View Mount Pinatubo in a new window.
Looking for a travel buddy is easy if you’re going to beaches, monuments, food destinations, etc. But for places like Mount Pinatubo where there is some physical exertion involved I found it quite hard. For the longest time I’ve invited my friends to trek Mount Pinatubo and the usual answer : “ayoko nun nakakapagod!”, “mainit!”, “gusto ko yung relax lang”, “pass” and these are from basketball / futbol playing / sporty / gym going guys. No one wants to go trekking, period.
Two weeks ago, I finally got to go. Guess with whom? 3 girls.
The Pinatubo Crew : 3 girls 1 cup.. err 1 boy. Me, Kamille, Kaye, Prinz. Kamille and I looked like we where going for a weekend run.
Kaye and Prinz are my high school friends. Kaye was the one who organized the whole thing, she saw some promo on a group buying site (I’m not sure what website). She took care of everything so we could all go. Thank you kaye!
The coupons were from a company called TrekPros. I won’t recommend them since they seem to be new with the whole trek business. The coordination was poorly done and I read some really bad reviews over the Internet. I did get the number of our driver his name is Kenny Dizon – 0923.834.216. These trek companies are just middle men and you can directly go to the drivers to arrange the tour. You can slash a big amount from what the trek companies are charging. So if you’re a kuripot type of person go directly to the drivers. If you’re the type who just wants to pay, sit back and relax then go find some tour package.
We initially scheduled it early February but due to bad weather we had to move it again and again. There’s a reason why we initially wanted it on that month. The blue green hue on the water is seasonal. According to wikipedia – The best time to visit the lake is during the dry season, from November to May. We did go on April but we already missed it. So I suggest you wait and go on January or February. Anton of OAP also put on his 2012 calendar that January is the best time to trek Mount Pinatubo.
As for the reason why it is blue green on a certain season? According to Yahoo answers – “blue for the skycolor and green for the trees around the lake”.
The Balikatan Exercise 2012 was on going when we went so there was a cut-off time. All the 4×4′s had to be inside the Pinatubo gates before 7AM. We had to leave Manila early because of this. We drove instead of taking the shuttle trekpros offered to save on travel cost. We left Cubao Edsa around 3AM and arrived at Santa Juliana around 5-5:30 AM. I created driving directions from NLEX Sta. Ines Exit to Santa Juliana. Click here to see the map.
Santa Juliana is the meeting place for all the people trekking to Mount Pinatubo, the 4x4s will pick you up here. The main road has some restaurants, the famous spa, a DOT office. From here the 4x4s will take you to the starting point of the trek. It took us around 40 minutes to get there. The first thumbnail on the 360 above is not the starting point, it’s just a stop over where people can take photos.
The trek took 2 hours 15 minutes. This is not something your grandma can do. I admit going up was really tiring. The guide said the trek took only 30-45 minutes before but Ondoy came and destroyed everything in its path including the 4×4 trail.
Group pic with the local kids. I’m not sure what face I did here.
Strange rock formations.
Huli ka Kamille! ikaw lang pala gumagawa nyan!
I forgot we trekked 2 hours after taking a dip at the lake. I didn’t have extra clothes but the water was so inviting so I jumped in. My shorts was all squishy on the way back.
Last group pic before we left the crater.
Hmm…There’s some one missing in this photo.
All the 4x4s where stucked at the trek starting point because the Balikatan exercise was on-going. When the U.S. military guys patrolling the area gave the signal to go, the drivers went crazy. It was like a 4×4 frenzy.
Is that a landmine or a cow dung?
The sunset made the 4×4 ride even more breath taking.
Accidentally took photos of some U.S military vehicles in the dessert.OohRah!!!!
I only spent around Php 2500 ( 999 for the tour, 390 DOT fee, 600 food, 300 gas.) for this trip and it was all worth it.
- Getting your feet wet is inevitable. Wear sandals with strap don’t wear running shoes like me look what happened to my trusty nike shoes. I was not informed!!!haha. No they did mention that on the email I just didn’t read it before hand.
- Wear a cap or hat. Put sunblock or get a sleeve similar to what Allen Iverson or Tricycle drivers’ use.
- You will want to take a dip on the lake, so bring extra clothes. They have make shift changing rooms there or look for some secluded area and change there.
- We bought food with the tour and the guide brought it along with him so we didn’t have to carry it with us but bring extra food, we craved for snickers when we were on the crater.
- Wait for January or February!!! The view was stunning but if the water were green / blue it would have been even more breath taking.