I was in a disastrous state when I went to the once disastrous Mt. Pinatubo. My mind then was on a brink of exploding as I dealt with what I call pre-quarter life crisis. I actually almost backed out from the trip; thank goodness the positive people surrounding me pushed me enough to leave my fears and anxieties behind even just for a little while. Hence, I dropped my final “yes” and trekked my way towards a priceless prize that awaits me. Yes, my friends—hindi lang love life ang pinoproblema ko. LOL.
On the rocks
On a steady February, we headed to Zambales from Manila at around 11 in the evening. Since I was demotivated during that time, I just chose to sleep through the ride, with hopes that my mood would shift into the bright side upon waking up. It seemed like my prayer was answered because during our breakfast-slash-bladder break, I finally felt the excitement growing inside me and found myself participating in conversations which I don’t typically do when I’m bluer than blue.
We arrived at the jump-off point in Botolan, Zambales at past 5:00 AM, with numerous parked 4×4 jeepneys in sight. At that moment, the excitement I mentioned earlier was nearing its peak. Before starting the adventure, TRIPinas, our tour partner, facilitated a short orientation on what to expect from the whole nature adventure. Don’t worry, hindi ka paaasahin ng Mt. Pinatubo. It may even exceed your expectations. 😉
The first part of the adventure was the bumpy 4×4 ride. This usually lasts for two hours, so for those who have vertigo or any motion sickness, get prepared. Make sure to drink medicine to manage the dizziness and nausea, and bring plastic bags in case of OMG-I-feel-like-throwing-up instances. Ito na lang ang isipin mo: Mas mabuti nang mahilo sa 4×4 kaysa naman ang mahilo nang dahil sa pinaikot-ikot ka lang n’ya. Charot.
Since the vehicle will also pass through a dusty and muddy soil, better gear yourself with a cap, a pair of sunglasses, and a mask. Tying your hair into a bun will also save you big time ’cause it can get windy especially during early mornings. You may feel irritable at first due to the inconveniences, but just consider those as part of the package. Brush the bad temper off—after all, a rollercoaster ride is something that must be enjoyed!
The second half of the terrain can no longer be accessed by 4×4 vehicles, so we went all the way to the crater by foot. Here are the essentials that may come useful for you during the hiking proper:
- Sunblock. It’s an active volcano, thus heat is expected. And don’t remove your cap and sunglasses just yet because it might get hotter when you encounter a couple of cuties along the way. A-luh-luh-luh.
- Trekking pole. I used an improvised one which is made of kawayan. This will make your trekking journey a lot easier for it balances your weight during ascents and descents, therefore preventing you from falling. O, alam na!
- Trekking sandals. Aside from rocky landscapes, you will pass by rivers as well; so I advise you to wear trekking sandals instead of rubber shoes (unless you have a waterproof one).
- Food. Of course, that is needed for you to be energized from time to time. Don’t be selfish, though. Share your food not just with your trekking buddies, but also with our beloved Aetas. The tribe has a village there, so they’re basically all over the place.
I enjoyed this part a lot because (1) I got to do some cardio; (2) I was able to see (and touch!) massive rock formations which resulted from volcanic ashes and lava; and most importantly, (3) I was able to interact and share my blessings with some members of our Aeta community. That last one was definitely the highlight. It served as a wake-up call, reminding me yet again of how lucky and blessed I am. I was busy ranting about work, school, and other petty issues, but there they were, happily and contently living and surviving the simple life. Walang karapatang magreklamo, bes!
So after three hours of walking, a little bit of climbing, and lots of picture-taking, we finally set foot at Mt. Pinatubo’s main attraction—the crater made possible by the Creator. No exaggeration intended, but I literally stopped and stared for seconds, just savoring such a beauty in front of me. The scorching sun warmed and melted my tough heart. The crystal, turquoise waters calmed my nerves. Mt. Pinatubo as a whole allowed me to make peace with myself—that is, to accept that life isn’t all piso fare tickets and unlimited samgyeopsal. We’ve got to acknowledge our weaknesses, embrace our imperfections, keep going amidst challenges, and believe that there’s always a rainbow after the rain.
So, with that being said…
What Mt. Pinatubo made me realize is that just like her, we are a beautiful disaster.
MGA BANAT NG BIYAHE
- Lava ka ba? Kasi I lava like a love song, e.
- Paano tumawa ang bulkan? Eh ‘di LAHARHARHAR.
- Girls who just came from a break-up be like: Nagmahal. Nasaktan. Sumabog. Gumanda. Pak!
Did this post thrill you to conquer Mt. Pinatubo? 🙂