I had been looking at Travel Factor’s (TF) tour menu since January this year. I kept on contemplating whether it was worth it to join their tour since I was used to DIY traveling. But because most of my travel buddies already went on their respective summer getaways, I found myself booking a tour just for one person – me, myself and I.
I was very apprehensive at first so I kept on asking TF about solo travelers joining their tours. I got a good boost from them and from reading solo travelers’ blogs. TF sent the primer one day before the climb.
The day came: May 4, 2013. I stayed in the office the whole night since it’s just a couple of minutes away from El Pueblo. I walked there alone and very much excited. I really didn’t know what to expect but I was really hoping for the best – meet a couple of new friends and who knows, maybe meet my prince charming as well. 😀
Our group met at McDonald’s El Pueblo in Ortigas at 2:30 am (Apparently, El Pueblo became a popular meeting place for travel groups because it is situated in the middle of EDSA). Ced did a roll call and gave our TF magazines and IDs. All the participants were already present so we left before 3:00 am. Our group was composed of 2 lovers, 4 workmates, 2 siblings, Ced from TF, and me.
The travel was actually fast. We just had a 20 mins stopover at Shell NLEX for last minute use of washroom and shopping. We reached the satellite tourism office of Capas Tarlac before 6:00 am. We signed a waiver form then Ced collected the donations(Php150) for the indigenous people living in the area. We were grouped into 2. 5 participants per 4×4 atv.
The fastest way to the crater is actually just 20 mins. But since their so-called “skyway” was inaccessible, we had to trek 7 km in 2 hrs. There were bodies of water that we had to pass so my shoes got wet. We had to stop several times to drink water, take pictures and rest.
Finally, after 2 hrs we reached the crater. It was really a sight to behold. Even though the color of the lake was not what I was hoping for to see (cyan), the view was still magnificent.
After 2 hrs, some rest, chats, and snacks, we went back to the jump off point. I felt that the way back was faster since we did not stop often to take pictures and rest.We changed clothes, ate snacks then left the satellite office. Since we still had time, we went to the Capas Shrine (Last stop of the Death March).
I had fun. I learned a lot. I met awesome people. This trip inspired me to travel more, even solo. I cannot wait to book my next Travel Factor trip!
Total Travel Expenses:
TF Package tour (food not included): Php 2450.00
*Additional expenses for packed lunch, early breakfast, 1L water, gatorade and snacks