Journey to Mt. Pinatubo's Crater [★]

Monday, August 29, 2016

[January 2016]

And so my journey in climbing mountains continues.

It's been around 7 months since I went up this famous mountain's crater. Almost all of us from the team went to this hike. I think the idea of doing this trip started with my other teammates wanting to do hiking with us (because they knew we did Batulao and Pico de Loro already) but to a mountain with just an easy trail. That's where we suggested going to Pinatubo, which is rated 2/10 by PinoyMountaineer.

And so our hiking adventure to Mt. Pinatubo began!


We arrived early morning on site. As a start, we rode these 4x4 jeeps up to the foot of the mountain.


Our group had to be divided onto different vehicles.

There was quite a view during that "shaky" ride on the 4x4s. A long mountainous horizon greeted us as we traveled across this wide space of land that once had been filled with lahar from the volcano's eruption.

Enroute to the crater. We had to cross this very wide field where lahar remnants are still present.
This wide area of land has become useful today as the venue for 'balikatan' exercises by the armed forces.

They would drop bombs in these area as part of their routine.
The 4x4 ride lasted for around 2 hours. There were lots of uneven parts along the road and thus we were constantly being shaken all around the vehicle. Good thing I didn't have motion sickness! Only our 4x4 in that batch had no windows, thus the open space. It was more thrilling for me because I was able to feel the wind of the place (and the dust also unfortunately).

Me and my colleague on our 4x4 ride!
All of the 4x4 had a stop over at some parts. It was the opportunity of the "tourists" to take lots of photos!


There were locals that approached us in that area. 'Katutubo' children were there and some of us gave snacks to them.



with my colleagues / hiking buddies!

our whole group!
We then eventually left our jeeps to start walking on foot up until the crater. With our local guides, we walked and walked across the lahar-filled trail. Eventually the sun rose up the sky and it became hot already. We were only half-way to the crater then.


Huge rock formations made of lahar could be seen all over the place. I couldn't tell actually which part is the mountain and which part is lahar.

After the physical torture of just walking for the next few hours, we finally saw this sign telling us we are almost there!

20 minutes to go to the crater!
The sign also said the following is the ETA to the crater based on age group:

Young Age 15 min
Middle Age 18 min
Senior Citizen 20 min

Our group got excited to know if this is accurate. We timed ourselves from this point up to when we reached the crater. Unfortunately, we discovered it took us more than 20 minutes to reach our destination. ((*゜Д゜)ゞ”

Oh well, on brighter things we were finally on Mt. Pinatubo's crater!!!

Oh, this is not what I was expecting to see here.
It looks like the volcano has truly become a tourist destination as the crater area has become so commercialized it now looked like a nice park! There were tent areas and vendors that sell food.

Our group rested for a bit here. Then we started to climb down to see the actual crater formation!



The next scenery we saw was breathtaking.



The Pinatubo lake looked very peaceful. It's hard to imagine this is where the eruption happened back then.

Swimming is not allowed in the lake so we just stayed on the shore. We played skipping stones with some rocks we found there. I was only successful with only one though haha (was able to make the stone skip two times on water). We also splashed water on our hands and faces just to "feel" the lake.

After absorbing this wonderful crater view, we went back up again to the "park" and ate our lunch. This is where I met this nice dog patiently waiting for treats from us hehe.


It really amazes me when I see dogs on our hikes. It just means they also climbed up the mountain. They are great climbers actually. :D

Eventually it was time to go back. It was afternoon already so it was not that hot anymore. When we got to our 4x4 jeeps again, I was soooo sleepy and tired already. I think I dozed off during the whole duration of the ride back (even though it was a bumpy ride again).



It was a very fun adventure again! Even though all of us were tired, it's obvious that it was a fulfilling trip. All of us truly enjoyed it. It was a success!

Next time, I think we can target a more challenging mountain. My teammates are now ready for it. :D

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