Wednesday, May 22, 2013

mt. pinatubo: a worthy disaster

Hiyaaa! Just got back from Ilocos. I have tons of photos to upload and stories to tell but let me continue first where I left off.. with our Pinatubo Trip!

I made it a goal last year to trek Mt. Pinatubo and see its majestic crater; but as you all know my 2012 was crazier than crazy {not saying it's completely bad, ha :P}. I decided not to give up on last year's dreams so I PUSHED for this trip. Emphasis on push 'cause I really got stressed, annoyed and pissed before, during and after the trip! Hahaha! I am not exaggerating, it was that bad!

It all started when I saw Metrodeal's Pinatubo Day Tour for P888 inclusive of  breakfast, 4x4 ride and tour coordinator. I immediately created a group conversation with my college friends {plus two former officemates} on Facebook. Only 8 confirmed but we had to buy 10 because it's in the fine print that every weekdays and Sundays, group of  5 persons is required per booking. Our target date was a Sunday. I shouldered the expenses first with one's promise that he'll help me fill the remaining slots. So far so good.

Then the expected happened. Yep yep, I said expected 'cause all the while I had a premonition that one of them will back out. See, I know my friends that well. On the brighter side, Jun  was able to tag along 3 people {a former classmate who is closer to him, a friend and a friend of the friend :P} so at that point, we're back to 10 in the group. Okay na naman ang lola nyo.

We were all set for March 10 only to find out that there was a landslide along Pinatubo's trail and all tour schedules until the 15th were cancelled. Nakakapikon. I had to communicate with everyone again just to find out our next common free day. We all agreed for April 7. It was a long wait made even worse by the fact that I haven't gotten back my money.

Few days prior to our new trip schedule, the friend who happened to promise he'll help me with things backed out. Of all people, dba? Imagine the horror! I find his reason lame so we had a little argument. Jun saved the day again by tagging along a friend of his friend's friend. True story. 

April 7 then came but Sheena was nowhere to be found. Our call time was 3 am and meeting place was McDo, Quezon Ave. We had to leave the place without her because we can't reach her - I am guessing her phone was in airplane mode at that time. :P We only got a text message at around 11 am telling us that she fell asleep. Oh joy!

Btw, our van service was from Nature Trip and Travel Tours also, the owner of the deal that we got from Metrodeal. It's priced for P700 each. They also offered lunch for P100 but we declined. You can reach them at these numbers: 
0922-890-6380/ 0917-883-6363/ 0928-505-0764/ 455-4248 or through

I can't remember the exact time we arrived at but most likely around 6 am as expected in our itinerary. We were served hotdogs, egg and rice for breakfast. And take note, hilaw yung kanin. It's as if the bad vibes given by  some irresponsible people around weren't enough. Haaay.

After breakfast, we signed waivers and paid the miscellaneous fees - P300 conservation fee, P100 DOT tour guide and P150 entrance fee for a total of P550 each. We still had to pay for 10 pax even though we were only 9 in the group 'cause that's what we committed prior to the trip.

early morning shots

tourism office, restroom and cafeteria at Sta. Juliana

The fun part started with the 4x4 ride. We were divided into two groups 'cause the 4x4 can only accommodate up to 5 people. I was with my sister, Jhov and kuya in one 4x4 while Dwin, Jun and his friends shared another 4x4. Our group was so energetic we kept on singing and fooling around with whatever catches our attention. We also played race with the other 4x4's. Good thing our driver and guide were both game. Ang saya lang!

We stopped by a vast open area for photo ops. We also saw Aetas selling bananas, chips and biscuits. We bought some bananas for the sole reason of helping.

the aetas ♥

our group's photo op with the big rock

Our next stop was where our 4x4 left us to start trekking. I missed trekking so bad that when our driver gave us options where to drop us off, I chose the longer walk. I cannot even wait to leave our ride!

all nine of us

and then the trekking began..

last three photos are Biege's photography

After ten minutes or so, we reached Crow Valley. It is the default drop-off point of the 4x4's {unless like me, you want to walk longer}. It was our opportunity to use the restroom and squeeze in some rest.

chillin' for a while

Few steps from where we rested is this famous signage. A Pinatubo trip is never without a photo of this. I should know, I've seen many blogs. Although what's written on it should not be believed in. It took us around 30 minutes to reach the crater. I honestly do not get the purpose.

the famous signage

Unlike the 4x4's trail which is a vast field of lahar, the trail after Crow Valley is more of a lush terrain. It has a lot of trees which provided us shade and made the trek more bearable. It has a lot of streams too but they had rocks where we stepped on. I made it a point not to get my sandals wet. I succeed. :P

lush terrain this time

Finally, we reached the crater. I was in awe with its beautiful turquoise hue. I must say it's worth all the stress I put myself into. Although I expected that I'll be marveling at something beautiful, it's entirely different when you finally see it up-close.

photos grabbed from Jhov

Few minutes after we reached the crater, we prepared for lunch. I didn't expect that there are some sort of cottages at the peak. Our guide helped us find a spot because there were a lot of guests at that time. Hello, it's summer!! By the way, we took out our lunch from the same cafeteria where we ate our breakfast. It's no longer part of the package and we had to pay for P100 for a grilled pork and rice meal. It's not good either but not as bad as our breakfast.

our spot for lunch

Here's another unfortunate truth: Instead of the usual 1:30 PM trek down, we had to start trekking down by 12:00 PM. We were told that there was a Balikatan Exercise being held and that the road back will be closed by 1:30 PM. I honestly read about the Balikatan prior to our trip but I didn't receive any formal email from Nature Trip about it. My bad that I didn't confirm further. 

We have no other choice but to make the most out of our remaining 5 minutes or so. Picture galore!!

had to crop you kuya, sorry :P

jumpshot anytime, anywhere

thank you still, Pinatubo

On our 4x4 ride back, they were teasing me.. something like kung anong ikina-ingay papunta, sya namang tulog pagbalik. Hihi! I was asleep almost from Crow Valley to some sort of a checkpoint where all 4x4 had to stop and wait for a go-signal before proceeding. It took a while before we left but we didn't go down anymore because we were tired already. 

On our way to Manila, we capped off the day by a dinner at Chowking. We were dropped off at Quezon Ave. again where everyone parted. 

Horrible things may have happened but I have no regrets. For one, I learned my lesson.. and that is not to trust people easily. Second, despite everything, it's still a goal ticked off from my bucket list. What's not to love about that?

I'll post our itinerary and expenses next so stay tuned! Much, love. ♥

How about checking this blog out for me: Get Better In Style? Or better yet, follow. Thanksies!



sherene said...

ang bongga nung age bracket ha hehehe.
siguro kahit middle age ako, dapat dun ako sa 20 mins hahaha.
Darling thank u btw for the sweet words on my ramblings.
Kumusta ang ilocos mo i hope u had so much fun cant wait for ur post:))

Orange Pulps ♥ said...

huwaw. ong soyo nomon. ^_^

NAJ said...

Wow! I wish I can spend my remaining vacation days like yours! The pictures showed you had a wonderful time. :)

New follower here.
~Naj xx

Jenni♥ said...

Your Blog is so cute and you look nice :)
If you want to follow each other, please let me know !

Anonymous said...

what a nice adventure and great photos! :) xoxo

Sybil said...

wow!! thanks for captivating these images!! the pinatubo adventure looks so fun and interesting!! hopefully, i can trek there when i visit the county!! :D

Click me for my BLOG!

Tal | ThePinayWanderer said...

Wanna trek pinatubo too; hopefully, someday. ;) but w/ your experience, I think I'll go for a DIY tour, I just hope my friends would agree. hehe... Thanks for visiting my site, btw. :)

Apple Borbon said...

@sherene. you're so much welcome. i enjoyed ilocos. i haven't seen our photos though. can't wait to blog about it too.

@orange pulps. yep yep. :)

@naj. we had fun. thanks so much for following. i followed you back ;)

@jenni. dear, if i can only understand what's on your blog. :)

Apple Borbon said...

@tan tan. thank you :)

@libys11. it's indeed fun. it's worth visiting when you're here.

@tal. DIY is a lot cheaper most of the time. share with us when you get there someday. your welcome, btw.

Aiza said...

I get pissed off when the trip gets cancelled too. Kaya ngayon, the less, the merrier. Haha! Anyway, tulog din ako nung pauwi na! Haha. Kakapagod kc. Glad you had a good time! :)

Apple Borbon said...

@miss 'chievous. thanksies. didn't know you've been to pinatubo already. i better visit your blog latuur. :)