26 March 2012
Travel Spot: The Great Mount Pinatubo Adventure
After almost 6 months, 4 reschedules, and several customer-experience-related-text-slash-phone-call-rants-to-the-trek-organizers, our Pinatubo adventure was finally on. The Pinatubo crater pictures were worth the 4 hour trek. Or were they? Judge for yourselves. My Pinatubo adventure was done. Your Pinatubo photo adventure begins now…
It was still dark when we left Manila. 100++ trekkers were at the Victory Liner Cubao station, excitedly talking about the adventure ahead (despite all the mishaps with the transportation, read: one big bus, one long van, and one car weren’t enough to accommodate the local and foreign trekkers, hence chaos).
Our Pinatubo tour package includes the following:
- round trip transportation via A/C vans/buses from Manila to the base camp in Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac
- packed lunch
- tour guide
- 4×4 landcruiser
*** Prepare PHP 390 per person for the Tourism fee.
Several trekkers go up the mountain during the summer peak season. Prepare to trek with 400 local and foreign trekkers. Basic preparation prior trek also includes the following:
- Pack light. Take only your basic necessities such as extra clothes, extra footwear, and energy drink. My backpack weighed 5 kg due to one lens, ND square filters, and flash. The tour guide had to bring my heavy bag.
- Protect your skin. The heat could be extremely cruel. Slather up with sunblock. I put the spf 100 version. I had a cap and a shawl too to protect my hair and face.
- Pay attention to your footsies. Some prefer to wear sandals. I prefer to wear sneakers to protect my toes (read: I am accident prone. I almost always stub my toes). Bring extra footwear too just in case your sneakers get wet.
- Hydrate. Have your energy drink and energy bars handy.
6 AM Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac – After 2 hours (of trying to sleep in the van), our next stop was Sta Juliana in Capas, Tarlac, where breakfast was served. 4×4 Landcruisers dotted the side of the road, ready to bring the trekkers across sand and not-so-raging rivers.
Dress appropriately for the trip. Be prepared to brave dust, sand, water, and the heat. I wore a light shirt to avoid heat stroke, put on arm warmers to protect my arms from dust and the heat of the sun, slathered on sunblock with spf 100, and wore sneakers to protect my toes from being stumped. I highly recommend that you bring sandals too, as your sneakers will get wet from crossing all those streams.
After two hours aboard the 4×4, we’re finally ready to trek for another two hours.
Stay as long as you could on top of Mount Pinatubo. If you would stay overnight, bring a good tent with you. However, for those who wish to go back to Manila asap, leave the crater before 3 PM, as you have to trek all the way back to the 4x4s, cross the rivers again, and cross sand valleys again.
You’ll get dusty and sweaty. The adventure was worth the time and effort.
Bring extra clothes and pay up PHP 70. Private shower areas are available at the restaurant in Capas, Tarlac. You’ll look and feel fresh in no time.
Travel Spot: Mount Pinatubo, Philippines
Address: Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga, Philippines
Telephone Number: TrekPros: +632.569.5946 or +63.916.242.0522
Budget: PHP 7000 per person for the entire package
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