Traveling to the Puning Hot Springs through the lahar covered foothills of Mt. Pinatubo was my first off-roader experience. The off-road journey was along the Sacobia riverbed trail in Pampanga.
My friends and I went straight to the hot springs once we got to Clark. The 4×4 trucks were waiting for us in Clark to take us to the jump-off point. The jump-off is the first stop of the three camps we have to go to for the whole trip. The second camp is the sand spa facility and the third camp is the Puning hot springs compound.
The 4×4 ride started to get exciting when we entered the Sacobia riverbed trail. The route is strewn with both dessert-like lahar hills and vast flatlands of sandy lahar.
The water in the river is clear and shallow allowing the aetas living nearby to use it to wash their clothes and to bathe.
My favorite part of the trip was driving through the narrow river gorges. I remember how surprised I was when we entered the tight entrance to the gorge coming from the open lahar landscape. My eyes went straight to the thin line of sky we can see above, between the cliffs. The tall walls of rocks and thick vegetation were overwhelming considering that I don’t see as much plants in Manila everyday. We were driving right on top of the river so the cold water was spraying wildly on my face. All I wanted to do that time was to get off the truck and take a calm moment to enjoy the scenery above me.
The end of the gorge revealed a vast lahar landscape with the silvery river winding in the middle. The hot springs of Puning are etched on the face of a natural hill sitting by the curve.
The hot springs of Puning are man-made structures built around a natural waterfall. The water in every pool is piping hot. The owners of the place constructed maze-like stairs to make ascending easier for the tourists.
I concluded that I am not a fan of hot springs because I can’t even last more than five minutes in any pool. The water is too hot for me and the waterfall scares me.
The Puning hot springs can be found in Sitio Target, Barangay Sapang Bato, Angeles City, Pampanga.