I read an article in the net that if you want to experience Mt. Pinatubo to its post eruption beauty, the time to climb it is now. So when an officemate invited me to a planned trip to Mt. Pinatubo I decided to join (of course I also like to have a little bonding with my co-workers).
The Jump-off starts from Brgy. Sta. Juliana in Tarlac, a Korean company had established/monopolized a resort in this place. I guess all the travelers to Pinatubo needs to pass by them, they are handling the tours in coordination with the locals who are serving as the guide and drivers. After registering, we took a ride in a 4x4 pickup truck that took us to the foot of Mt. Pinatubo crater. As expected the 4x4 ride is very rough, but the uncomfort is overcomed by the scenery along the way. We saw rivers, lroads covered by lahar, Aeta community and some domesticated animals roaming freely. From all of these, the most grand is seeing lahar pillars that I guess were created when mudflows flowed along this area. I also saw from not so far away mountains that maybe are still unexplored. Rightfully speaking, the internet article is correct. Most, if not all the surroundings are now covered in green. From what I've read and saw in pictures, this area use to be like a desert after the volcanoe's explosion and the lahar mudflows. After almost an hour of traveling you will reach the foot of the crater. Its all walk from here. According to our guide, the trek part is now cut in half. Before, you have to walk for about 30-45 minutes to get to the foot of the crater, now this place can also be reach by vehicles. Well, I guess they really want to have a lot of tourist here and develop (commercialize?) the place. From the foot of the crater its about another 45 minutes leisure walk to the crater. The path is passing by a shallow river with rocks and sand. Then you will reach a short stairs climb (about 30 steps) and then its the crater. There is water on the crater that is normally colored green (but they say sometimes it turns blue). You can swim inside the crater lake but mind you its not like a beach that you can walk far into the water and still very shallow. Here after three steps, theres already a chance for you to drown. Looking around there are about two cottages already built around the area, and they are still building more. O well, signs of commercialization (so whats next, Hotels?) .But in fairness the place is well kept clean. I just hope they could keep it this way. After spending a few hours looking, dipping and feeling the place we decided to head back home. Mt. Pinatubo adventure is a good experience specially for those who like to see good nature beauty with minor sweat. But if you are looking for a complete outdoor experience I suggest you try another trail going to this mountain (currently there are three existing Mt. Pinatubo trails).