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Mount Pinatubo History, Adventures and Tours

If you are an adventurous type, looking into the mouth of an active volcano that was the source of the second largest eruption in the entire 20th century may be a top item on your bucket list. Or then again, it may be the last thing you do in attempting to fulfil your bucket list. 

All joking aside, if you find it fascinating to stand on the spot of a historic event levied on the earth by Mother Nature a few decades after the cataclysmic event, then you need to consider a trip to Mount Pinatubo when visiting the Philippines. 

The Massive Eruption

On June 15, 1991 this otherwise quiet mountain unleashed a furry on the Philippine Island of Luzon killing a reported 847 people. 

This was an event of massive proportions. The eruption was 10 times larger than the U.S. eruption of Mount Saint Helens.  The eruption ejected approximately 10,000,000,000 tons of magma, and 20,000,000 tons or sulfur dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere.

A strong tropical storm at the time of the eruption complicated the tragedy by mixing water with the ash of the eruption, creating a concrete substance that then rained from the skies onto the population below. Many roofs gave way to the excessive weight as a result of the unusual and heavy mixture from the skies. This was the reason for the large number of deaths. 

Thousands of Lives Saved

In the weeks leading up to the event, scientists from around the world were studying what they were sure was a looming eruption.  Officials heeded this warning and prepared the people of the Philippines by requiring mass evacuations of areas immediately surrounding the mountain. Tens of thousands of native Aeta people considered the land around the base of the mountain their home. The evacuation procedures saved the lives of countless numbers of these indigenous people. 


Courtesy Flickr - CC License - Marc Reil Gepaya

A Worldwide Event

Mt. Pinatubo effected not only the Philippines but also the surrounding countries of Malaysia Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries in Southeast Asia. The ash traveled around the globe effecting air travel.  Many commercial aircraft engines were severely damaged or even destroyed by the ash and sulfur dioxide they sucked in to their intakes. A couple airliners completely lost power to their engines mid-flight. 

The Beauty of Pinatubo Today

Mt. Pinatubo is still considered an active volcano but in a dormant state. Having spent its powerful charge of magma and unleashing its lahar flows, it is now considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.

The mountain is located in the province of Pampanga, and bordered also by Zambales and Tarlac provinces. Interesting and moon-like, lahar-filled valleys are ripe for the exploring. Perhaps the most awe inspiring point of interest at Mt. Pinatubo is its crater lake. Depending on the season, the color of the water changes from blue green to a deep blue color that is quite difficult to give adequate justice to, either in print or photo.

Expiditions and Tours

Many companies offer expeditions and tours to the volcano.  These tours typically include 4x4 transportation to the hiking area.  This is the furthest you can go by vehicle. You will need to be physically fit for this adventure as you will then need to go on a 2 hour hiking trek to the incredible Crater Lake caldera where the eruption occurred. One at the top, there are numerous exploration areas to experience.  Lunch is typically served at the lake. 

Accommodation choices close enough to Mount Pinatubo vary significantly from luxurious resorts to affordable guesthouses.  Use our secure on-line booking form to reserve hotels close to Mount Pinatubo.

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