Mountains and Volcanoes
Mt. Pinatubo: Spectacular Formations Arise From the Ashes
Maui Sanvictores | Sep 07, 2016
Way back 1991, before the dreaded 15th day of July, Mt. Pinatubo was once a mountain filled with dense tropical vegetation. It was once a dwelling place for indigenous people – the Aetas. They lived in villages and lived off of their skills in hunting and plant gathering. Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption was considered one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruption in late 20th century. During its 9-hour eruption, a tropical storm was passing by northwest and what could be worse than ashes mixing up with water in the air. This resulted to a 2000 square kilometer land covered with 10-centimeter ash. About 800 hundred people died from this tragedy and more than a billion-peso sum of damages in infrastructures. The Philippines was devastated with the disaster that struck the northern part of Luzon.
Today, Mt. Pinatubo stands tall as a reminder for Filipinos that tragedies could somehow give birth to something glorious. We once grieved as a nation 25 years ago, now it’s our time to dance for joy for what lies in front of us. The eruption formed natural lakes, one of which is the crater lake of Pinatubo. It’s a place nothing short of spectacular; it will definitely transcend your expectation.
You could reach Mt. Pinatubo by riding any bus that is bound for Tarlac and ask to be dropped of at Capas Public Market. Thereafter, hail a jeep or a tricycle to Sta. Juliana. Environmental fees are collected at the tourism office; they say the money goes to the livelihood of the Aetas still living in the remote areas of the volcano. After which you need to rent a 4x4 vintage jeep to take you through rocky roads and rivers, then finally onto the jump-off point.
From there, the adventure still has something more to offer. You will trek through magnificent views and cross water forms which are tolerably hot and sulfur filled. Throughout the trail, you might encounter people, mostly kids or elders, from the tribe of the Aetas. Take your time and interact with them, you might be surprised of the insights they have to offer; for what is better than gaining a little bit more perspective in life from these people who already lost so much; their home, friends, at worst their family.
After sometime, your lower extremities might start to hurt or numb a little. Do not hesitate to take necessary stops to replenish your strength with a bottle of water or prepared trail food. With a little more patience and persistence, what’s about to unfold will undeniably make it all worth the while.
As magnificent as it is, its curves and ridges are holding much of its scars from the past. The crater lake, a beauty from ashes; perfectly embodying the Filipino spirit. A nation of people who went through so much but stands resilient, ready to offer their smiles to those who will take the time to listen (or in this case, staying true to the volcanic analogy, to those who make time to discover).
So what are you waiting for? Make time and see the beauty that is Mt. Pinatubo. Share your stories in the comments below!
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