Sorrel takes a trek to Pinatubo, which is one of 22 active volcanoes sprinkled across the Philippines!
Pinatubo is one of 22 active volcanoes sprinkled across the Philippines. The sleeping giant erupted in June 1991 after more than four centuries of lying dormant. Five billion cubic metres of ash and pyroclastic debris was spewed from the volcano. Its eruption columns were 18km wide at the base and reached up to 30km from the vent. The earth shook and day turned to night.
The devastation was enormous. A total of 847 people lost their lives, 184 were injured, 23 were listed as missing and more than one million were displaced. The volcanic remnants hung in the atmosphere for many months with winds dispersing them to places as far as Russia and North America. Australia's sunsets were affected in an eerie way for some time. The eruption and its after-effects caused the world's temperature to drop by 1ºC.
The 1745m Pinatubo straddles Pampanga, Zambales and Tarlac in the centre of Luzon Island. The Philippines' semi-nomadic Negrito tribes, the Aetas, believe it is where they can communicate with the spirits of their forefathers whom they believe inhabit animals, trees and mounds of earth there.
A huge grey mushroom-shaped cloud reached 20km above the vent when it erupted and nearby rivers and tribulations overflowed with ash, pumice and large volcanic fragments, all leaving Pinatubo 150m shorter.
All of this misery aroused the curiosity of adventurers and now Trek Adventures, a company run by ex-pat American Michael Benet, offer day and overnight trips to the crater. He was there when the mountain erupted and has a passion for its ravaged, fragile landscape.
Tours begin in Clark and it is about a one-hour drive in a van to the starting point where you must register. You then transfer to a modified four-wheel drive vehicle for trips over the lahar flats. After around 30 minutes you reach the half-way point, otherwise known as the constriction point.
This is where your two hour hike to the top begins. It is about 10º and has been done by people of all ages. It's a good idea to wear old clothing as the walk is muddy, sandy and slippery. Local villagers are happy to earn a few pesos and carry any baggage you may have.
Your driver and guide are well equipped to point out all there is to know along the way. They have all the stories and information about the volcano.
Once at the top most people like to stay a few hours and maybe take a dip in the crater's lake.
Overnight trips include all meals and camping gear you just take a pack with personal needs.
Three hours north of Manila in the Philippines.
Trek Adventures' day tours to Mt Pinatubo start at around $90 per person. Lunch, guides and transfers are included.
Qantas files four times a week to Manila, starting at $938 from Sydney; $961 from Brisbane; $963 from Melbourne; $1349 from Adelaide; $1851 from Perth and $2152 from Darwin, per person. Prices include charges and taxes. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Trek Adventures: Ph: 0011 63 917 955 firstname.lastname@example.org
Philippine Department of Tourism
Ph: (02) 9283 0711
Fax: (02) 9283 email@example.com