(Mt. Pinatubo, Capas, Tarlac – Travelled on February 8, 2016)
I’m the “yes, sure” kind of girl when it comes to travelling. As long as I have the time and the budget, I don’t need much persuading if you need a travel buddy.
A friend called me up on a Friday, just two days after my solo trip in Sagada, inviting me for a day hike in Mt. Pinatubo during the Chinese New Year holiday (February 8, Monday). I initially told him that I can’t go because I’m still quite tired (and broke!) from my just concluded trip. But he knows me too well. He knew that I will not let this chance pass! Haha. And as they say, the rest is history!
Planning the Hike
Unlike most of my travels, I did not help with the planning of this trip. My friend’s girlfriend found the package online. For Php 2,050.00, it includes the following:
- Van transpo from Manila to Tarlac to Manila
- 4×4 jeep- 5 guests per jeep
- Local Tour Guide- minimum of 5 guests per jeep
- All Tourism Fees- entrance, registration, conservation, permit to trek
- Tour Arrangement/services/Inbound tour coordinator on site
- Packed lunch
If you want this package, you may contact the travel agency at email@example.com, or through these numbers: +63918-602-1943 and +63932-609-4226.
Off to Mt. Pinatubo!
The meet-up place is at McDonald’s Quezon Ave. MRT at around 2:30 am. We arrived at the jump-off point in Capas at around 5:30 am. Here, you will have to register your names and the representative from the travel agency will also conduct an orientation. After that, they will assign your group to a tour guide and 4×4 jeep.
While the rest of our “van-mates” were already hopping in in their 4×4 jeeps, ours was nowhere to be found! But, wow! Upon seeing this gorgeous jeep, we did not mind waiting at all! The other 4x4s were already old-looking, but this looks fresh and beautiful!
The 4×4 ride will take about 40 minutes to 1 hour. But with a beautiful view like this, you will not mind the bumpy ride at all. You will surely enjoy it! Especially when you get splashed with water, it feels like you’re in a mini action film!
The 4×4 ride is only up to this point. From here, the trekking will start which will take 1 to 2 hours before reaching the crater.
Despite the sun shining high above us, the cold wind is refreshing, and makes the trek even easier and enjoyable.
Finally, we’re here! Hello there, Mt. Pinatubo!
The Mt. Pinatubo is indeed a great beauty. But, I think, what struck me the most is the realization that this was once a place of catastrophe. Its explosion in 1991 affected not just the Philippines, but the whole world! (Read here to learn about the global effect of Mt. Pinatubo.) As one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 2oth century, it claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands of people homeless – including the Aetas. But look at it 25 years after. Hikers and tourists flock to this place everyday. It is now teeming with life and vibrant nature! Time has a way of healing tragic events, both literally and figuratively. Of course, let us not forget those people who helped to bring back life to Mt. Pinatubo. The video below from journalist Ed Lingao is an eye-opener:
I hate to use this phrase (because it’s from a Kathniel movie. Haha), but it is a fitting description to Mt Pinatubo: “a beautiful disaster.”