The Pinatubo Experience

12 MN

Just finished playing a volleyball game. I was not supposed to play but I was there and there were only 11 people. I had to resort to playing in my slacks and leather shoes. It was a good thing that my shoes are so soft that I didn’t mind running and jumping in them. Also, the clothing didn’t stop me from doing my usual stuff except for diving and being a bit more intense in defense. I had a great time and a great offense to add to that.

I brought some of my playmates to the house because I had to get ready and leave immediately.

1:30 AM

Met with RC at the nearby 7-11 and we (Erwin, RC and I) took a taxi going to the meeting place of the tour. It was behind the Victory Liner terminal in Cubao. On our way, we picked up Aaron in Anonas. We were worried that some people may be late. I hate it when that happens. I mean, can’t people be mindful of the time especially on trips?

2 AM

We arrived at the meeting place. We are so worried about our own van because it is nowhere in sight and the person responsible for it is running late. Imagine, we arrived at the place and he was still about to leave the house. He lives in Visayas Ave and I don’t have an idea how long it will take before he arrives.

Some people are actually on the verge of being totally mad at some other people. Actually, we are being nagged by the driver of the tour. He wanted us to call our own van because we are all about to leave. That is quite irritating, actually.

3 AM

We leave for Tarlac. I tried to get some sleep because, apparently, I have none. I was at the back of the van with RC and Aaron. We were all long people so I had a hard time finding a position to sleep. When I found one, I did a lot of head banging because of the abrupt stopping and going of the van. I didn’t really sleep until we were in NLEX and people all wanted to sleep. It was just like joining the bandwagon.

4:30 AM

We arrive at McDonald’s in Capas, Tarlac. This is where we eat the free breakfast. We were given a 2-piece pancake and hot chocolate meal. I thought to myself if they were kidding that this was the free breakfast. It was. It was.

Then, people who just got off prom started filling the place. It was funny because we can’t imagine going straight to McDonald’s after the prom. We forgot to realize that our prom happened almost 8 years ago. Then, we’d want to go straight home after that tiring night.

McDonald’s, Capas, Tarlac

6 AM

We leave for the start-off point of the Mt. Pinatubo trek. It was still a long way from the McDonald’s. By the time we were on the way, the sun was on its way to rise. It was a beautiful sight to behold. I love mornings in the province especially those chilly ones.

When we arrived at the start-off point, we immediately arranged our things. We left some of the stuff in the van like our change of clothes, some toiletries and some food. If we were to trek, we needed to bring only the essential stuff because they might weigh us down. It was a chilly morning and I feel like it’s a good way to start the day. Although, the tour facilitators were really slow to accommodate all of the people. Frankly, we would leave earlier if they were telling us instructions on what to do instead of just answering our questions when we have one.

Jump-off Point, Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac

7:30 AM

We rode a 4×4 and explored the terrain on the way to the crater lake. I am overwhelmed. I was amazed at the landscape that flashed before me. I was astounded that we really have that type of landscape in the Philippines. Also, I was wondering what it looks like before the whole Mt. Pinatubo eruption happened. Is it still barren or would it be mountainous as the surrounding landscape? The terrain is so rough that we had a bumpy 4×4 ride.

On the way, we stopped for pictures. The trip was like a tour of Jurassic Park. And it was not all about the dinosaurs. There were a lot of different rock formations and sides of mountains chipped off because of what happened before.

The landscape towards the crater

9:30 AM

Yes, the trip to the crater took us 2 hours. That was how far it was. We were greeted by a poster of how far we are still from the crater itself. I was glad that we need not walk for more than hours to get to the crater.

The trek to the crater starts here.

10 AM

No, we weren’t able to get into the 15 minutes challenge. There were a lot of people before us and they were so slow! I so wanted to make it 15 minutes. It would have been nice. The view is breathtaking! It’s like we’re in a secret paradise. A paradise where you have to get through a lot so that you would really enjoy the view. You could not imagine that this is the site of the most destructive volcanic explosion in the history of Philippines? Now, it is just a peaceful abode where you can be under the stars and be really one with nature.

We ate our brunch of food that is brought by all. I was able to take a short nap. There was another lower level. You’re brought to a ‘beach’ right beside the crater where you can also do an overnight camp. Unfortunately for us, there was no lifeguard on duty so we weren’t able to swim. Then, you are free to swim and boat on your own but a sad tragedy happened that the management needed to impose a “No Lifeguard, No Swimming” rule. We played UNO cards and slept. We played a game of throwing stones. My sandals broke. I thought that I’d be walking back barefoot.

The water was cold. I thought that it would be hotter given that this is a crater of a volcano.

Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake

2 PM

We started our descent of the crater. Also, it was only us and another group left in the area. We counted all the steps from the lower level to the upper level: 171. It was a heavy set of 171 flights of stairs. Before we left, we did a lot of photos with the lake in the background. I can’t get enough of the place and I really wanted to swim. The travel back will be such a drag because we already saw it and we are all so tired.

A final jump shot before we go.

3:30 PM

We all head for the showers. Despite not being able swim, there was still a lot of dust and volcanic ash on ourselves. My hair turned white because of all of that! On the way to the bathrooms, we saw a halo-halo stand and we ordered beforehand so that when we finish our baths, we will be able to eat it immediately. The grilled hotdog was delicious too. I guess, it was just the hunger kicking in. We play more rounds of UNO while we settle down from our trip.

4:30 PM

We leave Capas, Tarlac. I must say that I am terribly tired. I had no sleep and I came off a volleyball game. On the way home, I slept soundly on my own corner of the van.

We leave the adventure that is in Capas, Tarlac.

8 PM

We arrive at Banapple, Quezon City. I am happy for the food. People were too eager to eat and wanted something that is filling and yet a bit on the cheaper side of things. I ordered the Breaded Fillet of Cream Dory. It was different. I am not a fan of mustard so I wasn’t happy with the honey garlic mustard sauce on top. I should’ve went with my instinct of Pasta Verde or Chicken Parmiggiano. I also ordered the store’s best-seller, banoffee pie. It was a fun dinner even if everyone was a bit on the very tired side of things. They were also trying to catch the replays of the UAAP games so they wanted everyone to eat quickly.

Breaded Fillet of Cream Dory

9:30 PM

We leave for Ed’s house to watch the UAAP replays. It was great and although we know the outcomes we still had a great time watching them. Although, I was so tired already that I kept dozing off in between plays.

11 PM

I left the group and went home. I am just so tired from the day. I start post-processing pictures and said good night to the world. It has been an amazing day.



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