We left Manila at around 3am via a public bus in Cubao. By 6am we're already in Tarlac. From Tarlac bus terminal, we had to travel by tricycle (Philippine tuktuk) for another 1.5 hours more to the local tourism office where we had to pay the fees. From there we start the 4x4 ride to the crater lake, which takes approximately 1-2 hours.
The 4x4 jeep can only accommodate us up to a certain point because as you get near the crater, the rocks and boulders get huge, and the only way to go about these is by trekking. It was around 8am when we started walking - it's still cold, the sun has just started showing up, so walking was not much of a hassle. Actually, you'd enjoy taking selfies and groupies because of the majestic views of the skies and huge rock walls in your background.
By 10am, we're already at this camp with nipa huts where you can rest and refresh for a while, have snacks, or take a short nap. It would tale about 20 minutes more to get to the world-renowned volcano crater. The excitement intensifies!!
20 minutes later...
My jaw droppped, LITERALLY when I saw the view...
Another love at first sight moment! I finally got to see THE majestic Mount Pinatubo crater lake, in the flesh! It was surreal and heart-stopping.
After a lot of picture taking and sight-seeing, we cooked our lunch, ate, a few more photo shoots, and started our descent. We stayed at the crater for about 2 hours. That's more than enough to appreciate the beauty of what was once a fierce peak.
By 5pm, we're back at the tourism office. And if you're wondering if there are rest rooms around, yes, there are locals offering rest rooms/shower rooms for a fee.
At the end of the day, everything was all worth it.
Traveling is therapeutic. It teaches you the basic values of life - patience, courage, value for relationship/friendship, love for the environment; that as you travel and explore the four corners of our earth, you get to appreciate life, even the smallest things. Something you will never pick up if you keep locking yourself at your comfort zone.
Just go ahead. You will never know what could be on the other side. :)