When travelling you will experience a lot of great and memorable things. It is fun, exhilarating and adventurous most of the time. But another part of travelling which you can’t avoid are the odd disappointments and hitting rock bottom every once in a while. It’s not all gravy when travelling and those moments are just part of it. After our great adventure in the Philippino mountains, we got a fresh taste of just that.
We left Manila with the plan to climb Mount Minatubo, the famous volcano which exploded in 1991 taking a good 300 meters off of the mount and covering big parts of the area in ashes and lahar. With a big and crystal clear crater lake at the top, this seemed like another great adventure for the three of us. However, it soon became clear that it would be anything but that.
Getting to the little village of Santa Juliana, the jump off point for all of the excursions up the volcano, took us already a day. Once we arrived and checked in at one of the two places who organize the tours, we found out that the prices were higher than we had expected. But we were there so what to do? We decided to bite the bullet and book the tour. After a rather simple breakfast in the morning we left at around 7 am with a 4×4 jeep and our guide for the day. It took us about an hour to get to the starting point of our hike. The drive was nice, taking us across a moon like landscape with hills of ashes around, almost no vegetation and across little streams. The scenery was very special and the off road driving which was fun.
We got off in the middle of nowhere and started our hike up to the peak. What started out quiet exciting, soon became rather mediocre as we just continued to walk down the jeep trail that lead us straight to the base camp, only 1km from the top. The walk was not at all challenging and not interesting. We made it to the camp in less than 2 hours. On top of that our guide did a very bad job. Not only didn’t he explain anything, he also just went way ahead of Dolf and I. At one point him and the two others of our group where just completely out of sight. Pretty bad guiding in my opinion.
We then made it up the top which took another twenty minutes. We arrived at the crater which was scenic but not an amazing sight like we had during our last sidetrip. We walked around the crater a little bit, ate our packed lunch, snapped a few pictures and then left again. All in all, the trip was mediocre and for that cost definitely too much money. The services we received were definitely not worth the investment.
The worst bus ride of my trip so far
Our bad luck continued as we wanted to head to Naga to go wakeboarding at the famous Camsur Water Complex (CWC) which is supposed to feature one of the best wakeboarding cableparks of the world. Back in Manila after our Mount Pinatubo disappointment, we booked an expensive overnight bus to get there. We invested a little more to have some comfort. When we boarded the bus, we found out that they sold us the seats in the last row which were almost non-reclineable and featured minimal leg space. On top of it, the bus was a freezer with the air-con blazing the whole ride. After my transportation experiences in Laos I didn’t expect to have a worse bus ride ever but this one was definitely the one.
The Camsur Water Complex – yet another great Hype
I was completely knackered when we arrived in Naga. It didn’t stop here though. We had made a reservation for the CWC and when we checked in, we found out that the cable had ripped the day before. No one was able to tell us when it would run again but the most annoying fact was, that we were not told about the situation when we made the reservation. Having to deal with the situation, we still checked in with hopes for the park to run again soon. The park finally started to work at noon the next day, so by that time we had already wasted one and a half day. We received a little bit of a compensation for the inconveniences but when asking for free rental for the duration of our stay, they were pretty uncooperative. And also in general we didn’t feel to be treated well and not really welcome. The park itself is also far from being one of the best in the world with torn up and not well maintained obstacles and personal, that didn’t seem to be the most qualified.
We left after two and half days with only a half day of riding due to the repairs. The stay there left a pretty sour taste and we hoped that luck would be on our side again after those days of disappointments.
I can say that the last few days were rather unrewarding with lots of time and money we wasted. Being on a restricted budget considering those two currencies, it made the experiences even worse. But as mentioned before, those moments just belong to traveling as all the other great experiences which definitely make up for the majority. The secret is just not to focus too hard on those experiences and move on quickly. Things can change in a heartbeat while traveling – you can go from rock bottom straight to cloud nine within a day. This is exactly what we are hoping for now …
In terms of recommendations I would say don’t go to Mt. Minatubo and don’t hit the CWC in Naga.
PS: I already want to wish all of you guys Happy Easter since I won’t be able to update again before the holidays. Have a great time and enjoy the holidays!