Attractions

Mount Pinatubo

Written by Patrick

Mount Pinatubo is considered one of the most powerful volcanoes in the world.

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OVERVIEW

Hiker posing at Mount Pinatubo crater lake.

Caption: Hiker posing at Mount Pinatubo crater lake.

Its 1991 eruption, deemed to be the most destructive volcano eruption in Philippine history and the 2nd largest eruption in the world during the 20th century, severely damaged several infrastructure and agriculture, altered the river systems, and claimed many lives.  Thousands of locals (indigenous Aetas) inhabiting the dense forest covering the volcano have been displaced following the catastrophic eruption.

But many years after the catastrophe, Mount Pinatubo gradually transformed into what it is today – a lovely and breathtaking expanse in the country with lahar towers and ash walls contrasting with lush greenery, bluish lake, and clear rivers.  The crater lake, formed by the eruption and annual monsoon rains, is a sight to behold.  It is currently one of the most-photographed spots in the area and continuously earns the admiration of anyone who lays eyes on it.

As imposing as it may seem, Mount Pinatubo is not only for seasoned hikers and mountaineers to explore.  Its difficulty level is suitable even for newbies.  The summit takes two to three hours to reach and although swimming and boating in the lake is prohibited, the view and the experience will be worth it.

Several tour operators offer Mount Pinatubo tours and trekking packages which allow you to see the crater lake.

Fast Facts

Attraction:
Mount Pinatubo
Type of Attraction:
Address:
Website:
None
Phone:
(+63) 915-881-2136 (Trekking Pinatubo tour operator)
Hours:
Monday-Sunday 6:00 onwards
Closed:
Tourism activities are limited or prohibited depending on the weather and alert level issued by PHIVOLCS (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology).
Best Time to Visit:
January to May
Food & Drink:
YES
FREE WiFi:
NO
Cost:
Cost per Person:  $15+
Payment Type:
Cash
Fees:
P2,000 – P2,500 ($40 – $50 USD) – Shared packaged tour per person. Includes 4×4 vehicle and driver, permits and fees, and local guide.

P2,000 – P5,000 ($40 – $100 USD) – Private packaged tour per person. Includes 4×4 vehicle and driver, permits and fees, and local guide (price depends on headcount).

P4,000 up ($80 USD) – Overnight tour per person (price depends on headcount).

P300 ($6 USD) – Conservation/environmental fee per person

P500 ($10 USD) – Guide fee (for 1 to 5 persons)

P2500 ($50 USD) – 4×4 rental (for 5 persons)

P500 ($10 USD) – Aeta Village interaction

P20 ($0.40 USD) – Shower fee at Barangay Hall

P50 – 100 ($1 – 2 USD) – Shower fee private establishments

P100 ($2 USD) – Tent rental
Notes:
Cut off for registration is at 6:00 AM while the hike is at 10:00 AM so make sure to be at the tourism office early. Tourists departing later than 10:00 AM are no longer allowed to go to the crater lake.

Children below 6 years old and adults more than 60 years old are not allowed to do longer hikes.

Hikers are advised to wear light and light-colored clothing and quick-drying, durable, and breathable shoes. The use of cap, sunscreen, and other sun protection gear and products are highly recommended as well.

Hikers are advised to pack light.

Bring lots of water and trail food. While you can buy in the area, the cost is way more than its regular price.

Bring an umbrella or poncho to prepare for occasional rain.

Make sure to check the weather when planning your tour.

The hike lasts for 2 to 3 hours so make sure to prepare physically prior to your tour.

Cost per Person:  $= $1-5  |  $$ = $6-10  |  $$$ = $11-15  |  $$$$ = $15+

MAP

This attraction is located on Luzon Island in the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga.

View Mount Pinatubo Map

 

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NEED TO KNOW

How to Get to Mount Pinatubo?

If you booked a tour package, you never have to worry about transportation as most packages include transfer from your specified pick up spot in Manila to Capas, Tarlac which is the jumpoff point to Mount Pinatubo.  But if for some reason you need to plan and arrange your transportation on your own, here are some ways on how to get there.

By Bus

  1. Head to a bus terminal in Cubao, Manila, or Pasay.  Ride a bus going to Capas, Tarlac.  Travel time is approximately 2 hours and the fare is around P180 ($3.6 USD) Alternatively, you can ride a bus going to Baguio, Ilocos, or Pangasinan.
  2. Get off at Capas Junction.
  3. Ride a tricycle or jeepney going to Sta. Juliana Tourism Office where you will have to pay the environmental fee and arrange your 4×4 ride if you haven’t already.  Travel time is approximately 45 minutes and the tricycle fare is P300 ($6 USD).
  4. 4×4 ride to the jumpoff point.  Travel time is approximately 1 hour.

By Car

  1. Head to NLEX and take the exit to SCTEX/Clark Airport.
  2. Exit toward Dolores and merge to MacArthur Highway.
  3. Take the road to Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac.

The airport closest to Mount Pinatubo

Clark International Airport (CRK), the airport closest to Mount Pinatubo, is approximately 23 kilometers away.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this attraction to avoid crowds is early in the morning usually before 10:00 AM.

Closures

This attraction is always open except when the weather is bad or there is an alert level issued by PHIVOLCS (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology). 

Fees

Fees require payment in cash.  Credit cards are not accepted at this attraction. 

Food & Drink

Food and drinks from outside the attraction are allowed at this attraction.

Alcohol

Consuming alcohol is not allowed at this attraction.

Pets

Pets are not allowed at this attraction.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed at this attraction.

Trash

Please dispose of your trash properly or take it with you.  Don’t Trash the Philippines!  

The Philippines are beautiful islands … let’s all ensure they remain this way. 

WHERE TO STAY

Hotels and resorts near Mount Pinatubo:

TIPS & HACKS

The following are recommended items for this experience: 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

CamelPack

I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day.

Bluetooth Speaker

Compact yet mighty, a bluetooth speaker setup is a breeze, and the sound quality it delivers for its size is nothing short of impressive. Beyond its audio prowess, it boasts exceptional durability, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

UV Shirt

UV Shirt is an essential when travelling in a tropical country. Providing reliable protection during long hours in the water, not only comfortable but also ensures a secure shield against the elements.

Snorkel Gear

For my island-hopping escapades, a snorkel gear set has become indispensable. Designed to enhance the joy of snorkeling and free diving, each piece ensures comfort and functionality. Together, they create an immersive and enjoyable underwater experience.

Adventure Camera

As a long-time enthusiast of GoPro cameras, I can attest to their user-friendly nature, excellent image stabilization, and impressive footage quality. Waterproof and rugged, the GoPro is my reliable companion for capturing adventures in any environment.

Aqua Shoes

When it comes to beach footwear, aqua shoes offer exceptional support, breathability, and overall comfort. Well-crafted and sturdy, it provides effective protection against rocky terrain, quick drying for added convenience, and easy maintenance. A must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.

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Photos

The following are some photos of this attraction.

Videos

The following is a video of this attraction.

NEARBY

The following are other points of interest are nearby:

  • Pinatubo Spa Town 
  • Bueno and Dolores Hot Springs
  • Capas National Shrine
  • Monasterio de Tarlac 
  • Museo de Tarlac
  • Camp O’Donnell and O’Donnell Catholic Church

READ MORE: Pampanga Visitors Guide | Top Hiking Destinations in the Philippines

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Have you ever visited this attraction?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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