Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano that erupted in the 1990’s. Long classified as a dormant volcano, its sudden eruption displaced indigenous Agta tribes living on its slopes and hastened the pull out of the U.S. base in Subic, Zambales. Tons of volcanic ash that spewed out during Mount Pinatubo’s eruption, made life even more difficult not only to the people of Zambales but to neighboring provinces as well. As the rainy season came, lahar floods submerged several towns in Tarlac and Pampanga, washing away houses, livestock and farmlands. To this day, these towns are still reeling from the effects of Mount Pinatubo’s eruption.
Right now, the peak of the volcano that blew off during its eruption is now a crater lake, that greets hikers to its serene view – quite unimaginable as the center of destruction when it erupted.
Trekking to the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo requires one to drive to Zambales, passing through the North Luzon Expressway. This drive is approximately 2 to 3 hours, depending on stopovers and traffic.
Reaching the Mount Pinatubo Tourist Center, SUVs are the only mode of transport to navigate to the start of trail. The SUV ride takes approximately an hour, driving through a vast unusable, wasteland.
There are two trails leading to the crater lake: one takes three hours and another, and much easier trail, takes less than 45 minutes. The easier trail is closed after strong rains, as the water can easily erode “cliffs” of volcanic sand. The three-hour trail, though requires passing through streams and slippery rocks, is manageable for beginners.
Reaching the lake, is a sight to behold for weary travelers as its bright turquoise water provides a calming effect. Travelers can bathe on the lake, but are cautioned to stay near the shore as the drop is abrupt three meters from the shore.
Travelers can head to the spa, at the one side of the lake where one can indulge in treatments utilizing warm volcanic sand.
For more information, about transportation, guides and transfer services, you can go to TrekkingPinatubo.com
Crater Lake photo courtesy of Jemson
Mount Pinatubo was certainly one of the top eruptions in history. We were fortunate that it was predicted way ahead of time and that less than 900 people died from it.
Nowadays, Mount Pinatubo is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines.