Friday, June 3, 2005

My Pandan Island and Apo Reef Trip

I was at Pandan Island and Apo Reef last May 27 until 29, (eherm, officemates, if you're reading this i was sick last friday ok? :P). We left Pandan Island on Sunday at 10am and got back in Manila at 9pm.

apo reef

The meeting place was at Wendy's buendia at 1:45am, friday. We were the last one to arrive at the meeting place (it was american idol's fault :P). By 2am we were already inside the bus to take us to Batangas Pier. We reached Batangas Pier at 4:30am, then we boarded the ferry to Abra de Ilog at 5am. We reached Abra de Ilog at 7am, ate breakfast while we we waited for the bus that would take us to Sablayan. Abra de ilog to Sablayan is a 3-hour bus ride on rough roads and we got there at 11:45am. Upon arrival at Sablayan, we had lunch while we waited for the water taxi that would take us to Pandan Island. Sablayan to Pandan island is just a 15-minute boat ride.We just bummed around the Pandan Island on our first day. By the way, there was an old French guy there (he owns the Pandan Island Resort, where we're staying) who speaks tagalog fluently, 
apo reefapo reefapo reef

cast away? :p
i like him already! :P. Anyway, we snorkelled in Pandan island and ofcourse I took lots of photos. In the evening, after our mandatory buffet dinner, we had our socials at the organizer's cottage (it rained that night). Too bad I can't drink so i just helped them eat their pulutan :P

The next day I woke up at 5am to catch Pandan Island's sunrise and at 8am we hopped on a trigger boat that would take us to Apo Reef. It was a 3-hour boat ride from Pandan Island to Apo Reef but very much worth the trip. Two of my companions went diving while the rest of us went snorkelling. I had a great time snorkelling at Apo Reef. It's like swimming inside a very very big salt water aquarium. It was a good thing i bought a disposable underwater camera (i was having second thoughts before the trip whether i'll buy it or not kasi).
The most exciting part (for me, atleast) was when the boat needs to move near the shore. The boat men asked those of us who were near the boat to just hang on to the rope while the boat moves. It was sooo much fun! It was a welcome break from fighting away the current. Plus, with that boat pulling us I got to cover more coral area and got to see more stuff. Apo Reef's marine life is just spectacular! I envy my companion who went diving. I'm sure they saw more interesting stuff. We also went up the lighthouse where you could see corals dotting the waters.  Then it's time to leave. We left Apo Reef at 330pm.

view of the corals from the lighthouse

Come night time, and after yet another mandatory buffet dinner (but i won't complain because the food are all so good! sira ang diet :P), we had another socials but this time the venue was under the stars. Ahh, that is life. While we chatted away, some of my companions went for a night snorkelling. They said the fishes at night are more colorful. Note to self: buy an underwater flashlight.

What made the trip more interesting and more fun were the people i was with. There was never a dull moment and I was laughing the whole time. I'll rate that trip 8 stars (10 being the highest). I'll rate it a 9 if it wasn't for the rough roads and free face powder, aka, the dirt from the road.

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Friday, February 18, 2005

Mt. Pinatubo = Lahar? hell no!

Look at that picture.
New zealand? 
no. (but that's in my wishlist) 

Ofcourse you know this already. You saw my title :P. Yep, that's the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.


Feb 18, 2005. It was a long weekend and so my photography club mates and I decided to see Mt. Pinatubo last friday until Saturday for another photoshoot. So equipped with our camera gears, tent and some food, off we went for our long weekend lakwatsa con photoshoot.

It's a 3-hour trek but if you want a shorter one you need to hire a 4x4 to take you to the shorter route. This will cut your trek from 3 hours to an hour. It was very tiring.We had to cross a river, balance on some rocks, walk on dirt. I'm not into mountain climbing really, but someone told me that the trek is not so difficult compared to Sagada and that the trail is not steep that's why I joined. Little did I know that i would have my lungs working extra because i was huffing and puffing the whole time.

The rewards are great though. The view of the crater is amazing. My mouth literally fell open because of the beauty of the lahar formation. It looks like the alps of Switzerland from afar. The very wide river that is now lahar-filled 
sunnier mordorsunnier mordorsunnier mordor

you'll see a lot of these lahar-capped mountains on your way to the crater....
is overwhelming.

The Mt. Pinatubo eruption was really devastating but when you look into the remains of what happened, the lahar cutting thru mountains, the river turned solid because of the lahar, the alps-like mountains because of the lahar, you can't help but think that somehow that catastrophe turned my country even more beautiful.