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Crater Climbing in Capas: A Mount Pinatubo Adventure

For a unique day trip, head to Mount Pinatubo for a one-of-a-kind trekking experience.

Abet Lagula shares his images of the Mount Pinatubo Capas Trail nearly two decades after the catastrophic eruption of the volcano in 1991.

When Mount Pinatubo woke from its deep slumber in 1991, the effects of its eruption were felt worldwide. Billions of metric tons of ash spread throughout the atmosphere, and massive lahar flows destroyed several towns in the vicinity of the volcano. What used to be dense forestland became a barren landscape of ash and mineral deposits. Several hundreds were killed and the livelihoods of more than two million people were affected.

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Two decades later, nature has restored the beauty of Mount Pinatubo. While traces of ash and other deposits can still be seen on the way to the mountain, volcanic activities have subsided. When the mountain summit collapsed during the eruption, a caldera was formed and within it a crater lake now rests, enhanced by abundant rainfall and the growth of new vegetation surrounding it. Pinatubo, formerly a mountain feared by the people because of its eruption, is now a major tourist attraction and is one of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the Philippines. Best experienced during the summer season, a hiking expedition to Mount Pinatubo via the Capas trail is one way to see this majestic attraction.

Getting There

Mount Pinatubo is located at the boundaries of Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales in Central Luzon. The starting point for the main trail leading to the lake is in Barangay Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac. To travel by car from Manila to Capas, Tarlac, take the North Luzon Expressway. Drive up to the Sta. Ines exit in Mabalacat, Pampanga and continue driving north to reach Capas, Tarlac. Head towards the Capas Shrine until you reach Barangay Sta. Juliana, where numerous billboards and road signs can be found pointing towards the Mount Pinatubo Trail.

Travel time by car from Manila to Capas is around two hours. For alternative means to reach Capas, visit the Capas, Tarlac website.