A friend suggested a grand entrance for my first blog entry. I asked him what he had in mind. He told me to post my first blog to coincide with my birthday so that it would be more dramatic. And here I am actually doing what he said!
Grand, dramatic, explosive… the one thing that comes to my mind is Mt. Pinatubo and the day trip I made there with 35 other people! :D
December 13, 2009
We had to be up and ready to leave very early in the morning (take that to mean as 3am). There were two assembly point for the group, one van’s in Southmall for those joining from the South (Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa) which will then proceed to the next stop, McDonald’s parking lot in Quezon Avenue, where 2 more vans were waiting. After some delays (waiting for some people/ last minute food shopping/ seating arrangement problems), the group then left for a 3-hour travel to Tarlac.
Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana is our first destination. This is the place where you will have to register at the Tourism Office and pay the required conservation/ environmental fee. The Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Association is also based here. The last part of your journey to reach the famed volcano is an hour long ride in rough terrain hence the need for the 4×4 wheels rental. One will be assigned to you on the spot or if you know any of the drivers, you may contact him in advance. We had to rent 7 of those coz there where 36 of us. They implement a strict-5 people per vehicle rule (we tried to convince them that we’d be needing only 6 coz to rent one more will add an additional 3750php to our expenses to no avail! hehe).
The ride will begin with at least 3 check point then it will take you over a vast land area that’s covered deep in lahar (lahar canyons), over streams, hills that were formed from the volcano’s eruption, and you will meet a small Aeta community along the way. It was a fun & scenic ride!
At the jump off point is where the “trekking” will begin. I originally thought that it’s at least two hours of walking but since they want the volcano to be easily accessible to visitors, they’re creating paths to even shorten the current 20-minute trek! Where’s the fun in that guys?! ;)
The most difficult part of that short walk for us “not active” people (yes, i’m avoiding the word sedentary here ^_^) was the climb up towards the volcano’s crater. The “fit” ones were still chatting away while the others were starting to catch their breaths. :D
Anyways, all the effort was worth it coz once you get to the top of that step, you’ll have your first glimpse of the Pinatubo Lake in all its rich aquamarine colors within the volcano’s caldera. The lake is huge! Mt. Pinatubo is within the borders of 3 province: Zamabales, Tarlac and Pampanga.
The day was spent swimming (okay, so it was mostly wading in the waters for the non swimmers which is to say almost half of the group haha), cam whoring (!), eating (best to bring finger foods) and lazing around.You have to be careful if you’re not a good swimmer coz there’s a steep decline a few feet (5?) away from the edge of the water. Everyone’s reminded to be careful because the actual depth of the lake is yet to be measured.
Time passed quickly that soon it was time to pack up and leave. The ride back was the same but coz of the activities done, the roughness of the ride lulled a number of people to sleep which caused at least (I wasn’t sure how it was in the other cars) one to almost fall off the vehicle. hehehe
I can guarantee that you’ll arrive back at the Spa covered in dust (unless you wrapped yourself up in some shawl) that the best option after swimming in the lake and drying up is to just wait ’til you get to the spa before changing into your usual clothing coz you definitely need to shower after. ;)