Monday, May 18, 2009

Climbing Mt. Pinatubo

I've been wanting and wanting to write this for weeks now before the story got too stale. But this and that and that and this got in the way, and then I couldn't put together a cohesive story, and then Globelines connection got patchy again, and then...

So I've decided to just post by increments instead of making one long post.

The beginning is always a good place to start.


The trip to Pinatubo began with a just past midnight meeting at Wendy's Taft Avenue and at McDonald's Quezon Avenue where two huge tourist buses carried the one hundred of us trekkers to the town of Juliana in Tarlac. We had to be at the rendevouz point very early because on that day, April 25, there was a scheduled Balikatan exercises in the area, hence, nobody would be allowed to enter that part of Tarlac after 5 am.

Aided by flashlights, we piled out of the buses, and climbed on to four by four jeeps

This is the four-by-four jeep which took me and my companions from the jump-off point in Sta. Juliana town in Tarlac to the place where our trek on foot began.

We were supposed to pass by the Skyway, which meant trekking on top of the lahar mountains instead of down in the valley. But the Skywas was damaged by a landslide just a couple of days earlier so we had to go the long way, hiking through the almost-dry-but-not-quite river bed where the water current could be significantly strong at times.

This here is the jeep assigned to us, or us assigned to it. For each jeep, there's the driver, the native tour guide and three trekkers.


tough off-road vehicles

These two photos were taken at the end-point, the point where the jeep rides ended and the trek began. It was a bit dark yet when we began our jeep ride and the ride itself was just so rough I decided my camera would be safer inside the bag than outside.



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