Monday, March 14, 2016

Mt. Pinatubo - A beautiful disaster

As I mentioned before, I am not a super fan of package tours because I always travel on a budget and I strongly believe that I can save more whenever I am on a DIY (Do-It-Yourself). It also helps reflect on the trip more if I am only travelling with less people around me without any time pressure or strict itinerary to follow. But when one of my girlfriends asked me to join them on their Pinatubo trek a month ago without a second thought, I immediately said yes. She arranged everything and was able to find a very good package deal; she booked it under Mt. Pinatubo Adventure Phils.
This is the first time that I will be travelling with the girls, I am really excited. My partner and I really prepared ourselves for the trip (Not physically but our outfit only lol). 
So here comes Saturday, my partner cooked our packed lunch while I preppared our stuff then went ahead to the meet up point in McDonald’s Quezon Avenue. 
I'm surprised we have company, I was actually expecting that we are only 1 van, but didn't dwell on it too much because my group occupied 1 whole van so we could really be ourselves without any reservations. LOL

Our van departed at exactly 3:00 AM and arrived at Mabalacat Pampanga around 4:00 AM. I went back to sleep and it was already 5:45 AM when we arrived at Danny's tourist campsite sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. 

Upon arrival we were overwhelmed by flock of little kids offering us to buy their trekking sticks made from bamboo. Of course we were carried away by their sales talk that’s why each of us bought one.

SPOILER ALERT: Trekking sticks is sold for only PHP 20.00, you don't really need it but it will help their livelihood so I ask you to buy one, you could still keep it as a souvenir afterwards anyway.

6:00 AM we signed the waiver and proceed to the briefing area which is just few steps away from Danny's place and just beside of their tourism office. 

There were lots of tourists during our trip, So i am recommending for you to just avail a package tour so that someone could guide and assist you the whole trip.

Meet Kuya Anthony, he's the assigned guide to us from the start until the end of the trip.

We were being briefed on this photo, trust me I am there!

By the way all adults with ages 40y/o and above are required to have their BP taken prior the tour, elevated BP will not be deployed and continue the tour. They take health really seriously on this place, which I do not argue because as a traveler, our main priority should be safety.
Just wanted to share why i used the word "deploy", because it became an inside joke between me and the girls since that's the exact term that our facilitator used when we were being briefed, we felt like we will be sent to a battle field or war lol

If this is a war, here's our weapon!

We were a bit behind our schedule because one of us is high blood (he’s above 40y/o) which in the end they didn’t let him come. We started the 20 kilometers 4x4 ride at around 7:30 AM, which I guess turned out fine because when we arrived at the crater most people are already going back. 

Who would have thought that a painful event in the past will turn out to be a picturesque scenery. It was indeed a beautiful disaster. 
 My camera nor my words will not be able to give justice on how majestic this place is.

If you wanted to go DIY, you may do it. 4x4 rates is PHP 3000.00 which can be divided by 5 people. I noticed that the tourism office are prioritizing the package tours that’s why I would highly suggests that it’s better to avail a package tour that could most likely prepare everything for you.

We had to stop couple of times because our ride is overheating. We do not want to spoil the moment that’s why we just focused on the fun.

look up!

there was a time where our ride got stuck and luckily there is another 4x4 behind us that gave us a tow.

We started to feel the pain of the trip when we started walking by 9:25 AM 

Another perk of this trip is I got to bond with the Aetas along the way, they are the sweetest!
I gave them some candies and they paid it with a beautiful smile.

We were able to see Aetas along the way and damn they know how to pose! Lol

From left to right: Ezekiel, Robert, Julius, Marvin (Nah just kidding, these names were my agent's names lol)

more walk, rocks. sand, stream

If you reached this sign, you are near (yet so far), this is pretty inaccurate because it took us 30 minutes for us to reach the crater, does it mean that we walk like a sloth or a disabled turtle? Our guide shared that 4x4 can reach this far before but because of several typhoons, it destroyed the trail.

As we continued walking, rocks after rocks, stream over stream we finally arrived at the crater by 11:45 AM. It was a really long walk, though there is no steep path it’s still tiring because the sun is directly looking at us. 

I totally underestimated it and this isn’t for the weak heart so here's my pose of triumph (Pose ng tagumpay)
We learned from our guide that they normally get tourists every two weeks, all guides and 4x4 drivers is rotating because everyone must get their fair share so you don't get to choose what 4x4 to ride, if you get assigned to an open one and you're a shutter bug then lucky you because you get to take photos of really nice landscapes.

Swimming is no longer allowed on the area. After taking tons of photos we found ourselves chilling under the tree counting sheep enjoying. 

1:00 PM we started the descent.
I am so tired but I have to keep moving

Obligatory selfeet :)

4:00 PM. Arrived at Danny’s, ate our late lunch and took a bath. 
Shower costs PHP 50. 
Their staff is very accommodating and I am recommending this place incase you opted to go on D-I-Y.

5:00 PM back home

7:00 PM Manila

Post trek realization, the trip as indeed tiring but it was all worth it! I am glad I am one of the lucky one's to see something really majestic and truly a Philippine's pride. If you are still young an kicking plan a trip and you'll know what I meant when you get there.

Life is too short and uncertain, might as well do what you wanna do while you still can.

Package tour: PHP 2000.00
1. Private Van (Manila-Tarlac-Manil­­­­­a)
2. 4×4 JEEP Rental
3. Local Tour Guide- maximum of 5 guests per guide
-Entrance fee
-Registration fee
-Conservation fee
-Permit to trek
5. Mandatory Aeta Fee Php 150/person
6. Tour Arrangement

1. Meals
2. Local Guide tip (optional)
3. Shower Room fee

Here's the itinerary
2:00 AM - 2:30AM Meet-up, Mcdo Q. Ave.
2:30 AM - 5:00 Mcdo q. Ave, MRT Station to Capas Junction
5:00 AM - 5:15 AM Breakfast/Buy Lunch at Mcdo Capas Junction
5:15 AM - 6:00 AM Mcdo Capas Junction to Sta. Juliana Capas Tarlac
6:00 AM - 7:00 AM Registration
7:00 AM - 8:30 AM 4x4 Ride to Jump-off
8:30 AM - 10:30 Am Trek to the Crater
10:30AM - 12:30 PM Free time, lunch, picture taking
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM Descend from Crater
2:30 AM - 4:00 PM 4x4 Ride back to the tourism office
4:00 PM - 5: 00 PM Wash up
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Tarlac toMcdo,Q. Ave. MRT Station

1. Cap/Umbrella/­­­­­Handkerchief/ Scarf/
2. 1-2 Liters of Water
3. One (1) valid ID/passport for foreign guests
4. Extra Clothes
5. Camera, Extra Batteries
6. Personal medicines, first-aid kit and toiletries
7. Garbage Bag
8. Trail food and extra snacks that you may want to share with the Aeta kids
9. Ballpen
10. Extra Cash
11. Packed lunch
12. Slippers

Suggested Trekking Outfit
***trek shorts/pants, shoes and drift clothes ** Sandals/Trekking Shoes/Rubbershoes

Watch our Pinatubo trekk video here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Receive All Free Updates Via Facebook.