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Pinatubo Eco Trek

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Mt. Pinatubo Trek Itinerary

Our Pinatubo Eco Trip was unusual in that we bought a voucher from a group-buying site, namely Ebay Kuponan, to avail of the trip. The merchant was Nature Trip Travel and Tours.

The voucher advertised that for only Php 888, it already included the 4-wheel drive and a tour guide. I didn't do enough research, else I wouldn't have bought the voucher. It didn't include food, the environmental fee and the transport from Manila to Tarlac. So really, for that price, we could have hired our own 4x4 vehicle and tour guide at a lower cost.

4-wheel drives
There were initially 5 of us but one person backed out, although he was already fully paid. One thing that got us really irritated with Nature Trip was because they grouped us with another couple even though we paid for our own 4x4. We wouldn't have minded the additional people but on the way back, they made us wait an hour before returning to the vehicle and we couldn't leave without them. We blamed Nature Trip for wasting our time by sharing the vehicle with others when we fully paid the price for five people to be able to have it all to ourselves.

Still, aside from that negative experience, we enjoyed the trip as a whole. It started when we left Manila at 3am to travel to Tarlac. By 6am, we were already at Sta. Juliana at Capas, which was the meeting point.

Picture perfect. This was just before we reached the trekking point.
We boarded the 4-wheel drive vehicle and journeyed for an hour from Crow Valley to reach the trekking point. The ride was rough and muddy from the rain early that morning. Mud would fly along the sides of the vehicle to splash my sides. I didn't mind much because I was busy looking at the vast expanse of white, volcanic sediment in front of me. We passed by giant, white mountains of ash deposits and I could see huge craters that our guide told us were from bomb tests.

You see, Crow Valley is really a bombing and gunnery range used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They use it for bombing and strafing practice, as well as ground unit maneuver and live fire exercises.

This is mostly what you will see.
All too soon, we reached the trekking point, from where we would hike for two hours to reach the crater lake.

 It was exhausting for me but I had no choice but to trudge on because one of our companions was an experienced climber and I had to keep up or be left behind!  We passed by mountains of volcanic debris and also had to walk across streams. I suggest bringing footwear which you won't mind getting wet and one which pebbles or sand can't easily get into.

We hardly stopped for any breaks and made it to the crater in record time. One and a half hour. The view was truly magnificent and of course, we rushed to have our photos taken.

We've finally arrived!
I was the only one who swam in the lake. I was thankful for the refreshing dip after all that trekking. Boat rides were being offered so that people can explore more of the crater lake but we were too tired to do anything else.

We also ate our packed lunch here, and after a little while, it started to rain. That's when we decided to go back down. The trip back was way easier, partly because it was all downhill and partly because of the rain. It was hot when we first climbed up and I really prefer the rain over the sun in times like these.

All that trekking was worth it to see this.

I was soaking wet by the time I reached the 4x4 vehicle but I knew that I could take a shower back in Spa Town, which I did, for P50. So, refreshed, we prepared to leave for home.

On the way back, we had dinner in Pampanga, at a very delicious sisig house: Aling Lucing's, the original inventor of the sisig. It was the perfect end to a very eventful day.


Ian | Going Places said...

I really want to do this trek at Pinatubo kaso sana kulay cyan yung crater lake... tuwing kelan lang ba yun? Worthy a almost 2 hour trek kung me gantong kagandang view naman at the end!

Ysera said...

Hi Ian, we went on May and still it rained. I guess sa summer months lang tlaga clear yung skies and the crater lake.

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