Pinatubo—a hell of a trek to heaven

They say that the most beautiful places are the hardest to reach. I couldn’t agree more.
Last month, I visited one of the most awesome places I’ve gone to, and it really wasn’t an easy climb. It required strength, endurance, and sweatliterally.
Not everyone loves trekking, but one must try at least once every year especially if what awaits on the other end is an undeniably majestic site which answers the question, “Why would I ‘punish’ myself by doing that crazy thing?”
So, must you visit Mt. Pinatubo? Absolutely, because every ounce of energy, every bit of strength, and every drop of sweat you release will be replenished by the marvel and beauty that unfolds…that is the crater lake.

But if you think that it’s the sole reason why you must pack your bag, put on your trekking shoes, and conquer Pinatubo, you’re wrong. There are other reasons why you must do so.

1. The thrilling 4×4 ride.

You will need to ride on a 4×4 to the drop off point where the trek to the Pinatubo crater begins. Aboard the off road beast, you’ll traverse a vast open space with patches of greenery, but mostly covered with stones, rocks, streams, and laharthe result of the volcano’s massive eruption in 1991. Yes, it’s a bumpy ride, which is why it’s thrilling. Hold tight to the bars, because the ups and downs will surely throw you off your seat. And the flowing streams? Well, what streams? The 4×4 beasts cross them as though they were paved roads.

2. The meet and greet with the Aetas.
Aetasadults and children alikecome out of their village and wait for trekkers who get to interact with them. But I hope that the interaction isn’t just for the photos and selfies taken with them, but for something deeper and more sensible. To get to know more about the indigenous group, maybe?

3. The I-wish-I-were-lounging-on-my-bed trek.

It’s exhausting, energy-draining, maybe even dehydrating (that’s why it’s a must for you to bring at least 2 liters of drinking water). But however tiring the two-hour trek is, you must try it. Besides the majestic crater patiently waiting for you, trekking has other benefits. I won’t pretend to be some sort of a professional trekker or extreme sports expert here, but I know for one that trekking can test and improve your endurance. It can also encourage you to push yourself to the limit, become better at it, and turn it into a hobby.

And the clean, cold water from the spring that you get to partake along the trek? Simply refreshing.

4. The motivating self-fulfillment.
Seeing the crater for yourself, with your own eyes instead of through the eyes of other travelers who have gone there before you, gives a deep sense of fulfillment and it’s priceless. Then, once you reach the reference point after another two-hour trek, and a bumpy 4×4 ride, you’ll exclaim, “I have conquered Pinatubo!”

Care for a short back story?

Back in 2015, I joined Travel Factor, one of the leading adventure tour providers in the Philippines, to become a coordinator. After the screening process, I got in.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to volunteer for any trips during the rest of 2015 due to the new assignment from my previous employer.
Earlier this year though, I returned to Manila, now having the chance to participate in trips.
I was at the Summer Siren Festival 2016, the very first trip for which I rendered service. And then, Conquer Pinatubo, the first one I officially led all by myself.
Check out trips, itineraries, and prices through the Travel factor website, www.travelfactor.orgBelieve me, you’ll enjoy them as much as many previous participants did. Now, some of them have become travel coordinators, too. Don’t hesitate to join any trip because at Travel Factor, We Know Adventure.
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