So, there we stood at the start of the trek towards the crater of Mt Pinatubo.
We’ve been up since 1 in the morning (so that we could take our tour bus to Pinatubo) and we’ve spent the past hour or so on a REALLY exciting (read: bumpy) 4×4 ride.
Confronted with the beauty and the spectacular landscape of Pinatubo, the sheer immensity of the mountains makes me feel small and insignificant the way only Nature can. And at times like these, I am forced to look inwards and ask myself the same question I always do when faced with this kind of scenario , “WHY THE HELL AM I CLIMBING THAT???”
Then I look around and I remembered. I’ve lived for a good 31 years by coming to terms with the fact that there are some forces of nature you just don’t mess around with: gravity, laws of electro magnetic induction, Batman, Twilight fans and Jo’s insistence on doing batshit crazy things.
Yup, very apparently (and despite my best efforts), our shennanigans in Taal did not deter Jo from wanting to do further volcano trekking. In fact, we booked a tour with TRIPinas for a trek up Mt Pinatubo almost immediately after Taal.
To be fair, unlike Taal, most of the trek towards the crater of Pinatubo was on relatively flat ground. We did have to traverse over uneven terrain and even wade through knee deep rivers at some point during the trek, but for the most part it was actually… manageable. Of course, we had to walk at our own pace. The Guide estimated that we need two hours to reach the crater… we took three.
It did help that the landscape was so goddamn
gorgeous eerie. The eruption of Pinatubo in 1991 was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century and its effects can still be seen to these days.
We trekked through valleys carved out by the lava flow from the 91 eruption. The landscape was barren all around with almost no signs of vegetation. If we were here at night, I would’ve sworn we were on the moon.
That’s why we were so surprised by the lush greenery surrounding the crater lake. It’s like stepping into a lost world. Cue T-Rex roar and John Williams score in the background.
And the best part about the trek is that, unlike Taal Volcano, we could actually jump into the crater for a swim in the mineral rich water.
And for a price, we could also take a boat to the opposite side of the crater where we had a panoramic view of the entire crater. The water on this side of the crater is supposedly closer to the caldera, so the temperature can get VERY hot. But a dip in these waters really helped soothed the muscles after our long trek here. It’s like getting an outdoor hot spring spa treatment with a ridiculous backdrop.
A few words of advice if you are thinking of doing the Pinatubo:
1) Bring plenty of water
2) Bring your own food. It’s a full day and there’s no food sold at any point during the trek. Don’t need to tell you how many times we exchanged the “if only the Chinese were running this place” quip. On our part, we had a great McDonald’s picnic at the crater lake… Ok, I had a great McDonald’s picnic at the crater lake. Jo finished her portions long before we got that far.
3) For goodness sake, wear an open sandal. Jo wore a pair of sneakers. Beside having to deal with really wet shoes for most of the trek, many many little pebbles fell into the shoe and could not be dislodged. After four hours of walking, some of the pebbles got embedded under her skin. These are on top of all the blisters caused by abrasion. The pebbles had to be removed with tweezers and nail clippers at the end of the day. Believe me, it was not fun FOR ME watching her do that.
4) Bring sunblock
5) Bring a sarong or a bandanna. The 4 x 4 drive can get pretty dusty