There were different versions regarding the recent Mount Pinatubo incident. While scanning the newspapers, I noticed the names of the victims were different from one paper to another. I also received so many inquiries both on my mobile phone, landline and email regarding the actual account of the incident. Some were coming from my previous clients asking if those where from my team or if those guides where the one assigned to them when they hired our service. But most of the inquires are coming from radio/TV stations and newspapers.
I was in Bicol Region when this incident happened. Our 2 Trek schedules last August 1 and 2, 2008 were both booked to me while I was in Bikol. I have another schedule booked for August 6, 7, 8 and 9 . These groups have already sent their partial payment thru, paypal, xoom and some were thru bank transfer a week before their schedule. Typhoon Kiko had passed our place (Naga) and based on my past experience, typhoons from Bikol will likely to pass Nort Luzon in 2 days time so I decided to cancel these groups and I posted here that I am cancelling all trips to Mount Pinatubo due to bad weather. I am doing this even without the advisory from Tourism office.
At first, my clients were so disappointed, especially Miss Charlene who had planned her trip to the Philippines and climb Mount Pinatubo for quite sometime. She’s from Singapore and booked her trip to me a month earlier and we were chatting about her preparation almost everyday. I also have clients from Hongkong who will be arriving on the 8th and will just visit Philippines primarily because of Mount Pinatubo. I really had a hard time explaining to them that I can’t allow them to trek for safety reason. In the end, we agreed to return their payment and other groups re-scheduled their trip at a later time.
When I received a call from the media early in the morning after the incident, I was so shocked upon learning that 2 foreigners died and there’s a rescue operation to find the rest of the group. Reporters were asking me if those where from my team, I told them that I cancelled all trek schedules in my website and I still need to clarify for the actual reports so I never make any comment regarding their inquiries.
A day after, there were so many news reports but most are misleading. Capas Municipal Mayor, Reynaldo Catacutan summoned a meeting last August 10, 2009. Said meeting was attended by representatives from different travel agencies, trip organizers, 4×4 jeep drivers & operators, Tourism staffs at representative from the Philippine Air Force. Actual accounts of the recent incident has been discussed and we were furnished a copy of the press release and police report.
Below are the scanned copy of the said documents. Please click the image for bigger view. I hope that this will enlighten all the presumption of the reading public.
Trip Orgainzer/Blog Host& Author