A Beautiful Disaster

There are only few facts that I know about Mt. Pinatubo. One of those, from what mother has told me some time ago, is that our country and some nearby countries were severely affected of its eruption. It happened on June 1991 and by that time she was pregnant of me. She can still remember its aftermath – heavy monsoon rains accumulated with volcanic ashes and leaves of trees were filled with dust, that some of the kids that time needed to wear face masks so they won’t get asthma. Imagine we were from the Southern part of Luzon and Pinatubo was located in the North.

According to some research online, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, having considered as the second largest volcanic eruption in the century, made an atmospheric impact on Earth’s temperature. Yes, it was indeed a disaster, but despite the destructive damage it has caused 24 years ago, Mt. Pinatubo has become an interest not only to Filipino mountaineers but to foreign tourists as well.

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It was on a bright sunny day of 14th when the four of us went to Mt. Pinatubo. To reduce the hassle of commuting (this is our main problem all the time), we purchased a tour package by Tripinas. It included Manila to Capas, Tarlac transfer back and forth, 4×4 ride, conservation fees, local guide fee, and certificate of conquest for only Php2090.

The meet up was in Mcdonalds Ortigas at 3:00 AM, and since we live near Ortigas area, we arrived there early and had some breakfast first. There was also a scheduled Anawangin tour by Tripinas aside from Pinatubo in the same meet up place so there’s already a huge crowd waiting. The bus that will bring us to Tarlac arrived on time. We departed Manila around 4:00 AM and I could catch some sleep during the travel.

When we arrived to drop-off point in Brgy. Sta. Juliana in Capas, 4×4 trucks were parked and there was a designated one assigned to each group. We can easily locate our 4×4 because there’s a label (our group number) on it. The vehicle can accommodate five persons so a solo Singaporean tourist accompanied us in the ride.

It was one hell of a bumpy ride! We were lucky that our 4×4 was closed kundi baka nahulog kami. The open ones were also nice because you’ll be able to stand and take some photos easily but of course you’ll get sunburns. There were small rivers  we need to cross, 4×4 vehicles were so badass they can cross a river haha!

Then we stopped a while and took some pictures.

The view was perfect. Our local guide told us it was exactly the place where the movie of a famous Pinoy love team was filmed. I was not aware of that because I am not a fan. 🙂

Yes, I was wearing a jacket because the wind was so cold despite the sunny weather.
Took a pic with some Aeta kids. Mahiyain sila hehe.

The trek was easier because it’s not the typical steep trail that I’ve experienced from other mountains and besides we were wearing sandals. Some of the tourists wore shoes and they have to take them off so as not to get wet. Medium-sized boulders of rocks were scattered around, making the trek a bit harder but local guides are there to assist. I love the part where we had to cross some small rivers. The cold water was exciting!

After almost two hours of walking and heavy sweating, we finally reached the top where we can view the crater down below. There was a man made stairs which you have to walk down to see the lake up close. Seeing the bluish water of the crater lake instantly gave me a rewarding feeling after almost two hours of exhausting trek. Just staring at the lake can make you realize how deep it is and obviously one of the reasons why swimming is prohibited.

Such a beautiful disaster, right?
Mr. Tee, the French tour guide discussed some facts about Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Then we stopped by the lake for an hour to eat our pack lunch and take a rest while enjoying the view as well.
Ahhhhh perfect!
Some are taking their rest, already. While I’m having the time of my life acing candid shots hahaha

Then, we headed back to where our 4×4 vehicles were parked. It was the same trail that we had but I guess it was easier for us since we already knew the route. Saka mas madali naman talaga yung pabalik kesa papunta. Our group were one of the firsts to go back and I was able to take photos with some of the 4x4s that I found cute and vintage-ish haha!

Maybe I lost all the energy I have earlier that I fell asleep while on 4×4 ride heading back to Brgy. Sta. Juliana (where the bus was parked). Upon reaching the drop-off point, we were able to wash up and change clothes as residents in the area accommodated all the tourists and let us use their bathrooms for 50php. Halo-halo and inihaws are also available in nearby stores if you are hungry. Mr. Tee handed the certificates before we ride the bus and while we wait for some tourists to arrive. We departed Tarlac at 4:30 P.M.

I guess it was already past 7:30 in the evening when we arrived to Ortigas due to heavy traffic in EDSA (what’s new?) Our feet were dead tired already but we still managed to just walk to reach home because taxis and grabcars are unavailable.

The trip was not as tiring as the ones we had before maybe because we did not commute hahaha. I’m looking forward to more less-hassle trips like this next year. Perhaps we should purchase another tour package from Tripinas again. It is indeed a very organized tour, I give them 5 stars for that. 🙂
Got my certificate of conquest. Way to go!
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