trekking in mt. pinatubo

2:30AM. I opened my eyes and knew something was really, really wrong.


We were supposed to meet with the tour coordinator at 3AM, but sleep was sooo good, our brains automatically ignored our scheduled alarm. I rushed to the cold shower and woke up completely. We bought snacks at the nearby 7-11 and took a GrabCar to the McDonald’s El Pueblo meeting place. We got in on time!

We met with Tripinas’ Mr. Tee, the French coordinator married to one inspiring lady, Ms. Ann who does the Sagada trips. He briefed us about the schedule, and we paid our balances. We bought our lunch too and ate our breakfast. The van was already appointed so all we had to do was find it and sleep. Sleep we did!

We stopped for a bit in Pampanga I guess (I was too groggy) to pick up additional people. Before 6AM, we arrived and boarded our 4x4s. And so the bumpy, dusty, long ride started. At first it was okay; I had my camera out and I could take decent pictures, but then it got really bumpy, and dusty, with sprinkles of water that I had to keep my camera and cover my mouth.

We journeyed to the crater for about 2.5hrs. Good thing the weather was cool because if it were warm, I definitely think we’d die from exhaustion! I didn’t take pictures of the way nearing the crater cos I had to concentrate (I’m great at imbalance and tripping myself!). It was misty and it sprayed a little bit that my shirt was soaked and it became really cold.

We reached the crater, had lunch, and took pictures of our conquer-balls! It was cloudy and foggy, the water in the lake wasn’t that blue. But seeing the massive crater (thousands of feet in depth!) was enough for me.

We went down after an hour or so and began another 2.5hr trek. It was easier, and I was so much happier.

It wasn’t really the crater for me that did it; it was more of the trekking. I was surrounded by these ginormous rock walls, acidic water flowing through everywhere, fragrant wild flowers that made me so, so fascinated, and an introvert friend who’s more of the trekker who laughs at me cos I was too slow. It was the sheer experience of getting to know and having met an incredible, placid place that once violently lost its temper when I was just a baby.

(Expenses and notes below)

Tour booked through Tripinas – Php 2,090
With transfers, tour guides, permits
Food, water, and fare (to and from meeting place) – Php 500
Tip for the guide

  • Book through Tripinas! They are very professional and they have the nicest tour coordinators, guides, and drivers.
  • Tour was from 6AM to 4PM. From Ortigas to the base camp in Sta. Juliana in Capas Tarlac was about 3hrs; way back was longer due to Manila traffic.
  • Bring a waterproof jacket / raincoat and cap
  • Wear something comfortable (in my case shorts but I’ll forgo denim next time haha!)
  • I was happy wearing my trekking sandals cos we got to cross waters many, many times
  • 1.5L of water was enough per person for us
  • Be happy while trekking. It takes off the boring parts!
  • Bring your camera, always!