Puning Hot Spring is a hot spring resort located at the foot of Mt. Pinatubo, a 1485-metre high volcano that was dormant for hundreds of years until its devastating eruption in 1991. It was the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century that has killed many lives and destroyed thousands of livelihoods.
Today, the remnants might remind us of the tragic history, but it has also brought a handful of impressive outcomes for tourism purposes – just like Puning Hot Spring! This was the first destination in our 5D4N Clark-Subic-Bataan tour that started with a bang with many first time experiences for all of us. I can’t wait to share with you now. 😀
Puning Hot Spring consists of three stations: (1) Base Camp, where lunch is served against a backdrop of beautifully crafted gardens and ponds; (2) Station Two, where guests can indulge in natural volcanic ash treatments and massages; and (3) Station Three, a series of hot, warm and cold pools by a natural hot spring.
Puning Hot Spring Base Camp / Station 1
The Base Camp is the first station in Puning Hot Spring. This was the place we first arrived after a 35 mins drive from our hotel. It has a receiving area, a restaurant (lunch is served here), shower rooms, changing rooms and a station for the 4×4 Jeepney ride at the outside.
As soon as we arrived, we changed into cotton shorts and T-shirts provided. You have an option not to use them, but you’ll have to pack an extra set of clothing to change at the end of your tour. Don’t forget to bring your slippers too as your shoes might get wet. Good thing, you can also buy slippers here if you need (they are very cheap!).
After changing, we hopped onto the 4×4 Jeepney for a ride up to the hot spring area. If you want to take pictures during the ride, I suggest that you bring a waterproof case as your gadget might get splashed by water.
Now, this is the most FUN part of the trip, hahah! 😆 The bumpy ride took us about 20 mins (we wish it could be longer!) to get to Camp Three. Edison said that this was the most exciting ride of his life LOL. It felt like riding a rollercoaster with splashes of water along the road. The sight of the beautiful lahar landscapes, lush greeneries, narrow river gorges and tunnel-like roads totally took us by surprise.
Puning Hot Spring Station 3
Resting on a cliff, the stone-clad Puning Hot Spring was our second destination (although it’s called Station 3). As soon as we arrived, we were stunned to see such a tranquil resort located in somehow nowhere. We’ve never imagined we could see something so spectacular like this! 😍 The massive eruption in 1991 indeed left its mark on this land and created such a beautiful place.
Station 3 has several hot spring pools ranging from 30 – 40 degrees and are interconnected by a series of stone-flagged steps. All of them are outdoor, but one is sheltered. Additionally, an outdoor sauna sits at the highest and hottest point of the resort. It has timber benches lining its walls and a bamboo floor that allows the heat and steam to rise from the 80-degree water below.
I wasn’t able to immerse my whole body instantly in the water as it was really scalding hot. The trick is to do it slowly, let your body slowly adjusting to the temperature before plunging all the way in.
I’ve been to hot springs in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and I must say that Puning Hot Spring is a totally different experience. Firstly, you don’t have to be naked LOL. Secondly, it’s mixed gender so you can dip with your entire family. I love how family-friendly it is! 😃
We wallowed in the waters, enjoying the beautiful sceneries and mountain breeze until our skin started to wrinkle. There’s no time limit to how long you want to dip. We spent about an hour here before proceeding to the next station.
Puning Hot Spring Station 2
After a relaxing warm soak, we went to the resort’s Station 2, again passing-by the spectacular lahar landscapes. Station 2 has two spa facilities – Sand Spa and Mud Spa. Now, don’t expect your typical spa experience here. This is primitive, 💯au naturel and while not always comfortable, it is definitely invigorating!
Wearing the same wet attire from the hot spring, we were buried in sand up to our necks. Each sand area is like a large bed space that can accommodate up to 12 people. Every now and then, the therapists would press a tower over our heads to wipe our sweat away and fan us. We were given a body massage too (yes, still covered in sand!).
The duration of sand spa is 15 mins and 10 mins for adults and kids respectively. I soon found that there’s a massive oven heating the sand bed from below. The sand was indeed hot, but not hot enough to burn. The heat was just enough to make you sweat, which according to them, was therapeutic and good for blood circulation.
It’s truly relaxing and I must have drifted off to sleep because suddenly, 15 minutes were gone, and a therapist helped me up and brushed away the grains of sand off my body and clothes, preparing for the next treatment.
Coming up next is the whole body mud-pack. We were moved to the recliners next to the sand beds. Mud-pack made of cold volcanic ashes and eucalyptus oil were lathered all over our body and left to dry for a few minutes. It’s not easy as we’re still fully clothed, but the idea is to protect modesty in the outdoor, unisex treatment area. The quick transition from hot sand spa to cold mud-pack is SO refreshing.
Puning Hot Spring Restaurant
With the same attire (again!) and mud on, we went back to the Base Camp on the 4×4 Jeepney. Then, we went straight to the shower area (complimentary bath soap and towel are provided). I’d advise you to bring a set of toiletries from your hotel as shampoo is not provided.
We took quite a while to wash off the sand and mud, but after the long shower, everyone was exclaiming over their seemingly healthier and smoother skin. Buffet-style lunch was waiting for us; we were all SO hungry and (obviously) ate to our heart’s content.
All in all, it was an amazing experience that combines fun and relaxation. Edison’s favourite part is the 4×4 ride especially at the narrow river gorges with water splashes all over the vehicle. For me, I totally enjoyed the spa treatments. The hot sand spa is designed to relax the body, open the skin’s pores and boost blood circulation, while the cold volcanic mud closes the pores, making the skin soft and smooth.
Before the trip, I had little idea of what to expect since I’ve been to numerous hot springs but it’s the first time I heard of Puning Hot Spring. Turned out, we were caught off guard with the beautiful landscapes. Everything came as a thrilling surprise for us. The hot spring and spa treatments are very family-friendly too.
How to get there?
Cebu Pacific Air flies from Singapore to Clark five times a week. Puning Hot Spring is half an hour drive from Clark. It’s located in a far rural area of Angeles City. You can hire a private driver or join a local tour that will pick you up from your hotel.
PUNING HOT SPRING 🌴
Package Price: Php 3,500/person (minimum of 3 persons)
Day tour trip 8:00 am – last trip 2:00 pm
Hot spring entrance (15 pools), food/lunch in buffet style, 4×4 Jeepney ride, hot sand spa, whole body mud spa, local guide services, admission fees, free use of towel, t-shirt, short, gown and shower facilities.