What did you have as your first out of town trip in 2012? Mine was just as memorable as it was also my first trekking experience. It was a long day of appreciating nature through sand-walking and river-crossing – it was my adventure in Mount Pinatubo.
Since we work on night shift (9:00 PM to 6:00 AM), my officemates and I asked for permission from our considerate managers to let us adjust our schedule for this specific day, since we had to leave by 2:00 AM, and we’re just glad they allowed us! Yey!
Big thanks to the group buying sites (we got ours from Cash Cash Pinoy), we were able to have this trip hassle-free! No need to plan since everything was already arranged by our tour guides from Access 8 Tours and Travels, including lunch! We entrusted them with our itinerary.
So pick-up point was at the Shell Gas Station in Emerald Ave., Ortigas, where we were going to meet our tour guides, and some bus-mates who were also going on a same trip with us. Our batch had two jam-packed buses!
We left Ortigas at around 3:00 AM and reached the Pinatubo area at around 6:00 AM. From there, we were divided into groups as we had to ride a 4x4 on our way to our trek’s main target view, the mountain’s Crater Lake.
The group posed with Kuya Elle, our tour guide.
The 4x4 ride was hella fun! It was a great ride going through some obstacles – passing through the thick sands and countless rocks, crossing through the rivers, and competing with other 4x4’s while enjoying the scenic view of the mountains (pre-mountains).
The exciting 4x4 ride
Bravely passing through the strong waters.
After an hour-long 4x4 ride, we finally reached the starting point of the trek. This was it! The real challenge – the 6 hour walk toward and from the Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake! I would advise for future trekkers to wear sandals or rubber shoes (which you are willing to wet), and comfortable shirts. Take note that you are going through a trek and not a fashion runway, so as much as possible, pack light with clothes, but heavy with food and water. Lots and lots of water!
I’m ready to conquer Mount Pinatubo!
Sand walking with the rest of the trekkers
My favorite part of the walking - no more Mr. Sun!
Finally, after a challenging 3 hours of sand-walking and river-crossing, all under the heat of the sun, we finally found the main attraction – the Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake! Yay! The dog-tiring walk was really worth it! We found paradise!
The Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake
However, we only had limited 3 hours to stay beside the lake where we had to do some important human stuff – eat lunch, rest, and refresh (swim by the lake)! Fortunately, we were able to freshen up ourselves after having our lunch. Though some of us chose to rest their feet, I chose to swim on the ice-cold lake! By the way, you have to really be a ‘cowboy’ once you choose to swim since there were no washrooms near the lake, so you have to change your clothes by simply hiding at the bushes!
Freshen up through the ice-cold lake water.
Got to have this souvenir shot!
Our journey back to the trek’s starting point was quite challenging to some, probably because they were unable to get enough rest for their legs. Also, the running waters from the rivers we crossed had become stronger that you really have to put some weight on yourself so you wouldn’t be slammed by the raging waters.
Well, being a hyper boy that I am, I took this walk as an opportunity to ask our tour guides some facts they know and their experiences about mountain trekking. For some reason, talking and talking helped me not to feel as tired as my buddies. They are not just experts on Philippine mountains, but they are also friendly as they enthusiastically cracked jokes with us.
After 3 hours of walking and an hour of 4x4 ride back, we finally saw the chance to freshen up again and rest, while also waiting for our bus.
On our way back to Manila, most of the trekkers decided to just sleep and get themselves their much-deserved rest.
It was indeed a very tiring yet fulfilling adventure we all could never forget. This one-of-a-kind first-time experience will forever be etched in our hearts as we have proven to ourselves what we are capable of doing. Who would’ve thought that our skinny pals could survive the scorching heat of the sun and the seemingly endless walk? Who would’ve thought that we can still find ways to enjoy a trip despite everybody’s undeniably almost-giving-up tired bodies?
Surviving and conquering one of God’s hidden gifts to men and nature – the Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake, this adventure definitely made us hella proud!
Posed for posterity before leaving the crater lake.