There are simple things you need to know in trekking Mt Pinatubo:
- Exercise – Google it. It’ s something worth reading for 15 minutes in your 8-hour job.
- Sleeping well – One of our companions felt so sick because of staying up too late the night before. She graced the track with her breakfast that morning.
- Good trekking sandals / shoes – It’s a given. Don’t use your favourite Nike running shoes, especially if the pair is newly-bought in MOA. Very helpful for the part where you really aren’t sure if you’re still perpendicular to the earth’s gravity force field or you’re already falling parallel to it.
- Check your rhythm count (for women only). If you’re special days will include the trek date, bring lots of ‘extras’.
- Bananas are your best friends. Get to know them well.
- Bring a black garbage bag. Who knows when you’ll be needing them.
Going back – is hard
After the dip (and my introverted video-recording), we knew it was time to go. The time was around 2 PM. No one can stay late in the crater.
Climbing back to the top from the caldera was harder that I imagined.
In every trip, trek or climb, going back is always the hardest because the notion of having conquered something amazing then having to go back to normalcy is taunting the head. It’s torture.
Kawal Dax announced that it might rain so everyone must ready their stuff to prevent getting soaked. He, being the pro mountaineer in the group, should know.
Another thing about what to bring: An appropriate mountain backpack. Most of them had mountain backpacks, with protectors, etc.
The two Vietnamese girls and I didn’t.
I brought a non-mountain climbing North Face backpack with no built-in rain protector. How cool is that?
So Dax, being the genius he is, gave me a black trash bag. The one you use when you need to dump all your garbage.
Yes, I was wondering how they had such bag in the climb too.
If my friend, Krisana, were me, she’d never use it, because I looked like a Smokey Mountain trekker, not a snazzy Mt Pinatubo climber.
Everyone suppressed their laughter at seeing me look like Mr Turtle on a basura spree.
But Juric, if I am not mistaken, couldn’t help it and simply said, “You look funny.”
Well, like how we say it in Filipino, Funny na kung funny! (Think it funny all you want!) but I was not about to sacrifice all my gears to the rain.
And it didn’t rain.
For non-believers, it’s luck. For me, it’s God’s power.
Thing is, as we walked back, I noticed a lot of graffiti on the boulders on the trek. One particular boulder had Russia and Siberia on it and I found it too funny that I asked Dax to take a photo of me beside it.
Of course, I am not posting that photo here. I am posting the simple one instead.
I love Russians, but I didn’t like how these particular Russian strangers vandalized my country’s boulder.
I enjoyed seeing some random professions of undying love scattered all over the trail. Some appeared serious, some appeared hurt. But for whatever reasons, these vandalism made me realize that it doesn’t have to be in an urban setting to actually immortalize true love.
This must how the Neanderthals did it.
Our lovely guide was amazingly silent the entire time. But he was kind enough to take photos of the group when needed. We loved him and this crew. Better call them for your trip.
One remarkable incident: Melai-the-Hopper sort of tripped over.
And I thought I was the first to go. I was wobbling and walking weakly during the last hour that Kawal Dax had to do the carrying of both cameras often. Even the Canon one. That was how tired I must have looked.
Anyway, the Merrell shoes of Melai (now that sounds like a poetic something) seemed to have not protected her well.
The result: Something like this.
We reached the ‘parking lot’ at around 4 and the long 45 minute ride back started with me half-sleeping to Francis’ Tagalog tutorial for Ryan.
I took some photos, asking the driver to stop at some spots, and slept again.
When we’re back, I took some time to buy some pads and went to the wash room to feel ‘fresh’. Lady travellers have their downsides.
Everyone had plans to stay at Melai’s place that night. I had none. But as we inched towards the drop off point for my trip to Manila, they all convinced me to join them for dinner.
We had a feast at Victor’s. We ordered BBQ, Bulalo, Inihaw na Bangus, softdrinks and tissue.
During dinner, Ryan convinced me to join them back to Manila the following day, so I phoned home and said I’d stay in Tarlac for the night.
We stayed at Melai’s place where her sister, Di, met us for the first time. I joined them in the master’s bedroom while the two Vietnamese girls had one room for themselves. The boys shared in another.
We got up at 5 AM (my morning prayer included) to get ready for the bus ride back to Manila. The Vietnamese people had a flight to catch going to Laoag and I dropped them off to Duty Free Philippines Fiesta Mall. We had breakfast before I bid them goodbye.
For some related links, click the making of the Mt Pinatubo climb video here.