climb everyyyyy mountaiiinnnnnnn....... (oh, sorry for singing.... hahahaha)
Having climbed Mt pinatubo 2 years ago, it was interesting to see what has changed this time around. We decided o bring along some friends and some of our kids. (youngest is 8 yrs old)
I had called the 4x4 association who handles the bookings in Capas, tarlac and asked him regarding the itenerary. One thing he told me was that the trek would be about 2.5 hours.
We (me and my husband) had a pretty long discussion on whether to go with the kids or not. First of all, the first time we went, It was easier since there was a "shortcut" that that leads the jeeps up the mountian to the mouth of the entrance to the pathway to the crater.
After much discussion, we finally agreed on going. Pinatubo trekking is something you need to experience even once in a lifetime.
A few days before the trek, the skies were not cooperating. It was raining cats and dogs.
I was worried.
It was one thing to trek. It was another to trek in the rain WITH kids AND the thought of (possible) landslides or worse flash floods. (eeek)... I was so concerned, I was calling my husband at work to ask if we should go through with it or not.
I finally convinced myself (after checking weather forecasts, calling the 4x4 people) that the weather would clear up.
So early saturday morning, we woke up 3am for our 4am departure. YEP. you heard it. 4AM folks.
The drive to tarlac was about 2 hours from Manila and we needed to depart base camp by 7am (their cutoff time)
We had a Mcdonalds breakfast break when we nearly reached Capas and it afforded all a nice rest and maybe a bathroom/coffee break too.
So finally, 6:30 am- we are at Capas, tarlac. We arranged for two 4x4 jeeps. (we were with another family friend)
The road was still barren and bumpy. the one thing about Pinatubo is that the scenery changes every year because of the rain. When the monsoon season arrives and it rains for about 3 months, torrents of water cascade down the mountain and changes the landscape. (FYI, they don't allow trekkers during rainy season-- too dangerous)
So, bumpity bump we went. I was trying my hardest to take a few nice picture while we were travering the lahar filled 20 km ride. Half afraid I might drop the camera out the window... hahaha
As you can see, we were crossing sand dunes, small and sometimes, deeper rivers...
We finally reached the starting point of our 9km (one way..so 18km both ways...) trek and started walking with the other groups of people already there. The first time I was here, I didn't go by this route and so, I was unfamiliar with the landscape. In hindsight, looking at pictures, it looks like we were doing an EXODUS.. (like Moses)
Can you see the people walking near the edge of the hill?-- they look like ants.
My daughter actually was leading the pack and was quite irritated at US (old people) who were very slow in walking. She huffed her way to the front and I had to scramble to catch up...
puff puff.. 7 years olds have boundless energy!!!
after about 1.5 hours, we reached the opening of the trail leading to the crater. From here, it took us about 30 minutes more of hiking.
The trail went from barren to jungle country.
The kids had a lot of fun looking at streams and collecting tadpoles. (they were so urbanized that tadpole hunting is such a treat. LOL)
The trek was taking so long, a lot of the travellers were actually asking...
ARE WE THERE YET???
I had to chuckle. You can finally see end of the trail when you see very long steps going up.
upon reaching the crater, you'll get rewarded with a view. --- Although at the time we were there, the skies were a bit overcast.
We climbed down the step to reach the base of the crater... stopping to take some pictures of course..
Then we get to see the cyan colored crater lake... with some edges colored yellow from the sulphur.
There were a lot of tourists there too.. so much so that we didn't get the chance to hire the boat to cross to the other side like the last time. (we had some eggs with us too.. ready to boil in one of the pits we saw before where the water was bubbling.. see my earlier trip HERE).. there were only 3 boats... (advise: you better bet a "boat tag" before you leave capas.. they give priority to you if you have one... and it's a loooong ways back if you don't have one)
After the kids has a brief swim and we ate our packed lunch, we decided to head back. (it was another 2 hour hike after all)
On the way, we saw some AETA children. One of the kids was not in the mood to get his picture taken.
Did I tell you that another one of my sunglasses got massacred this trip? YEP. another one bites the dust. The last time, my raybans dived into a river. This time, I SAT on it. --- while I was busy trying to take pictures, I moved to another position. As I sat down again, I felt a CRUUNCH... I looked down and there were my Raybans.. all twisted. (oh well.....)
Everyone had a nice time though. I even saw some unique looking stone. LOVE is everywhere. !!
Nice weekend everyone! Pinatubo 4x4 assn - cel # 09196084313 (for inquiries regarding this).. we went by ourselves but there are other tour operators who do a Pinatubo day tour. They provide complete services like transfers from Manila. (we drove ourselves this time) I tried PINATUBO TREKKING the first time we went and they are very good.. . Contact them HERE.