Jump off point: Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles
LLA: 14°30.357′N, 120°30′E, 1,006 MASL (ridge); 1,130 MASL (peak)
Days required / Hours to summit: 2 days, 5-6 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3
Do you know that feeling when you just bought a new gadget and you can’t wait to use it and show it off? That’s how I felt when I bought my first ever camping stove. I used to use a soda can stove but as I got serious with hiking and travelling, I decided to buy a proper camping stove.
So there I was, looking for a place to hike when our friend Chino (whom we met at Mt. Maranat) invited us to go to Tarak Ridge in Bataan. I immediately said yes for 3 reasons: It’s been a while since my last hike, I wanted to try out my new stove and #teamharthart haven’t experienced a major hike yet.
Everyone was excited about the hike since it was our first major climb, the team met up at Cubao where we bought all of our supplies (if I am not mistaken, there isn’t a local market near the jump off point) and caught a bus going to Mariveles. You can choose between 2 transits: JAC Liner or Genesis. It took us approximately 3-4 hours to get to the jump off point. We ate lunch in a nearby carinderia before we started our ascend. It was already midday when we arrived and everyone’s tummy were already grumbling.
With our tummies filled, we started our trek to the registration area. It took us 20-30 minutes to reach the registration area where we were greeted by Nanay Cording (she is the keeper of the log book. You can help her by giving some donation in cash or in kind). After our briefing and prayer, we carried on with our journey.
The foot of the mountain was covered with towering trees. It was very humid and quiet. All you can hear was the rustling of the grass and leaves and the sound of birds and crickets. The trail gradually ascends until you reach a flat area were you can have a little break.
There is a part where you will walk under the heat of the sun however, you will be comforted by the wind coming from the sea where Corregidor Island can be seen. Now that I think about, I am thankful that most of the trail was covered with trees otherwise we would’ve been toasted.
I noticed that there were a lot of trail signs such as strings tied on branches and stones that are stacked on top of each other. It really gives the hikers some reassurance especially while going through what seems like an endless jungle.
After about 3 hours, we finally reached Papaya River where we settled down and camped. Papaya River is the only water source in the area. This is where most hikers camp since there’s no water source in the camp site near the summit. Papaya River is drinkable (I didn’t get ill so I guess it is) so be sure to not to use soap while in / or near the river.
As always, I was the one in charge of our dinner. I brought out my camping stove and how beautiful and shiny it was! Binagoongan na baboy was on the menu that night. I’m so glad I bought a stove otherwise it would’ve taken us the whole night to soften up the pork.
THH Jon preparing dinner.
It rained during our stay at the river but it did not put us down in any way(it was September last year when we went there I think). Socials were still on even though it was drizzling. We had our socials by the river where we can just dip our heads in the water for a drink after a shot of Empe lights. The water was freezing but was very refreshing especially after a long hike.
The water was actually freezing!
DSLR shots by Wency. 🙂
We woke up early the next day and started our trek to the summit. We left before day light as our goal was to see the sun rise. The infamous trail going to summit was very difficult. There was very little flat surface and the slope probably had an angle of 75° to 80°. You will have to use your hand to grab on to branches and roots of trees. The strength of your legs will, I kid you not, really be tested.
After about an hour we reached the summit where we were greeted by hikers and very strong gusts of wind! Now I know why many hikers opt to camp by the river. A not so aerodynamcic / dome type tent can easily be blown away, if not destroyed, by the strong wind. There was daylight already when we reached the summit. It didn’t bother us really as we wouldn’t be able to see the sun rise in the first place because it was so foggy! Ever heard of the expression “everything’s a blur?”
Those campers at the back were sill drunk when they greeted us.
I guess the mist made it less scary at the top.
Oh come on Rolds! Why ruin the shot?! haha.
We stayed on the summit for a while waiting for clearing but it didn’t happen. Nonetheless, we were all glad to have finally conquered our first major climb (this climb was actually THH Bianca’s first!).
And the Boys!
We started our descent after taking countless pictures. After eating breakfast, we started our way down the mountain. It was easier as gravity was on our side. We reached the jumpoff point after about 3 hours. We took a shower and ate pizza at Chino’s girlfriend’s house (thank you so much for your hospitality! Pizza never tasted so good ☺).
Everyone was challenged by this climb but I am really proud of #teamharthart for conquering (with flying colors!) our first major climb, Tarak Ridge.