On the day of our trek, August 7, 2016, we woke up to a gloomy weather in Capas, Tarlac. It was raining so hard when we arrived in Capas, August 6, 2016.  We woke up at 6:00 AM prepped ourselves for the trek then ate our breakfast. The Mt. Pinatubo Tour Operators follows a strict itinerary for the tourists' safety since Mt. Pinatubo is still an active volcano.

Just in case you missed the first part of this blog entry here's your guide on How To Get To Mt. Pinatubo?

After we ate our breakfast, we were asked to stand by since the tourism office of Capas still didn't give the go signal that it was okay to proceed with the Mt. Pinatubo trek. It was just gloomy and cloudy by the time we woke up but an hour later it started to drizzle! I was getting paranoid that our tour might be cancelled. If our tour gets cancelled, we would not be able to go to Bataan our next destination. The reason why they don't permit trekking to the crater lake because there are still lahar flows within the area when it rains. And then we waited and it drizzled...then it was rain...drizzled again. After waiting for an hour and a half, the tourism office gave their go signal and off we go to the crater lake! Woot!

Before anything else, let me enumerate a few things that you should bring during the trek. If you are a climber, then I think you already know what to bring and wear.


- LIGHT LONG SLEEVED SHIRT AND LEGGINGS. Cover up to protect your skin. The sun was friendly by the time we started trekking Pinatubo because it was cloudy hours before we started our trek. I was complacent of not putting too much sunblock on my exposed skin. As a result, I got burneddddd!

- TREKKING SHOES AND SPORTS SOCKS. I don't want to risk my toenails get hit with those volcanic rocks. Some of my friends who also went to Pinatubo wore slippers or those gladiator rubber sandals. It really depends on the footwear you are most comfortable with.  My initial plan was to wear my Keds sneakers but it is a 4 hour trek to and from Pinatubo. I guess I would have to buy another pair of Keds had I worn it during our trek. You can also wear trekking sandals if you don't want to get your shoes wet. There were some who managed to stay dry all through out the trek. Well, lucky for them. =D

- SUNGLASSES - To protect your eyes from the sun and dust.
- HAT. To protect your face from the sun.

The start off point of the trek is in Brgy. Sta Juliana. We drove by in our 4x4 ride in a vast stretch of land that resulted from the eruption. It was a one hour ride.

Belgian joiners

Before we reached the jump off point, we stopped by and was amazed by these jagged mountains. The mountains were like a cake that was sliced through. It is ironic how amazing it is when it was caused by the 1991 eruption.

Around 8:45 AM, we started our trek to the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo. The trek was mostly on a flat surface but you have to maneuver your way through the rocks (small and big), volcanic sand (be careful on stepping on those sandy surface because it camouflages like a hard one and once you step on it, it breaks) and little streams of water (yes, you have no choice but to get your shoes wet). Don't forget to bring your PHP 700.00 Botolan fees to be collected halfway thru the trek by the municipal government of Botolan, Zambales.

We trekked between "sliced mountains". It was like a natural wonderland.

Twenty minutes before we reached the crater lake, we came across this signage. I guess I belong to the senior citizens. LOL!

So where do you belong? =D
I was already exhausted. We were walking for almost 2 hours already and the surface started to ascend plus we still have to maneuver thru rocks, sand and streams of water. That is two times the effort. I thought to myself "Mt. Pinatubo, you better be good. I'm so tired already.". =D

I have to disagree with this. MAJESTIC is for MT. MAYON. The suitable adjective for MT. PINATUBO is BREATHTAKING. =)

And so, the breathtaking Mt. Pinatubo crater lake didn't disappoint. I was walking thru the stoned stairs and caught a glimpse of the crater lake. I was so excited to actually witness the lake in whole so I ran. It was breathtaking. It had all these dreamy atmosphere.

We rested and took our lunch. It was already 10:30 AM when we reached the crater lake. It is prohibited to take a swim in the lake. The tour guide let us stay for an hour and a half only. As I've said earlier, they follow a strict itinerary because Mt. Pinatubo is still an active volcano. After we took lots of pictures, we started our trek back to Brgy, Sta Juliana. It was still a 2 hour trek and it was exhausting. We arrived in Bognot home stay around 3:30 PM. We took a rest for awhile and prepped ourselves because we are still bound to Bataan the same day.


In a trek, you always have to pack light. Don't bring unnecessary things because it will just add unnecessary load on your backpack. It will just add also to your exhaustion.

WATER or ENERGY DRINK - bring lots of water but just enough for your load. There are snack vendors when you reach the crater lake but they also have a tourist-y price.

SNACKS - I was hungry during our trek. We bought sliced bread with Nutella spread. It is also important to bring sweets since this also adds up to your energy.

SUNBLOCK - Don't be complacent. Even though it will be cloudy when you trek, still put lots of sunblock! I have learned my lesson the hard way. =D

EXTRA CLOTHES - There are comfort rooms when you reach the crater lake so if you want to change you can.

SMALL TOWEL - To wipe all those sweat off your face.

WALKING STICK - optional only. If you have the right balance, you will be fine. 


I don't want other tourists to experience the possibility of the tour being cancelled. That agony while waiting whether it will push through or not produced so much anxiety. I advise to schedule your tour during summer months from March - June. We went there in the month of August and that's the start of the rainy season. A week after we visited Pinatubo, the scheduled tours of the same agency we booked with was cancelled because it was frequently raining.

If you have doubts visiting Mt. Pinatubo because of the long trek, just go. It will be worth it. =)

The Aeta kids says thank you for coming...=)

The Aetas had been given the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title on May 27, 2009. According to ABS-CBN news article, the title covers over 7,000 hectares of land in some parts of Zambales and Pampanga. This gives the Aetas legal ownership of the lands near Mt. Pinatubo.


"Take nothing but pictures."
"Bring nothing but memories."
"Leave nothing but footprints."


I am so broke. This is my 3rd trip for this year but as they say travel while you are still young! I think my motto would be "Travel now, pulubi later (Travel now, get broke later)". LOL!

One of my bucket list trips is to witness the breathtaking crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo. It erupted on June 15, 1991 and was considered as the second largest eruption of the 20th century. Mt. Pinatubo wreaked havoc in the northern part of the Philippines specifically in the parts of Zambales (Pinatubo is part of the Zambales mountains), Tarlac and Pampanga. The same day of the eruption Typhoon Yunya passed through Luzon causing more damage in the form of lahar flows. According to reports the casualties of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption was less thanks to the close coordination of the communities and the government. Okay so let's stop talking about the disaster because right now the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It is right to call it a Beautiful Disaster.


We touched down in NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) from MCIA (Mactan Cebu International Airport) around 6:30 AM on August 6, 2016. Next stop is to go to Victory Liner Bus terminal in Pasay where you can ride buses going NORTH BOUND.  This can be a little tricky ---well at least for us because we spent almost two hours looking for the right Victory Liner terminal. That's 2 precious hours wasted ladies and gentlemen. So, Victory Liner has two bus terminals: NORTH BOUND and SOUTH BOUND.

You can ride a metered taxi from NAIA going to Victory Liner Bus terminal in Pasay. Taxi fare is around Php 100.00-150.00. In the bus terminal, you can ask the staff which bus will take you to Capas, Tarlac that will pass in Capas Junction. We took the bus bound for Baguio and just informed the bus conductor to drop us at McDonald's Capas, Tarlac. We departed in Pasay 10:40 AM and arrived in Capas 1:10 PM. Bus fare is PHP 180.00/person.

Once in Capas, Tarlac, there are tricycles who would offer you a ride going to known home stays for Mt. Pinatubo tourists. After we ate our lunch in McDonald's (which is like one of the worst because there were a lot of flies inside the vicinity), we rode a tricycle going to Bognot Homestay. While on our way to our hotel, the heavens started to rumble a bit then a little later it started to RAIN...hard!!! A Mt. Pinatubo tourist's worst nightmare!! Tours are cancelled if the weather is bad because there are still lahar flows up to this day.

It was an hour and a half tricycle ride with heavy rains pouring on us. We departed from McDonald's Capas 2:00 PM and arrived in Bognot Homestay 3:30 PM. Tricycle fare is PHP 300.00/one way trip not per person.


Bognot Homestay is a known place for Mt. Pinatubo tourists. We stayed here for PHP 1,000.00/per night so divided by 2 that's PHP 500.00/person. Their rooms are clean but the room where we stayed was part of a house that was made into a hotel. There was a kitchen and a living room just like a family home. One thing I didn't like though is that we had a common CR with other guests. Our room has no TV and the only telco with a cellphone signal is Smart.


I also suggest if you stay in Bognot Homestay you better buy your dinner in the town proper because their dinner menu was a bit pricey. Our dinner costs PHP 160.00/each. If you are on a beer budget, you can just buy a chicken fillet meal in McDonald's for dinner.


After searching thru the internet, we decided to book with Mt. Pinatubo Jolly Tours. They don't have an updated website but they are legit. They also don't issue an official receipt. Good thing with MPJT though is that the owner really helped us get the cheapest tour package. The minimum pax in a 4 x 4 ride is 5. There were only two of us so to get the cheapest package she let us joined the three Belgians during our Pinatubo tour. Our tour package inclusions with rates of PHP 1,900/person are:
4x4 ride
Local Guide
Conservation Fee
Entrance fee
Brgy Fee
Packed Lunch
Certificate of Conquest

Aside from that, Botolan fees of Php 700.00/person are collected halfway thru the trek. Botolan fees are imposed by the municipal government of Botolan, Zambales.  I hope they would use the fees to preserve the surroundings of Mt. Pinatubo. 

Mt. Pinatubo Jolly Tours partnered with Bognot Homestay so all their guests get to stay here. Inclusion of our PHP 500.00/night per person is a free breakfast.


You can contact Ms. Jo of Mt. Pinatubo Jolly Tours with these numbers:
Email: mtpinatubojollytour@yahoo.com

You have to be patient for her to reply because cellphone signal is limited in their area.

Summary of expenses PER PERSON:
Php 150.00 - taxi
Php 180.00 - bus fare to Capas, Tarlac
Php 100.00 - lunch at McDonald's
Php 300.00 - tricycle fare to and from Bognot Homestay
Php 500.00 - room rate
Php 1,900.00 - Mt. Pinatubo tour rate
Php 700.00 - Botolan fees
Php 3,830.00/person

Hope that helped! =) Stay tuned for my next blog entry. Our trek to Mt. Pinatubo and tips on what to wear and what to bring. =)


It has been a week since Herbie left us. The hardest part of this ordeal is every time I go to work every morning and when I go home after work. Every morning I always said goodbye to Herbie and touched his head when I left for work. That's one thing I miss. Right now, an empty space greets me every morning. The most painful is when I get home from work. There is no Herbie waiting and looking out for me when I arrive and greets me with his happy face and wagging tail.


Losing a pet is so painful and I thanked those friends who were there to listen to me talking about Herbie's memories.

If you are not a pet person...
1. A simple pat or rub in the back is a consoling gesture. Even if you can't relate how they feel at least you let them know you are there for them.

2. Lend them an ear. We love to talk about our pets. Even if after sharing our pet's life when they were still alive makes us sad after because we'd miss them I'd say talking is still a good therapy because it's like we are remembering them and spreading how good and obedient they were when they were still alive.

3. Never mock our pet's death. That is just disrespectful.

4. Be sensitive. Never laugh because we cried over a dog or a cat. We loved them like a family member so we have the right to bawl our eyes out over our pet.

5. Never compare. Okay so you experienced death of a loved one before but we really don't need your comparison. We are grieving the death of someone who is dearly close to our heart too.

6. Ask them how they are. A simple "How are you?" or "What caused his death?" the day after our pet died goes a long way.

If you are a pet person but haven't experienced the death of a pet before...
1. Never ignore a fellow pet lover's grief. (yes, there were some)

2. Put yourself in our shoes.


Last week the day after Herbie died, I was doing my laundry and I saw Herbie's things. I miss how he seeks for my attention whenever I do my laundry. He would scratch my back (sometimes a bit painful) for attention then I'd say to him "Herbie, ate (big sister) is still doing her laundry". I would bend down my head for him to kiss me then he would place his head between my upper torso and my arms. After all those sweetness, he would go back to his place and curl down watching me doing my laundry.

I also love how disciplined Herbie was whenever I feed him. Some dogs would just eat right away from their dog bowl even if we are not finished yet putting food on it. I gotta thanked CESAR MILLAN. I learned from him tips on how to discipline a dog. I guess every dog lover knows him. With Herbie, he would always wait until I finished putting food in his bowl.

I also miss how he goes "UP" and hold my hand in a standing position and goes "DOWN" if I told him to.

I miss how he goes to me running after he got free from our gate. Then he gives me dog kisses.


I will miss his playfulness. Sometimes when Herbie got free from our gate, he usually runs around near our block. I would call him to go home but he still wants to run around. Sometimes when I call his name, he would stopped running and just looked at me with those mischievous eyes and smiling and panting face then he would ran away again.

I also miss how he scratches our door whenever he hears my foot steps going down the stairs every morning.

I also miss how he sits in front of the gate facing our window waiting for either me or my mom to come out.

I also miss how he curls down near my legs whenever I spend time with him chilling and sitting outside our house but just inside the gate.

Most of all, I will always miss Herbie looking out inside the gate waiting for mama and I arriving from work. It is just heartbreaking.



It's like a safety net was gone when I lost Herbie. Every time I go on videoke sessions with my friends, from now on I will not miss singing I'm Missing You by Meja. I actually sang it last Saturday and I will always dedicate it to Herbie. Here are some of the lyrics:

I miss your love, since you've been gone
I find it hard to go on
The summer sky don't mean a thing
I thought I'd always be strong
I got a feeling inside
and it's making my heart cry, cause

I'm missing you
and it's making me blue, yeah
I'm missing you
but what can I do
Thousand miles away, from you

I will always miss you Herbie. Till we meet again near the Rainbow Bridge.