so hard that dawn that we were quite unsure if the trip will push through or not. (Typhoon Sendong was destroying Mindanao at this time). But since we didn’t receive any cancellation notice, game on! :D We went to the agreed place (McDonalds, EDSA corner Quezon Ave. close to the MRT Quezon Ave. station) where we met with the organizers and other trippers. We paid for our tour fee (thanks to Fern for shouldering much of the cost! ehehe!) and we bought our trail food and packed lunch at McDo hehe!

Good thing’s that the schedule was really being followed. :) The van that we were into was so comfy! :D We were with 4 other trippers in the van, but we never had the chance to actually get to know our companions! haha! shy type kase kame haha! wapakels sa mga kasama! :D There were almost 4 or 5 vans during the trip. It was raining so hard during the road trip.

After more or less 3 hours of travel, we reached the base camp, where the 4×4 vehicles are waiting for us. A x4 vehicle can accommodate 5 trippers, so our 2 other companions in the van went with another 4×4. There were about 7 or 8 4×4 vehicles for this public tour! And off we went with the 4×4 ride! :D The rain has stopped! yeehee!!!

It was more or less an hour of bumpy ride, mahirap matulog sa 4×4! :D Wala pa naman kame tulog tatlo! @_@ . After the 4×4 ride, we had some picture-taking, and then the trek started! :D

Pinatubo_Blog_01

We started off with the trek at around 8am already. The weather was so trekking-perfect! ehehe! really! It was not too hot, probably because of the typhoon Sendong (hayy). We had to cross rivers, but those were not deep. The trail was not steep as compared to the other treks that I’ve experienced before (Batad, Sagada, Pundaquit-Anawangin). What made this trip a little challenging are those slippery and sharp rocks hehe! Buti na lang naka-tsinelas lang ako sa trek–seemed like it’s difficult if you use rubber shoes or something that’s closed, because pebbles can get into your shoes and un na! masakit! :D After walking for about 2 hours, we reached that part where there was a sign board showing how far we have to walk to the crater, depending on the age! haha! See the pic below.

Pinatubo_Blog_02

We rested for a while before we trekked the remaining distance to the crater. It took us about 30 minutes before we reached the crater! And then…. tadah! Amazing! ehehe! What a sight! Can’t help but be amazed by the view of the crater. :D

Pinatubo_Blog_03

We were all so wanting to take our early lunch! :D I cannot hold my gutom anymore, so nauna akong kumain pagkadating pa lang talaga sa viewdeck! haha! And after a couple of minutes, and since marami pa ang nagpipikchur dun sa famous picture-taking spot with the big signboard of Mt. Pinatubo, we decided to go down first at the mouth of the crater, for my companions to take their lunch and to take a swim! ehehe! :D Too bad, there weren’t any available banca during our visit so we weren’t able to take some tour sa lake! hehe!

Pinatubo_Blog_05

Pinatubo_Blog_06 The water was so freaking cold!!! :X Pero ang sarap magbabad sa lake! For those who don’t know how to swim, just be careful not to go far from the “shore”, medyo malalim agad yung tubig! :D After a few minutes of dipping into the lake, we decided to rest and let ourselves get dry for a little while. There were also other groups of trekkers who went with another tour organizer (Pinay Keypoint), and they set up tents just at the side of the lake. After a while, we went to change our clothes and prepare for the trek back to the base camp. Ang bilis noh?! ehehe! Here’s how the comfort/dressing room looks like:

And right after freshening up and while waiting for the others to trek back to the base camp, picture-taking muna!!! :D Here’s my shot of the famous Mt. Pinatubo viewdeck:

Mt. Pinatubo Viewdeck

More…

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and moorrree…

Trek to Mt. Pinatubo Crater, Winner!

and mooorrreee…

Pinatubo_Blog_09

Pinatubo_Blog_10

Hooray! I was fast asleep during the 4×4-ride back to the base camp, where the vans were waiting for us. hehe! nag-foodtrip muna kame sa tabi-tabi–inihaw na baboy at hotdog habang inaantay namin yung iba naming kasama sa van. :) It was a tired but fulfilling and fun activity! ehehe! Bucket List checked!!! :D


 

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