My first climb for the year took me to one of Bataan’s highest points. Tarak left me with two things.
First, like a wordplay, I now understand how it got its name. The initial portion of the climb involves the usual wide trails through grasslands and flatlands. Three hours into this type of trek, you will reach the Papaya River where you break for lunch and the last water source. The second leg of the mountain’s assault leads to an exciting and almost two-hour cardiac trail. Steep and covered, you may need to hold on to branches and roots and climb using all four limbs for support. In two hours, you will arrive at the ridge where you will have a fantastic panoramic view at 1,006 MASL. Groups can choose to camp at an enclosed area before the ridge (which can accommodate roughly ten tents) or at the wider and open area at the ridge itself.
This brings me to my next Tarak lesson.
Second, like my whirlwind decision to join the weekend trip, I am reminded of how the winds at the ridge swept through the open campsite from all sides – tumultuous and blustery. The winds upped their ante in the middle of the night as they battered the tents, leaving some with broken poles and tattered flysheets. At the break of dawn, they were still there, chilling the entire ridge as you are rewarded with a beautiful scene of the morning lighting up the landscape.
Here is a sample itinerary you can follow:
05:00 ETD Pasay via Genesis Bus Transit (Php269.00)
08:00 ETA Brgy. Alas-asin in Mariveles, Bataan
08:30 Register at barangay hall (Php40.00); breakfast
09:00 Start trek
12:00 ETA Papaya River; lunch
13:30 Resume trek
15:30 ETA Tarak ridge
16:00 Set up camp
06:00 Explore summit of Mt. Mariveles
07:00 ETA summit (1,130 MASL)
08:00 Descend to campsite
09:00 ETA campsite; break camp
10:00 Start descent
11:30 ETA Papaya River; lunch
13:30 Resume trek
15:30 ETA jump-off point; wash-up
18:00 ETD Bataan
21:00 ETA Metro Manila