Province of Zambales

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    • May28

      Mt. Pinatubo

      May 28, 2022 on the Philippines ⋅ 🌧 24 °C

      A super fun-filled day with nature, also one that took a lot of energy from the get-go. The night before, Janelle and I had a pretty nice reunion with our highschool batchmates in Rockwell, she stayed over at our place to try and get some sleep but we weren't getting any that's for sure as we had to be at the meeting place by 2:30AM. I slept with her outside the living room with just the fans on and I woke up and realized it was already past 2:00AM so I woke her up and we got ready as quick as I can. Jake and Shannon were coming with us today and Shannon showed up just in time. We went downstairs and Rod, who was going to drive us to the meet-up spot, was also sleeping. We were able to find him and wake him up and then we were well on our way to San Juan. The roads were pretty open and there wasn't any traffic at all. We got to the meet-up place and paid the fee and we transferred to another van that took us all the way to Zambales. I tried my best to sleep and I did enter this state of restfulness but it still wasn't sleep. The ride seemed both long and short at the same time but we eventually emerged out of the van and found ourselves at the hiking trail registration area. We submitted the required documents and started to eat some breakfast while watching the sunrise. I remember I had to do a huge number two at a nearby store and it cost 10 pesos to use their bathroom. I just gave her the twenty because the mess I left behind was pretty nasty. We had to wait for an hour or something because we arrived a bit too early but soon we found ourselves on the 4x4 with our guide, Domeng, and we were off to the famous lahar fields. The roads quickly became bumpy and dusty and the surroundings switched to fullblown wilderness. The sunrise painted the landscape with its soft and golden light and the surrounding mountains all had these violet hues. The lahar fields themselves were very unique, some were taller than the car itself, and the others were as tall as hills. There were rivers and unique shapes all around, I couldn't help but try to absorb as much as my eyes could as it was absolutely breathtaking in every direction. The 4x4 ride was a pretty long one, we even made a brief stop to take some photos of one of the famous landmarks. There were some native Aeta there as well, who were unfortunately begging for money.

      After the second half of the ride, we were finally ready to begin our hike. After just a couple of meters, it was time to cross a river, one of the dozens that we have to go through so at this point, I just took off my shoes and wore my slippers. The hike itself was predominantly flat so it was very easy, what was suprising for me is that it was a very wide and open field hike. The only time I had a trek like this was the ones in Peru so it was definitely cool. Just seeing this huge expanse of land stretching all the way while being surrounded by mountains, it just made all the fatigue disappear. It was a 2 hour hike up. We had some brief stops every now and then, there were more native Aetas here washing their clothes, and kids playing around. This mountain was their home. We also saw some carabaos resting by the stream. Shannon was getting quite tired while Jake and Janelle seemed to be enjoying themselves. I do tend to get too excited and go off on my own which irks Janelle sometimes, I was doing the same thing in Sanya. We got our reward when we reached the top as the summit's crater lake made every step worth it. We hanged around here for a bit, eating brunch and recharging, enjoying the breeze and watching the clouds go by.

      After getting our fill of food and photos, it was time to head back down. The skies looked a bit darker than it did when we arrived and it looked like it was going to rain soon. The way back down was significantly easier, Janelle was having a hard time with a blister from wearing her flipflops so she switched to using shoes instead. Our guide knew the land pretty well and was able to guide her across each river without getting her feet wet. The weather was much more calm and cooler as the clouds rolled in and we were going at a pretty smooth pace though my stomach was acting up quite a bit the whole day. It started to rain pretty hard just as we reached our 4x4 so everything turned out pretty fine in the end. The bumpy ride back was different from this morning's. Everyone was tired and were knocked out cold and this ride seemed to take forever. We transferred to the same van that took us here from Manila and were on our way back but not until Jake realized he had lost his wallet. His best guess was that it fell during the 4x4 ride back as he remembered he still had it on him when he got on. We told the driver and drove back and had to do a lot of calls to try and reach the driver. After some anxious waiting, the kind driver came back and delivered Jake his wallet. Everyone got some handsome tips that day for being so cooperative and honorable. The ride back had terrible traffic so it took way longer to reach Manila. Shannon decided to get some Jollibee and made my dad wait and when he found out they were lying about some traffic and stuff, he was furious. Not the best way to end the day but Janelle and I were able to escape some of the blame as we didn't really have a part to play in this debacle.
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    Province of Zambales

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