A Beautiful Disaster : Mt. Pinatubo via Botolan, Zambales

Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano in the Zambales Mountains. After its eruption in June 1991, which makes it the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, a crater lake was formed.Today, the Mt. Pinatubo crater is open to tourists. You can take the Capas, Tarlac or Botolan, Zambales jump off.
Taking Botolan will take you an hour of 4x4 ride and 2 to 3 hours (depending on your phase) trekking going to the crater.
The Mt Pinatubo Adventure will start with an orientation at the base camp located at Camp Kainomayan in Botolan. The tour coordinator will discuss first how to protect yourself from lahar dust.

From here, ihanda ang sarili sa mahigit isang oras na paglalakabay sakay ng 4x4. Protect your eyes, nose, hair because anything exposed will be covered with lahar dust.  I don't have a mask with me, but  who cares "dry hair don't care!"

Check out our adventure below:

We booked through TriPinas and here's the itinerary:

0200 Meet up (McDonalds El Pueblo, El Pueblo Real De Manila, ADB Avenue corner Julia Vargas  Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.)
  • Meet the tour coordinator - Pay your balance - Sign the waiver form
0600 Estimated arrival time at the base camp in Botolan, Zambales
Free coffee, orientation and transfer to the 4X4 (or 6X6) vehicles for the off road adventure
0830 Start trekking (around 2 hours walking or less if the short-cut is passable that day)
1000-1100 (depending on your pace) Estimated arrival time at the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo
  •  Relax, photos, lecture about the history of Mt. Pinatubo, picnic lunch (at clients' account)
1230 Start return trek (around 2 hours walking or less if the short-cut is passable that day)
1430-1500 (depending on your pace) 4X4 (or 6X6) ride
1600-1700 Back at base camp. Freshen up
1730 Departure from the base camp to Manila
2030-2230 (depending traffic) Estimated arrival time in Manila (McDonalds in Ortigas)

The dispatch of the 4X4 (or 6X6) vehicles is based on a queue which means that we can't choose the vehicle you will ride. Some are open and some are close, there are no seatbelts and the ride is very bumpy and extremely dusty.You will share the vehicle(s) with other groups.

The trek takes an average of 2 hours to complete (or less if the short-cut is passable that day). A fast hiker can do it in 1 hour and 30 minutes, if you take your time it will take 2 hours and 30 minutes. We will visit an Aeta village on the way. This itinerary can change depending on the mountain conditions, trail availability, weather and military exercises.

  • sunscreen/cap/hat
  • dust mask (the off road ride is very dusty due to the lahar)
  • rain gear/poncho/umbrella (afternoon rain is common)
  • light jacket (it can be windy and cold on the morning and also during the transfer due to the aircon)
  • trekking sandals (there are several river crossings so use preferably open shoes)
  • extra clothes and extra pair of footwear (so you can change after the trek)
  • packed lunch, trail food (fruits, nuts..) and trash bag
  • water (1.5L or more per person)
  • small beach mat to use for picnics at the lakeshore
  • personal first aid/medications
  • camera
  • copy of a national ID (or copy of your passport for non-Filipinos) -it might be checked by the local tourism. If you are more than 59 years old you may need a medical certificate
  • small backpack
  • your happy self