Stubborn as I am, I hit the hay half past midnight, so when I woke up at 2:30 in the morning for our Mt. Pinatubo trekking trip, I was less than chipper. That morning, like most mornings, started out sluggish. We all prepped and left the house at 3:45 to head for the meeting place at Lakeshore. There, we rendezvoused with the rest of the Lazatin cousins and formed a convoy to the starting point at Capas, Tarlac.
Upon arriving at Capas, we filled out some short waivers that we found tedious because as luck would have it, our party of more than ten brought only one pen. (I mean, really, who brings pens to a hike?) After that hullabaloo, we were assigned 4×4 Off Road cars and were off on the journey we were all thrilled about.
A little over an hour of driving on excessively bumpy roads and crossing equally rocky streams brought us to our destination, where the real physical strain would commence. The scenery, being a giant bowl of two decade-old volcanic ash, had more shades of gray than E. L. James’ infamous erotic novel. Though the weather graced us with pleasant winds and the timely absence of the sun, the dusty air swept us away and literally got into our every cranny. The long and winding path, if one may call it that, was tiresome and dangerously stony. A few shoes experienced some casualties but, luckily, we were prepared.
Crossing murky waters in our 4×4
The early morning drive there
As I treaded alongside my older cousins, I felt inadequately out of shape for the age of 20. While there were stationed huts for resting, no one dared to slow the whole gang down so we kept going, except for the occasional bathroom break (Thank heavens there were also restrooms, that although filthy, still served their function). My heart beat unbelievably fast and I was out of breath as my cousins and I raced to the top, while pretending to do parkour. The path seemed to be getting smaller, but greener and lovelier as we went higher.
Finally, we reached some dilapidating steps that lead us to the crater and its lake. There was something definitely different in the air, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. The former is so because the thick atmosphere was refreshing and tolerably chilly and the latter as the feeling of reaching our goal had been fulfilled and brought out in us an energy we had only acquired then.
Started From the Bottom: A signification that we’ve reached our destination and all its majesty
We set up mats by the shore and munched on snacks while enjoying the spectacular view. The light blue sky, astonishing ash laden mountains, and dark waters made us forget the weary voyage and provided a better mood for enjoying each other’s company. Pictures were taken, group shots and selfies alike. Laughs were shared. Talks of future outings were made. The way back to our 4×4 vehicles felt like nothing at all after being filled with the glorious prospect of reaching something so beautiful. Though we were dirty and dead tired in the end, we all got the exercise we needed anyway.
The vibrant colors seemed so surreal