Mt. Pinatubo has been known for its catastrophic volcanic eruption that took place in June 1991 after a gap of 600 years and one that afflicted a lot of people at the time. However, since then, the volcano has stayed silent and its tragic past has given way to a gray-brown crater in the area that is home to a beautiful lake. It has also become a popular trekking spot so that many people look forward to a trek to the crater through the lush lahar fields.
Anyone will be tempted to forget the disaster once a day trek to Mt. Pinatubo is done because the crater has been amazingly modified since the incident and presents a mesmeric landscape that everyone can enjoy. Some aspects related to the trek are discussed here for proper understanding.
From Manila, it is about a three-hour drive to the base of the Mt. Pinatubo that can be covered in a luxurious air-conditioned minibus. At the base of the summit, old 4X4 Filipino Jeeps are available for traversing the entire Crow Valley which a rocky terrain strewn with lahar and ash fields. Along the way, the indigenous Aeta tribesmen can be met who can provide some good information regarding the area. There are two ways to trek the 5.5 km route for reaching the crater of Mt. Pinatubo and see the gorgeous lake from there. Both these routes are discussed here in detail.
When the riverbed is dry during the summer months, this route can be taken up easily. In this option, the 4X4 Jeeps can go farther up through the riverbed and leave visitors to a drop-off place from where the trek can be started. It can hardly take half an hour from this place to reach Crater Lake.
In this trek to Mt. Pinatubo option, a 4X4 vehicle can go through the Crow Valley until the starting point of the trek. The initial 1.5 hours of the trek can be expected to be through small streams and the lush lahar valley walking fairly over the rocky ground. However, the last 20 minutes can be challenging as it passes through a single trail and may have some gradient to climb before the Crater Lake is reached. Trekkers will do well to carry sandals in addition to trainers so that trainers do not get wet while crossing the streams on the way. Therefore, roughly two hours may be needed to reach the summit.
The efforts of the journey will be well-rewarded when a trekker reaches the Crater Lake. The view of the lake from the place is simply awesome. What is more interesting to note here is the fact that the water of the lake changes its color from blue-green to deep blue as per the season of the year! The incredible surroundings of the lake can be a sight to capture as the towering mountains on all sides make heartwarming scenery.
Apart from visiting the Crater Lake of Mt. Pinatubo, trekkers can also indulge in many other activities in the area. At the Pinatubo Spa Town, a mud pack and volcanic ash massage can take away all the stress of the strenuous journey. Alternately, one can visit the nearby Capas Shrine that is a memorial on behalf of the American and Filipino soldiers who laid down their lives during the Bataan Death March. There is also the Bueno and Dolores hot springs in the area where a bath can be quite refreshing for anyone. Visitors can also go to the Museo de Tarlac that is situated in Capas and is very near to the location.
Although Mt. Pinatubo trek can be easily completed within a day, there are options for interested trekkers to stay at the location so that the area can be better understood. One can also set up a camp at the designated places in the area. Arrangements of fresh water, restrooms and nipa hut can also be expected over here. Moreover, if a more comfortable stay is desired, then one can head to some of the hotels that are available in the area.
All in all, a trekking tour to Mt. Pinatubo can be quite a pleasurable journey so that the deep mysteries of the place can be unearthed and satisfying experience can be derived that can stay for a long time.