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About Me

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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 9, 2009

trekking to pinatubo's crater lake

With the "Skyway" in place, trekking to Mt. Pinatubo's famous crater lake has become relatively easy. The trek which used to take 4-5 hours (via the canyons carved by lahar flows) now takes 45 minutes (1 hour tops).

Trail Head (Dust alley)
Dust Alley

From the 4x4 parking area, we descended to the streams below via a man made passage. They should name this passage "Dust Alley", a small gust of wind is enough to create momentary dust devils and mini-sandstorms. I saw construction equipment at the end of Dust Alley. Its obvious they are trying to extend the road further to the crater.

Pinatubo Aetas
Pinatubo Aetas

From Dust Alley, we followed the small creek upstream. Its best to wear sandals as you have to cross the stream several times. You can still keep your feet dry by stepping on small rocks. But with the very cool water I did not mind getting my feet wet.

Going Upstream
trekking upstream

Our pace was slow during the trek. Some had children (4-5 year olds) in their group. With the addition of people trekking back, the narrow trails were packed. I stopped several times to take photos but still managed to catch up with my group.

Boulder on the Trail
an interesting boulder on the trail

As we neared the top, the foilage seemed thicker. Its a far cry from the time ( after the eruption) when the area was completely barren. Mt. Pinatubo was heavily forrested before its eruption in 1991, the 2nd largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century.

The only challenging part of the trek was the steep climb a hundred feet or so from the top. Challenging but not hard, they already made crude concrete stair steps.

There she was, the first time I saw her
Mt. Pinatubo's iconic crater lake

Seeing the crater lake was like opening a present. I just stood there, open jawed, the first time I laid eyes on the cyan waters of the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo. I've seen photos of the lake numerous times before but its different if you are there. Takes a bit of time to take in such a grand scene.

From the observation posts, its a steep climb down to the lake shore. Good thing there are stair steps. The shore was crowded but we managed to find ourselves a spot. Cover from the sun is scant, an umbrella is worth the hassle of bringing one. With the heat, the cool cyan waters looked very inviting for a quick dip (they say the water is good for your skin).

Heading back
We were the last group to head back. The trek back just took a fraction of the time we spent on the way up.

Going Down
trekking down

Where lahar once flowed
carved by lahar

The sun was already low on the horizon as we crossed the Crow Valley on the way back to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana. As I stared back at the peak, I know I'm going to trek up there again, soon.

An hour till sunset
Crow Valley

Pinatubo Spa Town services (Sta. Jualiana)
After a tiring trek you may want to consider:
- spa (Php 500.00 - up)
- shower (Php 100.00)

More photos of the crater soon.

Check out other That's My World entries here
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dom said...

"I've seen photos of the lake numerous times before but its different if you are there.">>> thats true. it's really different seeing it in pictures compared to seeing the real thing.

whoa! galing! galing! na extra pa ako sa isa mong picture.

MeL said...

Kuya Allan, +20php kapag wala kang shampoo. Hehe.

Lantaw said...

Dom, Oo nga ano, ikaw pala yung nasa likod :). Thanks bai!

Mel, Ganun ba? Mahal naman. Kami wala shower shower, buhay pa naman hahaha.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kuya Allan...

favorite kong shot yung CROW Valley parang lumulutang ako sa clouds pag nakikita ko.

kami nakalibre ng shampoo kasi namulot kami ng tira tira... lol

may bago nga pala akong blog. nilink na kita dun :)

magandang araw!

Lantaw said...

Christian, haha minsan ginagawa ko rin yan! Will visit your new blog. Thanks!

Reena said...

ganda! so there's a spa nearby?! hahaha...ayan, i'm interested to go now. haha.

tnx again for dropping in my blog. :)

Lantaw said...

Reena, no, not near the crater. The spa is in Sta. Juliana, the jumpoff point and registration area. That's where you rent your 4x4 ride. Thanks

zherwin said...

ngayong apr 4-6 long weekend sana ang punta namin dyan (taga-capas si misis) kaso di na muna pwede mag-travel si wife kaya di na rin pwede si husband hehehe.

Oman said...

Your photo of the crater lake (5th) id definitely one of the best shots of the place i have ever seen.

can't wait to trek up there if dom's plan push through this summer.

atto aryo said...

huwaw! the crater looks majestic! i wish i could also shoot it someday.

Unknown said...

The first shot you took looks like you're now closer to heaven, hahahah... but when you mentioned the dusty path, hhmmm...I thought oh, not heaven but earth. Very beautiful shots. Thanks again for sharing.

BTW, did you get the I ♥ This Blog award I gave you. I left you a note somewhere in your old post. Wala lang, gipahibaw lang taka, ganahan ko sa imong blog. You have the option to just keep it to yourself or give it also to others. Adtoa lang sa ako page, thanks!

Anonymous said...


Photo Cache said...

Galing nang mga kuha! Is the trek/hike okay for beginners?

Lance said...

The photos are crazily beautiful. Made me wonder how I've been wasting my time indoors when there are so many wonderful spots like this outside!

Lantaw said...

zherwin, don't worry summer's long :). pwde naman day trip lang

Oman, Sige bro, sama ulit ako hehe

r-yo, Thanks! You should try it one of these days, its an easy trek

Skies Thanks! Oh the award, I got it, very much honoured that you love my blog. Can I keep it to myself? hehehe

Earvin, damu nga salamat!

Photo Cache, Thanks! Its ok for beginners, easy trek. Saw a couple of children as well as old folks during the trek

Lance, Thanks! Its summer, time to go out :)

Sylvia K said...

Fabulous post! Interesting, because I too posted about a crater lake -- in Oregon today! Your photos are fabulous! Love the colors, the sky, the views! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a good week!

Louise said...

I am open-jawed at the photo of the lake. I cannot imagine how much better it would be in person. What a terrific hike!

Anonymous said...

Gawa na pala yung "Skyway", that's good news kasi mas accessible na sa madami. Medyo treacherous din kasi yung long trail. Paganda ng paganda ang pinatubo habang tumatagal

Anonymous said...

OMG, there's another trek this summer? When? Hmmm, naexcite lang ako, sana makasama... the shots are very nice, wala akong masabi, very professional, very panoramic...breathtaking crater!

Unknown said...

I would have been standing there openmouthed with you, it's stunning and what a great tour.

Guy D said...

Incredible photos, also your header pic is simply outstanding.

Have a great week!
Regina In Pictures

Catherine said...

This looks an absolutely fantastic hike...thanks for these fab photos

Anonymous said...

Nice photos!!!

Unknown said...

Yes, you can always keep it to yourself, you can opt to give it or not. It's just for fun, though I meant it when I say I love your blog.

Kahibaw diay ka mu waray? 'Damo nga salamat" you said.

Gaelyn said...

Wow! What an amazing landscape. Crater Lake is breathtaking. There really is quite a bit of vegetation. It does remind me much of Mt. St. Helens. Fantastic captures, as always.

Lantaw said...

Sylvia, Thanks! I saw your photos, the first one is awesome!

Louise, Even I can't stop thinking about that view until now :). Thanks!

Ferdz, Oo bro, gawa na, and they plan to extended it para malapit na sa lake mismo

Sheng, Basi may ara pero wala pa man schedule hehe

Sarah, If you are in the Philippines, Mt. Pinatubo's crater lake is a must see :)

Guy D, Thank you!

Catherine, It was a great hike indeed, not too tiring :). thanks

Mikee, Thanks!

Skies, Thank you very much for that :), me <--- Ilonggo/Cebuano :)

Gaelyn, Yup, there's a bit of vegetation now, mostly cogon grasses, reeds, and small trees. Thanks!

chrome3d said...

That trek sure offered a lot to see and photograph. Crater lake was almost too impressive!

Anonymous said...

I am speechless. What a place!!! Amazingly beautiful! No I have no idea what the temperatures were like, but rest assured that I am tempted to take the next flight available and go discover. Just for that aha-cyan green present discovery. That was awesome!!

Unknown said...

fantastic adventure bro. very tempting ang landscapes. yummy ang rocks hehe

Lilli & Nevada said...

What a lovely place i enjoyed all the photos thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Wow, incredible. Agree with it being like a present even in photo form. Thanks for the gift.

Lantaw said...

chrome3d, Yup lots of opportunities. Thanks!

Esther Garvi, it was hot, humid, but the lake water is cool. Come visit this place soon! :)

Tracer, Oo bro, damu tani photo ops kung may time pa. Its better to camp out, or go with small group of photographers

Lilli, Thanks for the visit!

Jacqueline, You're welcome! thanks for the visit!

Anonymous said...

now i believe that volcanoes helped defy the earth. pity and respect to the victims of the eruption but the place became more scenic than the usual.

Lantaw said...

JP, like a phoenix rising from the ashes ;)

The Good Life in Virginia said...

awesome trek and the crater and lake are spectacular...worth the trek.
thanks for sharing this adventure with all of us.

like your new header too :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures . I will be back in RP in june . Would love to do this trip . Staying in QC , so bus to Dau and pick up 4x4 at the bus station . Cool . all the best .

Lantaw said...

Mark, the trouble with June is that its rainy season already, so you have to be very careful with the trek. Another thing is that during the rainy season the colour of the lake is not cyan but more like muddy brown

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info mate ! Typical ...i get the timing wrong haha ! But its all part of lifes adventure . Gives me a reason to visit again . Once again thank you .

Lantaw said...

Mark, you can still try your luck though. With the weird weather we have nowadays, June can still be sunny and dry :)

Garando said...

I remember when we slept over at the foot of the crater it was super cold. We were wearing double shirts under really thick weather jackets as we tucked in our sleeping bags. The Aetas on the other hand were only wearing T-shirts and shorts, and were huddled around the camp fire. They seemed to handle the cold very well. They took turns waking up to tend the fire pa. Amazing!

Lantaw said...

Garando, They say city life had made wimps out of all of us hahaha

Anonymous said...

So true about the weather , and your comment about city life .

Lantaw said...

Mark, :-D

pinaytunay said...

before you can trek to mt. pinatubo you will have to register first at sta. juliana...and hikers are not allowed to go if there is a bad weather..very dangerous. not good to go also after a typhoon. trails become difficult to manage esp if you you're not in your proper foot wear.
but just like any mountain, a trek or a climb is worth it when you reach your destination.

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