THE JOURNEY TO MT. PINATUBO
Mt. Pinatubo is an active volcano located in the provinces of Tarlac, Zambales, and Pampanga. Its last eruption was in 1991. It destroyed everything. Spewing lava and burning every object in its path. Feared for its destruction before, but now it has become one of the Philippines’ known tourist destinations for its scenic landscapes.
My friends at work planned to have an outing and chose to go to Mt. Pinatubo. My friend, Lara, knows a travel agency that provides a Mt. Pinatubo package that included van transfers, tour guides, 4×4 rides, and the environmental/registration fees.
Before our trip there, I saw it in a movie called Crazy Beautiful You. I was mesmerized by the place and felt excited to go there. My father worked there before, designing dikes for the lahars, but I didn’t expect it to be that beautiful. Once I saw the movie, it captivated me.
Expedition into the White Zone
The agency picked us up at McDonald’s in Mindanao Avenue going to Brgy. Sta. Juliana in Capas Tarlac, Mt. Pinatubo’s jump-off point. We bought our lunch in one of the fast food chains located in NLEX. The trip took 2 and a half hours.
Upon arrival, we registered at the tourism office and secured our guides. We divided ourselves into 3 groups.
Our adventure began by riding a 4×4 vehicle. The trip took 2 hours. It felt like passing through a desert. Almost everything is buried in white ash.
We stopped near the Aetas’ settlements where they greeted us with smiles. Aetas can be found living in the area, as this was there home long since before the eruption occurred. The government granted them a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title that entitled them to the surrounding land and Mt. Pinatubo for them to own and stay in, for this is their Lutan Tua (Ancestral Land).
We continued our ride deeper and closer to the volcano. Everything we saw kept us in awe. It’s like being on another planet.
Our guides let us choose how many kilometers we want to walk from the crater, 3km, 5km, or 7 km. We chose the latter for more action. Our drivers dropped us at a specific location where we continued our journey on foot.
Few kilometers away from the crater, we saw the sign that tells us that we are near our destination. This is the start of the trek if we chose the 3-km trail. Being excited and challenged by the sign, we fasten our pace and put in mind that we are still of young age. :p
Finally, after 15 mins or more of trekking, we reached the crater, it is a crater lake by the way. The sun is on top of us but it didn’t stop us from exploring the area. The place is wonderful. Just beside the lake, a hut is located for tourists to rest. We ate our lunch, relaxed, and appreciated the view.
I’m very grateful to be able to see one of God’s wonderful creations. From destruction, a paradise has risen and brought again beauty to this world. We just spent 2 hours there and traveled very far but all we know is that everything we’ve done is worth it. We return back home with a smile on our faces and hope to see something like that again.
- Trekking shoes/slippers
- Trekking Pole
- Trail Food
- 2-3 Liters of Water
- First Aid Kit
- Insect Repellant
- Packed Lunch
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