Seeing the magnificent crater lake which was born from a catastrophic event was just beyond awesome. The 1 hour 4 x 4 ride and 2-hour trek was worth it upon seeing the breath-taking view of Mt. Pinatubo. For those too young to remember, Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991 killing many lives and destroying many properties. However, it seems that one unlikely event would lead to another opportunity for locals to earn a living.
|With Karen and my co-workers Donna, Tin and Leslie. Bern took this photo|
We started our 1-hour 4 x 4 ride at around 6 AM. upon reaching Lipit station, our 2-hour grueling hike to the summit begins. It has been quite some time since my last hike and I really prayed that I will have no problems once we started our long walk.
Interestingly enough, I was curious of the almost-alien environment we were tucked in and killed time by chatting with Mr. Tee who was really knowledgeable and accommodating of my inquiries.
|with new found friend Karen|
|with the friendly and accommodating Mr. Tee, our tour organizer|
|I sometimes thought I was on the moon or somewhere in Central US|
Meet-up place was at McDonald's Panay in Quezon City (EDSA corner Quezon Avenue near the MRT Quezon Avenue Station) at exactly 2.30 AM. We joined Tripinas package tour at 1990 Php per head. A deposit of P 1000 is required for confirmation and the remaining balance is payable on the day of the tour.
This day tour is perfect for those who do not have the luxury of being gone for long. Affordable and very near the metro.
Tripinas contact information:
|Walk walk walk|
|Nothing but lahar and stones and rocks everywhere|
Once you reach the summit, these awesome jaw-dropping views will make you forget about everything else. :-)
We reached the crater at around 10 AM. Travelers can also swim in the lake (the waters were actually a bit cold) or take a boat tour at P 350 per head. Total time spent at the summit is two hours. We were to start our descent at exactly 12 NN. The boat tour is for an hour: 30 minutes spent to go back and forth to the other side while the remaining 30 minutes is spent for swimming/leisure.
I noticed that only paddle boats are used. I asked our boatman and he confirmed that no motorized bancas are allowed. I think this is a great help in preserving the lake's pristine state.
I was curious how much they were actually making. Kuya Kel (if I remember right) said that for every passenger who pays P 350, P 12 goes to them. We were astonished at first how come their percentage was so small. But then he quickly confirmed that this was just sort of a sideline for them and they have other jobs where they get their regular salary. It made me think at times if that was really reasonable but I guess that would be fit for another discussion.
All in all my trip to Mt. Pinatubo was really unforgettable. Beneath the scorching sun and the unforgivable environment, it is still an amazement to me how the story of Mt. Pinatubo's crater lake came to be.