Mount Pinatubo is considered one of the most powerful volcanoes in the world.
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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.
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
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+
This attraction is located on Luzon Island in the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga.
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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.
- 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.
- Get off at Capas Junction.
- 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 ride to the jumpoff point. Travel time is approximately 1 hour.
- Head to NLEX and take the exit to SCTEX/Clark Airport.
- Exit toward Dolores and merge to MacArthur Highway.
- 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.
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 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.
Consuming alcohol is not allowed at this attraction.
Pets are not allowed at this attraction.
Smoking is not allowed at this attraction.
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:
- Alvin and Angie Bognot Mount Pinatubo Guesthouse (Bognot Lodge)
- Casa Hermogina
- The Farmhouse by EDL
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The following are recommended items for this experience:
The following are some photos of this attraction.
The following is a video of this attraction.
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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