Travel Diary: Team Laagan Conquers Mt. Pinatubo.. Leaving No One Behind!

“You are the God who works wonders.”  

Psalm 77:13-14

Fun Facts

  • MT. PINATUBO has been dubbed as the Beautiful Disaster as the eruption that happened on June 15, 1991, created new wonders despite its land destruction.
  • It took 600 years of being in deep slumber before Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, discharging tons of sulfur dioxide or lahar in the air.
  • The volcano’s Ultra Plinian eruption is considered by the volcanologists to be the 2nd largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century.
  • The wonder of Mt. Pinatubo, however, is its crater lake, which lies at the end of a 2-hour trek. The color of the water changes from blue-green to deep-blue depending upon the season.
  • The word Pinatubo means “fertile place where one can make crops grow,” or could mean “made to grow”
  • It is located at the tripoint boundary of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga, all in Central Luzon on the northern island of Luzon.
  • The earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, the Aeta (pronounced as “eye-ta,”), Agta or Ayta is an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, Philippines.
  • On January 14, 2010, some 7,000 Aeta families from Zambales were granted the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) covering the Zambales side of Pinatubo which includes the summit and Lake Pinatubo, officially becoming their Lutan Tua, meaning familial land.
  • The Aeta elders tell many stories about the history of the mountain, one being known was that Apo Namalyari (The Lord of Happenings/Events) induced the June 1991 eruption because of disapproval toward illegal loggers and an oil company that performed deep exploratory drilling and well testing on the volcano looking for geothermal heat from 1988 to 1990.

IMG_0035IMG_0147IMG_0142IMG_0145IMG_0143IMG_0141IMG_0139IMG_0135IMG_0133IMG_0131IMG_0130Take note

  • Pinatubo is about 1,486 MASL
  • Trail Difficulty: 2/10
  • Adventure Duration: 1 day
  • Effective May 2016, Botolan LGU Zambales collects ₱700 government fee per person
  • Age limit recommended: 8-60 years old
  • Pregnant not allowed
  • Swimming to Crater Lake not allowed
  • Not recommended for persons with Heart problem/ Hypertensive / Asthma 

How to get there

Via Travel Agency (CTph Lifestyle & Travel Services)

  • We opt to avail of their Mt. Pinatubo tour package for a stress-free tour.
  • Tour rate is ₱2,100 per person for group of 5 persons or more
  • Main Office: A&M Ramos Building along Gen Emilio Aguinaldo Highway (Near Robinsons Place, Imus) Imus, Cavite. Philippines
    Tel. No.  (046) 416 55 03


  1. Roundtrip Van Transfer (Manila-Pinatubo Base Camp-Manila)
  2. 4×4 ride (5 pax/unit) (Merging of guests)
  3. Permit & Entrance Fees
  4. Aeta donation fees
  5. Reading Material about the history of Pinatubo
  6. Services of a Local Filipino Guide to the Crater Lake
  7. Service of a Tour Coordinator
  8. Conservation Fee
  9. Gas, Toll Fees, Driver’s Fees  and Parking Fees
  • Van Capacity: 15/16 Seater Fully Air-conditioned Toyota Hi-Ace Commuter/Nissan Urvan


  1. Environmental Fee of ₱700 per person which we paid upon arrival
  2. Shower Fee of ₱50 at Bognot Lodge
  3. Meals

Via Public Transportation

  • Take a Tarlac-bound bus and stop at the Capas Public Market
  • From Capas Public Market, take a jeepney or a tricycle and ride to Sta. Juliana.
  • Or take a bus that has routes to Baguio, Ilocos, or Pangasinan. These will pass by Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac.
  • From Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac, pay the environmental fee of ₱700 at the tourism office.
  • Book a 4×4 to take you closer to the mountain. The adventure starts the moment you leave the tourism office!

How to get closer to the Crater Lake

  • The hour-long ride on a 4×4 jeepney is the only way to get closer to the mountain.
  • It is amazing at how these vehicles could pass by all types of terrain and at all angles, too, with no problem at all.
  • It will surely make your hair dry and frizzy, but it’s a very fun ride.
  • At the other end of Crow Valley is the start of the trekking point.
  • It may take up to two (2) hours of walking one way (4 in total) depending on your walking skills and is a rigid exercise, but it’s a lot of fun and you’ll be surrounded with nature the entire time.




How long to stay

  • A day tour is enough. However, if you are planning to stay longer, you can lodge at Alvin’s Homestay also known as Bognot Lodge.
  • This is where our van was parked and after the trek, we had our shower in this place. Don’t worry, they gave us enough time to shower and pack up for our leave.
  • Alvin Bognot’s homestay is located in Barangay Sta. Juliana Capas Tarlac  +639198614102/+639292490865

What I love about the tour

  • The journey to Mt. Pinatubo is an adventure itself. At 6AM, you can enjoy the 4×4 ride more since the sun is just rising. And the view is amazing as the sun ray hits the lahar walls.
  • The 4×4 ride felt like we were transported to some other place beyond the entry point (Tarlac) or where most of Mt. Pinatubo is located (Zambales).
  • At some point of the trip, I wondered if some more movement would cause the lahar in the mountainsides to slide down at us below. Kulba gamay! 🙂 
  • The picturesque scenery and the peaceful environment are just a perfect cure to relieve all the stresses at work.
  • Being on the trails means you can leave the buzzing, beeping and bad noise of the city and completely immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of nature.
  • The hike is a great way to spending some quality time with friends. 
  • Plus, it’s always fun-filled with the Team Laagan. No one’s complaining just laughing all the time. And if you begin to feel a little sluggish or unmotivated you will have friends there spurring you on and giving you the confidence you need to complete the journey.




My plus one, cousin Josaree 🙂





IMG_0194IMG_0192IMG_0190IMG_0188IMG_0182IMG_0181IMG_0179IMG_0178IMG_0176IMG_0174IMG_0173IMG_0172Mt Pinatubo Travel Tips:

  • Always check the weather before planning your Mount Pinatubo Day Tour.
  • Take your breakfast to give you energy.
  • Wear sturdy and water-resistant shoes. You will be walking across streams and wet patches, even during the summer.
  • Bring extra clothes, cap, and scarf.
  • Have all your items fit in one small backpack that won’t be difficult to carry as you trek.
  • Bring water with you for the trip as well as snacks like energy bars.
  • Mt. Pinatubo is a fairly easy hike, but in case you need some support, bring trekking poles with you.
  • Natives do provide makeshift poles made of bamboo at the meet-up point for ₱10 each. Do support the locals! You can use them to balance when crossing streams. 🙂

See Sample Itinerary and Expense

Day & Time Activity

Actual Expenses per Person

1:30 AM Grab Taxi MCIAA to MOA


1:45 AM Assembly Time (MOA) 2:30 AM

03:00 AM Depart to Capas, Tarlac

05:00 AM Arrival at Capas Tarlac and breakfast


06:00 AM Depart Tourism Office to 4×4 jump-off point


07:00 AM Start Trek to the Crater Lake (Water, Trekking poles)


09:00 AM Arrival at the Crater Lake

11:00 AM Start Descent

01:00 PM Arrival Sta Juliana Capas Tourism Office, Trekking Point. (Lunch, shower, Toiletries)


02:00 PM Back to Manila

05:00 PM ETA Manila, Taxi to Hotel for other next day activity




Tour Package Fee (January 31, 2017 & March 13, 2017) Mt. Pinatubo Adventure Package (CTph Lifestyle & Travel Services)




’til next Team Laagan adventure! 🙂


Keep wandering & wondering,




*All photos are mine unless otherwise stated. 🙂





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