I made use of the long APEC weekend by challenging my stairmaster-savvy glutes and legs with a hike to Mount Pinatubo. It was a rather spontaneous idea that turned reality really. Two weeks before, I remember whining about wanting to go up a mountain and rallying friends who could join; because the more people in the group, the less expensive the fee would be, and let’s face it with holiday season reeling in expenses are bound to get higher. Anyway, thank goodness I’ve a group of wanderlust gals who don’t mind getting down and dirty in the name of adventure!
Yup, we’re all gals in the photo if you get what I’m saying. It’s 2015, everyone. Get with the LGBT program.
We were all smiles despite the early meet up at 2:30am. Sleepy eyes and yawns just couldn’t dampen our spirit once we started seeing shrubs of greenery all around. It was such a beautiful sight to say the least, and definitely a breather from the toxic city life we were all too familiar with.
Initially, we were gunning for an open ATV, because of the following reasons: (1) We wanted the “complete” Pinatubo experience, and (2) #instagramgoals. I for one, would have been all over social media with photos atop the monstrous vehicle.
But as luck would have it, we chanced upon a closed one instead. It all worked out in the end though. Weather began to go horrible and drizzle quite heavily so we were kept dry from the rain – the mud splashes however, are a different story.
While in the hour long ATV ride, we asked our guide about the distance we’d be walking. He said 5 kilometers with a nonchalant tone in his voice, so we thought it’d be pretty easy. After all, we’d heard that Pinatubo was one of the beginner treks to take, so how hard could it have been?
But what our tour guide failed to mention is that he meant 5km one way, making it a total of 10km for the walk.
Cue wide eyes and open mouth.
You mean we’re not even halfway there?
As fate would have it, my shoes deteriorated down to its cloth on the way to the crater. Oddly enough, I found myself laughing along with my friends as I’d pick up the leftover soles. “Leave nothing but footprints as they’d say,” I said, to which my friends found even funnier.
To be honest, I found the situation to be a blessing in disguise of some sort. In retrospect, I would’ve thought that I’d be scowling the entire trek – blaming the heavens as to why they’d allow this on a day when I’d need my shoes the most. But now that I think about it, I was actually happy – understatedly happy and content, even with my lack of ample footwear. Sure, I had to watch where I was stepping on more closely and I’ve lost count on the number of times I’d slip and lost my balance because of the mossy rocks… But I never got any cuts on my feet. Oh, and I was happy. I was so happy that I was practically engulfed by my optimism – something that hasn’t happened a lot recently.
And maybe that’s what I’ve been needing for a while. An opportunity to laugh, even at myself and a reminder of how I once was – someone who didn’t take things too seriously and who was at the heart of it all, still happy despite certain circumstances.
It was a long trek heading to the crater – a little over 2 hours on foot, I believe. But we soldiered on through rain and wind and were met by this beauty…
It’s amazing what a trip out of town will do. I’ve always been an advocate of going elsewhere to relieve myself from city stress, and now, I’m more sure of this after a trip to Pinatubo.
I didn’t think I’d enjoy being in a no-signal zone for more than half a day – I’m already exasperated when our home wifi is down for an hour. But I guess with the right activity to occupy the mind and body, coupled with the openness to explore and be awed, some surprises are bound to come along the way.
You’re amazing, Mother Nature. Thank you for all the wonders of the world.