Philippines country of contrasts – Santa Juliana

Polish

Manila – Angeles

At breakfast, I ordered a soup and I got some CHOPSTICKS for eating it! A hungry man who did not except any challenges from the early morning. Fortunately, I managed and only splashed myself and the table a little.

I ate a lot; I began to catch a taxi to the Pasaj bus station. The first driver did not want to turn on the meter and immediately said he wanted 200 pesos for the course. I thanked him and I stopped another one. The second guy fulfilled my request without any problems. So I was ready to start the journey :).

At the beginning I was afraid of what turned one on meter was going to show. I must admit that I was stupid. It turned out to be much cheaper than when I was negotiating the price – which was always unreasonable.

After 4 hours I arrived at the DAV station near Angeles. I caught a three-wheeler to the center – unnecessarily, because I wanted to get to Santa Julian and it would be enough if I walked 50 meters to the main route, and from there was a straight way to my goal :).
Many times I am asking myself not to take the train from the station straight away. I often repeat myself: „look around Arek, go a bit further, look what’s around.” However, Arek often forgets about it and in such situations he made a bad deal.

The way to Santa Julian was as follows:

  • DAV – Angeles – three-wheeler (unnecessarily)
  • Angeles – Capas – jeepney
  • Capas – Patling – jeepney
  • Patling – Santa Juliana – three-wheeler

I stayed at the Alvin’s Guest House in Santa Juliana. On the spot I met Meno (Dutchman) and Kamil (Czech) who were just beginning their adventure with the Philippines. The evening was spent exchanging experiences between each other and recommending places.

A trip to Mt Pinatubo

At 7.30 I went on a trip organized by Alvin to Mt Pinatubo. 2 Jeeps, 9 people (5 Malaysians, 2 Filipinos, Czech Karol and I).

Traveling through a dry riverbed was very interesting. The river looked like a shallow stream, but on both sides it showed what strength it had during the rainy season. This was evidenced by high, washed up escarpments.

In the middle of nowhere, we stopped next to the „store”. The lady was selling bananas – life there is not easy. Not enough that there is a constant risk of eruptions, there is also not much work. The road to the crater is a bit bumpy :). It’s good that I was a passenger of the first car. Wheels were raising the dust, making the second Jeep not seeing the road clearly. After 20 km, we had 5 km of trekking. The route was not demanding and defeating it in sandals was not a feat. You have to cross the river several times so it is good to have shoes that can be soaked
The crater itself was peace and quiet. The sleeping volcano did not seem threatening and it was hard to imagine that in 1991 it caused such a tragedy killing 800 people and leaving 10,000 without a home.

Oh, a liter of water is not enough for this trip, I suggest you buy at least 2. On the volcano in the makeshift shop the prices are very high.

On the way back we got to the village, where the Malaysians shared out previously bought sweets. Some may be disgusted with this form of help, but in my opinion every way is good. You distribute sweets, coloring books or organize a cinema, just help and before you criticize, take action by yourself. In the resort there were about 14 of us (also those who were in a hurry were not able of moving ahead), Adobo chicken waited for us 🙂 – it was included in the price of the trip.

During the meal, a 16-person trip from Poland arrived. There was not much opportunity to talk with them. They were unpacking when I was talking with the Dutch and it would be rude to end the conversation halfway :).

The rest of the day passed on total laziness – I did not even want to wash :).

In the area of Santa Juliana

San Marcos Lake

As per advice of Meno I ordered a guide to show me the villages around. Together with Ambo (guide) we went to:

  • San Marcos
  • Citio Bulocan
  • Pilien
  • Pisapongar
  • San Marcos Lake

During several hours of walking, we were crossing the river very often. A pleasant trip, although in the midday Sun, the strength of mine was totally gone.

Return was not the easiest. Steaming water from a shallow river only heightened the feeling of a few hours of fatigue and heat. There was no shade and cold water. 3 liters of potable water is definitely not enough for such conditions. Despite the fatigue, it was worth coming to the area and seeing these interesting places.

Alvin’s Place

Now a few words about Alvin’s Place, where I spent the last 3 days in the Philippines. Hosts and service were very nice. Tasty food, clean rooms, very nice resort (my sense of style). You pay for everything when you leave.

Sample prices:

  • 150 meals
  • 500 bed in a dorm
  • 2450 trip to Mt Pinatubo – price depends on the number of people that take a part in a trip
  • 800 guide who was showing the surrounding villages

For the entire 3-day stay with food and attractions I paid 6000 which on one hand is a lot and from the other point of view is it not much – I leave it to you for evaluation :). In my opinion it was worth it :).