Seven of us planned for a little over a week to hike Mount Pinatubo. We booked a tour because it’s a pretty involved process getting up to the top of the volcano. On Saturdays and Sunday’s the departure time from Metro Manila is 2:30 am, you then take about a 1.5 hour 4×4 ride, and finish with either a short (45min) or long (2-3 hour) trek up to the top of the volcano.
All but one of us arrived on time to our pickup location, the last one arrived 20 minutes late and was sent to the back of the van. Neck pillows on, feet up, and seats reclined, the seven of us and Xena headed out full speed ahead, until we came to a dead stop in traffic. We didn’t check the religious events going on and learned the hard way that an expected 1 million people would be celebrating the Iglesia ni Cristo 100th anniversary at a huge venue next to the road we were on. This added over two hours to our journey, causing us to arrive after the allowed 4×4 departure time of 7:00am. Our driver tried to convince them to take us up, but they had already started sending earlier arrivals back down the mountain due to expected harsh weather conditions at the top. After over 5 hours in the car, we mentally prepared to drive right back to Manila (the tour company did offer to fully refund our payment), until one person had a brilliant idea – go to the beach in Subic. We spoke with the driver, tour company, and got the go ahead and price for a beach trip, so off we went.
There are two beaches in Subic that are well known, All Hands and Camayan. We decided to check out All Hands since it was closest. We drove up excited to head to the beach and saw a “No Pets Allowed” sign. Which meant Xena would have to stay in the car with our driver and miss out on her first beach experience, I DON’T THINK SO! After some quick googling we found that Camayan allowed dogs, so we decided to go with plan C for the day.
We got to Camayan, rented a Cabana, and headed to the water. The beach was beautiful and had an amazing view. Xena loved playing in the sand, but wasn’t too sure about the whole swimming thing. After some sun bathing we grabbed a cheap, but good, meal at Meat Plus Cafe and checked out a friend’s box, CrossFit Subic Bay. The box was awesome with a complete open air setup and covered outdoor area as well.
After the failed hike, failed beach attempt 1, and the long drive down, we came to a few conclusions:
- We enjoy the company. Despite being stuck in a car together for so long, we still had a lot of fun, made some jokes, and made the best of the situation.
- We still want to try and hike Mount Pinatubo.
- Next time we want to hike Mount Pinatubo we should drive down on Friday or Saturday, spend a day relaxing at the beach in Subic, then take a one hour drive to the 4×4 pickup location.
- Always check to see if there is a huge religious event going on.