If you could remember, I went to hike to the Mt. Pinatubo crater in summer last year, where I experienced a whole series of unfortunate circumstances–I broke my camera lens, walked for hours with zero sleep and with no food and water, lost a cell phone when I took a dip in the crater. It was not a good hike. No, not at all.
So when I learnt that I would be joining my class to Mt. Pinatubo for their volcanology field trip, I was absolutely hesitant to come. I know that the landscape up there is stunning, and the rock formations one could see on the way to the crater have their unembellished beauty in them. But come on, Pinatubo is not a place I have a good history with. It killed me. I died the day I went there and was reborn when I came back to the sketchy streets of Metro Manila.
But of course I had to look after my class. As if I had the choice to leave these ninth graders by themselves, haha. So it meant that I had to prepare myself for it–mind, body, soul. I slept early, I prepared two meals (pasta and adobo) to share, I bought two liters of drinking water, brought my camera with extra care, and arrived at the meeting place ahead of time.
Everyone came to the meeting spot just in time. At 3:30am the kids were already saying goodbyes to their parents and off we rode the white van to Capas, Tarlac. The van was loud in the beginning. You know, teenager energy. But eventually the noise died out and they fell asleep on the way there. We arrived to the venue at 6:30. Before the orientation, we had breakfast first, then prepared ourselves for the 4×4 ride.
The ride to the crater was fine, though we began late. In one of the stop overs, Mr, Adrian even had a brief lecture about the mountain. There I took some time to take some photos.
It was cold, but the wind was too strong that it’s inevitable to get sand on your eyes and gadgets. It explains why most of my students dressed up like ninjas.
Adrian also did some lectures while they were on the bay, under the heat of the sun, in the middle of the noisy crowd.
One of the many things I like about the school I am working for is we believe in outdoor learning. And true enough, it is entirely different when you experience your lessons, outside the four corners of the classroom. The lesson becomes alive, you see it in the eye. It becomes real, beyond the dead concept that it was.
After a few more minutes, we decided to go back so we could go back to Manila early. Around 12:30pm, we started packing up and went to alight the volcano. It was hot but I had enough sleep, and our tummies were full. So it was fine. I was fine. At 2:30pm we were already in the van, and in a few, drove back to Manila.
I didn’t expect that I would go back to Pinatubo. At least not this soon. But on the other hand, I did not expect to enjoy a second ride, a second hike. Maybe because of the company, maybe because it’s not too hot this time, maybe because I slept early before the camp. Or maybe because, this time, the earth bid me welcome.