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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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March 13, 2009

mt. pinatubo crater lake

view from the hikers' rest area

The massive eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 has left this huge crater that is now filled with water. The guides suggest that the best time to go here is between the months of December and February. Its dry season so the hike is easy and its also when the waters of the lake is a beautiful turquoise in color. During the rainy season the water can turn muddy brown.

I'm not really sure what cause this blue-green color but I read somewhere that high concentrations of lime (calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide) can color the waters of rivers or lakes cyan. I don't know whether this is the case for Pinatubo's crater lake and I sure want to know exactly why the color is like that.

Jade Lake
enjoying the lake side

I was surprise to see a lot of sun bathers near the lake side that day. This place used to be a destination for hardy trekkers and mountaineers but the completion of the "Skyway" has been this lake an easy destination, as easy as a trip to your favorite beach resort.

Lake View
crater walls

They have boats/kayaks for rent (Php 300) if you want to explore the other sides of the lakes. You just have to be careful if you visit the other shores for I have noticed traces of rock slides in some of them. Its best to keep a safe distance from these shores.

Great Wall
a closer look at the walls (south-western)

There was a time, just after the eruption, when the water level is high. The water level used be almost 3/4 to the top the crater wall (see photo above). They have to drill a hole at the north western side to "relieve" the lake of some its water. Several towns of Zambales and Tarlac would be flooded if the crater walls break down with that water level.

Light and Dark Tug of War
one last look

I was one of the last to leave the lake shore. (I thought I was the last but then I discovered two of my friends are still swimming in the lake!). The rest of our group (rest of the crowd already trekked down) are already topside near the viewing stations.

As I gave the lake one last glance, I can help but think how this amazing beauty had wreak havoc in 1991: villages wiped out and buried under lahar, countless dead, thousands of folks displaced, and landscapes changed forever.

Photographer's note:

Clouds can be fast moving over the lake. The light changes by the second. It best to bring GND filters. If you have an ND400 filter(or an equivalent filter that can cut 10-13 f/stops), you can take nice long exposure shots with cloud movements. IR photography is also nice there.

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Anonymous said...

I think the lake is a treat after a long hike, isn't it? When I saw the lake, I thought that maybe I should go someday. I saw some pics of the lake too by Dong's blog, did you go together? :)

Photo Cache said...

ang ganda ganda. i hope i can see this someday too.

Anonymous said...

The one Last look picture made me very happy though I know that it;s the last... :)

Nice Shots again Kuya Allan :)

Ishmael F. Ahab said...

"As I gave the lake one last glance, I can help but think how this amazing beauty had wreak havoc in 1991: villages wiped out and buried under lahar, countless dead, thousands of folks displaced, and landscapes changed forever."

That my friend is the harsh beauty of nature. Kumbaga parang Carino Brutal.

Nice post about your trave to the famous Pinatubo. So marami na pala talagang pumupunta jan sa bulkan na 'yan.

Mukhang safe naman yung Pinatubo sa ngayon. Di tulad ng Mayon na medyo ative pa.

Nice travel.

Lantaw said...

Skies, Definitely a treat! Yup we went there together. Thanks!

Photo Cache, Its a must-visit, and with the extension of the Skyway it has become even more accessible :). Thanks!

Christian, Thanks bro! Ayaw mo na bumalik dun? :)

Ishmael, Lots and lots of folks trek there nowadays because its very accessible. Safe naman sya. Thanks!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Simply stunning photography of the simply stunning location. Pinatubo is one of my dream destinations. I am mad about volcanoes and what is comparable to the Pinatubo? I'm becoming your follower without a doubt :)

Smoked Off Face at the Willingdon Crescent in Jamnagar
Birdhouses, Birdfeeders, Birdbath

Reena said...

wow. i like the pictures of the mountains. they remind of the movie lord of the rings. :)

great last shot!!!

hmm..i don't understand a word on the photography notes. hehe...

Anonymous said...

Kuya Allan, nagka-nosebleed ako sa note mo. Haha.

Nakarating ka na po ba sa Sagada? Btw, abt the shots I want to ask... hmm.. may list na ako FINALLY!

Anonymous said...

That looks just as tempting today as when I just saw a glimpse of it last time. Did you try the cyan water? It LOOKS lovely at least!

SandyCarlson said...

That is a superbly beautiful place.

Catherine said...

Beautiful colours in these crater shots...I would love to hike in these areas...

Anonymous said...

This is so great! One of my dream is to see the volcano, too! Thanks for "taking me there" with your entry. =) Seeing entries like this makes me so proud to be a Filipino.

My entry for My World can be read here. Feel free to visit it anytime.

escape said...

excellent shots. definitely the best ive seen yet of mount pinatubo.

na miss ka namin nung weekend.

Anonymous said...

beautiful Pinatubo..one of my must-see places in Pinas. The soonest, the better for me. You took amazingly beautiful pics and very informative post too:)

Arija said...

A beautifully illustrated and interesting post. I am so glad you included the crater walls, they are spectacular and dangerous. The colour of the crater lake alone was worth going up there for. Just lovely.

Garando said...

Awesome photos! It's amazing how much Pinatubo has changed over the years. When I went there last 2001, the crater looked rusted and it was surrounded by barren ash. Ang ganda na talaga nya ngayon, so inviting! I just hope that the tour agencies don't exploit it further.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

what an awesome place...it would definitely be on my list of places to go if i were to visit.
thanks for sharing with us. always enjoy your posts and pics.


Anonymous said...

Ang ganda na talaga ng lake! It looked like that the first time, except that the water level was still high. No need to hike down. The 2nd time it looked rusty but it was beautiful even so. Grabe the terrain and landscape keeps changing. It's soooo beautiful na!

Shey said...

Awesome, awesome photos! Breathtaking.

Nash said...

Lantaw: I was referred by Dong Ho to you, kxe i'm having this difficulty choosing a camera for me. Kindly check my blogpost about this thank you sir :)

Lantaw said...

Bhavesh, Thank you! Pinatubo is in a league of its own :)

Reena, hahaha, never mind the notes. Thanks!

MeL Been to Sagada 4 years ago. Email mo na lang ang list mo :)

Esther, Some of my friends did :), it was way too cool for me :)

Lantaw said...

Sandy, Thanks for the visit!

Catherine, its a popular hiking destination, try it one of these days if you happen to be in PH

Jenn, Mabuhay ang Pinoy! :)

Dom, Thanks bai, byahe ulit tayo :)

Lantaw said...

Marites, Dali na :)

Arija, Thanks, glad you liked them

Garando, Hike ka ulit dun, before the crowd beats the path flat :D

Erin, Thank you!

Lantaw said...

Jenn, The guides told me the water level was high before. I think the water color really changes depending on the time of the year.

Shey Thanks for dropping by!

Nash, I wrote a comment on your post re: camera choices, thanks for dropping by.

Nash said...

oh my gosh breath taking.. I remember the word "LANTAW" kxe yan yung first bisaya na word na itinuro sken and the next one was "PISPIS" which means a bird :)


Lantaw said...

Nash, Good thing the first Bisayan words you learned were not bastos :D

Ishmael F. Ahab said...


PISPIS is Bird...hehehe.

Sa Bisaya...LANGGAM is Bird.

ruthay said...


I love mountaineering and hiking...

This is one of "the" places where I really want to go...

Ang gaganda ng picsss!!!! LOVE IT!

Lantaw said...

ruthay, Thanks!

Lantaw said...

ruthay, Thanks!

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Wow!! I left for Canada 5 years after Pinatubo, so I haven't had the chance to see the after-effects! What a beautiful sight! It reminds me of Canada's Lake Louise in Banff, Calgary! And yes, it is the lime that gives it its cyan tint!

Lantaw said...

jen, Its really beautiful there now, far from what it was a few years after the eruption. Glad to know my "guess" was right :)

Unknown said...

As usual sir, very beautiful. How difficult is it to walk to the crater?

Lantaw said...

ceslou, hinde mahirap bro, maraming bata at matatandang nag hike dun

cpsanti said...

i saw water like that once in aguas de azul in mexico. someone told me why it was so, but i forgot. heehee. have to research again ;-)

Cat said...

Hi Lantaw,

Other than this entry, you have many nice pictures! Would like to ask you a couple of stuff for my trip to the philippines in December. I'll be arriving in Clark and sure want to visit Mount Pinatubo. Cant seems to find your email anywhere up here. Could you drop me one at cattidudette@hotmail.com?


Anonymous said...

hi my name is ampara please feel free to add my facebook :) ampz '') taylor xx good day

Unknown said...

Hi there awesome photos It made me convinced my self to go there this summer =)

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