The Philippines is usually dubbed as the pearl of the orient, because of its resplendent coastlines and majestic seas, but behind that splendor, it is also the home of one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in the history of Asia – most commonly known as The Devastation of Mount Pinatubo.
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June 12, 1991, a year before I was born, Mount Pinatubo is to be recorded as one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the century, resulting in huge avalanches, and gas-charged magma emulsions. Years before the said eruption, the volcano seemed like it is destined for eternal slumber, with very minimal signs of volcanic activity. So imagine how petrified I was when I finally decided to go there. What if it suddenly erupts while I was there? Well, PHIVOLCS or The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology have been keeping a close monitor of the Sleeping Mountain after that dreadful day, so do not worry – it’s perfectly safe.
HOW TO GET THERE
To be honest, this trip was pre-arranged by an acquaintance, so I can’t really give you which agency she went to, but I can give you an assessment of what I can remember. If you are coming from Manila, travel time is approximately 2-3 hours depending on traffic. You can also go there via public transport- although we opted to go with a private van, costing us about Php 1,600 each, which should include other expenses like the 4×4 rent (Php 3,000 for 5 people, guide fee Php 500 and environmental fee Php 300). Also, be sure to have your breakfast before you go there because looking for an area to eat can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re not into Filipino Food.
Upon arrival at the checkpoint area of Mount Pinatubo, via bus, van or any other means of transportation, you will be greeted by a safety officer. The Safety officer will explain the do’s and don’ts during the hike, and what you should watch for. Be very attentive on this one, because you are first and foremost entering the lair of a LIVE volcano, so be smart. There will be kids offering you support to stick for your hike, but, this is definitely not necessary. The hike is not that difficult and there is no need for additional support, so do not waste a single penny over this. Another thing you should remember is: To check the weather a day before, because the road can be extra slippery when wet, and the fog can cover the view at the peak. Fortunately for us, the rain subsided the moment we reach our hike destination. Also, in case I haven’t mentioned before, please keep in mind to wear proper HIKING SHOES, or really stable slippers (not those wedgies), or else they will not allow you to hike at all.
You will be required to ride a 4×4 for one hour, to go all the way to the start of the hiking trail. The reason for that is, the Mountain is massive, and you will have to pass through all the areas affected during the last eruption, so the road can be a little rough. You will see seismic rocks and sulfur emissions flowing from one stream to another. I know this will sound cliche, but after seeing the wonderful landscapes created by the eruption, all I could think about was: “sometimes bad things happen before good things can.”
The hike itself is really easy (yes that is coming from someone who struggled to hike at Mount Taal) so, no need for that pre-hike extensive exercise. There are no insane rocks or mountain climbing like my hike at The Peak in Squamish, Canada. This is easy-peasy and all you have to do is to enjoy the scenery. In case it gets a bit too hot or steamy, it’s handy to have a set of cloth to cover your mouth, accompanied by constant water intake. You will also have a chance encounter with some of the locals or ethnics who have made a living around the area (like farmers), and it can be a bit rare to see them anywhere else. To get a glimpse of what I am talking about, check out these photos:
As I’ve mentioned, it was a bit rainy when we arrived there so the fog covered the mountains and the rest of landscapes, almost making it impossible to see anything. Fortunately, the rain subsided a few minutes in, and the view started to marvelously unravel itself. The mix of blue and green, along with fresh soothing breeze makes the entire scene captivating. To give yourself a bit of an edgy overview, there is a great photo area right by the stairs. This should be able to cover the entire look of the place, although it would probably be filled with other tourists.
If you want to see our full adventure, watch this video too:
There are actually two routes to go back, so just tell your guide if you prefer the long route which is about 1.5 hours or the short one which is about 45 minutes. Ask the rest of your crew what do they prefer. There aren’t a lot of active volcanoes around the globe that you can visit, and I guess we were just lucky that we happen to have one here in PH. So don’t miss this opportunity. Book that trip with your friends and experience Mount Pinatubo for yourself!
Drop some comments and suggestions below, or tell us about your own experience!
Learn more how to get there with the details below:
Mount Pinatubo – Trail Adventours
Contact: (+632) 8023401
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