Trek To Pinatubo

I guess my friend Gen summed it up pretty nicely in a couple of text messages:
  1. What possessed you to join (the trek to) Pinatubo?
  2. Just never figured you to be the outdoorsy nature-tripper type.
To cut this story short, I first heard of last weekend's trip through Simon who wanted to see the crater lake while he's on vacation here in the Philippine. At P2,275 per person, I thought "Why not?"
It would be a trip I can chalk up to experience and was also prime opportunity to shoot landscapes with my new camera.

Snacks for the trip. Yes, it comes with different flavors now.
Honestly I wasn't excited about this trip. A huge part of me felt it was just something I had to do.
Maybe because Pinatubo just wasn't a dream destination. Maybe because I'm not the "outdoorsy nature-tripper type."
Streams of sulfur!

Nevertheless, I was amazed by what I saw heading up to the crater more than the crater itself.
Surrounded by these magnificent monuments and threading on what was once a river valley now full of sediments, it felt just like those journeys that I read about in fantasy novels. Like a journey through remnants long forgotten by history. In reality, a well-remembered recent history.

Of course, this stretch of the trek was what Travel Factor failed to include in its itinerary. It took about a couple of hours of endless walking through uneven, wet, sandy, rocky and downright messy terrain. The metropolitan boy in me was crying havoc the entire time as our assigned tour guide was leagues ahead of us. I didn't even get to take photos as I had to keep up. Thankfully, there were other trekkers and the trail was easy enough to follow.
This was a riot!
Then we get to a certain spot where the trek up to the crater actually begins. That wasn't so bad. The trail up the mountain is also easily navigable. Simon and I did well without a tour guide.

The reward after all that effort is the spectacular view of the crater. The site of a once massive explosion is now a serene green lake. Honestly I found it underwhelming. Then we head down to the lake and I had to face my acrophobia only to find out the lake is not really friendly towards amateur swimmers like me. It goes down deep really quickly. Bummer.

Still made for some nice photos though.
We spent about a couple of hours at the crater before deciding to head back down and go home.

The way back had just me, our guide and Luna with her sprained ankle. The other trekkers had gone ahead upon hearing about a landslide that leveled one of the 4x4's that drove us there. Since I wasn't in so much of a hurry, I was able to snap photos of the "valley of the gods". Thankfully, there was enough afternoon sunlight to shoot the scenery, which to me looked like something out of a Peter Jackson movie.
I suppose this journey to the Pinatubo crater lake just proved the adage that the journey is more important than the destination. I'm not keen on going back but I hope to see more sights like these in the country.

Here is video I took of our trip. Please excuse the audio.

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