The trek begins in Capas, Tarlac. You need to take an hour ride on a 4×4 vehicle. It takes you over the site where the lahar passed.
In June 1991, the fifth largest volcanic eruption took place in Mount Pinatubo, part of the Cabusilan Mountain range. Pinatubo itself is located in Zambales. Unlike other volcanoes that released mostly lava, the eruption released much volcanic ash, sulfur dioxide, clouds of gases, and lahar. Lahar is a mudflow of pyroclastic material, rocky debris and water and reaches a wider radius than lava. This violent and prolonged eruption cooled the earth and changed the landscape of this mountain range. This is all too evident as you go along the trek. We walk and climb the path created by lahar that cut a wide valley between the mountain range. This area which was once dense tropical forest hiding primitive tribes was transmogrified by this natural cataclysmic event. This is how Mount Pinatubo looked in 1991.
After the eruption, we see the Mushroom cloud over the eruption. Here are my photos of the trek that show how the terrain was transformed by the monster eruption of Pinatubo.
The trek begins at the Toblerone Hills, named after its distinctive even triangle shape.
We walked up the trail following where the lahar flowed. One walks along paths with rocks and sand and small streams with patches of vegetation.
The rock formations have high metallic content and accounts for little streams of yellowish water flowing into the main stream. Throughout the trek, we follow the general direction of the creek that flows from water coming from the mountain range and natural springs. Natural springs dot the area of this mountain range. At times, you step into cool sections of the stream to cross one side and at times the water is warm.
I admit the 7 kilometer trek almost conquered my spirit. It is rocky, sandy, wet then lush forests. The climb is a gradual slope becoming steeper as you approach the crater lake.
This is what you see before the crater area and the cross confirms the wisdom of praying while walking today. The weather is notoriously unpredictable and a trek can be called off by the Department of Tourism the instant some rain shower looks like it will take a turn for the worse.
This is the Pinatubo crater 25 years after.
In a way, the trek transformed me personally. Nature has a way of chipping into one s soul. At the end of this trek, I felt incredibly grateful for my life and this journey.