Is global warming caused solely by humans or can global temperatures change naturally?
Human activities may be a large contributor to climate change in today’s world, but natural events also influence global temperatures. A common example are volcanoes: On June 12, 1991, Mt. Pinatubo erupted in northern Philippines spewing out 2.4 cubic miles of magma and releasing roughly 20,000,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. The particulate matter, ash, and reactions to form sulfuric acid together caused a 0.9°F decrease in global temperatures for the next 2 years.
Now 24 years after the eruption, hiking up this massive volcano is a breathtaking experience! On March 30, my crew of 6 loaded into an off-roading Jeep at 5am to make the trip. Stage one involved racing up a riverbed surrounded by huge canyon walls. Aboard the Jeep, seat belts were essential, as we tended to go flying when the vehicle powered over rock and water, sending water spraying in an engulfing ring. At a certain point (possibly because the engine overheated), we began our hike to the top.
Hiking a volcano…check! Everything is still more fun in the Philippines.
Check out a video of our ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50Fhol4EgM
Just south of Tablas Island is Carabao Island, only 8.5 sq miles (22 sq km) in size, I competed in their fiesta Bike-a-Thon: a 32km race around the island.
About 40 participants competed in the event coming from various regions throughout Romblon and the Philippines. Biking is a growing sport here, although mostly among wealthy communities, because a mountain bike is an expensive pre-requisite to joining.
Transport to and from Carabao was via banka, boats loaded to the brim with people, bikes, and beer for the event and the upcoming weeklong fiesta. The race course was super intense with extreme vertical climbs, requiring a dismount from the saddle to make it to the top, but the views were worth it! White sand beaches, remote communities and my favorite part: a downhill single track on the ridge top of the mountain with bright red dirt flying beneath our tires.
The day definitely lived up to the national slogan: “Everything is more fun in the Philippines!”