the dumaguete diaries is interrupted by this special "broadcast": me - the overweight, non-outdoorsy mall rat has conquered mt. pinatubo. see, i have pics to prove it:
here's on the trek on the way up pinatubo:
here's the crater lake:
and here's kuya ef cause i'm on the other boat and just had my picture taken by him. yes, we reciprocate favors of the picture-taking nature. haha:
it was a crazy trip: meeting time was 4:15 a.m. at shell mckinley. since none of us wanted to be late, i started picking people up at 3:00 am: first theo, then che. because i got lost on my way to theo's house (either cause i was still truly sleepy or cause i never really go to his house from the opposite side), it took us almost thirty minutes before we finally got to kuya efren's house. from there, mang pablo the driver took us to shell mckinley and it wasn't long before we were on our way to our weekend adventure.
pinatubo just used to mean a couple of random things for me: a dormant mountain that blew its top, major ashfall in metro manila that lasted for months, displaced aetas, and things that friends climbed. i never thought that one day, i too would be making the trek to pinatubo. but cause i probably now belong to a relatively active action group, it was planned that we'll join dominic's planned trek to mt. pinatubo. okay, i thought, this shouldn't be too hard.
riding the van to tarlac wasn't too hard (i had lucked on sitting on the third row). riding the 4x4 going to pinatubo wasn't too hard either (my group had lucked on the 4x4 with wide benches). going up mt. pinatubo, now THAT was hard. still, i made it. and while going up the last couple of steps were the most difficult (they had made stairs out of cemented stones ... going up the stairs are my major weakness), the view that greeted me as soon as i was the peak was sooooo worth it.
however, as kuya ef pointed it out, experiencing a place always trumps just seeing it, so i'm glad i forked over the additional P350 to go boating around the lake. the boatman we got was nice enough to answer all of our questions, from the typical (is this lake just filled with rainwater? answer - no, there's a spring that fill it up) to the scientific (how deep is the lake? why is it this color?) to the inane (why is that man wearing a bahag?). we got to experience the steaming sand on the other side of the lake, take an inane amount of pictures, and make the most of the trek.
ultimately, the trip there took longer than the time actually spent atop mount pinatubo, and the trip back was even longer. still, it was the absolute best way to spend a weekend. even my achy body will attest to that.