Puning Hot Spring & Sand Spa | Porac, Pampanga
On the other side of Mt. Pinatubo is a hotbed of adventure, meandering landscape & all-natural pampering. Swathed in volcanic overtones, Puning Hot Spring is a gorgeous place to spend a day’s escapade into Pampanga’s sun-drenched getaway.
More than two decades after Mt. Pinatubo’s cataclysmic eruption, Pampanga has obviously ascended from the ashes that once almost put it into oblivion. Townscapes, businesses & livelihood have sprung back to life, more vibrant than ever.
New communities & attractions have mushroomed too. And just like beauty in madness, Pampanga has found ingenious ways to renew its fortunes through the otherworldly trails of Apung Malyari’s wrath.
Puning Hot Spring: Retelling Pinatubo’s Story Differently Relaxing
Puning is both the name of the place & the private resort that operates a recreational facility along the southwestern part of Sacobia River in the town of Porac. Off-road rides, hot spring pools & a sand spa now breathe life to this ravaged savanna.
It is also the homeland of the Aetas, the indigenous people of Pampanga who have found new livelihood after their massive displacement during the dark times.
With tiresome interchanges, getting there by public transport can be quite a commuting nightmare. For ease & comfort, it’s best to have it arranged by a Pampanga-based tour company like Creative Travel & Tours International.
Unless you’re driving, going there by way of Sapang Bato in Angeles could be an easy-breezy experience. Just Waze your way there & you’ll be fine.
The excursion at Puning Hot Spring begins with a buffet lunch at their restaurant in Brgy. Inararo. This jump-off spot called Station 1 also serves as registration & orientation area. There’s nothing spectacular about lunch but it’s modest & filling. And if you want to look adventure-perfect in your photos, bring your OOTDs, otherwise slip into those resort provided outfits.
Porac’s version of Tarlac’s Crow Valley is the troughs of Inararo punctuated by mountains of lahar or hardened pyroclastic debris. It is smaller & less hyped but never short of spectacle.
Exhilarating 4×4 rides take you to a maze of amazing landscapes passing through shallow creeks, dusty desert & lahar canyons. It’s a fantastic time to break away from the usual city pavements & feel the thrill of rough earth behind the wheels of these mid-80s remnants of old-school land cruisers.
Nurture a la Nature
Puning Hot Spring is Pampanga’s geothermic kingdom — or something of that sort. This terrace of man-made pools is fed by the thermal springs of Sacobia River. The water gets heated as its finds its way through the volcano’s path & flows down to tiers of wading ponds made of volcanic rocks.
Another unique attraction in Puning Hot Spring is its psammotherapy or volcanic sand spa. This kind of relaxation traces its roots to the ancient worlds. Burying the body under heated sand is known to relieve musculoskeletal & arthritic pain.
This sweat-sesh is really awesome as it warms your entire body evenly. It’s that kind of meltdown that promises a simple & quick detox.
After that quirky bake-off, I bring you lahar mudpack, an au naturel exfoliation daubed in Pinatubo ash. It’s the genius from the ancient times & it still is at Puning Hot Spring. A session may not be enough to turn your skin as smooth as a baby’s bum but you’ll for sure go home with a glow.
Everything about Puning Hot Spring may appear like an expensive sales pitch — the sybaritic baths, decadent natural exfoliation, fancy knot kneads & thrilling rides. Honestly, it is, but it is also something special that you will miss if you don’t go.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more