With its rich history and significance, Mt. Pinatubo is now one of the most popular and well-visited travel destinations in the Philippines. The volcano stands at 960 MASL and has a picturesque view of a turquoise crater lake surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Mt. Pinatubo is approximately a 3-hour drive from Metro Manila. Our jump-off point was at Tarlac. It is considered as a minor climb and is relatively easy. The hardest part is actually getting used to the scorching heat of the sun.

This hike has been on my bucket list for years and after some thought, I finally decided to join a tour group with my former colleague. It was my first time to participate in an activity with people I don’t know. I was surprised to see that almost 80% of our group were solo travelers.

Our adventure started with a 45-minute 4×4 ride where we passed through mounds of volcanic sand and lahar. It was a bumpy yet exciting ride. We had a few stopovers for photo-ops. One of our trucks broke down a few times but we didn’t mind at all because we were having the time of our life.

After our ride, we embarked on a 2-hour trek and were able to appreciate the volcanic formations by foot. When we reached the crater lake, we were all overwhelmed with the beauty of the volcano and the lake. It felt like we were in a different world.  At the time of our climb, the water activities were already prohibited due to the high sulfur content in the lake.

This was one of the most unforgettable trips I’ve ever taken in my entire life. The best takeaway from this trip is actually the new friends that I met. Our group formed a special bond and until now, I am happy to say that we are still close as ever.

I highly recommend you include Mt. Pinatubo on your own bucket list. You will not be disappointed.

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