MEET UP TIME: 5:30 AM
MEET-UP POINT: PINAYKEYPOINT’S OFFICE
Molave Street, Sto Domingo 2nd, Capas Tarlac, Philippines
For inquiries, send your email to:  admin@philippinesgateway.com
(Click the map for a larger view)
Meet up @ 5:30am
Maps are usually sent to you as email attachment after receipt of your final confirmation and payment advise. Kindly print the maps and use it a reference to reach us. Our office is just few meters away from Mc Arthur Highway. We usually assign Pinaykeypoint team members who are wearing either orange, blue, red or black shirt with Pinaykeypoint print & logo. They usually wait at the gate of Capas Municipal Hall or at Mc Donalds Capas Junction depending upon the final agreed manner of meet-up. Some clients who are already familiar in our our area, they just drive directly to our office while others will just ask us to meet them at the junction where they can have their breakfast first before heading to our office which is just few meters away from the Caltex and  Capas Municipal Hall.
You must settle your payments and ask your team to sign the waiver. We usually send copies of trekking reminders, maps and waiver so we are expecting that you already discussed this with your team.
We are conducting briefing prior to final clearance. This is a mandatory requirement before dispatching. Although we already sent you trekking reminders and waiver, we still have to remind everyone about the dangers in the area, the Do’s and Don’ts, what to do in case of emergency and pack up time. Sometimes during the briefing, team members blames their team leaders for lack of information and failure to disseminate copies of trekking reminders so they can pack their things right. We have a link for Trekking Preparation. Please click here to view
6:00 am: Take off to Final dispatching. This is around 30 minutes drive. If you have your own car, you can park it at the dispatching area. It’s safe because it’s already within the military vicinity. Parking Lots are usually maintained by the some villagers and they usually ask 50 to 100php parking fee
6:30am The Local Tourism and Local official will check our clearance and gatepass. Gatepass is a mandatory requirement to climb. Organizers will secure this document for you and this is the reason why you have to register you name, age, address, nationality and person/no. to be notified in case of emergency. These are required info in securing your gatepass. The Tourism officer and Local Official in-charge have to sign the documents for approval.
6:45am –  Final Check Point. The Philippine Air Force is in-charge of the security in the area. They usually make the final decision whether they will allow us to climb or not especially during rainy months which is from July to November. Military activity are usually held in the area as well and they are giving us time frame to cross the area and usually until 6:30am only before closing the road. We are no longer allowed to climb once the road are closed. Don’t worry, we are just crossing few kilometers which is a part of Philippine Air Force but basically we are heading to Botolan, Zambales where Mount Pinatubo is located. Though, it is a tri-boundaries, the Pampanga Wall, The Zambales Wall and the Tarlac Wall. Capas is the only safe gateway to Mount Pinatubo crater. The Municipal office under the administration of Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan made the effort in developing the area and ensure that we have a safe trail going to Mount Pinatubo.
Final take off to Mount Pinatubo. Very bumpy and dusty ride.
You need towel and mask to protect yourself from dust.
4WD is one of the highlights of this trip. The terrain itself and river crossings while watching the breathtaking creation will make you feel that you’re in another era far from the hustling and bustling city life. One important reminder while riding a 4WD is avoid talking face to face. Some of my previous clients bumped into each other’s nose and the result is severe nose bleeding. Hah! How will you explain that to your officemates after the trek?  So please take our reminders and briefings seriously :)
You may ask your driver to stop for some photo shoots along the way
8:30am – The 4WD jump off point at the base of Mount Pinatubo. 1.5 hours walk usually starts here. These maybe longer or shorter depending upon your trekking speed. On the average, trekking time going up is more than 2 hours because most of them are taking pictures along the way. You can do some final touch here like applying sunblock, prepare your slippers, sun/rain protection. If you bring some trail food and drinks, it’s better to take some here to lighten your bag and feed your hunger. This will keep you going :)
Prepare yourself for a very rough terrain ahead. Remember, you are conquering a volcano and it’s a rule of a ‘no pain-no gain’ activity. This will make you realize the significance of Light Packing because believe me, you will feel the weight of your back pack after 30 minutes of trekking and it’s no joke, the longer the trek, the heavier it becomes!
Wear proper footwear to protect your feet. Using socks is highly recommended. This will save your lovely feet from blisters. Believe me, most of my clients are swearing their footwear’s brand after the trip because of blisters and bleeding.
Be careful and watch your step because you might be injured along the way. If this happens, inform your team leader to call the attention of the assigned trail guides and field coordinators. Pinaykeypoint Team has a basic first aid kit with bandages and basic medicine for headache and stomach trouble
 
Don’t just rely on your shoes. Bring your extra slipper.
This will make you comfortable and flexible
Please note that you will be crossing a lot of rivers and streams…
…and might be sprained along the way
Trekking might be very tiring so take a break from time time. Inform your guides that you want to take some rest so they can wait for you. Never cope up with fast paced trekkers, most of the time this is the reason why some tourists will just fall and collapsed. They are too shy or too proud to say that they need some rest instead, they are pushing their limits. It’s a no no! Remember, we don’t have an ambulance here. You have 2 choices, ask your group to be patient and wait for you or spoil the entire trek!
It’s important to bring to bring some trail food to keep you going
…you have to ensure that you are wearing a durable footwear!
…Because I cannot assure you that we can always provide a tape and slipper 😉
…We must be careful during trekking esp in some rocks
…..because of this creature. But don’t worry! Snakes are typically timid creatures and they usually go away when they sensed a presence of humans… unless you step on them! You  must be very careful and watch your step…
10:00am – After more than 1 hour of walk, you will reach a real comfort room but you have to be patient enough because there are so many of you that are rushing to use it as well 😉
You can also refill your bottles
This is a spring water and it’s potable. We are using it for many years 😉
Few meters away is the ReyCat station. It is named after our previous municipal mayor, Reynaldo Catacutan. He is the person behind of these developments. ReyCat played a vital role in advancing the Tourism Industry of our town, Capas which  eventually gives an employment to many, not just the local town’s folk of Capas but the adjacent places as well. This is also the old 4WD jump off point but because of several strong typhoons, trails were destroyed and it will take some time before it can be rehabilitated again. You may stop here to rest and have a bite of your trail food.
Next is a signage… Never let it trick you! It was used when we celebrated the feast of Pinatubo 2 years ago. A contest was held for that purpose and it’s not funny to see my clients beating the time carved in that wood! Most of them were sprained trying to beat it. Come on guys! you are not here to prove your speed. You are here to enjoy the trail, conquer Mount Pinatubo and see it’s majestic feature. Don’t let this signage ruin your day…
The remaining 30 minutes is Bush Trekking. You would see wild trees and ferns. Don’t try to pick and eat fruits if you’re not really a mountaineer. Some wild berries are available but if you cannot identify if it’s edible then, forget about it!
until you reach the 58 steps stairs going up to Mount Pinatubo viewing deck. I know this will add pains to your injury 😉 but you can always sit down for few minutes before climbing
11:00am – …and finally, The Majestic Mount Pinatubo! You will feel the proud spirit of conquest and realized in the end that it’s all worth it. Remember, not all are given the opportunity to witness God’s creations. You can spend few minutes here to rest and take the best angle for your cam to capture…
…before taking another steps again going down to the crater side. This is roughly 198 uneven steps without railings. Be careful and inform your guide if you are afraid of heights. You may opt to just stay at the viewing deck and wait for your team to come up.
 
…Pinaykeypoint Team will set up your tents
…and prepare your lunch
 We don’t really encourage swimming at the crater because according to PHILVOCS which regularly conduct routine check in the area, it’s roughly 280 to more than 300 feet deep. Bear in mind that this is not a beach, It is a stratovolcano! and it is sharp deep just few meter away from the crater side. We don’t have a stand by life guard in the area so as per Local Tourism advisory, we are not allowed to swim because we will not be liable if you are drowned. But typically, people are hardheaded and they would insist to take a quick dip. Pinaykeypoint is providing arm floaters to ensure that you are safe. Inform us if you plan to use some.
You can also avail the crater boating @350 per head. It’s an optional service
You will be able to explore the crater and go at the other side and we will boil some eggs
(Boating is not available during rainy season (JUNE-NOVEMBER)
Pack up at 1pm.  It may be earlier depending upon the weather. Tour ends at 5pm. If you are a fast paced trekker, you will reach the dispatching area at 4pm but if you are slow paced trekker then it may be later than 5pm.
Please be a good neighbor, do some charity with Aeta children before or after the trek. You may bring used clothings, Biscuits, candies, noodles or anything. We don’t encourage giving them money since they are in the mountain and there are no stores in the area.
……THE END…..