Trekking Mount Pinatubo is a popular destination if you are looking for a day tour out of Manila. Since its eruption, Mount Pinatubo became one of the top tourist destinations in the Luzon island of the Philippines. Travelers visit Pinatubo to enjoy the gorgeous backdrop and scenery, most especially the turquoise waters of the caldera lake.
Mount Pinatubo is the second-largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The eruption took place on June 15, 1991, resulting around 800 deaths and roughly 200,000 people homeless. The eruption was so massive that global temperature decreased to .5 Celsius for a couple of years following the explosion.
Where is Mount Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo is 91 kilometers north of Manila, in the Luzon island of the Philippines. About a 2-hour bus drive, the volcano is nestled in between the provinces of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
What You Need to Know Before Heading to Pinatubo from Manila
The entrance to Mount Pinatubo is controlled by the Philippine Army. Currently, the cut-off entrance time to Pinatubo is 8:00 a.m. If you arrive any later, there is a risk you will be denied entrance to the site.
Most travelers arrive in Pinatubo around 6 a.m. Considering the distance and the travel time from Manila, you will have to take a bus out of Manila no later than 4 a.m.
There is no lunch spot in Pinatubo! Consider packing something to eat – you’ll have an amazing view for lunch! Also, pack plenty of water!
Consider wearing hiking shoes! You will hike for 7 kilometers and will walk through rocks, ashes, sand, water, etc! Be physically ready. The hike to the caldera lake is not a walk in the park and can be physically demanding.
Bring extra clothes! After the trek, your hair, clothes, and skin will be all covered in dust and ashes. There are shower stalls that you can use after your tour.
How to get to Mount Pinatubo from Manila
Now that you have an idea of the trek to Mount Pinatubo, let’s get you there!
These 4 pointers are all you need to know to get you from your doorsteps in Manila all the way to the crater of Pinatubo!
1.Take a bus bound for Dagupan out of either Cubao or Pasay. Ask the conductor to have you dropped off in front of McDonald’s (or 7/11) in Capas.
2.The moment you get off at McDonald’s or 7/11 in Capas, there will be tricyles waiting the moment you arrive. Ask them to take you to the tourism office in Santa Juliana where you will pay all the necessary entrance and tourism fees. The ride Is approximately 45 minutes.
3. Pay the tourism fees. They will then arrange your tour guide and 4×4 to get you straight to the drop off area. The 4×4 ride is 16kms and will take approximately 45 minutes.
4. 7 km trek to the crater! This is roughly a 1.5-hour trek. As I mentioned earlier, this hike is not a walk in the park. It is quite challenging for novice hikers, so make sure you are physically up for the task!
The Fees to Keep in Mind
Bus ride back and forth to Manila (Dagupan bound) – 172 php (each way)
Tricyle from Capas to tourism office in Santa Juliana and back to Capas – 300 php (each way)
4×4 Jeep – 3,500 php
Tour guide – 500 php
Conservation fee – 600 php per person
Botolan fee – 500 php per person
The Overall Experience
I highly recommend visiting Mount Pinatubo if you are looking for a day tour out of Manila. It was quite the challenge to get there considering we had to wake up super early in the morning and physical demands of the trek itself. However, it was all worth it in the end!
The views and the backdrops you will encounter when you get to Pinatubo is quite the experience. There were plenty of moments along the hike where the backdrop fairly resembles the locations shot in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones!