My friends and I are going to do Mt. Kanlaon this August. In preparation, I have been joining climbs of different difficulties. When I got invited for Tarak Ridge, I immediately checked out Pinoy Mountaineer and saw this:
Jump Off Point: Barangay Alas- Asin Mariveles
Days Required/ Hours to Summit: 2 days, 5-6 hours
Specs: Major climb, difficulty level, trail class 3.
Peak: 1288m above sea level
Aside from it being a 4/9 it was also a trail class 3, which meant scrambling and using hands for balance.
How to Get There
Take a bus from Genesis (with terminals in Pasay and Cubao) or Bataan Transit (parked at the Five star terminal in Cubao) to Mariveles, Bataan. The fare is Php 267/head and it takes about 4 hours to get there.
The first trip of Cubao to Mariveles is at 12 midnight and runs every 20 minutes. The last trip is at 9:30 pm.
The first trip from Mariveles To Bataan is at 2:00 am and the last trip is at 6:00 pm
The first trip of Pasay to Mariveles is at 1:00 am and runs every 20 minutes. The last trip is at 7:30 pm
The first trip from Mariveles to Pasay is at 1:00 am, the last trip is at 6:00pm.
We started to hike from the Barangay Hall, where the bus dropped us, and where we had to register and pay Php 40/head. It then continued to a dirt road, until Aling Cording’s store. We again logged in when we got here, and had a coffee break before we began our long arduous hike.
The trail started easy. It was a flat with proper shade. I felt like it was going to be a walk in the park, so at that point, I wondered why it was called a major hike. It wasn’t until 20-30 minutes that it started to go uphill and downhill. The first 3 hours wasn’t so bad. It had wide spaced grasslands where we could run and take pictures, and before turning inwards, into a dense narrow forest. It was a nice trail that was pretty set and easy to follow; although there were open spaces, there were also many heavily shaded areas that protected us from the fiery sun. It took us 3 hours with proper stops to get to Papaya River. Once I heard the gushing of the water, I walked faster, excited to see the river. It was an extremely hot summer day; I was sweating like anything and a refreshing dip was what I needed at that point.
I couldn’t believe how clear the river was that you could see right through it. A lot of people camped around the area as it provided a good water source. We refilled our bottles with fresh water and had lunch by the banks. We spent some time to rest, and I even took a quick nap.
The diversity of insects found in Papaya river or around the trail was superb. We saw lots of dragonflies in various colors, and butterflies too. They seemed to be attracted to bright colors as they were following us around. One of my favorites was the butterfly that camouflaged perfectly with the yellowish leaves. It looked like it was a torn old leaf on the floor, and only when it flew did we realize it was a butterfly.
At 3pm, we headed for the ridge. We were warned to pace ourselves because it was going to be a tougher climb. All I could say was, I now know why it was a major climb. It was a steady, uphill, steep climb from Papaya River to the ridge. I had to use my hands to hold on to steady roots of the tree, then I hoist myself up. Because I am small, I had to take bigger steps. It was tiring, yes, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. We decided to take quick but numerous stops instead. We got to the ridge in less than 2 hours, which included a lot of picture stops.
We set up camp, took in the view and prepared for dinner.
We were lucky to climb we had my brother’s friend, Ryan, as he decided to cook kebab for us. After that long hike, the kebab was such a sumptuous meal. We decided to walk up in the dark and sit in some rock formations somewhere in between the ridge and the summit, and just hang out there.
For breakfast, we spoiled ourselves with corned beef, tuna and sardines. We got up for sunrise but it was cloudy and foggy. Nonetheless, it was also a pretty amazing sight to be covered in fog.
We explored the ridge and took our time packing our stuff. By 10am, we headed down the mountain. Going down was a lot easier. The steep part was slippery since it was all loose soil and rocks, but once you enter the forest, its largely downhill. Through most parts, I found myself sprinting. Since I wasn’t so tired going down, I had time to take in the view and appreciate the trail. I realized that, going up, I was too focused on getting to the top that I wasn’t looking much at my surroundings. Now I had time to enjoy the scenery more.
In the end, I understood why they say “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”. Earlier this year, I was afraid to do more serious hiking, since I always felt that I didn’t have the stamina to finish it. On my first climb, I was really tired. Having done various climbs from thereon, and now this, I feel I have pushed myself beyond my limits and I realized that I can do more. Yes this was tiring, but despite that, I came out of it alive and with more energy to spare. I never thought I could, but I always knew I had a willing spirit to get me there. I’m glad I decided to try climbing mountains.
- Porters are expensive here. Unlike in other mountains I have climbed, they charge a whopping Php 1,000.
- The trail is pretty set but if you feel safer with a guide then you can contact Aling Cording 0917-4723978
- Bring at least 3 litres of water and then refill it in Papaya River.
- If you will camp at the summit or at the ridge, there is no source of water so bring more.
- It can get extremely windy up in the ridge. Bring extra pegs for your tent. Also be prepared for this in terms of clothing
- Bring food, there’s no store in the camp site. You have to bring everything you need.
- The last bus to Manila is at 6;00 pm.
Bus : Php 267/way
Registration Fee . : Php 40/head
Tricycle :Php 150 ( from Aling Cording to the Barangay Hall Those who were tired decided to take this but in our case, since it was a flat dirt road anyway, we decided to walk.
Shower :Php 20/head