February 13, 2016 —

“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice (1813)

I kept quoting this line from Jane Austen while walking towards the crater of Mount Pinatubo. What are men, in fact, when faced with the violence, indifference, and majesty of nature?
Of course, I take the word “men” as the whole of mankind, while Lizzie might’ve meant it differently. She was caught in the drama of life, of marriage, of men who neither had the manner nor the sense to recommend themselves, and of silly sisters getting into trouble. To her, this opportunity for a change in scenery was “rapturous”.


(Her “escape” only led her to Pemberley though…and we all know how that story ends.)
I climbed a mountain with a couple of friends last February 2016 — and if you’re on your way to Mt. Pinatubo in the next couple of days (or weeks?), then here — I hope this helps. ;)

Essentials to Bring:
1. Water – it’s going to be approximately 6 hours of walking, ya dig?
2. Comfy shoes – our guide, Kuya Romlick (I needed to have him spell this name), was wearing slippers, so whatever floats your boat! I would recommend rubber shoes.
3. Cap / Sunscreen / Sunglasses – I got sunburned, man. Perils of short hair. Everybody thought I went to the beach! :))
4. Picnic blanket – when you get to the crater, you’re gonna want to bask in the glory of it all while eating your munchies, so spread something out and relax!
5. Camera – if you’re the type :)
6. Food – I actually didn’t bring a lot, so yay for my Pinatubo buddies for sharing their grub.
7. Hand sanitizer – it’ll come in handy, this one.
8. Tissue – bathroom breaks are key!
9. Cash – because there are locals who actually make a living there, selling you snacks and cold drinks.
Tour Rundown:
Our day started at around 1:00AM, and the meet-up place was Centris in Quezon Avenue.
3 hour ride from Manila to Tarlac/Zambales area
2 hour 4×4 ride
3 hours walking
hello, crater!
3 hours walking back
2 hour 4×4 ride
3 hour ride from Tarlac/Zambales area to Manila
We got back in Centris, and then we arrived in Ortigas around 6:00-7:00PM.
By the way, on the 4×4’s — I would go with the enclosed 4×4’s instead of the open ones. First, protection from all the dust, second, protection from the sun. On the other hand, an open 4×4 would probably get you cooler pictures, especially if you had a selfie-stick?
(But personally, just request to sit shotgun, and take your nice pictures then.)
Internal Music Playlist:
I had two (2) songs playing in my head while this day was happening, and both of them Coldplay! One of the most magical moments for me was actually looking at all the stars against the backdrop of a cotton-candy skyline fading into the bright-white of the sun.
Sometimes I think God is a bit too artsy-fartsy for me. Ganda e.

Here’s some of the photos I took:

Final thoughts:
(1) For PHP2,000 – I thought this was worth the money. I would’ve preferred food to have been part of the package, too, but hey.
(2) The Philippines is so beautiful; I wish I loved her better.
(3) Is there a way to travel the Philippines without making me feel like such a consumer/exploiter?
(4) Mount Pinatubo does not feel like a hike. So, if you’re thinking of conquering a mountain for the first time, this might be your best bet.
(5) This is one activity you must bring friends with. I actually really love being by myself, but there are certain activities that are just better with people around. So, grab your friends.
(6) How can you look at all the beauty of nature and not have this knowing feeling that the world was designed?

“For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!” – Amos 4:13

Special thank you to S, J, J, and J for being superb companions to this great Pinatubonding. ;)

We traveled with McTrail Travels & Tours.
You might want to check them out next time.

Comments make my heart happy! Leave me one below! :)