“For the God on the mountain is
still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.”

Different rock formations along the trek brought about by the volcanic eruption almost 2 decades ago

I will never forget my first hiking experience. Not only because it started off my desire to climb mountains but the majestic view is really worth visiting again and again. I’m talking about no other than Mt. Pinatubo bordering the provinces of Tarlac, Zambales and Pampanga. In 1991, the volcano erupted after being dormant for around 500 years and it became a nightmare to a lot of people in Central Luzon after it killed hundreds of lives and left a lot of families homeless. After almost 2 decades, who would have thought that the place can be another great tourist destination for nature lovers?

Early Sunday morning in July of 2009, we rode a  Victory Liner bus bound for Pangasinan and arrived in Capas, Tarlac (near Caltex) just after the sun has risen. Our contact sent a vehicle to pick us up to bring us towards the Capas Shrine and then we reached Bgy. Sta Juliana. From there, we rode a 4×4 vehicle for less than an hour and arrived at the jump-off point.

With a guide, we chose to take a longer trail and it took us around 3 1/2 hours of trekking a very rocky path. The shorter trek will just take less than 1 hour climb because the 4×4 vehicle can pass through the lahar desert while navigating an uphill trail. I would say that the trek is good for beginners and you don’t need to be really physically fit to take the short trail or even the longer one. The long trek is all worth the efforts despite the heat of the sun because of the stone/rock formations and the river crossing adventure.

When we arrived at the summit, words cannot explain the beauty of the crater surrounded by the lake. I was in awe of this God’s masterpiece and the view brought back my lost strength. Of course, we took some pictures and even though there’s a sign that swimming is not allowed, we still swam in the crater despite the warning that the depth of the water is still undetermined at this time.

The captivating view of the Mt. Pinatubo Crater

We took the the shorter trail on our return trip and went back to Manila on the same day. I know for sure that we only had one thing in mind during the return trip –  this place is a must-see and we are definitely going back!

Jumpshot with Camille, myself, Anne, Aileen and Homer

My first-ever trekking adventure reminded me of a song. The lyrics started with the words that life is good on the mountain. By its mere beauty alone, life is indeed good on top of Mt. Pinatubo. However, when reality strikes in, no one can really forget the disaster it brought 2 decades ago. In fact, just a few weeks after our trip, several foreigners died along the trek because of strong river current.

Despite all of this, we must never be discouraged because the God of the mountain is also the God of the valley. The God of the good times is also the God of the bad times. He is indeed sovereign. May the lyrics of the song below speak through your hearts and hopefully encourage you every time you face difficult circumstances in life.

God On The Mountain (words and music by Tracy G. Dartt)

Life is easy when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known.
But then things change and you’re down in the valley.
Don’t lose faith for you’re never alone.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

You talk of faith when you’re up on the mountain.
Oh but the talk comes easy when life’s at its best.
But it’s down in the valley of trials and temptation
That’s when faith is really put to the test.

Watch the YouTube video here: