PART 2 - The crater
The camping ground
of Mt. Pinatubo wasn’t such a great sight. Aside from the comfort
rooms that stood gloriously at the edge of a cliff (yes, it’ the
first thing you’ll see before the crater!), grasses had been burned
down to probably give more room for campers. There were also two
waiting-shed-like structures in the midst of these burnt grasses.
The “waiting shed” near the crater had already been occupied by
another group of campers. Our guides, on the other hand, the ones
that left us earlier so they can set-up their equipments at the
campsite, settled in the second waiting shed.
Our “waiting shed” served as a temporary refuge from the heat of the
sun. We also took advantage of the cemented flooring to allow our
feet to breathe and rest. We took off all our socks, shoes and
sandals and laid them down near the edge of the waiting shed for a
quick sun-dry. Some also used the time to change clothes, re-pack
backpacks and eat lunch and merienda.
A few minutes later, we trekked to the site where our rappelling
equipments had been set-up. For safety purposes, we had to rappel
down an 80-foot cliff one by one. As usual, Roselle came first, then
Os, Laiza, Alia, Barok, Ellen, Joan and Nova. And where were the
boys? They claimed they would rather go to the crater on foot, than
to rappel. They said they would waste up so much time waiting in
line, when they could just trek to the crater and spend the time
Let’s give some credit to the boys. Rappelling is really a very
physical activity and it takes a lot of strength to get to the
bottom of a cliff. In fairness to Alvin, he was really very tired as
he volunteered to switch backpacks with Joan (her backpack was soooo
heavy there were probably concrete blocks inside!) Tito, on the
other hard, opted to take photographs, catching in still every inch
of the crater’s beauty. And true enough, when we saw all his shots,
they all had great compositions with some having a few lighting
effects. And Ramil… Yes, Ramil. Hmmm, what was your reason again,
Rappelling down an 80-foot wall wasn’t any joke. Sure, we all
(except Alia and Joan) had experiences in rappelling. Our Kweba de
Oro experience in Cagayan de Oro was actually more difficult as we
had to rappel down 90 feet in total darkness. But this Pinatubo wall
shouldn’t also be underestimated. Once you look down at the edge of
the cliff and see what we needed to scale, it wasn’t such an
impressive sight. It was high alright! The loose rocks and sand that
make up this wall wasn’t also easy to step on. We had to be very
careful so as not to let any bigger rocks fall on our rope man down
When the first few girls (emphasis: girls!) finished the rappelling,
they immediately went where the rubber kayak was and paddled their
way throughout the crater. While some were kayaking, the others were
swimming. Yes, swimming, despite the fact that we did not bring any
swimwears with us. So, we swam into the crater lake with nothing
else but our trekking clothes!
It was only when the sun had finally set that we called it quits and
decided to head back to the campsite. We decided to pitch our tents
inside the “waiting shed” and tried to squeeze in all four. We fixed
all our things, cooked food (in our case, water), hang up wet
clothes, ate dinner and were so surprised to realize that we were
ready for lights out as early as 7PM!!! So, we decided to make use
of our time to discuss other travel plans and some personal stuff.
By 10PM, it was already lights out.
Or so we thought.
The winds at the crater were so strong that most of our things were
being blown off. We had to secure all our stuff and re-tie our
hanged clothes to make sure they would stay there until we wake up
the next morning. Our tents were constantly moving every time a gush
(or a wave) of wind would pass by. Inside our tents, it felt like a
storm signal number 4 was looming over us, but really, the sky was
clear and that was just a typical Pinatubo wind.