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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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March 2, 2009

pinatubo 4x4 experience (crow valley)

4x4 Experience
4x4s on the go

When my blogger friend Dom sent an invite to trek to Mt. Pinatubo, I didn't think twice to accept it. I had been planning for the longest to trek up there - to the iconic crater lake whose cyan colored water has enthralled so many.

Our trip started early. We took a bus bound for Dau (Pampanga) at 5AM. When we arrived several 4x4 trucks were already waiting for us in front of the bus terminal. There was a time when one would travel to Capas (Tarlac) to get to the 4x4 trucks, but nowadays they can fetch you at Dau bus terminal - an arrangement that is very convenient to trekkers who commute.

From Dau its about an hour more to Sta. Juliana in Capas. The Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana is the official registration (and jump-off point) area for trekkers. I was amazed at the long line of trucks already there, seems like Mt. Pinatubo is a hot destination nowadays (pardon the pun).

4x4 Queue
Long line of 4x4 in front of Pinatubo Spa Town

The fun begins when you cross the check point gate and enter a huge valley filled with volcanic ash (technically its not lahar anymore). The huge nearby mountains towers like green walls. I could imagine how these mountains looked like just after the 1991 eruption - gray and lifeless.

4x4 Experience II
snaking through the green valley

We bounce our way through the now lush valley. These stripped down trucks are not the most comfortable of rides, but that's part of riding experience. Part of the riding experience also are the occasional gusts of volcanic dust - so its best to wear glasses and some scarf like Keffiyeh (Arab scarf).

4x4 Experience III
busy lane

We stopped in the middle of Crow Valley to take photos. The landscape was amazing.

Blue Sky Day
Perfect blue sky day

Grand Landscape
in the middle of the valley

Everyone didn't seem to mind the searing hot midday sun. The vastness of the landscape is enough to tantalize the senses.

Midday Pitstop
midday star

After the requisite group shot, we continued on to the edge of the valley.

Pinatubo Adventure Team
our Pinatubo adventure team

In the days before the "Skyway" (a road passing through the nearby mountains, Dom has more photos here), trekkers would hike from the edge to the valley to the crater through a dry river system. The 4-5 hour hike will take you through surreal landscape. The gray colored cliff walls look alien - lunar-like almost. (The Delta-5 trail via Porac is a completely different story). Now the hike takes only about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

4x4 Parking
parking area at the trail head

The parking area at the trail head was already packed with trucks when we got there. From the number of the trucks there, one can imagine how busy the narrow trails to the crater will be (story soon). As our 4x4 ride ended, another adventure unfolds.
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escape said...

ang astig ng mga kuha! these photos really tempts me to get a DSLR the soonest. hahaha...

it was really great to have you in the team allan. sa uulitin.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind tagging along when another invite is sent out, is Dom coming with you when you get home to Marbel? He said he will visit gensan this year and I hope he is with you.

You have really really nice shots,i know there's more!

Lantaw said...

Dom, Thanks! Sa uulitin :)

Sheng, Baka hinde, but I'm sure he'll visit Gensan soon. Thanks! See you sa Holy Week :)

Anonymous said...

Yay! kainit man pud uy...heheheheh... but nice pics though.

Lantaw said...

Skies, Mas init mas lami man haha. THanks!

Guy D said...

Great shots, you captured the adventure perfectly, amazing shots.

Have a great week!
Regina In Pictures

SandyCarlson said...

I look at your photos and wonder if there could be any other place in the world to be.

Louise said...

The sky is fabulous, and I'm dying for the rest of the story!

Anonymous said...

WAAAAAAHHH!! Ganda ng pics!

The Islander said...

wow! love the clear skies... loved how it was captured.

Reena said...

hi. my first time here. i hopped from dong. :)

nice shots. it takes dedication to get those shots from a moving vehicle. hindi ba maalikabok?

i like the "in the middle of the valley" photo. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes... one of my most memorable treks ever. Trekked it when there were no 4x4s yet in the late 90s and did it again a few years ago on a 4x4. Both times unforgettable! Great, great capture as always!

Anonymous said...

oh my, that was really cool! I love the skies and the nature, not to mention the vehicles!
Greetings from West Africa,

Arija said...

Great scenery and looks like great fun!

Oman said...

yay. bigla yata ako nainggit sa travel nyo. it just si happen lang talaga na it coincide with a previous engagement in baguio. but i really do hope to tag along with one of my idols in the future.

great shots again allan. paturo naman.

Anonymous said...

Ikaw na ang bagong idol ko! Ang ganda ng mga shots. Ayan ha, hindi na ako suplada. Nag-comment na ako dito. :)

Sa uulitin. Sana may mag-organize ulit. Ang saya! :)

Lantaw said...

Thanks Guy!

Sandy, Never stop exploring :)

Louise, Thanks! Come back again soon :)

Earvin, Thanks bro!

The Islander, Salamat bai!

Reena, Hi! Medyo maalikabok so I had to cover my camera once in a while. Thanks for dropping by!

Jenn, I plan to trek there again via the longer route (but not the Delta 5 hehe). Thanks for dropping by!

Esther, We had very good weather that day, blue skies and great clouds :)

Arija, Thanks!

Oman, Aabangan din naming ang flower festival photos mo bro :). Salamat! Makakabyahe din tayo together one of these days

MeL, Wow maraming salamat! :)

Unknown said...

hanep ang clouds and sand!

CTG Ponies said...

The sky looks larger than life. It looks like a fun trip!

Carver said...

You got some fabulous shots. Looks like so much fun. I also enjoyed DonG's post about this trip. Good to see the photographs from two different photographers. The sky shots with the clouds was breathtakingly beautiful.

Jane Hards Photography said...

Does look like a marvellous adventure.

Unknown said...

Just wonderful pictures and compositions, what fun! I think you must have a polarising filter like I do, it really makes clouds pop!

Lantaw said...

Tracer, Good to know you can now see my photos bro hehe. The proxies must be doing their jobs well :D

CTG Ponies, It was indeed fun! :)

Carver, Thanks! Dom and I were on the same 4x4 truck :)

Babooshka, It was a great day, perfect weather for trekking :)

Sarah, Yup, I always use a CPL and occasionally GND filters. Thanks!

lagal[og] said...

ganda ng mga kuha allan. masuwerte na rin ang mga trekkers ngayon, dati, you have to go to juliana to get a 4x4 or in our case, 6x6. haven't tried the short route though. memorable ang pinatubo treks sakin for happy and somewhat somber reasons.

Lantaw said...

Oggie Thanks bai! Would like to try that longer route next time. Nakita ko nga yung photos mo on Delta 5, its a 2 day trek? Sobrang daming nag trek the weekend that we were there, traffic sa trail

Anonymous said...

wow! sobrang dami nyo pala. :D
ganda ng mga kuha! :)

Kenobiitti said...

Really awsome pics!

Lantaw said...

vanny, sobra isang daan yata ang tao dun sa crater nung weekend na yun :)

Kenobiitti, Thanks!

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