As I write this post, I still can’t get over the fact that we were not allowed to swim at the crater lake. It was my second time, my first was back in 2005, yep, almost a decade ago. Back then, people were allowed to swim. Adults, children and even older people. It’s such a waste that they don’t allow it now a days but somehow, I understand that this is also for the safety of the tourists.
It was since when a OFW balik-bayan died of heart attack after diving in 2012 that swimming was prohibited. Well anyway, swimming is just one of the many things you could do there. You can still ride a boat at the lake, experience a bumpy 4×4 ride, the exciting hike itself, try volcanic ash massage at the Pinatubo spa, and enjoy the stunning scenery that is simply not just for everyone.
We left from Apalit, Pampanga at around 4:30 in the morning, after an hour and a half (alright, thanks to my slow driving, it was still dark anyway), we reached the jump-off point at baranggay Ayala. From there we met with our tour organizer, Sonia Bognot who assisted us and arranged everything for us.
The 4×4 Ride
We were only three (my guests from Czech Republic Tomas and Karolina, and me) so we had to wait for other company since the 4×4 ride requires a minimum of 5 passergers or otherwise we would have to pay for the other 2 persons. After just a few minutes came a tourist from Brazil, a very energetic and cool young guy who later on became a new friend.
The 4×4 ride normally takes approximately 30 mins and take my advice, watch your head as it is going to be a wild ride, take my word for it.
It was a very fine day and the sun was just on its way up to start our tour with, just perfect for a group of young wanderers.
The hike would take 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on how fast you can go. As for us, since we were all young, it took us around 1 1/2 hours. But really, it’s not how fast you get to the top, as they say, it’s the fun of getting there.
It was easy anyway, it’s consider a minor hike.
Since we went there on a weekday (Jan 28th, it was a tuesday), the boatman who operates boat rental wasn’t there. We wanted to try it but they regularly operate on weekdays and would cost you P350 per person. The boat can carry maximum 6 persons including 2 boatmen to row your boat.
The Lahar Canyons
One of the views I enjoyed was the lahar canyons. To think that these canyons were formed when another typhoon back in the 90’s complicated the lahar flow killing hundreds of people and damaging thousands of properties.
The Crater Lake
This is the highlight of the trek, this is what makes the 2 hour leg cramping hike worthwhile. The view is just stunning, breathtaking and really, just seeing this is something you not just for everyone else. I mean, it pays to see it and it’s worthwhile. The water is blue-greenish and it’s very inviting.
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