My Tito Boy's been inviting me to visit Mt. Pinatubo for a few years now. The first time, I really couldn't as I was pregnant with Lucas. Chissa was able to trek to the crater back in 2008 and only had raves about the experience. With a less-than-a-year old baby, we also weren't able to find time for it in 2009.
Fast forward to 2010. While discussing the summer holidays, JJ asked me what I wanted to do. I thought of Pinatubo and told him I'd want to see the crater but never really made concrete plans for it to push through. But I thought of either going there during the Holy Week or the weekend after. Then my sister-in-law, Eunice, went on a day trip and I saw her pictures. The next thing, I was on the phone with my uncle making plans for our day trip :-)
~*~APRIL 9, 2010
A little past 3:00AM - JJ and I left home (takas is really more like it. we decided not to take Lucas with us and I was afraid that he'd wake up while we're leaving the house and throw a fit. good thing he was in deep slumber and didn't even budge while we were dressing up).
A little before 4:00AM - We stopped by Shell in NLEX to have breakfast. Yup, that fast :-)
A little before 6AM, we were already at my Tito Boy and Tita Susan's house. They live in Barangay O'Donnell, one of the barangays that tourists will pass by from Capas town proper. We had coffee, I pumped milk and then we're good to go.
We initially passed by lahar beds and it wasn't that bumpy a ride. Then we headed off to the mountain and the adventure began.
The lahar bed we passed by. According to my Tito, this is the original trail going to the crater. You would have to follow the river. It used to take hours.
After more than an hour aboard the 4x4 vehicle and about 25 minutes of easy trek, we finally saw the beautiful crater.
Of course, we couldn't resist taking one tourist shot after another.
We loved swimming here. The mix of warm and cool water felt really nice.
With my Tito Boy :-)
All packed up
The wonderful crater. Taken while going up the viewdeck area (going up the stairs from the actual crater is honestly the most difficult part of the trip).
The municipality charges for trips to the crater. If I heard right, they extended the roads and made them passable (via 4x4 vehicles) to shorten the actual hike/ trek and in effect, make it accessible to more tourists (specially those who aren't regular mountaineers).