is Mt. Pinatubo safe Mt. Pinatubo eruption

Mt. Pinatubo is Gorgeous and Deadly

Thursday, March 22, 2012Ryan Mach

An awesome but scary thing happened at the Mt. Pinatubo crater on the day we trekked.

One area of the gigantic walls surrounding the turquoise blue water sort of 'erupted,' creating a thundering sound and sending massive dust and smoke up in the air.  I'm not sure if it's a normal occurrence in the site but it scared the hell out of me.

Mayday! Mayday!
There's a sign scribbled on a wooden board near the crater and it explicitly says "No shouting please. Noise can cause soil erosion." I thought it was kinda funny. I stiffled a snort when I read it, obviously ignorant about the fact that perhaps noise could indeed cause disturbance.
Watching the unusual sight unfold before my very eyes, I thought that maybe, all the noise and excitement from the main camp site contributed to such an abnormal but bizarre activity. You can't really blame the people for having fun and frolicking in the shallow part of the crater.  Seeing the magnificent turquoise pool atop the mountain after a 2-hour trek is a rewarding experience that any kind of gasp and awe in varying intensity and emotion shouldn't be forbidden.
I could feel my heart beating frantically, my knees wobbling, my entire body shaking, my imagination running wild. I imagined the ground shaking, the water boiling and big rocks falling from the mountain. We would run for our lives but we had nowhere to go. We're trapped. We couldn't contact our loved ones because there's no signal in that area. I'm a complete nervous wreck and incurably paranoid, I know.
But hey, I had every reason to panic. After all, Mt. Pinatubo is still an active volcano, and we're told that the last eruption happened without warning. It just happened. The same thing could happen right there and then.
"There must have been a rock that was swept by the wind, and fell down," the driver of the boat told us matter-of-factly and unperturbed while his passengers (who were quite bothered) hopped on board hastily. All boats were leaving and occupied. Since we're the last ones to arrive, we're also the last one to leave. We had no choice but to wait for the next available boat. 'Please don't take too long,' I murmured as the boat inched its way toward the camp site, about 5 kilometers away from where we're at.
To better relay the coordinates, let me describe where we were at at that very moment. It's a site on the other side of the crater which can only be reached through a boat. To get there, you need to pay Php350. A bit pricey, I guess because the boat isn't powered by engine, it's manned by strong-muscled local men. Depending on how fast the boatman paddles, getting to the site (which guides describe as a nice place with warm sand and boiling water) can take 5-10 minutes. It's indeed a very nice place, the shore is much rugged and rocky, the terrain is jagged and uneven, the mountains are alp-like.

It's very Mordor-ish.
A minute later, we heard another noise from the same spot. Thick dust had once again emanated from the middle section of the wall. A few seconds later, the adjacent wall displayed the same thing, but this time, the smoke emited was thinner. Ah, this isn't right! We're gonners.

There was still no boat in sight.

My friends, bless them, paid no mind. They were busy doing jump-shots, for Pete's sake! I envied their oblivion. Maybe it's something very ordinary? Perhaps it was because we were able to go home safe.
Jumpshot before the 'eruption'
The truth remains however that Mt. Pinatubo despite its beauty and grandeur remains to be a sinister and deadly place. That awesome but scary thing that happened there is probably her way of telling us that "Hey, I'm gorgeous but don't forget I'm deadly too."

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