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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Journeying the Summit: The Mt. Pinatubo Hike

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Three years ago when we visited Anawangin Cove in Zambales, one of the magnificent cove made by nature after the eruption of Mt Pinatubo. We dare promise to visit the summit of Mt Pinatubo someday to see how is it now after.

Early as 3am, we drove towards Sta Juliana in Capas Tarlac to meet Wendel Mercado, the president of the Pinatubo 4x4 Wheelers Club. In every journey we always wanted to do DIY tours to save on money because we are really really a budget conscious people. There are lots of tour agency and companies organizing the Mt Pinatubo tours but they are so expensive and it is not within our budget.

We arrived at Sta Juliana at past 6am and I tell you that is is already packed of tourist from other parts of the country and even foreigners. The first thing we did is that we contacted  Wendel before we reach the barangay of Sta Juliana. I’ll tell you that mobile network signals in the area is really bad so I have to inform him in advance that we were coming and  we are lucky  because he reserved us a unit of 4x4 off road vehicle because peak season already started and lots of tourist are eagerly waiting and looking for an off-road vehicle to rent. Wendel and I meet at the tourism satellite office near the barangay hall. My wife filled out the tour form individually and distributed to each of us for our signature while I am paying a total of  Php6750 all-in at the tourism office.

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Upon submission of the accomplished forms we immediately went to our 4x4 Jeepney. It is almost 2.5 hours of awesome and bumpy ride towards the crater and guess what we were able to ride towards what they called Skyway Point wherein about an hour less we’ve been able to save walking and do trekking at the rocky road towards the crater foot. We passed by other tourist wherein their Jeepney stopped and force them to walk because it is just how far of what they have paid for the vehicle.

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We begun our trek at the farthest end of the road where 4x4 Jeepneys Parked at the hill.

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It’s a 20 minute trek uphill towards the summit.

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The 3 year dare paid off when we reach the summit and we are all speechless upon seeing the beauty of the magnificent wonder which has been a destructive event of nature  24 years ago and considered as the 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the century.

Please refer to below list of expenses we had in our tour

Details of Expenses (Basic of the DIY tour of 5 persons)

Rent of 4x4 Wheeled Drive Jeepney 
(max of 5 persons)
Php 3,000
Tour Guide (require) per vehicle
Php 500
Conservation Fee (per head) Php 500
Aeta Fee (per head) Php 150

How To get There via Private Vehicle

1. From Manila, drive towards North Luzon Expressway and go straight at SCTEX towards Tarlac

2. Exit at Concepcion then turn left towards Capas Tarlac.

3. Upon reaching MacArthur highway, take the road near the Capas Municipal Hall and go straight towards Sta Juliana. You’ll pass by Capas National Shrine and  Camp O’Donnell.

4. You’ll know that you are at Sta Juliana when you see 4x4 Wheel Off-road vehicles lining along the road. Look for the Tourism Satellite Office at the left which is your jump off point. Parked your vehicle at the designated parking area near the DOT office. Don't worry people are really nice and they know each other.

For inquiries, you may contact Wendel Mercado at 09196084313 or 09323616249