Mt-Pinatubo-Zambales-Philippines

To My Bumpiest and Dustiest Ride Yet: Hiking Mt. Pinatubo

“Despite its bleak past, the trail was an amusing playground for me. Hopping gleefully in my trusted pair of slippers rather than walking like a civilized bipedal.”

JIL DIAMANTE

Mt. Pinatubo, Zambales | Philippines

The destination was planned. But the journey? Well, not quite, sir.

Since it’s the holiday season, bus terminals at 3 AM on the 22nd of December were pure chaos. Almost an hour had passed by but still no sight of a bus bound to Tarlac. This led to a stupid bet between me and Sam that we’ll take whatever bus destination lands before our very eyes after a 15-minute mark.

Exciting. Scary. But stupid, fine.

Clock ticked.

Buses bound to Cabanatuan, La Union, Tuguegarao, Bataan, Pampanga, and Batangas started to tease us. But before the timer ran out, an ordinary bus headed to San Carlos, Pangasinan passing Capas, Tarlac rescued us from our reckless wagering.

So, after that two-hour bus trip, a face numbing thirty-minute trike time, we embarked on a treacherous 4×4 ride to reach the hiking trail of Mt. Pinatubo. Boy, I used to claim that my trip from Pokhara bound to Dhampus, Nepal was by far the bumpiest and dustiest ride of my life. Well, I’m taking it back. This was.

I failed miserably to firmly glue myself to my seat, and so was my water bottle. Due to excitement (as I’d like to claim on its behalf), the poor thing kept sliding out of my backpack. Or maybe it was simply grossed out or intrigued by the unabashed display of affection in front of us. Who knew?

Or maybe it was simply grossed out or intrigued by the unabashed display of affection in front of us. Who knew?

The trail was relatively easy though. I walked. Hopped. Jumped. Crossed the river. Got distracted by sulfur-enriched rocks. Bounced. And then hopped on little boulders again. Yes, much to Sam’s annoyance.

Despite its bleak past, the trail was an amusing playground for me. Hopping gleefully in my trusted pair of slippers rather than walking like a civilized bipedal.

We reached the crater before noon. Sat on the grass and had brunch along with a cheeseburger-hungry pack of dogs. It was picturesque indeed. Charming and alive but no trace of serenity for me.

Charming and alive but no trace of serenity for me.

You see, when traveling to a certain place, being true to one’s emotions (huh!) is far more important than appealing to mass aesthetics. Unfortunately, the place didn’t move me the way I expect it would. It was hollow and shallow eye candy.

Turned out beauty alone doesn’t cut it for me. |

What a ride!
That elbow ruined the view.
Give me more cheeseburger, mister.

FINI

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