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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mt. Pinatubo: Then and Now

Brought upon by my recent trip to the crater of Mount Pinatubo. I figured i’d write something about it.

From Wikipedia:
“Before the catastrophic eruption of 1991, Pinatubo was an inconspicuous volcano, unknown to most people in the surrounding areas. Its summit was 1,745 m (5,725 ft) above sea level, but only about 600 m above nearby plains, and about 200 m higher than surrounding peaks, which largely obscured it from view. Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, a native of Zambales, named his C-47 presidential plane “Mt. Pinatubo”. The plane crashed in 1957, killing the President and 24 others onboard.”

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There it was, a sleeping giant until it woke up again in 1991. I remember it clearly waking up one fine day and seeing all these dust particles falling from the sky, i remember going out of our house and along with our neighbors, we all looked up at the sky like an impending apocalypse was about to happen. The sky was darkened and covered by these seemingly ashes which according to news reports was ashes injected by Mount Pinatubo.

The damage it wrought upon us was astounding, 10 times the magnitude of Mount Saint Helens and its effect on our environment and the ozone layer reaches unbelievable magnitude.

“The effects of the eruption were felt worldwide. It ejected roughly 10 billion metric tons of magma, and 20 million tons of SO2, bringing vast quantities of minerals and metals to the surface environment. It injected large amounts of aerosols into the stratosphere—more than any eruption since that of Krakatoa in 1883.”

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It was the image of Pinatubo that was forever etched in my memory, vicious, violent and unfriendly. Thousands of people were displaced including many Aetas who have lived in the mountainous region of Zambales for many hundred of years after they fled from the lowlands to escape the Spanish persecution.

I remember seeing many Aetas in Metro Manila, wandering without a place to stay, that’s how far they were displaced from their peaceful communities in the mountainside. The fleeing people living in towns that surrounds the Pinatubo area reaches as far as Amoranto Stadium which became this big evacuation camp. It was bittersweet just thinking about that period of time, when you compare and see with your own eyes the Mount Pinatubo as it looks like today.

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Yes, this is the Mount Pinatubo of today, the beautiful crater lake is definitely a feast for the eyes.

I’d been planning on making a trip to Pinatubo for the longest time, I’m glad that i was able to do it last weekend with some of my closest friends. I’ve never seen a lake that beautiful, I thought i’d only see those kinds in movies and in travel magazines.

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The 2 hour hike was all worth it (we started on the longer trail because the so called “skyway” was impassable to 4×4’s). Crossing miniature river beds, rocky trails and sand filled lands was all worth the wait. The scenery leading to the crater does not disappoint anybody, everywhere you looked, the once ravaged lahar areas, the surrounding towns once abandoned are now thriving and has survived one of the most violent eruption in history.

We arrived at the crater at about 10:00 AM, a group of German Geology students was also there touring and probably studying the geography of the volcano. I can see in their eyes the awe of what they are seeing as well.

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Who would have thought that from this:

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Pinatubo would transform to this:

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and yes! one can actually swim in the lake:

DSC_3567( Mark M, Don and Me )

I wish Pinatubo would remain asleep again for the next hundred years. So we could enjoy a nice afternoon and a short trek to that beautiful place, and give us experiences that will always reminds us that our country is one big place waiting for us to explore.

page
(Creedence Clearwater Revival...not!)

Part 1: 4x4 Ride and Hike to Mt. Pinatubo



7 comments:

Yolanda said...

It's truly wonderful to see the beauty that it brought after the disaster... I remember the time I was there, experiencing the depressing emotions but Filipino were and are resilience... What a beautiful place, a piece of paradise!!!

Markyramone said...

Indeed, from destruction to a paradise-like setting. God has a way of transforming his creations to something else hehe

lakwatsera de primera said...

I miss this place, the first entry on my travel blog :)

Markyramone said...

awww memories. Let's go back there when you get back.

Angel said...

ANg ganda talaga ng kulay ng creater lake ng Pinatubo :)
Happy New Year Marky!

Markyramone said...

gusto ko nga bumalik jan eh. Happy New Year too Lakwatsero

Darwin said...

ganda ng photos..galing!

i need to join the group on the 23rd...
sayang hindi tayo kumpleto....

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