Mount Pinatubo Trek in Subic Bay - Philippines
Trekking is the more adventurous and enjoyable version of a guided city tour. It involves hiking trips to rustic,but often rugged regions and may involve other outdoor sports such as backpacking and rock climbing. It can be as adventurous and athletic an activity as the trekker may want and may last anywhere from a few hours to more than a year. Trekking allows people to see Nature up close and personal and experience a bit of folk life in isolated mountain communities. For the novice traveller, it is an activity that should be attempted with the help of someone who is experienced or is very familiar with the terrain. The Andes in South America and the Himalayas in Asia are challenging trekking regions, but a Mount Pinatubo trek will not only challenge you, but leave you awe-inspired at the way the hand of Nature, using fire and brimstone, shapes and molds the face of the earth.
Located 89 kilometers northwest of Manila and about 37 kilometers north of Subic, Mt. Pinatubo is part of a volcano chain along the western edge of Luzon. The 1991 eruption, the largest since that of Novarupta in 1912 and ten times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, blew its top creating a 2.5 kilometer wide crater lake or caldera. Three years after the eruption, a group of Filipino mountaineers made the first latitudinal Mount Pinatubo trek. Starting from Clark Air Base in Pampanga, the group scaled the eastern crater rim, rapelled down the other side, swam across the crater lake and exited through the western crater canal to the shorelines of Zambales. International media reports on the groups exploits drew mountaineers, backpackers and adventurers from all over the world to the volcano. Today, various organizations, local governments and travel agencies are offering a guided soft adventure version of that Mount Pinatubo trek by using a 4x4 all weather jeep part of the way.
But since city folks who are not used to hiking in rugged terrain might find even a soft adventure too strenous an activity, enterprising Subic-based travel agencies have included a delightful twist to their Mount Pinatubo trek package--a shower and a refreshing massage after the trek to sooth aching muscles. Trekkers will be shuttled from Subic to the spa station in Capas, Tarlac where they will clamber aboard a 4x4 jeep for the one-hour trip through lahar land, kilometers of desolation, to the mountain ridge base jump-off point. There, the two-hour trek to the crater starts. To be sure, the hike is not a walk in the park. But neither does it require great physical conditioning because the trek is of moderate difficulty. Passing through dried up river beds, tall lahar deposits, rocky terrain and streams, you will marvel at the unearthly sight. At the crater lake, the emerald water is freezing yet irresistably tempting to tired trekkers. Upon your return to Capas, a refreshing shower and a relaxing shiatsu massage awaits you. A Mount Pinatubo trek and adventure spa will cost about P5,000. A basic necessity is a comfortable pair of hiking shoes or trekking sandals. The presence or absence of these could spell the difference between walking in comfort and hobbling in pain all the way up to Mt. Pinatubo.