Last weekend, my friend from grade school Izza and I went to explore Mt. Pinatubo. The funny thing about the two of us is that we belonged to different circle of friends in school but reconnected a year ago because of our passion for running.

Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano which is located near three provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. It made history when it erupted in June 1991. The eruption was recorded the “second-largest of the 20th century”. Fortunately, the local communities were relocated days before the massive volcanic eruption.

Today, the surroundings of Mt. Pinatubo has become a tourist attraction. The jump off for hiking this place is at Brgy. Santa Juliana in Capas, Tarlac City.

We arrived at our tour coordinator’s guesthouse after 6 hours of drive from Manila (blame my poor navigation skills; I typed in the wrong destination on Waze). We had dinner, a few drinks, and prepared our things for the trek in the morning.

We were up by 5am; ate breakfast at 6am, and decided to trek the hills at Alvin’s backyard. We rode the 4×4 just before 7am. Sir Alvin mentioned during the short orientation that we will ride the vehicle for 1 1/2 hours and trek fpr another hour. We were grouped together with backpackers from Europe, Kim and Daniel.

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We trekked for an hour and a half to the caldera of Mt. Pinatubo. The total distance of the hike is about 14 kilometers all in all.

After a steep concrete flight of stairs, the breathtaking Pinatubo crater welcomed us. The good weather also made this trip worthwhile. I’m also grateful that both the locals and tourists are able to maintain the cleanliness of the place.

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Tour packages start at around Php2000 (includes guide, 4×4 ride, and packed lunch). For more information, contact Mr. Alvin Bogot: https://www.facebook.com/Alvin-Bognot-mt-Pinatubo-Guesthouse-and-Tours

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