Hiking was never my thing, do not get me wrong, I love nature, the sea, the trees and all things in between. I just haven’t pictured myself carrying those big bags (bags bigger than I O.o) just the thought makes me tired already, haha. I always wondered, being the kikay that I was, what should be the proper attire for hiking, trekking or mountaineering (I know it’s shallow problem but hey, I still wanna be a fashionista when climbing up somewhere).
When my sister Lily Rose said someone backed out from their planned Pinatubo trip, she immediately asked if I am available knowing I am a “kaladkarin” (someone whom you can drag anywhere) obviously I agreed. My first and only climbing activity was way back 2007 somewhere in Quezon (if I am not mistaken, they call it ‘7 falls’) after all the beaches that I have been to it’s time to make a change, I accepted the call of climbing Mt. Pinatubo.
We left Manila at around 3 am and arrived at Capas Tarlac by 5 am. It was a short and fast trip, kudos to the driver. Was not able to get the chance to write anything on the way to the area since it was dark inside the van and my sister was all over the place, lol! But it’s true, in the end, I just decided to let her sleep on my lap (I am such a loving sister!) 🙂 When we arrived at the tourism base camp for Mt. Pinatubo, this is what I did, stretched! Even short legged person like I need this.
Morning coffee’s are great. ALWAYS, there’s no exception, whether you are drinking it alone or with a group of people. This trip was planned by the office mates of Bianca, one of my sisters best buds. Here I am meeting new people, sip, exchanging a few good stories, sip and yes, laughing my ass out, sip, while the dawn is breaking. For me this is one of the best part of the trip, it’s nice to meet new souls, learn a little bit something from them in return like where they came from, their culture and see beaming faces when the jokes are out.
Do they look they are really stretching? Nope they are not, they are playing around, haha! Everyone, the three idiots (from left to right, my crazy kick out sister Lily Rose, the ever thin Donna and Bea de Bianca). They are all grown ups! They use to be so little and not so tall? I am behind my a lot of inches when the height issue rises.
Just having some fun before going up. We are a bunch of crazy people! 🙂 Introducing the lovely lady in the green jacket, that’s Mayi (aka Alay) lol, she really made me happy.
Tadah, and this was my outfit! My arm bands are adorable, got them from SM Department store for 169.75 pesos, aqua shoes for 249.75 pesos and Monakiki leather leggings for 150 pesos. I cannot afford to get any darker since I’m all tanned up from my Boracay trip. Plus, it is highly recommended to cover yourself up with light clothing since the road trip was dusty and hot.
And another one, these four were my 4×4 mates, Rose, Bianca, Donna and the guy in green is named Daniel. He is really not part of our group, he is Italian on a solo world journey. Since we lack one person for our ride, they allowed him to ride with us. Good thing he was all game with all our weirdness. Being the chit chat lady that I am, I ended up conversing with him most of the time which was great because he also shared stories about his place and other countries he visited.
After a few minutes of waiting, the ride began. Look at all these cars, very much like a movie scene. The guide and driver explained that any group has two choices. 1) Ride the 4×4 for 1 hour and 30 minutes and then hike for 20-30 minutes to the crater 2) Ride the 4×4 for 30 minutes and then hike for 1-2 hours to the crater. We chose the first one since it was super hot and it’s kinda late to take option 2. Please do not quote me on the exact travel time, these were the only information shared by our guide and driver. I guess in the end it will still depend on how fast you can trek the area 🙂
Our tour guide, Kuya Rey said that the normal land level was up to the top of those mountain look alike. We are traveling on the area where the lava during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo way back 1991 flowed that’s why it’s this low. It is quite dangerous to travel when the rain is pouring since these sand filled mountains can just fall anytime.
Our wooden ‘tungkods‘ were very helpful, happy we bought them. There were areas where the streams flowed along the hiking trail, those were not coming from above the crater. There is a large waterfall but is very dangerous to travel and explore as our guide said. Only the natives are allowed to visit the place, he said it is really beautiful but the trail were surrounded by mountain sands, so it’s a no no for tourists.
My smile is as big as the crater, lol! So I got a few things to share from our tour guide again, I do hope he didn’t get tired from answering my questions. Mt. Pinatubo as they said was just a small mountain, then it got bigger and bigger because of the lava that was forming inside, thus it was called Pinatubo. “Tubo” is a Tagalog word for grow. It is also the type of mountain where only few trees and plants grow because of the hot land. I wondered how the water got on top of the crater, really weird so I have to ask our guide about it too. He said that the water was not there before, after the eruption that’s when it appeared, it was also high so they needed to create another hole that leads to Zambales area so it won’t overflow. It depends on the sulfur level if it’s safe to swim or not, just this January 2013 the tourism group has not allowed anyone to swim. The water has not been tested yet and I am not so sure about the rumors if someone really drowned in here that’s why they discontinued it. Anyhow, I really wanted to try and float in the waters but I won’t break the rules. The crater might eat me alive for not following, haha!
“I read; I travel; I become”
― Derek Walcott
Hope you loved this as much as I enjoyed my 2nd hiking experience. Meeting new people has always been a great joy for me. Daniel, thank you for taking time in experiencing our country, may you be blessed in your future travels and do not forget to share our country once you go back to your land. Alexus, since you still have a few months here, I do hope I can join you on your Gawad Kalinga activities. It’s really heartwarming to know you chose our country of all places. To Bianca’s officemates and friends, thank you for the invite and for allowing us to be a part of your Mt. Pinatubo trip. I was not able to converse and thank you personally but I had a great time. Cannot count how many times I laughed because of so many reasons.
A few things to remember before climbing up Mt. Pinatubo
- Make sure you wear light clothing since the road trip is both hot and sandy
- Do not forget your sun glasses or shades, A MUST even though you don’t like wearing it.
- Still apply sunblock on your skin just to prevent sunburn
- Closed slippers or anything with straps or rubbershoes both good for water, dust and rocks is advisable.
- Make sure you have something to hold on to during the 4×4 ride, it’s a rough ride and you don’t want to fall anywhere.
- Walk slowly and do not be so excited to see the crater, you will get there. They said most accidents were caused by too much excitement.
- Bring your own water bottle if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on top. (small bottles costs 50.00 pesos each)
- When you go back to the base camp, it’s your choice if you want to take a shower or not, it costs 50.00 pesos.
- Check our other blogs for other what to do’s and what not to do’s for Mt. Pinatubo climb. Bullets above are from my experience only. 🙂
This travel has opened my big brown eyes to a different level, now the willingness to try and hike other places is 100%. The thought of carrying heavy bags is still there, but what is heavy bags compared to overlooking places, streams, falls, green lands, new people and great stories? Now that’s a weightless bag! 🙂