Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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5 Reasons Why You Should Hike Mount Pinatubo

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Philippines has far more than its fair share of geothermal unrest. But it's the wealth of volcanoes – on both the mainland and out in the offshore Islands – that make the country what it is: dramatic, fiery and full of explosive adventures. Volcanoes have had a special fascination.  We know they explode, send liquid rock in mass quantities, and shape the world.  But, they’re often overlooked as incredible hiking spots.  Active or not, they can provide some incredible scenery.

Are you up for an adventure? Why not hike an active stratovolcano. This is your opportunity to take amazing photos and live life on the edge – literally!


Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, near the tripoint of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. It is located in the Cabusilan Mountains separating the west coast of Luzon from the central plains. Before the volcanic activities of 1991 that led to hundreds of casualties, 100,000 thousand became homeless, and there was almost one-half of a billion dollars in property and economic damage, its eruptive history was unknown to most people. It's eruption was believed to be triggered by a massive earthquake known as the “Great Luzon Quake” that struck the northern and central parts of Luzon in July 1990. 

Here are five of the reasons why you should visit Mount Pinatubo.

It offers great hiking and even better views.
Whatever time of year you go, Mount Pinatubo offers the best views. Make your way to the top of the view deck to the landscape, and then look beyond it, the rolling hills and neighboring mountains on the other side. 

When you hike it, try to start as early as possible, before 3 am. Getting up to the view deck can take 8-10 hours and the walk down 6 hours or more. By starting early, you get to take your time and actually enjoy the place before the sun goes down. 


You get to trek along the river.
The refreshing part of the trek was the river crossing–the reason why trekking sandals are the recommended footwear instead of trail shoes. The feeling of cold water on your skin was revitalizing! You could even take a dip in the river when you traversed back. As we trekked, we noticed the yellow-orange deposits found in the streams. These are believed to be iron deposits with rusty sediments.


This is the best lookout point to see it's neighboring mountains.
On a good day, from its view point, you also get views of the Mts. Arayat, Tapulao, and some of the mountains around the western part of Tarlac. The vegetation is also gorgeous. Mount Pinatubo is my favorite hike so far in Central Luzon.


Aside from enjoying the gorgeous views, you get to swim in the waterfalls so bring your bathing suit. Smile Emoticon.
After the long and tiring trek, slippery descent with technical rope segments and quite dangerous river crossing, this waterfalls with crystal clear water awaits you.


Best place for workout.
You’ll definitely burn calories along the way. The hike to Mount Pinatubo via Delta 5 - Sapang Uwak Trail starts with a steep climb on a off-road trail passing the aeta community, up through slippery descent with rope segment to get off river crossing before bouldering that leads to the view deck where the crater of Mount Pinatubo can be seen.


Itinerary

09:00pm Meet Up Centris McDonald's
10:00pm ETA Sapang Uwak, Porac Pampanga
11:20pm ETA Mabalacat(buy breakfast and lunch)
01:00am ETA Sapang Uwak 
02:00am Start trek
03:00am Eta View Deck
06:00am Breakfast on trail
09:00am First water falls
09:30am 2nd & 3rd waterfalls
12:00pm Pinatubo View Deck (Photo ops)
12:30pm Resume Trek to Mt. Mcdo (summit optional)
02:00pm ETA Mcdo
05:30pm Jump off / Wash up and all
07:00pm ETA Mabalacat (dinner )
08:30pm ETD Manila
09:30pm Centris McDonald's

Budget: I paid 1,500 to the organizer that includes van transfer from manila to sapang uwak v.v., registration fee, guide fee, and dinner. 

Random Pictures


Pro-tip: Please remember that climbing a volcano can be an extremely dangerous activity at times and we advise you to check with the local authorities before planning a visit. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid potential harm. You need a guide for this one. There is a main touristic route. It’s not easy to get lost. Plus the highest parts can be extremely dangerous when the weather is bad and visibility reduced.


This was hands down the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever done – but that might say more about my fitness levels than anything else. Dios Mabalos, Aggy Smith and company and kudos to that super rocking, but fiercely done dayhike challenge! 

PS: When they call this hike a challenge they are telling the truth. Smile Emoticon.

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