Mt. Pinatubo Itinerary, Philippines

Day Hike to Mount Pinatubo

Day Hike to Mount Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It is located in between the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. I've always wanted to visit this incredible landmark, a cousin of mine went there a few years ago before it got famous as a tourist spot. The 4x4 ride, the hike, and its magnificent beauty are alluring like a slice of birthday cake laid out in a bed of roses. An illogical manner of describing something so captivating in my eyes. Anyways, we arrived in Tarlac a night before our booked activity and stayed in Mr. Blue Inn Hostel. It's not an inviting place to stay yet it's the closest place to our meet-up point. Let's go!

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Travel Tips
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May 2, Monday - Tarlac, Philippines

Check-in: Mr. Blue Inn
one night for 1050 PHP

Tricycle ride from Mr. Blue Inn to Mt. Pinatubo meeting point: 600 PHP (two-way)

Tour Operator: Tripinas Travel and Tour Ventures 
No. of participants: 3 persons
Package Rates: 2590 PHP ( 1 pax )

Package Inclusion:

Round trip 4x4 wheel drive 
Local guide from Team TRIPinas
All fees (no additional fees like “Aeta fee” or “Botolan fee” to pay on-site)  All fees are included in the package.
Shower at base camp: 50 PHP (optional)

Reminders: (from Tour Operator)
There's a cutoff time at the base camp, so it's important to be on time at the meet-up point. If you're late, the tour will be canceled and your payment will be forfeited.

There is no shop or restaurant in Mt. Pinatubo please bring your own packed breakfast, lunch, and 1.5 liters of water. 

Mt. Pinatubo Itinerary:

0530-0600 Meet-up point: "Bong parking and showers” parking area, Baranggay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac (base camp)

The base camp is an hour away from Clark, 2.5-3 hours from Quezon City, and 3 hours from Pasay.

Meet the guide. Sign the mandatory waiver. Take blood pressure readings. 

0600-0630 Board 4×4 vehicle

0800 Start trekking (around 1.5 to 2 hours hike along the old route or take the 45 minutes short trek but the route is currently not available)

0930-1000 Arrival at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.

Relax, photos, or early lunch (optional, food and beverage not included in the package).

1130 Descend down, trek for 1.5 to 2 hours walking through the old route.

1330 Back to the 4x4 vehicle.

1430 Back to base camp. End of tour.

What to bring to Mt. Pinatubo: 

As advised by tour operator
  • sunscreen/cap/hat/sunglasses
  • dust mask (4x4 ride can get very dusty) - I used my neck scarf to cover my face.
  • rain gear/poncho - Weather is unpredictable. 
  • light jacket/windbreaker jacket - Sometimes it's windy and cold in the morning. 
  • dri-fit clothes - Wear light and breathable fabric to lessen heat exhaustion.
  • trekking sandals - You will be crossing rivers it's advisable to wear waterproof open shoes/sandals) 
  • extra clothes and footwear 
  • packed lunch, trail food (fruits, nuts), and trash bag
  • water (1.5L or more per person)
  • personal first aid/medications
  • Camera
  • National ID (or passport for non-Filipinos) -Local tourism will check your age. If you are more than 59 years old you need a medical certificate) 

Our tour guide is Kuya Sherwin, if you want to do ATV and other activities after the trek contact him at this number (+63) 9097784960 or find him on Facebook search for "Winshe". 

We woke up early the next day to prepare for our hike, early check out, and left our baggage with the hostel. Little did we know the hassle of getting to our meet-up point at the "Bong parking and showers" parking area in Baranggay Sta. Juliana, Capas. There was no pick-up transfer included in the package so we were on our own. The tricycle ride to the meet-up place was 30 minutes away and cost us 300 PHP for a one-way trip. 

The Ride

The 4x4 ride won't be so exciting if you have the enclosed back part of the vehicle thou you're sheltered from dust, rain, and the heat of the sun. But hey! How will you enjoy the great outdoors? I always wonder why most people are afraid of getting a tan or for some, they would say it's to avoid getting skin cancer. It got me thinking it's just a few minute's ride even if it's an hour's ride just go for it. This kind of activity doesn't happen every day unless you live in the desert or in the jungle, I wouldn't mind at all you will still see me standing at the back holding on to the metal railing for my dear life. Yes, we did that. We stood up and held on tight to the side of the rover to avoid being thrown out of the vehicle. Bounce here, Bounce there, Smack here, and Smack that. Howling, Laughing, Giggling, and Goofing around at the back of the rover was all we did throughout the tour. 

Mt. Pinatubo Toblerone

We stopped by the so-called Mt. Pinatubo Toblerone and met a few Aeta kids. If I knew we would see them there I would have brought some candies, chocolates or some school supplies for the kids. They were sporty enough to have their pictures taken with us, even bid us farewell with all smiles. The rover stopped at a certain point then off we hiked to the volcano's crater. There were no trees to provide shade along the trail, be responsible enough to equip yourself with sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Most importantly don't forget to hydrate yourself with water. We reached the crater in no time, it was beautiful and looked so harmless. Sherwin said the crater had perfect circumferences a few decades ago before its destructive eruption in 1991. It is considered one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history. I can't imagine something so beautiful possesses such brutal characteristics. 

Political Issues

After we took snapshots here, jump shots there, and fueled ourselves with energy bars we took the hike back to the rover. While we were at the small hut having our snack Sherwin mentioned a conflict between the provinces regarding fees, territory and ownership of Mount Pinatubo. It's a senseless battle they shouldn't have this kind of argument but instead focus on ways to share the profit for everyone's benefit. I don't think mother nature will like that, it's not a good idea to place bad vibrations around an active volcano. Well, that's just me saying. 

The Crater

The hike doesn't require you months of training but at least jog or run a few weeks before the trip. If you want the experience to be easy and breezy then exercise a month before time. It's easier to enjoy your surroundings when you don't need to hold your knees and catch your breath. My climbing buddies were every ready for the hike, considering the fact we've trained for Mt. Pulag. Despite the training, we've done you can't prepare yourself for heat exhaustion. Along the way, we found rivers, and small streams which got us thinking if there was a place we could go swimming. Sherwin wasn't able to mention one yet he knows one spot which is deep enough to have a dip for three crazy hikers. In unison our hearts go "Yeehaa" and our minds say "Thank goodness." It's not part of the tour it just so happens our guide is sweet and sympathetic to our needs. Dipping ourselves in the stream was heavenly good against the intense heat of the sun. Wearing dri-fit clothes is the best outfit for the hike, by the time we reached the basecamp we were exceptionally dry and as good as new. 

Bus to Antipolo

We pretty much cover everything with a half-day tour which leaves us enough time to take a bus to Antipolo. There's no official bus terminal back to Manila from that side of town in Tarlac, waiting along the road won't guarantee getting a bus ride. This kind of situation reminds me of a basic rule survival tip I learned as a Girl Scout of the Philippines, even taught in movies and in a reality TV show entitled Man vs Wild. It goes like this: if you're lost in a jungle without a compass or a GPS device, don't panic and keep calm. Just follow the river or the stream to find your way back to civilization. Let the water guide you as they say but this only applies in the jungle, how about in the city? Follow the water pipes? Laughing out Load- literally, I'm doing this. I don't mind if you don't find it funny at all, I'm so glad I can say whatever I want here. 

Anyway going back to the topic we took a tricycle ride to the town's city proper. We spotted McDonald's! that's the mark of civilization in a city. I totally agree with myself. Right in front of McDonald's was exactly the bus point heading back to Manila. Drop off at Cubao and check in with Eurotel

Tarlac to Cubao Bus Fare: 200 php per pax
Check in: Eurotel Vivaldi
One night for 1095 php (3pax) + 180 php add-in for 1 hour extension

Last Day in Manila

Spa in Antipolo, Philippines

It's important to have a blast on your vacation these activities highlight the trip and, at the same time balance it with a day full of relaxation. I tried to end most of my travels with a spa treat or a massage. Having your mind at peace before you hop on to that plane will clear out those messy strings clinging to your goals and objectives in life. On this trip, we had it after our sightseeing in Benguet, climbing Mount Pulag and hiking Mount Pinatubo.  A perfect fix for all those twisted muscles after all the adventures we did. Our last day in the Philippines was entirely focused on relaxation and rejuvenation in a spa resort located in Antipolo. 

More about the Mt. Pulag hike here:  Mt. Pulag Itinerary, Philippines

After the Mt. Pinatubo tour we took a bus back to Manila from Capas, Tarlac then dropped off at Cubao and checked in with Eurotel. As my friend told me, we didn't get any prior bookings besides they always have a room available. The next day we proceeded to the v-hire (van for hire) terminal, a walking distance from Eurotel, took the v-hire, and alighted at a famous church in Antipolo. A few metres away from the church we took a tricycle ride to Julietta's Hanging Garden Resort. 

0730 - 0830 - Cubao to Antipolo by V-Hire (Fare: 150 PHP)
0900 - Spa Arrival, Tricycle ride Antipolo Church to Spa Resort (Fare: 50 PHP)
5pm - Antipolo to Airport by Taxi (Fare: 500 PHP, traffic is bad in this side of town)

Package Price: 1,650 php per person
1,320 PHP/person (20% discounted rate for kids 12 years old and below, seniors)

6 Hours of Access to all Facilities:
Sauna, Dr Fish Spa, Jacuzzi, Hydromassage pool, and Infinity pool. Healthy Meals are included in the package (Lunch and Snack).

Additional (optional)
Signature Massage: 350 PHP per person

Reservations need at least 7 days before the arrival date. 

Email: / SMS (+65) 9175444432 / 09286278897 with complete name, contact number, number of persons, date & time of arrival, package or service, time of service.

My friend had her eye on this spa resort for quite some time, and when we had the chance to travel together again we made sure to visit the resort on our last day. It is advised to book the package days before the spa treatment and pay the whole amount. We had some issues with the reservation process and adding ala carte services made it more complicated. All ended well we got what we wanted thanks to my friend's patience and perseverance. 

First Fish Spa

I did my first fish spa! I've finally taken the courage to try it out. Never been a fan of fishes nibbling my toes but I tried it. One bite was all it took to get me off my feet. It didn't take that long for me thou I spend most of the time just dipping half of my toes and removing it right away when I see an army of fishes approaching my side. We were laughing like lunatics because I wasn't the only one who was not into the fish spa. The rest of the day was spent cooling off in the hydro pool, watching a chick flick movie (Age of Adeline) dancing in the jacuzzi and of course, jumping shots in the infinity pool. We ended the day with the house signature massage which took me to dreamland in seconds. In my embarrassment, I snored a little when I got to that level of consciousness which instantly woke me up.  My masseuse giggled with delight as it directed a positive point to her massage skills. After the session, I laughed again with her and showed my appreciation for such a relaxing massage, a perfect way of ending a wonderful trip in the Philippines. 

Have fun and be safe ^__^

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  2. Thank you ^_^

    I'm actually still spying for the best deals in town..
    I'm getting my hands on those camera's soon..