Gone for the weekend: Conquering Mt. Pinatubo! :D

hey guys, what’s up!? been a while since I last posted here. Been busy a lot lately with work and training. So let’s do some catching up, shall we? : )

Been planning to reunite with my love for hiking and camping for sometime now. I’ve been hiking mountains since I was in highschool. I have always loved the outdoors, the thrill of it. My cousin, who was then a member of UP Mountaineers influenced me & took me to every scheduled climb he has. From Mt. Makiling to Mt. Banahaw & Cristobal, 7 Lakes of Laguna, to Mt. Makulot and Pico de Loro in Batangas, I’ve been there & have seen how majestic & beautiful our mountains are here in the Philippines. Since then, I fell in love with climbing mountains. I love the challenge it gives and the discipline it instill in an individual plus it shows you a different kind of world when you’re up the summit and so close to the clouds and to mother nature.

I also learned a lot from climbing mountains, learned every basic survival skill there is, first aid and basic life support, not to mention I also learned how to hunt & forge for my food and eat anything (as long as its edible) and not get so squimish about it.  So a few months back (November 17, 2012 to be exact), me & some friends decided to take on Mt. Pinatubo in Capas, Tarlac. It was a blast! : )

Pinatubo is classified as an easy climb but with trail full of rocks, boulders, and sand, it makes a pretty tough trip to the volcano’s summit. If you’re gonna ask most of experienced mountaineers, they’ll say its a “walk in the park” and its more of a tourist spot. For this climb, endurance, stamina, and patience will take you a long way.

Mt. Pinatubo has been dormant for over 600++ years but year 1991, the seemingly quiet volcano erupted with vengeance. The magnitude of the eruption was so massive that ashes reached and covered Manila too, not only that, fumes and smoke was carried by the wind and covered most of the earth, lowering the temperature by 2 degrees (Google it or check it on Nat Geo). It took 2 years before the fumes to dissolve and clear out and till now lahar still flows  to Central Luzon area because of Mt. Pinatubo. However, because of that eruption, a beautiful crater-lake was formed and now has become a tourist spot in Central Luzon.

4x4 Ride to jump-off point
4×4 Ride to jump-off point

With a total of 10 kilometers (double it coz its a trail)  in 2 hours of trek (one way), you will be filled with awe. After walking in a barren path full of rocks and boulders, you’ll be rewarded with a view like no other. Its the bluest lake I’ve ever seen in my entire hiking years.

majestic blue waters of Mt. Pinatubo
majestic aqua blue waters of Mt. Pinatubo

Perfect too for all Adventure junkies as the trip will start with a roller-coaster ride in a 4×4 to the foot of the mountain. The 4×4 jeep will cross varying streams and endless, vast plains of Volcanic sand.

parking. more fun in the Philippines!
parking. more fun in the Philippines!

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Here’s our itenerary, in case you guys plan to climb Mt. Pinatubo;

0230 ETA Manila for Capas, Tarlac via NLEX (P140)
0500 ETA Capas, Tarlac. Breakfast
0600 ETA Brgy. Sta. Juliana; finalize prior arrangements
0700 Board 4×4 vehicles; adventure begins!
0800 ETA end-of-the-road; start trek
1000 ETA crater of Mt. Pinatubo. Explore the crater
1130 Lunch
1200 Start return trek
1400 Back to the 4x4s parked
1445 Back at jump-off point
1500 Return to Manila
1900 ETA Manila

And we took it a bit further, we rented a boat and went to the other side of the crater. We literally have the whole area for just the five of us! and a bonus of mud pack & hot water for mud application and bath awaits us there! : )

Kuya Robert with our bangkero! : )
Kuya Robert with our bangkero! : )

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you guessed it right! i’m the photographer so I’m the one who doesn’t have pictures!!! hay, tough life! :))))))))

hiking mountains. its almost always a battle of will. when the body is tired and couldn’t carry on, the mind has to do all the work. our trek up was apiece of cake but going down, when we already exhausted all our resources and energy, t’was tough. so i tell my climbing buddies to think “Mind over matter.” those who willed it the strongest, will conquer the mountains. : )

another important mantra/reminder to all those hiking the mountains (this one I learned from my Kuya and his fellow climbers), when climbing take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time. the things we see along the trail are not suppose to be taken away with you at home, leave it where you found it. footprints should be left behind, not your trash and of course, it’ll be brutal if we kill critters from the wild. give respect to the mountains, take care of it and it will take care of us too. : )

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see our bags? the key in making your climb easier is to pack light & pack wisely. Just bring the things you really need and leave unnecessary stuff that can just weigh you down. Never leave without any kind of sun & rain protection (but please not an umbrella!) and water. I don’t recommend to hike Pinatubo during summer (April to May) as there are no means of shade along the trail and the temperature can rise up considering the altitude you are in. It can cause dehydration and heat stroke. Its not also ideal to trek it during the rain months (July to October) coz the water in the crater lake can overflow and cause flash floods and landslides. Calling in for rescue will be quite hard (if not impossible) especially if you don’t have portable radio transmitters since there’s no mobile signal in the area.

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tired. been carrying a bag that is i think around 15 kilos heavy! :)) i have all the food for the group and 5 liters of water. tired in the middle of a barren wasteland! hahahaha! but see the green there in the middle, i’m quite sure that’s how heaven looks like. : )

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last 20 minutes till top! woohoo! good job everyone! : )

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and here’s what awaits us on top. super maganda talaga! all the hard work paid off! : ) pictures, no matter how i edit it cannot give justice to the beauty that is Mt. Pinatubo.

this is why i enjoy hiking and staying outdoors. you see the beauty in almost everything plus the fulfillment you’ll feel after being able to conquer and climb a mountain. rewards are just endless.

the whole trip including transportation (but without food) cost us P2,000 (and a little headache courtesy of the Travel Agency we booked in) but it was all worth it.

“Hiking is not a battle between man and mountain; it is a struggle between man and his own self. And the ultimate victory is not reaching the top, but reaching beyond one’s limit.”
so until the next trip! i hope you guys find this post interesting. Climb mountains, explore. Mountains are tall and life is too short so seize the moment while you can (carpe diem!). Keep on moving your feet! : )
Photos captured by my trusty Nikon D5000, Aly. : )

 

 

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