Travel mishaps can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to me in the form of a bad weather forecast when I went to Capas, Tarlac to visit Mt. Pinatubo.
Reaching the summit crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo was supposed to be the original plan. However, when my friends and I arrived to meet our organizer, the Tourism Office did not allow anyone to push through because rapid flooding is inevitable even in light to moderate rains in the crater area. It was disheartening! We just came from Cebu, and have not had any rest from the moment we got off of our plane at NAIA and immediately embarked on a bus ride from Manila to Capas, Tarlac.
Sensing our disappointed faces, our organizer offered us two options at no additional cost: go white water rafting or drive an ATV from Capas ATV Adventure going to the Lahar Trail of Mt. Pinatubo and Tambo Lake. We could go white water rafting in other places but we could never drive an ATV to the Lahar Trail of Mt. Pinatubo in other places so we chose the second option!
Capas ATV Adventure is just a stone’s throw away from the tourism office. After signing our waivers, we proceeded to choose our ATV of choice. Operating an ATV is straightforward, and even kids (so long as their feet can reach the pedals) can do it. It only took us a minute or two to know the basics and proceeded to our destination straight away.
We were greeted by the sight of carabaos eating grass and Aeta farmers carrying their crops. There were also children running around barefoot.
The sight of mountains and the rugged terrain of the valley is stunning. It is ironic how a dreadful destruction led to this beauty.
I was born two years after the last time Mt. Pinatubo erupted, and I’ve only seen a handful of photos of the aftermath of the lahar that has taken the lives of thousands of people and livestock. Crossing the heavy mudflow made me think how awful it must have been to those who experienced the destructive eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
After almost an hour of riding, we arrived at Tambo Lake. According to our guide, Tambo Lake is one of the places where Balikatan Exercises, the annual military exercises between the Philippines and the United States, is held.
It was time to return and our guide led us to the river where the lahar is quite heavy. Driving an ATV in the lahar is harder than you think, especially if you are facing the current. In fact, one of my friend’s wheels got stuck in the uneven terrain. We had to do a lot of pulling and pushing to get it out.
My friends and I raced like around the vastness of the terrain. We were wet and muddy after plunging through the heavy lahar. It was a two-hour crazy ride!
I may not have visited the summit crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo, but I did enjoy that trip. All thanks to Capas ATV Adventure. Mt. Pinatubo is just there, and God-willing, I can always go back.
If you want to experience this one-of-a-kind adventure, visit Capas ATV Adventure’s Facebook page or call them at 0917 571 4357 or 0922 868 2589. On the other hand, if you want to experience trekking towards the summit crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo, you can organize your trip with Ma’am Sonia Bognot of Majestic Mount Pinatubo Tour and Homestay. You can reach her at 0918 602 1943.