Mt. Pinatubo: Beauty Out of Catastrophe

This trip is part of our “Mission: Bring Back My Sunshine

The plan came about in the middle of a rant-jam-packed-dinner. See, no matter how yummy the pizza is, there’s nothing more of a downer than a night-long worth of stress talk, even if you have an ice-cold beer next to it. We kept on fuming about our day-to-day anxieties that I ended up blurting out “Kinuha na nila lahat ng sunshine ko!’ (Translation: “They’ve taken away all my sunshine”). Hence, this. Pun intended.

Anyway, I think that’s when we realized how futile the night was becoming, and more so how pathetic we sounded. Or probably, our mouths just finally got tired and wanted to shut up. So we talked about something else to lighten the mood, and decided that we should have more control on the things that will return the balance in our lives, and stop focusing on becoming a professional pessimist. And what better way to make you instantly perky than travel talk. We talked about the places we need to see, from the long-term goal Machu Picchu, to something way easier to achieve like Mount Pinatubo.

I’ve actually visited the now famous Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake 6 years ago, and because I know how exquisite it is, I counted myself in to our first “mission”.  Like any natural beautiful scenery previously visited, I didn’t want to keep my hopes up, given that I know that it’s kind of publicised now. Six years ago, the place was almost deserted (well hello, it’s in the middle of nowhere). It was so underrated, that I thought the photos I’ve seen on Multiply (that was the rock back in the days, yeah!) were just edited to make it look really picturesque. But I was wrong. I expected so little about the place, that when I’ve finally set my eyes on the crater lake, my jaw just dropped, instantly. It was that stunning.

So, on the day of our day trip, I was prepared to expect less. I knew that it will be one bumpy ride and helluva painful sunburn before we reach the crater lake, and I may not even witness what I previously did. What I was not prepared to see though is the beauty of the trail. I’m not sure why I didn’t notice it before, probably because it was just the break of dawn when I visited years back, but seeing the trail in actual daylight, I felt that I was going through an entirely different adventure.

It is so amazing how something that was supposedly destroyed by the volcanic eruption more than 2 decades ago can turn into something so breath-taking. The rock formation from the massive flow of “lahar” from 1991 turned out to be this spectacular exquisite view, that you can almost day-dream that you’re in the middle of a treasure hunt. Here are some photos captured:

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Even the forest-y feel of the walk trail leading to the actual crater lake is not to miss. This walk only took about 15-20 mins. There’s another option to take a 2-hour trek, which we originally intended. But if we’ve witnessed that amount of beauty via the easier option, I can only imagine what the other route could offer.

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And the crater lake? It is still a beauty to behold, and definitely still the main star of the whole adventure. Although to be honest, I felt that the color of the water has changed. It used to look like this solid striking turquoise. But now the color seems a bit, hmm, less radiant? Our tour guide said that it was just because of the weather, so maybe I was just having an extra lucky day six years back. To be fair, that was actually my birthday.

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The verdict? It has changed, sure. It has become a mainstream tourist destination now, though I must say that the custodians of the place have maintained its cleanliness despite the growing number of tourists, and I can only hope that it will stay sanitary for years and years to come. But overall? The whole place, from the trail to the actual crater lake, is still absolutely stunning.

This now famous tourist destination is the beauty that came out of the catastrophic event years ago. And though it is totally unrelated, I’d like to think that this mini-adventure is the start of the beautiful adventures that we want to start making in exchange of the rants-over-pizza nights.

So if you ever find yourself in the center of Luzon and you’re up for an adventure, please do check it out, and witness the famous beautiful disaster of the Philippines. IMG_20150411_133704_1[1]

Travel date: April 2015

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