Instead of waiting for the world to end last May 21, 2011, we climbed 4,872 feet under the cloudy sky. And we were breathless (literally and figuratively) with what He has created.
My officemates and I decided to chase a late-summer adventure. And since a colleague lives in Tarlac, we decided to try conquering Mt. Pinatubo. For those of you who are not familiar with this stratovolcano, the following sentences were constructed exclusively for you.
Mt. Pinatubo is situated along the intersection of Zambales, Pampanga and Tarlac, which are provinces in the beautiful country of the Philippines. Its last eruption dated April 2, 1991 and has resulted to 847 deaths. It was one of the biggest natural calamities that have hit the Philippines. Now, it is one of Luzon’s majestic tourist spots and has been luring foreigners and locals to come visit its crater. See how violent it was? Read more about the Mt. Pinatubo eruption here.
We weren’t really aware of the May 21 end-of-the-world saga and it wasn’t really a big deal that our superb outing fell on that day. Anyway, here’s what happened that day.
We started the day with a hearty breakfast on the office of Pinaykeypoint, the team that was in charge of our Mt. Pinatubo Package Tour. All we did was pay for the Mt. Pinatubo Day Tour and take on the challenge. All in all, we paid Php 2,200 each. For the complete intinerary, you can visit this page.
After the orientation over breakfast, we rode a jeepney to the Dispatching Area, where we get to pick our 4 x 4 jeepney! This was one of the trip’s activity that I have been looking forward to. We picked the yellow one.
I enjoyed the bumpy ride, though it was dusty. I have to cover my whole head with sarong to keep away the white ashes. During that 30-minute drive, I felt like I’m in the movie, 127 hours, except that there’s no canyon in the area. We had the opportunity to stop by and take some goofy pictures.
When the real adventure started, I had my shoes on. After a few minutes and some watery areas, I had my slippers on. I can’t say thank you enough to Joseph, one of the tour guides, for offering to help me carry my bag. So, I was free to move during the whole trek. All I have with me is my camera (GE x5 named Adalie) bag.
After two hours of walking against rocks, trodding water-immersed mini lakes and casual water break stops, we finally reached the crater! The heat, sweat and muscle cramps were all worth it — the view from up there is breathtaking and mischievous. The angry, ugly crater transformed into this beautiful, serene, vivid blue-and-aquamarine landscape.
Of course, we were all tired, hungry and excited that we took some pictures and dipped into the sulphur-filled waters before eating our lunch. I did the UP-way in eating my rice, rolling it up until it becomes a fat stick. Then, I forked my chicken-and-pork adobo, a delicious Filipino dish. We had mangoes for dessert and we had to peel it with our fingers. It was fun anyway. However, when we all had finished up our fruit, one of my officemates requested his mango to be cut the normal way. Oh, so there was a knife.
After filling up our stomachs, we went for a boat ride across the crater waters. It required an additional Php350. Going across the crater on that little yellow boat was thrilling and it had induced a lot of movie scenes in my head, yet again. I thought it was alike to the setting of Beneath Loch Ness and some crocodile or piranha movies. No worries though, no animal can survive the waters because of the Sulphur. The only scare? It’s 300 feet deep.
We finally arrived to the other side of the crater, where you can really see steam coming from the shores. Heat escapes the water through bubbles. See them? Little Miss S, the kid tour guide encouraged me to feel the water and I slowly dipped my big toe in it. Wah, it was a little bit too hot for me.
We realized that we were spending a little too much time on the other side of the crater, so we headed back to the tent area. We trodded back to where the 4 x 4 jeepneys were. It took us less time to go down the path though more water flowed into the mini lakes along the way. Thanks to gravity, the reluctance to get too much sun tanned and Gatorade. Rain poured when we were on our way back. I have to blame it for waking me up from my quick slumber while in the 4 x 4.
We were dropped off the dispatching area to take a shower and eat our dinner. We’re kind of tired and everything tasted so good. Haha. This ends our Mt. PInatubo Day Tour. It was amazing. I adored the service of the Pinaykepoint Team — everything was organized, the food was more than enough and delicious, the tour guides were fantastic. Worth your money.
On May 21, when some believed that it’s the end of the world (on May 22, 6 am Philippine time), we were enjoying ourselves with nature and we certainly saw the world in a whole new perspective. We appreciated what He has created more.
If you want to visit their site you can click this –> Official Website of the Pinaykeypoint Team. You can view our group’s photos here –> Mount Pinatubo Day Tour May 21, 2011 Team of Patrick Caagbay. (Yes, they publish your tour photos and you can grab them from the Picasa Web Album.) You can also visit my website for my personal notes about the tour –> Mt. Pinatubo Day Tour: My End-of-the-World Itinerary.