The Journey to the Top... Kinda

Zambales Travel Blog

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stop! imma pose :D

Exhausting.

That's one word to sum up the trek. Most of it took place in a valley that seemed to be created by the eruption that took place long time ago. Our trek started with a kinda steep descent down the 'rift valley' where we would walk for most of the trek. By the way, Jen and I were wearing thong slippers while the Swiss guys wore rubber shoes (probably hiking ones). But apparently, slippers are more effective in terms of grip, so we weren't stupid for wearing one after all :)

Nature seems to start winning the war on this place, because plants start to grow again, and cool springs can be found everwhere. They say that there are reptiles and birds to be spotted along the way if you pay close attention.
i did it!
Well, we didn't, so no animal planet moment for us. In stark contrast to the greens, you'd see a chaos of rocks of all shapes and sizes all over the place as if some great monster went nuts and threw them down the mountains. As usual, I took lots of pics, so I lagged behind the group. I'd see my guide and Jen from time to time stopping and waiting for me, but I signaled to them to keep going 'cause I could find my way through the rocks and stones. We went on and on with only one rest in-between, but after what seemed like forever, we suddenly took a turn to the right and went upwards through a forest. The path wasn't very steep, but it was narrow and a bit slippery. Not a big problem if you don't encounter other trekkers going the opposite direction. We went in single file, and from time to time, I'd hear Stephan or Laurent almost slipping, and Jen automatically saying "Be careful" which made me love my slippers even more. We're so smart! :D

After another lifetime, our guide, Kuya Sherwin, told us that we're very close and that we would see a very noticeable sign. The 'sign', as it turned out, were blue-green portable toilets. Very nice. And the color supposedly matched that of the crater lake. How thoughtful! :D So, since none of us wanted to take a leak, we climbed up the steep steps leading up to a plateau, our anticipation building. Or maybe it was just me...


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viewing my kingdom...

And so we finally saw it: the blue-green lake! Looks delicious! I mean, cool! We made it! After 45 minutes of trekking, we finally made it. We began taking pics right away. If only the overnight campers, who were all about to leave, would get out of the way. Out, people! Out! Shooo! Shooo!

Okay, they're gone. It's our turn! That mountain looks nice. Click! Wow, gorgeous lake. Click! That tree right there is cute. Click! Damn, I look good. Click! Kidding. Of course I won't take pics of myself! Because I let Jen do it for me hahaha! :D Well, I took hers too, so, we're quits. Anyway, we've probably spent several minutes taking pics and videos (the Swiss guys) before we decided it's time to go boating. So, at one side of the plateau, there's a stair of a thousand steps (well, maybe just a hundred, almost).
nice view!
We dreaded climbing back up those really steep steps, but we'll save that for later. For now, it's all downhill.

The lake looked even more beautiful up close. The color was really amazing. We all wondered how it got that color, like it's a gigantic pool or something. You can swim on the lake, but if you want to get to the other end of it, you'd really need a boat, unless you're related to Lord Byron; otherwise, don't even think about it. Kuya Sherwin said that the lake's very very deep, and the water's pretty cold on this part but warm, even hot, on the other. Well, that's where we're going! So they set up the boat while we put on our life-vests. The boat was not operated by motor because they don't want to risk polluting the lake. Good thinking. So we got on our boat and Kuya Sherwin, who turned out to be our boatman as well, single-handedly rowed the boat for several minutes.
row row row ur boat...
We told him it's okay for us to help him out, but he refused. Well, he knows his thing :)

The views along the way were really spectacular. We were very close to the cliffs, and it kinda reminded me of Palawan. I can't believe we're on the mouth of a volcano! On one of the cliffs, we saw a very colorful wild rooster. Finally, an animal! Woot woot! There were some parts of lake where steams issued forth from some crevices on the mountain walls, creating bubbles on the surface. Oh no, Dante's Peak! It's not gonna explode any second, is it? we asked Kuya Sherwin. Nope, we're very safe! says he. Okay, just hurry up and we wanna get out of the boat, dammit! thought I. So row row row he did.
Jen, look! and she did. damn...
Our boat then took a left turn and voila, we 'docked'.

The view that greeted us was simply breathtaking. I kept thinking: am I in Iceland, in Greenland, in New Zealand, or any of those countries that end in 'land'? This can't be the Philippines! It's so ugly!!! Gotcha :P It was awesome! It was spectacular! Green mountain cliffs on all sides. Blue-green waters. More rocks. Beautiful people. I loved it! :D According to sources, like Wikipedia, the volcano lost several hundred meters of its height after the eruption, creating this very wide caldera that started filling with water a couple of years later. We tried dipping our feet in the 'warm' part of the lake. Some were nicely warm, while others were HOT! The Swiss put on some mud from the lake side, supposedly has detoxifying and rejuvenating factors.
some cute cliffs
More picture-taking! I think we stayed there for more than 30 minutes before our stomachs started calling our attention. Okay, time to go back.

Minutes later, we're back on the other side. There were some Fil-Chinese people there taking their chances in the very cold water (based on their screams). Now it's time to climb the stairwell to heaven, 'cause you'd be dead by the time to reach the top. Grueling!!! Our legs hurt so much and we're breathing so hard that we thought we're gonna pass out. It was really steep. We had to rest for a few minutes before we go on. I took the opportunity to take one last set of pics of the lake from the plateau, because the high sun was creating a nice effect on the lake below. Yes, we got exhausted from the trek and the climb back up from the lake, but the view more than made up for it.

Mount Pinatubo redeemed itself.


JeAr says:
hahaha! koras ka jan! baka brownish na ang katubigan these days, so di na kagandahan, unless trip maligo sa malakapeng tubig na may coffee-mate :D
Posted on: May 27, 2008
Isabetlog says:
Namaaaaaannnnn! Matagal ko na ring gustong puntahan to! Now it's the rainy season na, pwe :(
Posted on: May 27, 2008
JeAr says:
thanks Suyee!!! next to the beach, i think the mountain is my favorite place now :-)
Posted on: Apr 21, 2008
the lake...

The trek back was the hardest part, not because the trail was harder, but because by this time, around 1PM, we've drained all our energies (even my camera's battery was dead already). The first part was downhill, of course, and on the narrow part of it within the forest, we've crossed paths with trekkers going to the crater, which proved to be a bit tricky. Well, they gave way for us, so it's okay. We passed by a water pipe connected to the mountain streams where the Swiss' guide filled his bottle before. Stephan, out of curiosity, filled his and took a drink. I got curious too, so the hell with it, I took a sip. It tasted good! Way better than my mineral water. Very fresh and cold. Kuya Sherwin said most trekkers empty their water bottles and fill them with that of the pipe. Interesting.
going back...
..

Next was the trip to the 'stony valley'. Same path, same view, but hotter this time. Urgh. So, 45 minutes of the same banana. The hardest part of it was the last climb back to where the 4x4's were parked. It was too steep that by the time we got to the top, we were out. We wished there was a helicopter that could pick us up from that spot and take us back to the center, 'cause after the climb, the thought of being bumped all over the 4x4 had become very dreadful.

So we rested for several minutes first before we went on our way. Then, same rollercoaster ride, then bumpy and dusty. However, we were still amazed with the scenery, and still tried in vain to take good pics. I guess Stephan was a bit successful, so I just gave him my e-mail address for him to send his pics to. I'm still waiting, Stephan.
i'm so hungry i can eat a rock!!!
..

After an hour, we're back at the center. To our surprise, the owner of the travel agency where the Swiss booked their trip welcomed us and tried to chit-chat with us. Well, I was too tired and sticky that I just went straight to the showers. Their shower rooms suck, by the way. So after showering, I joined the group for 'lunch'. The agency owner, a lady in her forties (I just guessed) told us to join the Swiss in the van that will take them back to Angeles City and the dumb-ass driver can just drop us off there. Well, not a bad idea compared to taking a long tricycle ride, so we agreed. She then explained that the 4x4 association was agitated when we joined the Swiss earlier because they lost some earnings.
look up!
What they didn't know was that we paid the fee in full and that the agency owner and the manager of the center had kept the payment for themselves. So to 'not further aggravate' the association, she suggested that we pretend to be part of the Swiss' group. Greedy bitch.

So, we left after our lunch and rode the van with the Swiss. We had a nice conversation during our trip to Angeles City, which is nearer to Manila than Capas. We exchanged stories about life in our respective countries, and they told us about their upcoming trip to Palawan. Pleasant time. Then, when we got to the city, we bid farewell and went to the bus pit stop to try our luck at getting a ride on a bus bound for Manila. No luck at first, but we eventually got one although our seats were very far apart. By 6PM, I was already home, tired and still reeling from my very pleasant experience.

Off to sleep now. It's been a very long day...


JeAr says:
sure babes :)
Posted on: Mar 06, 2009
darlingwish says:
gusto ko nito. nakawin ko din ha :P
Posted on: Mar 06, 2009
JeAr says:
yeah, it was a very rewarding experience for me. definitely glad i did it even though there was only the 2 of us! thanks for stopping by, Mikiko :-)))
Posted on: Apr 23, 2008
stop! imma pose :D
stop! imma pose :D
i did it!
i did it!
viewing my kingdom...
viewing my kingdom...
nice view!
nice view!
row row row ur boat...
Jen, look! and she did. damn...
Jen, look! and she did. damn...
some cute cliffs
some cute cliffs
the lake...
the lake...
going back...
going back...
im so hungry i can eat a rock!!!
i'm so hungry i can eat a rock!!!
look up!
look up!
were going down!!! :P
we're going down!!! :P
move, Jenny, move!
move, Jenny, move!
the valley
the valley
the valley
the valley
the valley
the valley
kili-kili power!!!
kili-kili power!!!
the valley
the valley
stop taking pics of me, im tired …
stop taking pics of me, i'm tired…
dont leave me guys!
don't leave me guys!
Jenny stoned :D
Jenny stoned :D
nature starting to recover
nature starting to recover
mountain stream
mountain stream
nature starting to recover
nature starting to recover
love messages written in stone...
love messages written in stone...
talikod-genic :D
talikod-genic :D
mountain stream
mountain stream
we struck gold!
we struck gold!
dont leave me guys!
don't leave me guys!
steaming...
the valley
the valley
walking through rubbles
walking through rubbles
the valley
the valley
i see my guide yay!
i see my guide yay!
more streams
more streams
more streams
more streams
looking back...
looking back...
looks clean enough to drink :)
looks clean enough to drink :)
climbing...
climbing...
more golden stones...
more golden stones...
walking through rubbles
walking through rubbles
walking through rubbles
walking through rubbles
so far away...
so far away...
i thought theyre little tricks of…
i thought they're little tricks o…
i thought theyre little tricks of…
i thought they're little tricks o…
walking through rubbles
walking through rubbles
were almost there!
were almost there!
were almost there!
were almost there!
first glimpse...
first glimpse...
going near the lake
going near the lake
some overnight campers leaving the…
some overnight campers leaving th…
the mountain walls surrounding the…
the mountain walls surrounding th…
the mountain walls surrounding the…
the mountain walls surrounding th…
Jen ruining the view, as always...
Jen ruining the view, as always...
i love myself! :D
i love myself! :D
very misty
very misty
we make this look good! :D
we make this look good! :D
weird shade of blue
weird shade of blue
the crater lake
the crater lake
posing (and ruining the view)
posing (and ruining the view)
yeah baby!
yeah baby!
were going to the other side of t…
we're going to the other side of …
going down the lake
going down the lake
going down the lake
going down the lake
the boats as seen from the plateau
the boats as seen from the plateau
view from the stairs...
view from the stairs...
...and at the bottom of the stairs
...and at the bottom of the stairs
the crater lake
the crater lake
the crater lake up close
the crater lake up close
the crater lake up close
the crater lake up close
blurry...
blurry...
preparing the boat...
preparing the boat...
the crater lake
the crater lake
the mountain walls surrounding the…
the mountain walls surrounding th…
the mountain walls surrounding the…
the mountain walls surrounding th…
getting close to the boulder
getting close to the boulder
steaming...
steaming...
u cant see the sarimanok (wild ro…
u can't see the sarimanok (wild r…
some rubbles created when the volc…
some rubbles created when the vol…
the crater lake
the crater lake
on the boat
on the boat
as seen from the boat
as seen from the boat
Stephans cam
Stephan's cam
the mountain walls surrounding the…
the mountain walls surrounding th…
going back
going back
Kuya Sherwin (our guide and boatma…
Kuya Sherwin (our guide and boatm…
very misty
very misty
weird shade of blue
weird shade of blue
steaming
steaming
wait, i got distracted...
wait, i got distracted...
posing (and ruining the view)
posing (and ruining the view)
this world is mine!!!
this world is mine!!!
the view from the other side of th…
the view from the other side of t…
jenny, get off the boat now, pleas…
jenny, get off the boat now, plea…
see the steams?
see the steams?
the view from the other side of th…
the view from the other side of t…
the view from the other side of th…
the view from the other side of t…
some cute cliffs
some cute cliffs
the crater lake
the crater lake
am i in Iceland? Greenland? New Ze…
am i in Iceland? Greenland? New Z…
buddies (?)
buddies (?)
su-weet! ;)
su-weet! ;)
picture-taking
picture-taking
some trees are starting to grow ag…
some trees are starting to grow a…
my poor attempt at an art work :(
my poor attempt at an art work :(
looks inviting
looks inviting
cant see our boat anymore
can't see our boat anymore
taking it all in...
taking it all in...
looks inviting
looks inviting
lost...
lost...
Narcissus moment (thanks to my wal…
Narcissus moment (thanks to my wa…
some cute cliffs
some cute cliffs
some trees are starting to grow ag…
some trees are starting to grow a…
nature
nature
the view from the other side of th…
the view from the other side of t…
some trees are starting to grow ag…
some trees are starting to grow a…
lady in the water...
lady in the water...
toinks! :P
toinks! :P
some hardened lava/lahar, i guess …
some hardened lava/lahar, i guess…
going back...
going back...
some cute cliffs
some cute cliffs
going back...
going back...
the warmer part of the lake
the warmer part of the lake
the shallow parts of the lake side…
the shallow parts of the lake sid…
looks inviting
looks inviting
a lonely grass
a lonely grass
Volcano Queen =D
Volcano Queen =D
posing (and ruining the view)
posing (and ruining the view)
posing (and ruining the view)
posing (and ruining the view)
lava tracks (?)
lava tracks (?)
even my shadow looks good ;)
even my shadow looks good ;)
on the way back...
on the way back...
nice bandanna
nice bandanna
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
almost there...
almost there...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
on the way back...
almost there
almost there
back where we came from
back where we came from
the group resting after a very har…
the group resting after a very ha…
last pic of the lake before we go
last pic of the lake before we go
stoned again
stoned again
exhausted
exhausted
last pic...
last pic...
Zambales
photo by: JeAr