I had the opportunity to visit this notorious volcano back in January this year way before it started having volcanic unrest. It was my first time visiting this volcano and we were fortunate that we were the only tourists around.
We hire this 4x4 Jeepney for P 2,600 (around $52) and drove for an hour towards the starting point of the trek. The drive was filled with picturesque mountains of lahar and rushing rivers that we have to cross.
We also passed some cows and even native Aetas who live in the area.
When we arrived at the starting point of the trek, we found this funny sign that tells you the time of your trek depending on your age.
Way back behind the sign and this out-of-the-place (if you ask me) Rotary sign, is an old sign that tells you it is a 20 minutes hike to the crater.
My family has all the categories in the sign. We have kids, senior citizens, and middle-aged people. As a result, we completed all the estimated trek times. LOL
The trek was fairly simple and almost level-plane but it is filled with rocks and boulders and rivers that you have to cross.
You will also pass this 10-minute mark of the trek. We did stop a couple of times for the little kids to rest.
The last stretch of the trek is this stone staircase.
You would also pass these two cubicles of a bathroom but it was close when we were there.
Once you reached the top of the stairs, you will find a sign welcoming you to Mt. Pinatubo.
I was surprised that the view deck is very much developed for tourists. It has railings, tables, and even a couple of 'kubos'.
I was very much amazed at the beauty of this volcano. It amazes me how this beauty has killed hundreds of people 30 years ago and even affected the whole earth with its eruption.
This was from a drone shot and every time I looked at it, it makes me feel like it's a part of Jurrasic Park located someplace else in the world. But no, it's here. In the Philippines. My home country.
"Nakakataba ng puso sabihin na nasa Pilipinas ito."
There is a steep stair provided where we can go down right to the edge of the lake.
A bit of warning though, going down is a bit easy but going back up is hard work.
I heard that, in the past, you can even rent a boat to go to the center of the lake. There were none when we were there. But we were able to dip our toes on the lake, just for bragging rights. Hehe
Swimming is still strictly prohibited due to the drastic change of color. It was formerly blue to bluish green but turned dark brown to almost black prompting the government to prohibit swimming since scientists are still looking for answers for the change of color in the volcano's lake. They said it might be due to algae or lichens but other factors, like "several near-surface events", are still being considered. Also, you wouldn't want to swim in water that has been found with "hazardous substances" like arsenic, aluminum, boron, chloride, iron, manganese, sulfate, and maybe the whole periodic table, right?
We had lunch on of the tables in the view deck before going back to the tour 4x4. Here are some drone shots from that breathtaking ride.
Mt. Pinatubo is currently close to the public due to the ongoing volcanic unrest. As of the time of this writing, Mt. Pinatubo is on Alert Level 1.
Make sure to call the right authorities and get proper documents before booking a tour!
As always, keep safe and travel responsibly!
Here's my vlog about our whole trek to Mt. Pinatubo: