PART 1 - Who says only
mountaineers can climb mountains?
Once again, we’re
But in the early morn of the 26th of November, the Holy Week
Travelers (now beginning to be a “Holy Weekly” group) along with
several downlines, met at some fast-food store along Shaw Blvd., for
yet another adventure.
As soon as we we’re completed, we boarded a private van to bring us
An hour and a half later, numerous 4x4 jeeps lined up along the
highway greeted us. We were in Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. We
registered at the barangay hall and rented 4x4 jeeps from the Capas
Pinatubo 4 Wheelers Club. Then, it was time to set out for the lahar
The jeepney ride all throughout Crow Valley was bumpy and tiring.
Yes, bumpy and tiring. You get tired being bumped to all sides of
the jeep! But the view was so spectacular we can’t even keep our
seats! We spent most of the time standing, admiring the view around
us in its entirety. We passed by several mountains of volcanic ash
with luscious greeneries covering it. Os and I kept clicking our
digital cameras madly; as if we will run out of natural beauty to
shoot (we’ll just worry about disk space later on).
When we can’t take it anymore, you know, simply passing by these
gorges, we told our driver to make a stop so we can take more
pictures. He tried to decline and told us that there’ll be a lot of
other rock formations during our trek. “No!” we said, “pictures
during the trek would be another set of pictures.” So, we made a
quick stop and took pictures from one side to the next, with us in
the frame, of course.
One hour later, we arrived at Dapili, the jump-off point. A lot of
other 4x4 jeeps were already there waiting for those who were part
of the 7th Annual Pinatubo Climb (or something) that have gone
trekking as early as 6am.
While our guides fixed their stuff, we spent the time fixing our own
backpacks, making sure that the heavier loads were distributed among
all of us. We also took out our raincoats and jackets as the clouds
above us hint heavy rains.
By 11am, we started trekking. We were advised to wear sandals during
the first part of the trek as we will be crossings the river several
times. It was difficult, at first, traversing through the waters
with a heavy load at your back. But soon enough, we got the hang of
it, with a little “holding hand” here and there. 30 minutes later,
we were told that we can now change into our trekking shoes. It was
also our time to rest longer. Truly, a much needed rest.
Generally, we were trekking on such a slow pace. We must have rested
more than the usual and our guides were often hurrying us up.
Despite this, we kept our slow and steady pace. So, some of our
guides decided to continue trekking and leave us with the other
guides. They had to get to the campsite earlier as they needed to
set up the equipments for our rappelling and kayaking activities.
We took our lunch almost halfway during the trek. Again, our guides
kept on hurrying us up but it all fell on deaf ears. We were so
relieved to finally rest a whole lot longer and eat a hearty lunch.
Nope, we didn’t hurry at all. Nature, Mt. Pinatubo and the crater
were all not going anywhere so there’s no reason for us to push
ourselves to the limit.
We got back on the trail about 30 minutes later. Along the way, we
met some of those who joined the 7th Annual Pinatubo Climb and they
kept on encouraging us to go further. “2 hours na lang,” one would
say or “1 hour and 30 minutes na lang,” another would say. It was
good to hear that with the ordeal we’re going through, we’re
actually making progress and were indeed nearing the crater.
Frankly, the trail wasn’t anything difficult, with only a few
degrees of elevation. But with the scorching noontime sun above our
heads and the struggle to walk on volcanic sand and debris and on
water, it made us wish we were all back in Metro Manila about to
hail a taxi cab to bring us to our destination. As a matter of fact,
when our guide told us that we were on our last steep climb to
finally see the crater, his words fell, again, on deaf ears. We all
had to rest first and rely on our ever-reliable Jaboom Twins to make
us laugh and keep our spirits up.
A few minutes later, we stood, one by one, and started going up this
one last steep climb. And finally, yes, finally, we we’re greeted
by, none other than….
The very green….
Portable comfort rooms!
He! He! He!
And beyond that, as Tito puts it, is the pristine beauty of the Mt.