It was still dark when we arrived at Capas Junction in Capas, Tarlac to meet our guide and driver who will guide us to Mt. Pinatubo - the volcano which erupted in 1991.
We - me, Syg, Randy, Sol and Aris - all from UP AstroSoc - were to rendervouz with Charm, Jodl and their officemates at GE. Since we arrived early, about 5 am after an hour and a half bus ride from Cubao, we set off and wait at the basecamp after another 40 minute off-road vehicle ride through lahar-inundated fields and rivers.
The place that we are going to visit is the crater lake that formed when the volcano blew a large part of it summit in the 1991 eruption, forming a huge crater that later was filled with water to form a lake. The deepest part of the lake is 500 feet.
The trek to the crater lake is not very difficult, although the sky was overcast when we started out and there was a drizzle when we were halfway through. We met several Aeta kids on our way up, as well as a platoon of soldiers guarding the trail.
The view of the crater lake is magnificent. The water is aquamarine with milky sheen on it, amid the backdrop of ash-encrusted cliffs that border the caldera.
The water is cold, but it's worth it to take a dip. Visitors can rent a boat there to explore the lake further but the caretaker at the camp should be informed beforehand.
We swam some more after having brunch, and we left just around noon, when more tourists arrive to see the place.
How to get there:
You need to get to Capas, Tarlac (get a bus from Cubao, and get off at Capas Junction; fare is PhP147 each way). Rent a 4x4 vehicle for 3,750 for one day, and get a guide for 500 pesos.