Beauty From Ashes

Two Saturdays ago, March 16, my parents and I joined my brother in a trip with his fellow Backpackers (a club in his workplace) to behold the beauty of Mt. Pinatubo.

But before the renowned volcano became as breathtaking as it is now, it once caused great destruction to its neighboring provinces when it erupted in the year 1991. It affected the lives of more than 2 million people whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed. It also had an global impact since the eruption had an effect in the ozone layer and the global temperature.

Today, Mt. Pinatubo is one of the popular tourist destinations of the Philippines. However, they only limit the tourists flocking in to only about 10,000 per day if I remember it right.. hehehe πŸ˜€ Since it was our first time to go there, we did some research and read several blog posts on Mt. Pinatubo. Many said that you would get really dusty when onboard the 4×4 vehicles. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for us. The drivers keep a safe distance from the vehicles before them so as not to get theirselves and their passengers covered in lahar dust πŸ™‚ we heeded the advice of other bloggers to wear a long-sleeved shirt as the sun is scorching hot!!

We left Manila at 3am, had a short stopover in a gasoline station along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and arrived at the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) sattelite office in Capas, Tarlac at around 7am. Good thing we were on a bus, I was able to get a bit more sleep. When we alighted from the bus, we fix our registration with DOT, applied sunscreen and did some stretching (this is important!). At around 8am, we were all set and we excitedly headed to the 4×4 vehicles waiting for us.

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A kid selling bamboo rods that will serve as your walking sticks.

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Our closed 4×4 vehicle. Some of them are open-aired which I think are cooler πŸ˜‰

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Little Aetas (local kids).

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Some Aeta kids with their bamboo toys.

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Our climb started at this point; an easy 20 to 30-minute trek after an hour and a half of bumpy ride. Our tour guide told us that some opt to trek from a station called Lipit where the 4×4’s trail used to end. The station is 7kms away from the crater and the trek will take about two hours. I was not able to take a good photo of the station because of the very rough road making some photos blurry 😦 If you’re in for more adventure, I think you can ask your driver to drop you and your tour guide off at Lipit station πŸ™‚

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After our 20-minute trek…

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My feet submerged in the sulfuric water! Hahaha

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Our team’s winning shot! Hooray for Team 5! πŸ˜€

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Shortly after lunch, it was time for us to go…

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Though our stay there was pretty short and quick, it was still memorable and fun-filled. Who would have thought that something that once caused great disaster would be as beautiful as this? πŸ™‚

Tips:
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, a cap/hat, rubber/trekking shoes.
Bring a camera,Β shades, sunscreen lotion, picnic mat, slippers (so you can dip your feet in the water :))
Bring lots of water or Gatorade, snacks and lunch (if you plan to stay there for quite some time)

Photos by my brother and me πŸ™‚

P.S.
We passed by Capas Shrine, one of the historical landmarks in the country. It is where the Bataan Death March started. We were not able to stopover but I learned that the entrance fee to the shrine is P60 only πŸ™‚

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