Visitors to the Mount Pinatubo crater, often remark that beyond the beauty of the Mount Pinatubo there is a sense of calm and serenity. Mount Pinatubo has been the geographical center of the lands of the Aeta people for centuries and is the focus of their beliefs. The Aeta believe that they share their habitat at the foot of the volcano with numerous benevolent and evil spirits while their highest deity Apu Malyari ( also sometimes seen as Apo Namaylari) resides close to the summit of Mount Pinatubo.
The Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 was one of the largest eruptions in history. The eruption and two typhoons that entered the area while Mount Pinatubo was erupting turned the breadbasket of the Philippines into desolate waste land. The damage affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and the effects of the ash cloud circled the earth. The social and economic effects are still being felt, but the natural healing is well on its way. The area is a contrast between the dust and lahars in the scarcely vegetated flats and river beds to the lush mountains sides with young trees and other cover.
The transition between the two is dramatic with signs of massive erosion and towering cliffs. For the last decade dedicated hikers could trek to the mountain crater. It involved either days of hiking or hours of 4x4 travel followed by a 2 hour hard hike. A couple of years ago a “trail”, called the skyway, was cut that would allow 4x4’s a shorter route to a drop off point to trek to the crater. The skyway opened up the crater to an hour and fifteen minute 4x4 ride and a 20 minute to 45 hour trek. The trek itself is not a stroll through the park but does not require any great physical fitness level. Seeing Photos of the crater with its lake can not prepare you for the stark beauty and contrasts that you will see in front of you. The sheer cliffs, the vegetation covered mountain sides along side areas of bare volcanic rock, The 2.5 Kilometer Lake that sits inside the crater with its shores sometimes gentle, sometimes rough.
In the last few years, facilities have been added to the area around the crater. While not as rugged as it once was, it is still an wonderful outdoor adventure. Seahorse tours offer visitors an opportunity to hike to the crater. The services we offer are a little different then most tours offered by other “agencies”. We have seen many comments about additional fees for foreign guest. We incur no additional cost based on nationalities therefore we do not charge extra.
Our tours are priced for departures from Subic Bay and includes transportation from your Subic area hotel. Upon arrival at Capas transfer point our guide will take care of the formalities of registering you for the trek. After which you will board a 4x4 for your ride to the starting point of your hike. The 4x4 rides follow the river bed and then off road. The ride is about an hour. There are three starting points that are generally used. The one most often used is refereed to as the skyway trail. The skyway is a trail cut into the mountain for the 4x4 to use. It takes you fairly close to the crater. From the skyway transfer point it is only a 45 minute hike to the crater. A second drop off point is also available that is a slightly longer walk about an hour each way. Trekers who want a longer hike have a drop off point that is an two hour hike to the crater. Due to weather and other conditions one or more trails may be closed with little or no notice. We will verify trail conditions the day before a hike and notify our guest.
Upon your return from the crater it is back for another hour 4x4 trip to Capas transfer point. Here you will be able to take a shower before enjoying lunch and follow it up with an relaxing Massage. The “Pina-thai-tsu” ( a name that Seahorse tours developed) is a unique combination of a traditional Thai massage with that of a Shiatsu massage and a few local massage techniques ( hilot) added in.
On the return trip to Subic, guest may request a stop at the Capas National Shrine site of the WWII prisoner of war camp.
Seahorse Tours does not conduct tours during the rainy season. Conditions can change rapidly and can be life threatening.