After an hour of wild 4×4 jeepney ride at the desert-like expanse of Crow Valley followed by a three-hour trek at the giant’s foot, we finally reached the summit of Mt. Pinatubo — an active stratovolcano named after a Tagalog word which means reared or nurtured.
Shafts of mid-day sun cut through dark nimbus clouds above the calm turquoise waters of the crater lake, lighting up our vagabond hearts. Groups of people were enjoying the serene waters of the lagoon — some were swimming, some boating, most taking pictures, while the rest were having their picnics.
After a quick rest, we decided to descend nearer the waters. We scouted for a nice spot where we could munch our packed meals with no obstruction of the scenery. However, it started to drizzle leaving us with no choice but to take our lunch at the covered hall even if it was already crowded . It also took away our dreams of boating to the other side of the rim.
Later, I noticed some signages around that prohibit visitors from swimming and warning about the lake’s unknown depth. Still, a lot of people were drenched on waters while others are even crossing the center of the lake. It did not stop me. Thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I dragged my friends and leaped high onto the cool turquoise lake disturbing its stillness.
Floating is easier, perhaps because of its density, making me feel an Olympian if not a school varsitarian. The water was cold as aggravated by the precipitation, but the assumed sulphuric elements known for its skin smoothening effect propelled the endurance in me to stay under low temperature.
But the gentle drizzle turned into a furious rain giving our local tour guides the fear of tragedy. Hence, we were advised to pack up and trudge back as fast as we could.
Tranquility surrounds the place when we left Mt. Pinatubo. Who would have thought that the volcano’s last flare-up more than two decades ago, considered the second largest terrestrial eruption worldwide in the 20th century, would give birth to this rugged beauty?