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All You Need To Know About Trekking Mount Pinatubo

For the first time in my 26 years of existence, I and my friends finally dared to sweep the infamous "Pinatubo Trek" off our bucket lists. I believe we discussed it months before we finally decided to get through with it December last year, 2013 on the 7th to be specific.
We were supposed to arrive for registration at 5:30AM so we could start our adventure by 6:00AM. Anyways, after registration. We left soon after filling up our registrations and waivers. Hop hop ride!
The challenge: A total of 14km trek (back and forth), not to mention about 3 1/2 - 4 hours 4x4 ride to Mount Pinatubo. Looong and tiresome day, I know!
The ride was awesome!! Prepare yourself for a rough two-hour off road adventure! (one way). There were tracks on site so it's an indication that there have been rides before us so we tried to follow some of them. Our guide mentioned if we went there first, we will be the one creating paths, which will be followed by succeeding groups. The tracks will be gone in a few moments as air blows the sand imprints so the next day, new tracks will be created.
A beautiful scene you don't see everyday: Volcano ash formation surrounded by well, more ash (locally called lahar)

And it gets better, there were water splashes!.. with a mix of generous sand too. That's what I get for seating at the passenger seat in front. Ultimate!! You might want to prepare your sunglasses and scarves or masks during the trip.
We had a stop-over and met with cute aeta kids, who were too accommodating during photo-ops, even patient as I took a selfie with them. Right there, I knew I produced one of the most memorable photos of my life. We gave them chips as we bid them goodbye, though it would be nice if we gave them more nutritious food along with junkie treats.
Got up the 4x4 and headed to the starting point of the trek. It was such a cool sight to see all the 4x4s gathered in one place, all in good shape.
If there's such a phrase as "unlimited landscape vomit", this should have the crown out of all the Philippine destinations sans the beach and water.
Ok, everybody's set! Let's get this party started shall we? :)
We had recruits from the arts and fashion industry this trip. Well, I invited my travel buddy Cess and I got her to invite two more friends whom I hoped were excited as us. As it turned out, (they) enjoyed the whole trip taking breathtaking shots of one of the world's best picturesque geological sites heading to a volcano.
I might sound cliche and will not get tired of saying "it's not just about the destination. Sometimes, it's the journey itself that makes traveling great" hehe, I know it's a rusted line but I know all travelers out there feel me ;)
The thing about experiencing heat, thirst, hunger not to mention exhaustion and possible physical danger is that you forget to notice the big picture. Some of my friends kept complaining on how exhausted they were the whole time, I was too but I was too busy appreciating the trip. But let me make it easier for all the people planning the same journey by sharing with you one of my principles. Your bliss should always be greater than your weakness or suffering. To cut it short - Mind over matter ;)
All smile for still a long trek ahead! We can do this!

I found colors of deep orange, yellow and green along the way. They flowed through water thus spreading beautifully colored sand and stones.


About past halfway (or so we thought) we took refuge at a shady area where fresh water runs down. It was so comforting to sit down and enjoy time off walking and away from the heat of the sun.

Another tip for planners, bring footwear that can get wet. Or you can bring sandals to switch trekking shoes whenever you encounter water. OR you can just hop from rock to rock and avoid getting your footwear wet just like I did ;)

Be careful not to slip though, those waters and rocks are not your friends.
TO MAKE TREKKING EASIER:
* Between soft sand and stone path, choose the stones - sinking your feet on sand will make trekking slower and will tire you earlier.
* Between stones and rocks, choose the rocks (test the next rock if it sits steadily so you won't get into any accident). 
Remember the opposites: the harder & more rigid the path, the easier and faster the trek.
Also, keep your loads light. And by load I mean your baggage because as the trek progresses, your body gets tired and therefore weak. You'll definitely have a hard time carrying heavy baggage even if it's in a backpack. Take it from my little body. I learned it the hard way.
So, BRING ONLY WHAT YOU NEED individually.

Pinatubo Trek: WHAT TO BRING 
- food (preferably sandwiches so you can eat while walking)
- energy bars (optional)
- water/drinks in bottle (very important!)
- sunblock lotion for face and body
- extra shirt
- phone in case of emergency
- camera for documentation
- extra batteries / powerbank for smartphones/cameras
- pocket money (to avail cold soda/drinks at the end of the journey)
- handkerchief/mini towels/paper towels to wipe off dirt and sweat
- plastic bags to store all garbage after eating
WHAT TO WEAR:
- long sleeved shirts/blouses or sweat shirts
- or arm warmers to protect discoloration of arms to shoulders
- knee length to long leggings for women (the lighter the outfit the better)
- shorts can be worn too if you really prefer them (but there might be insect bites or itchy grass along the way)
- sweatpants / shorts for men
- extra undies if necessary
- trekking shoes / sandals (for wet and dry paths)
- shades
- caps / hats (preferably wide brimmed)
- scarves
- towel to minimize sun penetration & for bathing after
  (there are public baths for rent at some registry points in exchange for about P5.00-P10.00/head)
- back pack to keep all your belongings in one bag
This is the part where we rest, mainly to eat and go to the comfort room as we get near the crater. Yes, there was water in the comfort rooms if you're wondering. You can bring your own mini soap in case you need it though.
Finally we got to eat while sitting comfortably in a properly shaded shelter. Such a relief! You might notice a motorcycle at back. This is what they use to carry the cold beverages and sell them on site: a towering P100.00 for a single can of cold coke, the coolness was worth every peso.
Please note that it takes knowledge and skill to master where the safe paths are in this case. I would not recommend it to tourists.
After our quick lunch, we immediately jumped off to start another short trek knowing we really were near the crater. If you read the signage below it says 15-20 minutes duration for young to seniors. Well, I believe this is the case if you started the trek here and not from kilometers away like we did. (excuses! I bet you know how long it really took us from here on) hehe
There's also a part where it feels like you're walking inside a jungle. It was very refreshing to walk on a path where you see life of greens and running water from streams. A different scene from the path we took earlier where it was all sand, rock, lahar (volcano ash) formation and water.

You'd normally see stone art in such a way they're layered in descending sizes. I've seen them in our trek to Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora too. There's always something creative Pinoys do when traveling :)
At last! We breathed sighs of reliefs as we saw "WELCOME (to) the majestic CRATER OF MOUNT PINATUBO" sign.
Can you see the background? woooaaahhh right?! Aren't you excited?! I bet you'll scroll down and not read about what I'm typing right now.. I get it :)
Climbing down...lalala My heart is singing along with the hum of the wind and jumping up and down as it enjoys the beauty presented before me. 
Some reminders which should need explanation (for some):

- "NO LIFEGUARD. SWIMMING NOT ALLOWED" 
For everyone's safety. Please do follow.
Note that this is the deepest known lake in our country at 800 Meters (2,600ft)

As our guides told us: there had been an actual casualty on site. He was a doctor who dared to swim after an exhausting trek. He excitedly swam and when he roes, he just floated. The guides rushed towards him for rescue.

Please bear in mind that in any case of accident, there are no helicopters or jeeneys on site to rush you to the nearest hospital. The tour guides will carry you back to where you once walked with all the rocky paths. So it will take 4-5 hours minimum to get you back to civilization.

- "NO SHOUTING PLEASE...NOISE CAN CAUSE SOIL EROSION"
This needs no further explanation. Remember this the whole trip as noise may cause sudden erosion of soil. It is always better to keep safety first at all times. Take it from me, I work at a place where hazard is eminent. Safety First!
Ok. Enough of the drama. Enjoy the view ladies and gentlemen. This is where the journey takes its peak! La creme de la creme!
The water at the crater isn't blue if that's what you expect. I haven't researched thoroughly about it yet but the only logical explanation I have is that it mainly reflects the vegetation around it. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong guys :)
The golden brown-yellow tone on water reflects the sand at the bottom so it gradually mixes with the beautiful green tone. Lovely sight right here.
Of course I've got to take a solo shot while others take theirs as a couple! Oh well, this goes out to Saudi with love ;)
It was a blessing that the sun cooperated as we got to the crater. We enjoyed our barkada time well and took awesome photos with Mike and Champy (be blogging about it soon after I inform them and get permission to post)
There's a dog on site! A hungry but friendly one in fact. He knows the trek well as he obviously fishes out food from tourists and travelers. Quite amazing routine.
He was a bit snob when we took a selfie with him ^_^
Alas, it was getting late and the clouds are forming indicating possible rainfall. We had to go down


Optional items to bring: (although they may only make your journey less easy)
- staff
- umbrella
- raincoat in case it rains





At the end of the trip, you will get a glimpse of the physical and emotional limits of your friends. As some of you will surely be in better shape than others. Some though weaker due to exhaustion, will have the optimism and fighting spirit to go ahead and finish the adventure.
For unadventurous people, please do read these reminders before making up your mind:
Prepare physically days or weeks before doing the trek
- On the trek itself, when exhausted, it's okay to rest for a minute or two. Do not linger as I believe that body pain builds up as you rest plus it slows everybody down.
Keep going, drink water and eat enough so you'd have the energy to keep going.
- Everything is a mind over matter situation
- Stop whining, Start moving (If you like to whine, bring your boyfriend/husband/personal assistant with you)
No one else can help you but yourself.
Appreciate the views while trekking or resting even though you're tired. This is what you're here for.

We got back before at around 5:00PM. We had time to take shower at public baths (near our parking area). By past 6:00PM, we had dinner at a fancy restaurant to reward a good days adventure treat.


P.S. The best time to plan your trip to Pinatubo is from November to May, during the dry season in the Philippines. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do ask. I'd be more than glad to answer them for you :)

'Till next adventure :D

27 comments:

  1. liked your blog! so informative. Hope to join your next adventure, often we go out with my pal in duo,quite boring. hihi

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would like to know how to registered. I want to take my fiancée for adventure when he gets back here.. Do I need to registered 2days before ? Or you'll get registered on the spot.. How? Thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ms. Desiree,

      We signed up with Mr. Wendell Ramos' team for the tour package inclusive of 4x4 jeepneys and tour guides.

      You can look up his page/profile up on the internet offering Pinatubo Trek tours.

      Hope this helps,
      Mel

      Delete
  3. Hi! Good day!I just want to ask if you avail a tour package for this trip? I am planning to go there with my friends and we're looking for the cheapest package we can get. Hope you can help us. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ms. Desiree,

      We signed up with Mr. Wendell Ramos' team for the tour package inclusive of 4x4 jeepneys and tour guides.

      You can look up his page/profile up on the internet offering Pinatubo Trek tours. It's better if your group is composed of 5 or 10 'cause each 4x4 can load 4-5 passengers, you can then maximize the division the total expenses compared to a group of 6 or 8.

      Please note that you can't do this on your own if you're trekking for the first time. The guides really help the group esp. if there are newbies and people with less excercise, they literally carry some of the luggage.

      Hope this helps,
      Mel

      Delete
  4. This is so helpful.. Thanks for the blog.. ;) btw, is aqua shoes advisable to use rather than rubber shoes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nerissa,

      Thank you for the nice comment. Any shoe can be used as long as it won't skid and protect you from slipping against stones/rocks. You can also bring extra footwear in case your chosen footwear break/fail accidentally. You can never be too sure.

      Again, please pack light. Trust me, you'll be glad you listened :)

      Happy trekking,
      Mel

      Delete
  5. Hi,

    Just want to ask, is it safe/ok to go there this July? My friends and I will go there this friday. I am worried due to last week typhoon.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi and sorry for the late reply. It's okay to go here during the rainy season - on the days when the skies are clear and no storm is in the Philippine area. I suggest you guys condition your bodies to be physically fit to minimize trek time as the clouds usually build up by 4pm in the mountains. That is the time you want to finish the tour :)

      Have a happy tour,
      Mel

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    2. here's the thing: the DOT that issues the go signal if hiking is allowed on a particular day monitors the condition in the mountain through their staff that are stationed up there. if it's raining in the mountain and along the trail even if you are already at the jump-off, THEY WILL NOT ALLOW you to ride the 4x4 and go on a hike. so it's a lot better to go there during the dry season para di sayang ang byahe nyo.

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  6. Hello, me and my bestfriend is planning to trek Mount Pinatubo this December, I was wondering okay lang po ba if we dont book for packages beforehand, like pagdating na lang po dun? Are they going to accomodate us po? :) Thank you so much and stay safe! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Camille, It's much better if you book at least a few days before hand just to be sure. We signed with Mr. Wendell Ramos' team (company number available at his web page). Other legit Pinatubo tours also available online. They're just a call/text away.

      Delete
  7. Hello po.. im planning to trek this december.. saan po pede kumuha ng package for treck..or my site po ba na pwdeng e.contact para kumuha ng package..thnks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello po.. im planning to trek this december.. saan po pede kumuha ng package for treck..or my site po ba na pwdeng e.contact para kumuha ng package..thnks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. how about February this year..is it good to go?

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Hello Mel. Very informative blog. We're planning to do this on March 11, 2017. Do you think a 12-year old kid can survive this? I'm planning to bring my daughter with us. Thanks a lot.

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