Sunday night, I couldn’t sleep. It’s the eve before our Mount Pinatubo and Baguio trip. I prepared my things very early for our 3-day trip, went to bed as early as 9PM but my body’s telling me otherwise. I couldn’t sleep, my mind's wondering about tomorrow’s trip. Are we going to be safe? Are we going to enjoy? A lot of questions and possible things that may come up were all running in my mind. My friend Hanna kept on informing me that we should be in her apartment at 5 in the morning sharp because the van that we rented is arriving at 5AM in her apartment.
I woke up the following day, Monday morning at around 4:30AM. I knew I will be late. Carlos, who lives near our house, was already waiting for me in the nearby 7-11. We rushed and waited for an available cab and the irony was we couldn’t find a cab! Hehehe.
So we were late. We arrived there at around 5:30AM. They were already inside the van and the joke’s on us. They actually almost kicked our butts. Hehehe. Luckily, the driver, sorry I forgot his name, was very efficient. He drove with a maximum speed of 140kph along NLEX. That’s the fastest ride I actually had. Seriously... In NLEX, I can only drive to as fast as 110kph, cannot go beyond that, I might lose control.
As much as I want to take a nap on our way to Capas, Tarlac, I didn’t have the chance. I tried really hard because I slept late and I should get enough sleep to be fully charged; I even put an eye-pad just to get asleep. But no, it didn’t work. We arrived in Capas at around 6:30AM, still too early. We had our breakfast first in MickyD’s while waiting for Eugene because he lives in Tarlac City and Ms. Jovi of Pinatubo Tourism. When I rang on him, I immediately knew that he just woke up from the dreamland, the sound of his voice was a mix of still groaning, still groggy and shocked response. Hehehe. His house is like 30 minutes away from the Capas meeting place so while waiting for Eugene, Ms. Jovi met us in Mcdo and did an orientation.
Did you know that the crater’s center is 5,000 feet deep from its water level? Did you know that the crater’s water color changes depending on its content? When it’s green, it’s more on sulphur. Blue when it’s more on salt. Blue-green of course if it’s neutral. The color was blue-green when we were there.
When Eugene arrived, we immediately went to the registration area which is near the Capas Town Hall. It took us approximately 30 minutes just to go there.
When we were already there, we met our 4x4s and our tour guides, prepared in our trekking suits and then ready to go!
Since we were 8, we needed two 4x4 jeeps. The girls rode in the smaller jeep, we took the bigger one but with no hood! So it was a long and a hot ride that we had. Luckily, our 4x4 left first so they suffered eating our dusts! Hahaha...
The 4x4 trip was actually composed of bumpy and dusty alternated with muddy obstacles brought about by the remnants of the volcano’s previous eruptions. We took several steep roads and experienced several machine breakdown due to the very challenging path. Poor 4x4 jeepneys... Hahaha...
When we reached the farthest area where the 4x4 jeeps can go, t’was already 11AM so we decided to eat our lunch first which is included in the package that we paid. We thought that our lunch would be economical but no! Each of us had 3 styro containers. The first styro has rice, fried chicken, salted egg and tomato. The second styro contains chapseuy and the last one has pork adobo. We also had a banana and a bottled water each. Not really a bad lunch huh? Super sulit!
After that very scrumptious lunch, we’re ready for a long hike up to the crater. Initially, we had to go down in this very steep track with cracks. According to our guides, they’re due to the recent heavy rains that eroded the supposed to be way down. When we reached the bottom, a walk that gradually goes up followed. There was a stream of cold water running opposite our direction, heading down. As we go farther, the view becomes greener, the pavement narrower, and the atmosphere’s getting colder.
It's normally about a 40-minute walk from the site where the 4x4s can park up until the crater, but since we hafta stop sometimes to take some rest and picture-picture, it took us about an hour hiking just to reach the top.
Luckily, I was listening to Regina Spektor which made the climb much easier. The funny lyrics and dandy beats of her songs make me ignore the scorching heat of the sun and my thirsty and tongue-protruding mouth.
Finally, we saw this pavement that marks the proximity to the crater. Then voila! What a relief! The water was blue-green! T’was very glorious and peaceful. My H2O bottle's already half empty. My ipod then immediately played Joshua Kadison's Beautiful in My Eyes. Awww... what a coincidence! My player's in a shuffle mode, would you believe?!
You’re my piece of mind, in this crazy world
You’re every thing I've tried to find
Your love is a pearl
You’re my Mona Lisa
You’re my rainbow skies
And my only prayer is that you realize
You'll always be beautiful in my eyes...
It then felt like the volcano's crater and I have a connection. LOL, I'm just kidding. We rested for a while then decided to swim! It was very fulfilling reaching the crater. It’s so calm up there. We were the only people besides the volcanologists who were there to monitor Pinatubo’s activity. Right, he's an active volcano but according to them, it would take him 5 days from the first sign of possible eruption before the final eruption will take place so it's not really that scary to go up and visit the crater because it will not erupt any minute. Our guides waited for us while we swam in the cold water of the crater. Grrr... It's all worth it!
Then it made me wonder how on earth did he do it?! I mean, the crater's mouth is so huge, about 2 kilometers in diameter. The mountain-like structure that surrounds the crater's so high, so I cannot just imagine how powerful and forceful it's explosion and eruption can be. It's really an awesome view, how nature can actually carve itself to become a beautiful scene... It's very exceptional!
And also the crater with water, filled by years of rainfall, it's so amazing... really... I cannot help myself but to be amazed. Beautiful indeed!
You can actually go to the center of the crater swimming but be sure you knoe how to save your self when you drown. LOL. There are also available boats which you can rent, but we didn't find it interesting to be in the center of the crater... Hehehe...
It's just WOW...
Going down was a lot easier compared to going up. And since we left the crater at around 3:30PM, the sun's already not apparent and we already need not to take pictures and so it only took us about 45-minutes to reach into our 4x4s.
Another exciting and funny thing that happened while on our way down was when a heavy rain came right after reaching the area where the 4x4s can park. Since our jeep has no hood, we had no choice but to shower in the rain at the back of the jeep during our way back to the registration area. It was a really fun experience!
The world will turn
And the seasons will change
And all the lessons we will learn
Will be beautiful and strange
We'll have our fell of tears
Our share of sight
My only prayer is that you realize
You'll always be beautiful in my eyes...
You will always be beautiful in my eyes
And the passing years will show
That you will always grow
Ever more beautiful in my eyes
Most of the pictures were taken from Rhenz's multiply. Thanks Rhenz!
Owell, there are a lot!
Part 2 will be posted soon... the continuation of our trip... next stop? Baguio!