Mount Pinatubo is situated in the southern part of Luzon, 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Manila and is one of the biggest volcanoes in the Philippines at 1,780 m (5,840 ft). After almost 500 years, the volcano erupted unexpectedly in June 1991, resulting in one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions of the 20th century.
The eruption had significant global environmental effects. Studies have also shown that the year after the eruption, the hole of the ozone layer over Antarctica grew to the largest it had ever been.
Before the eruption, Mount Pinatubo was covered with tropical vegetation and was home to more than 30,000 people who lived in villages on its slopes. Sadly, the eruption killed 847 people and forced out thousands more from their homes. Then incredibly in August 1992, as the clean-up operation from the previous year was still very apparent, another eruption took place, this time claiming 72 lives.
From bad some good will come, some say; the crater caused by the eruption, filled with water from monsoon rains and Lake Pinatubo was formed. It is now the deepest lake in the country, at depths of around 800 m (~2,625 ft). It’s now a popular tourist area mainly for bush walkers and mountain climbers, although it is possible to take a four wheel drive vehicle via a trail called the skyway, to a drop off point then hike to the crater itself.
Aerial tours are also available – from here you have a bird’s-eye view of the crater, the surreal ash canyons that have formed and the remnants of the lahar flows that destroyed much in their wakes.