Mt. Pinatubo Hiking Experience

Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.16-2
We visited Mt. Pinatubo Spa last November 2005 and vowed to go back to hike Mt. Pinatubo. After two years, I was able to fulfill that vow last January 20 2008!

I was flabbergasted with the awesome 2.5 hours trip to the top of Mt. Pinatubo. It was a combination of a one hour 4×4 ride, and a 1.5 hours leisurely hike up to the Mt. Pinatubo crater. Upon reaching the crater, you’ll be rewarded with the scene of blue green waters that you can dip in. We celebrated our conquer of Mt. Pinatubo with a Korean and Filipino lunch back at Mt. Pinatubo Spa. We indulged in a shiatsu-thai massage before heading back home to Manila.
Pictures will not do justice to the experience but this is a humble attempt to capture the Mt. Pinatubo Hiking Experience…. Enjoy!

We started off in Mt. Pinatubo Spa. The package which includes a hike to Mt. Pinatubo costs P1,500 inclusive of lunch. If you want to avail of the massage, you have to pay extra P500 pesos. Mt. Pinatubo Spa is 3 hours away from Manila. We would recommend that you take the Mabalacat road instead of the Concepcion route. Please read related post below:

Mt. Pinatubo Hike 09.35 9.35am
We started the trip with a ride on a 4×4. It would take a one hour ride through deserted lahar and mountains before reaching the Sky Way point.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 09.53 9.53am
It was a nice sunny day and we recommend to go here in January when the air is still cool.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 10.04-2 10.04am
How I wish I could have my own 4×4 to try out on these lahar roads… Beautiful scenery isn’t it?
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 10.1210.12am
This is the Sky Way. This is the short cut and it made it possible to be able to hike MT. Pinatubo for one hour. In the past, after the 4×4 ride you have to hike for 3 more hours up to the top of Mt. Pinatubo.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 10.1810.18am
We made our ascent up to the sky way. It would take 40 more minutes before we reached the take-off point for the hike.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 10.5710.57am
After going down the 4×4, this is the sight that you will see before you start the hike up Mt. Pinatubo.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.0011.00am
We hiked down a slippery lahar slope.

Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.0511.05am
This is the base of the level grounds going up to Mt. Pinatubo. We saw different volcanic rocks, streams of water, and tints of sulphur along the way.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.12-311.12am
Ivan of Ivan About Time, Lauren of Laurganism and my friend Maong joined me for the hike.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.1411.14am
Mt. Pinatubo erupted and created these huge Mountains of lahar. Landslide is still possible so we have to be very careful. We truly enjoyed the hike.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.1811.18am
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.1911.19am
At this point, I was feeling cold already and how I wished I brought my jacket! But it is cool, we love the weather in January.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.2311.23am
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.3011.30am
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.3311.33am
After the valley of rocks and streams, we made our ascent into the forest going up the Mt. Pinatubo crater. After 2 hours, we can’t wait to see how the crater looks like.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.4311.43am
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.4811.48am
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.48-211.48am
It is common to see these rock signs along the way which serves as a marker for the guides that this is the right way.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 11.5811.58am
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.0412.04pm
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.06-212.06pm
At 12.06pm, our guide said, yes we are a stairway away from the crater!
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.0912.09pm
The hike is manageable for any individual. Because you gradually go up to the crater.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.10-312.10pm
Finally the Mt. Pinatubo Crater!!
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.1212.12pm
Ivan was already shouting at this point on how beautiful the crater is!!
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.16-212.16pm
We were not prepared for the beauty that was in front of us. I cannot describe in words how beautiful this experience of reaching the crater. You have to experience it yourself!
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.1712.17pm
At this point, we decided to swim in the blue-green lake. During the rainy season, the color of the lake is brown so the best time to go is January.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.2012.20pm
The most difficult part of the hike was descending / ascending down this steep stairs going to the summit lake.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 12.40-212.40pm
The water is cold and it was raining. But these did not stop these brave souls from conquering the waters of Mt. Pinatubo crater.

Mt. Pinatubo Hike 14.292.29pm
The hike was about 80 minutes on average.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 14.302.30pm
At 2.30pm, we are ready to ride back on our 4×4.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 14.312.31pm
A souvenir photo for conquering Mt. Pinatubo!
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 15.46-23.46pm
In total, you have to allot 6 hours for your hike to Mt. Pinatubo from the Mt. Pinatubo Spa (which is 3 hours away from Manila). I would recommend to leave Manila before 6am so that you can also go back home early.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 16.154.15pm
I tried the hot volcanic ash treatment last time we went here. I would not recommend this because this is an additional P500. If you want to do it just for the experience, then go ahead.
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 16.264.26pm
This is the best part of the experience — dry shiatsu with combination of Thai massage!
Mt. Pinatubo Hike 17.145.15pm
There is a free mud pack facial that would cool your face. Ivan was happy.

January is the best time to go to Mt. Pinatubo crater.
Mt. Pinatubo Spa Contact Numbers:

+63 45.4930031

Warning: Please don’t book it through Jovi who would charge you P1,750 instead of the usual P1,500/head.


42 thoughts on “Mt. Pinatubo Hiking Experience

  1. hi anton! can i get the contact details of those in charge of arranging this hike? i am very much interested in hiking up mt. pinatubo and have been wanting to do so for a very long time. this particular hike can be managed by newbie-hikers such as myself diba? thanks so much!

  2. i did this hike in high school(admittedly, this was more than a decade ago. LOL), i was a junior and at pisay, we had to pick a summer internship and i picked to join PHIVOLCS. we were stationed at clark air base and one of our activities was hiking through the sand dunes and flying over the main crater. really cool, one of the moments that i thought going to pisay was worth it. HA!

  3. Hey Bro, ganda naman dyan. Promise ko kay Riza, galain namin ‘pinas next time, tapusin ko lang SoutEast Asian list ko, then pinas, na lapit na.
    Regards to you family.

  4. Having survived the wrath of Mt Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991, it’s unbelievable to see through your eyes the beauty of this volcano. I still vividly remember Subic Bay being rained with lahar and people going through the nightmarish “end of the world” experience. The morning after provided hope to its residents and life went on. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  5. I really enjoy reading your entries. It suppresses my feelings of homesickness. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. The pictures are so beautiful. Hopefully, I will get to hike Mt. Pinatubo the next time I visit the Philippines.
    Take care!

  6. we went to the pinatubo spa in feb 2008. it is no longer korean-owned. we booked everything through jovi (cellphone number posted by anton above). here are their latest rates.
    4×4 – P2500 (good for 4 tourists)
    4×4 contribution – P350
    local guide – P500
    skyway fee – P500
    conservation fee – P50/person
    food – P250/person for pinoy food, P350/person (i think) for Korean food
    shower – P100/person (includes smelly bamboo soap, towel, locker, but no shampoo)
    beware of jovi’s package rates. she quoted us P1750/person for everything included above, but when i broke it down for 4 persons, it turned out to be just P1360+/person.

  7. Hi. We went to Pinatubo a few weeks ago. I think you should remove Jovi’s contact number as it will reflect very poorly on your blog. Jovi is no longer connected with Pinatubo Spa (since early February 2008) although she was trying to give the impression that she still was. She is a scammer and a liar. First she told us to meet her at Chowking Capas as the spa had an office just across the road (where we were supposed to pay). When we got there (10 minutes before the appointed time) she told us by celfone that she left already and would meet us at the dropoff point instead. She was supposed to meet us along the road where we would pay her. We got to the spa by ourselves and paid there, finding out that Jovi was overpricing!
    Anyway, you might want to change the directions in your blog entry about going to the spa: From Chowking-Caltex Capas (Chowking on your left and Caltex on your right) go towards the Capas munipical hall (about 500 meters). Just before the hall there is a road going left. Take that road for about 1 km until it reaches a deadend. Turn right at the deadend and follow the road all the way to Brgy Juliana/Pinatubo Spa for about 16 km. You will pass the Capas Shrine and a few barangays (Arunguren, Camp O’Donnel, Sta Lucia) on the way.

  8. hi anton, i called up the cell number listed above (+63 9283410402) and apparently it’s still jovi. she also quoted us PhP1,750/person. good thing i read your blog entry — and the comments were really really helpful. i tried calling the landline number listed above but nobody’s answering (probably because it’s quite late already).

  9. The spa personnel showed us the usual notice to the public, that Jovi was no longer connected there, and any transaction with Jovi will not be honored by the spa, etc etc.
    The charges posted by dex are the usual expenses. You may want to just go straight to the barangay office in Sta Juliana. As long as you’re early you shouldnt have any problems getting a 4×4 and guide. I suggest bringing your own lunch instead and eat at the crater site itself. This way you wont be in a hurry to go back and take the spa lunch, which by the way was heavy but mediocre. Drinks (P70 per softdrink! 5-star Hotel prices!) not included. We just had a little water with lunch, then crossed the street and had softdrink in the sarisari store for P12.

  10. Hi. We just came from Pinatubo last April 8 and it turned out to be a really great experience. We opted to take the longer trek though, about 3hours each way. It was more challenging and had so much beautiful scenery to take pictures of.
    The lake in the crater looks really deep, and after about 3 meters from the edge of the water, one can no longer reach the bottom. I guess that’s ideal for good swimmers, but for those who are not, I suggest they bring a lifejacket, as there are none available at the crater. Some of my companions used bamboo poles (single and not tied together) as floating devices. There were also several small outrigger boats in one of the corners of the lake but they were padlocked. The guide informed us that to be able to use the boats, one has to coordinate it at the pinatubo tourism office. The water was neither too cold nor too warm, and was very calm. Really great for swimming. As we went there on a weekday, there were only two small groups aside from ours.
    I plan to go back to pinatubo maybe late this year, but the next time, I’ll probably suggest that we take the skyway going back, which requires just about 1hour of trekking.

  11. is it ok to bring my daughter (8 yrs. old and physically fit) going to the crater? there will about 20 of us, will there be enough 4×4 to take us to the crater at the same time?

  12. Hi Anton, love your blog, we went there last april. Unfortunately, the skyway was closed for construction so we took the old way. The hiking to the crater was 3 hours, rather than their said 45mins no stopping.
    here are some of my pics for the trekking ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the advice, it helped a lot. though we didn’t do the wellness spa. We went straight to Wendell, the president of the 4×4 club. Was a bit cheaper hehehe.

  13. hey!! this is amazing!!!
    im planning to go on january! do you know who can i contact? like do you know any email address or cellphone number?

  14. Wellll had an interesting day today. I went to the trek centre departure point with Jovi the previous day. Let me say that she acted in a very professional manner and is in fact associated with them. I was there with her on Saturday but due to complications arising from my late arrival on Saturday I didn’t get to go then but returned the next day and did all the arranging myself. The last departure is 9 am, you will see why as you read. I went on a tour of the Death March memorial and Clark duty free to use up the day.
    The previous posts have not mentioned that the Skyway no longer exists. It was washed out in April 2008 so they drop you off in the riverbed a long way from the rim. They sent a bulldozer from the local Barangey to clear it out but it got stuck and they abandoned it. Work is progressing on another route but there is no completion date set. Soooooo………….
    The 1 hour 4×4 trip is correct but verbally they told me the walk would take about 1.5 to 2 hours, well no way. It took us 3 hours of go go go. I checked on Google earth and it is 8.9 kms from the drop off to the rim and a rise of nearly 2000 feet. Stopped there only for a short stay because I knew we had a long way back. The return trip was about 2.5 hours because it was downhill.
    I am in pretty good shape but I feel like I have been in a street fight and lost. Started the trip at the departure centre at 8:15 AM and got back at 16:45 and had lunch which was included. My recommendation is DON’T do this until they have the new road built, that would cut off about 75% of the trip I took. But if you do, you can book with Jovi. She can assist with getting you from Capas to the departure centre as it is a bit tricky getting to it the first time.

  15. i was there yesterday!!! and until now… im still awed by the whole experience… as in super ganda…. the first time i saw the lake i cant believe its really real… i could still remember your pic above of the lake… and its just so surreal that im actually seeing it for real… para pa rin syang picture lang…. super as in super ganda….
    thanks for this post anton… this helped me a lot in organizing the trip with my friends… i was able to bring a group of 18 and they were all so happy about the trip… ๐Ÿ˜€
    we enjoyed the trek part din…bonding and camwhoring moment! hehe
    cant wait to post our pix… ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. hi, anton. our group are also planning to go to mt. pinatubo this coming may. can i ask for the contact details of the person in charge for this package?

  17. SABITMountaineers is a leading tour organizer of Pinatubo Trekking activities. We handled and organized corporate climbs (Hewlett Packard, Bayantel, Azeus, Procter and Gamble, Solar Sports) as big as 70 pax. We had organized a total of 25 Pinatubo Treks to this date and counting. With 100% fun, success rate and no accidents. Your safety is paramount to us.
    CLimb Fee is 1,700 per head.
    Inclusive of
    2 way private aircon van transfer
    2 way 4×4 jeep rental
    local guide fee
    pinatubo skyway toll fee
    conservation fee
    If you have any questions regarding the climb, please feel free to contact me.
    Jay Hernandez
    Expedition Leader

  18. SABITMountaineers is a leading tour organizer of Pinatubo Trekking activities. We handled and organized corporate climbs (Hewlett Packard, Bayantel, Azeus, Procter and Gamble, Solar Sports) as big as 70 pax. We had organized a total of 25 Pinatubo Treks to this date and counting. With 100% fun, success rate and no accidents. Your safety is paramount to us.
    CLimb Fee is 1,700 per head.
    Inclusive of
    2 way private aircon van transfer
    2 way 4×4 jeep rental
    local guide fee
    pinatubo skyway toll fee
    conservation fee
    If you have any questions regarding the climb, please feel free to contact me.
    Jay Hernandez
    Expedition Leader

  19. we been there last sunday. and im mesmerized by its the beauty until now. i posted my priceless photos at face book for my friends delight. Mt Pinatubo is truly a piece of heaven on earth. i can rest my soul there forever. love it!

  20. Anton, I went to Mt. Pinatubo last Sunday…what a great experience! Thanks for the tips you gave when we talked in iblog:)

  21. SABITMountaineers offers mt. Pinatubo trekking services
    Php 1,750 per head for a group of 9pax
    Inclusive of;
    2 way private A/C van transfer (Manila – tarlac – manila)
    2 way 4×4 rental
    local guide fee
    pinatubo skyway toll fee
    for inquiries
    Jay – 09278745864

  22. hi anton can you also give any cellphone number of the company that arranges the hike? i’d like to call them up. thank you!

  23. May maganda po na beach/camp area sa Tambobong, Pangasinan. Hindi pa siya commercialized kaya sobra ganda ng beach at mababait ang mga tao. There is a new resort there, just starting. Its called PANTALAN BEACH RESORT in Tambobong. Bawal ang maingay na karaoke, cemented parking for 10 cars(50/night), kubo rental at only 1.5k per night and maintenance fees at only 50/head for use of cr and bath kung gusto niyo mag tent lang sa beach!!! Pero very very basic facilities lang. They even offer set meals for groups. Or if you want them to cook merong minimal fees lang. The kubos are built right on the pantalan (port) so GREAT view of the ocean talaga. Maganda yung kubo and can fit 8 to 10 yata. Meron din built in tables made of bamboo lang. Rustic. Its owned by the Bobises so just call nanay Precy bobis or Deo Bobis at SUN#09227154685 or SUN#09236685401 or SMART#09075183062 for reservations and arrangements. I understand they can even arrange transpo to/from manila na rin now. Pls call or text for rates nalang. Thanks.

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