Tuesday, June 8

how we DIDN'T get to go up mt. pinatubo...

when edna, aldous & cecille asked if adri & i wanted to go to pinatubo with them i immediately said "yes!"

first... i had always wanted to go to the fabled lake created after the explosion of mt. pinatubo. and second... well, i had never really gone on an outdoor activity with my doctor-friends (or at least  i don't recall anything past college!). so i said no to all birding activities that coincided with our scheduled trip, adri hurried back from his dot fam tour,  and last sunday, a bit behind schedule, we found ourselves at the jump-off point to the mountain: brgy. sta. juliana in tarlac.

and guess what?

the rains which had started at 3am up in the mountains had caused all trips up to be cancelled! the lahar was too soft and the danger of a landslide was too great.
just to give you an idea of how far off from civilization we were, sta. juliana is accessed via capas, and it's past camp o'donnell and somewhere in crow valley. it was just 830 am, and suddenly, we were in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do!

 road -trippers (minus adri who took the picture) in the middle of nowhere...
having seen the signs which pointed to the monasterio de tarlac, a pilgrimage site set in the hills of san jose which housed a relic of the true cross of Christ, we decided to go there. we backtracked to a small road where we had seen the sign and started a journey across a rough road... with patches of good road. (and would you believe adri and i got a lifer? a ruddy-breasted crake was crossing the road!) we hadn't realized how far it was! it was past 10am when we got there, just in time for the start of Sunday mass.

The Monasterio de Tarlac, Sanctuary of the Holy Cross

afterwards, we decided to take a much shorter (and concrete) alternate road which would take us to tarlac city (aldous had thankfully bought a map at the gas station where we had breakfast so we had some idea of where we were going) and lunch.

with cecille intent on going swimming ("we brought our swimsuits! we might as well swim"), it was decided that the closest (in terms of travel time) beach would be... subic. so we took the sctex all the way to good old sbma where we enjoyed the last few hours of daylight at camayan beach. after all my trips to subic, it was actually the first time i went swimming there! the beach wasn't so bad... in fact there were so many fish! too bad i didn't bring my underwater camera case (which i thought wouldn't be useful in the mineral-rich pinatubo lake!). we enjoyed the beach until the sun set.

sunset over subic bay from camayan beach...

i think this would be life's way of telling me that my summer break is over, the rains are coming and school is about to start again...
just to give you an idea of the mileage we gained, here's a map (c/o of the wonderful google maps):

1. baranggay sta. juliana, capas, tarlac :  we found out that all trips to mt. pinatubo were cancelled because of the rains.
2. monasterio de tarlac, sanctuary of the holy cross, baranggay lubigan, san jose, tarlac:  at least i got to go here at last, i've always been wanting to visit the pilgrimage site
3.  fortune restaurant, tarlac city:  good chinese food, and best of all, really fast service
3.5.  floridablanca, pampanga:  ok, we had to actually exit the sctex for gas!  must be a regular occurence though because the toll gate person was able to give us precise instructions to the nearest gas station
4.  camayan beach, sbma:  who would've thought i'd be swimming here?