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Mt. Pinatubo – January 3, 2009

The next week, right after conquering Taal Volcano, I dared everyone to for the second “always wanted to go Volcano”, the infamous Mt. Pinatubo.

Pinatubo

Not sure how many remember the day when Mt.. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. I do. I remember how the ash covered much of Luzon and I learned a new word… “Lahar.” Anyway, so almost 20 years later I now have the opportunity to actual go to Mt. Pinatubo. I had seen the trek on TV in a number of Travel tele-magazines, but I was always at a loss as to find travel companions adventurous enough to make the trek with me. And so here we go.

The objective was to get there early… easier said than done. I woke picked up Jasper and Dru at around 5 am then we proceeded to NLEX. We stopped for a little breakfast along the way. We took the SCETX and excited Concepcion, Tarlac and headed to Capas. Directions were fairly easy… when you get to McArthur Highway, turn left going south back to Pampanga (turning right would bring you to Baguio). When you see a Jollibee turn right… then turn right. Follow the road until the main road turns left. You should see an Iglesia Ni Cristo. Don’t go straight to a smaller street. Turn left and stay on the main road. As in… just follow the main road, we became over zealous and turned right where we got lost for around 1 hour. So assuming we stayed on that main road we reached the Pinatubo Spa Town in the town of Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac. You can’t miss it because of all the 4×4 by the side of the road. You can park in a lot across the Spa for P50. We got there around 10am (much later than I had planned).

The fee per person is P2,000 which is inclusive of the 4×4 Jeep Ride, the guide, misc. fees, a hearty lunch and shower when you get back.

From the Pinatubo Spa Town which is operated by the PDC (Pinatubo Development Corporation) we embarked on the first part of the adventure… a 4×4 Jeep ride up to Pinatubo. The trip by itself is find fun. It took around 1 hour over ash and rocks.

Pinatubo

Pinatubo

Needless to say it was extremely dusty. I was wearing a black shirt which became light gray after a while.

Pinatubo

After an hour we reached a point which I refer as the “parking lot” where all the other 4x4s before us.

Pinatubo

So we got off the jeep and started down this steep opening the mountain leading down to what seems to be the main stream. Anyway… what followed was around another hour of walking… and walking.

Pinatubo

Pinatubo

The trek was long…

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… but scenic…

Pinatubo

Lots of nice things to see… like rusting rocks…

Pinatubo

and so we walked… and walked… and walked… (so this is how the Fellowship of Ring must have felt)

Pinatubo

Pinatubo

At around 3/4 of the way, se followed the stream upwards through nice lush foliage.

So after climbing up rocks and beautiful foliage… lo and behold what greeted us…

Pinatubo

Pinatubo

Stairs! And above that… urinals! And I wondered… why did we need urinals? There are plants and trees everywhere :)

After a few more minutes I could see… the water!

Pinatubo

Pinatubo

The scene was breath taking!

Pinatubo

Let me setup muna my tripod!

Pinatubo

Group Pic muna! Ok… baba na tayo.

Pinatubo

Aaaah… great view. See that grey area on the lower middle? That is where are going now…

Pinatubo

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Down at crater lake. We stayed there for around 45 min before taking on the trek back.

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I’m not sure why the water was this rich green. All the other pics I saw on the internet show this as clear blue.

 

Pinatubo

And finally after an hour of trekking back to the jeeps… we were dead tired… and my feet were wet. Next time, wear hiking sandals!

Pinatubo

Pinatubo

We went back. Ate had lunch. Then took showers. Then headed back to Manila.

That was a nice trek! I will go back here.

Pinatubo