Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Greenhills in Ortigas : Hiking Mount Pinatubo

Well, we have been keeping busy, very busy since I last blogged but right now, its Tuesday at 10:20am and we are going through the toll to get into Manilla to get to the Divisoria. Joel forgot that on Tuesdays, they only let certain tags (car tags) in at certain times and thank god we came at the right time (after 10am) but have to leave Manilla by 3pm because of this coding. Because the population of Manilla is so overcrowded, they limit who can come in the city and what time and what time you have to leave. So instead of leaving today at 4pm like we originally planned, we have to leave by 2pm to be out by 3pm! Oh well- we are going to have to shop fast! On Saturday, Cecilia, Uncle Rey, Winnie, Joel and I went to Green Hills- which is like the Divisoria but a Tiangee for upperclass people. Everything is fixed price, they won't go down really and if you walk away- they will let you! Not like the Divisoria where we are going today. We spent all day there until Cecilia's cousin Edwin and dad picked her up to go back to Kavite and we headed back to Angeles. Because Winnie took off work and I really don't have much time to spend with my cousins, I went back to Angeles instead of going with Cecilia to her dad's home town. After all, I will be in Cebu with her and her family for nearly 5 days this week. On Sunday, Winnie and her high school friends and Jon Jon, Reyann, Uncle Rey and I headed to Mt. Pinatubo to do a hike. It took us around an hour and a half to get to where you have to check in as it was around 1000 pesos per person to hike- we also stopped at Jollibee to get cheese burgers- and yes, and rice and chicken! They served individual rice servings in little wrappers that were the size of a small jewelry box. The hike was really tough.. it reminded me much of Macchu Pichu- steep hills to climb, lots of little rivers and brooks that cut across our path that we had to carefully cross. It was much tougher than any of us thought and it took about an hour to hike there- but once we go there- the views were amazing! The crater was huge and the water was crystal clear like a swimming pool. Uncle Rey and I paid one of the locals 100 pesos to take us on a boat ride into the center of the crater so we can take pictures. He told us a little bit of history about this active volcano's crater that was last active in 1991 (when it destroyed our families homes-massive destruction)- there are 3 tunnels underneath that help control how much water is inside the crater and all 3 tunnels dump out into the China Sea. Also, the highest point of Mount Pinatubo is also the same distance as the deepest point of the crater! Along the side of the crater, there are hot springs- so hot that if we went across it in our plastic boat, it would melt the bottom. But we got as close as we could and you could see the water boiling at the top!
Because tourism is down in the Philippines due to all the crime, there was hardly anyone on this trek so it was neat to go when it was just us along the trail to the crater. I have a feeling in 5 or 10 years when this becomes more known, there will be a ton of people trekking Mt. Pinatubo! We did run into some Europeans that were there hiking as well and they were having a great time. It would be great to do a 2 or 3-day trek because we actually took 4 x 4's all the way to the bottom of the volcano and then started trekking. It was quite an experience and it was crazy to see the "locals" basically living in the jungle. Here is a picture of some kids playing on their "basketball court" - they eat what they grow or what they can find and don't have any means for schooling ,etc..

2 comments:

Vanessa said...

Riza!

I just realized I could check your blog to see what the 411 was. Glad you made it safely! You are going to miss the Long Beach Crawfish Festival, BUT I think hiking in Mount Pinatubo beats that!

Take care and say hi to the fam for me!
-V

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!