1st Major Hike – Mt. Mariveles – Tarak Ridge

1st Major Hike – Mt. Mariveles – Tarak Ridge

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Location: Mariveles, Bataan
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: 1 day
Hours to summit: 5-6 hours Specs: Major climb
Difficulty: 5/9
Trail class: 3
Organizer/ Tour Guide: Deya Clarisse “Diwatang Gala”
Contact Number: 09273291436
Tour package: P850

I’ve never done a major climb before that’s why when Kuya Glenn, my officemate’s husband, invited us to join them in a major hike in Tarak Ridge, I found myself saying “Yes!” in an instant in order to know how physically fit I am and to test my endurance, strength and determination. This is only my 3rd hike and I know I’m not that strong compare to others but I have an unlimited supply of energy and courage. And I also have a mentality that you’ll never know if you’re now capable of a major hike if you’ll not try. 😊

Here’s our itinerary:
11:00PM – Meet-up at Mcdo Kia Theatre
12:00AM – ETD to Brgy. Alasasin, Mariveles, Bataan
3:00AM – ETA at Brgy. Alasasin
3:30AM – Start trek to Nanay Cording
4:00AM – Arrival at Nanay Cording
4:30AM – Start trek to Grassland
5:30AM – Arrival at Grassland
6:30AM – Arrival at Papaya River
7:30AM – Start assault to Tarak Ridge
9:30AM – Arrival at Tarak Ridge
11:00AM – Start descent
1:00PM – Arrival at Papaya River (Lunch/ Swimming)
3:00PM – Arrival at Grassland
4:00PM – Arrival at Nanay Cording
4:30PM – Arrival at Jump Off
5:30PM – ETD back to Manila

Everyone should have their breakfast first before climbing. Nanay Cording has a mini store where you could buy cup noodles, coffee or biscuits. That’s where we took our breakfast, prepared ourselves and registered in her logbook.

We, together with Nanay Cording’s expert-climber-dogs, started trekking when the mountain is still half awake at 4:30 am from grassland going to Papaya River where we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise and embraced with cool breeze. Flashlight is really necessary as we went through the trail at dawn.

As expected, the first few parts of the trail were easy but as we go along the journey, the trail became very steep where we have to catch our breaths, assault after assault. I’m glad I had my training in Maapon Falls before this climb because almost everyone in our group is so-called “harkor” and I’m very proud of myself because I still manage to have the same pace with them.

We reached Papaya River at around 6:30 in the morning where we ate our trail foods and refilled our bottles of water. Yes, the water there is cool, fresh and clean. Make sure you have sufficient amount of water before resuming your hike because that’s the only water source in Mt. Mariveles.

From Papaya River, we trek for almost two more hours going to the summit. It is really not for beginners because the climb became a direct assault that is almost 90 degree angle where we need to use both our hands and feet to move upward and to grab on to whatever we can for balance - tree trunks, stems, vines, grass, rocks, etc. So if you’re single and there’s no one to hold on to, you’ll learn how to be strong and independent because you only have yourself to pick you up. Just kidding. We also have to channel our inner Spiderman several times for a bit of rock-climbing. Its craggy landscape, sharp rocks, and steep location may have given rise to its name, Tarak, which is somewhat of a cross between ‘Tabak’ (hunting knife) and ‘Tarik’ (steep). Yes it’s exhausting, scary and fun at the same time. I’m glad I gained friends with different people from different walks of life who made our adventure bearable and fun. Thank you so much guys for lots of funny and laughing-out-loud moments throughout the trail.

Reaching the top was all well worth the pain, aches and sweat. Every time we went for a hike, there’s really a sense of achievement. We took some death-defying-instagramable photos with amazing views of Bataan and its neighboring island like Corregidor before we descend. We also had quality time with our new found friends and talked about our lives.

We started descending the mountain at 11 am. We really thought going down will be easier but we were wrong. There were equal numbers of ups and downs and of course we had to go back through the same rock walls that we had to climb earlier.

We reached Papaya River at 1 pm where we had our lunch and had some time for swimming in its very cool and refreshing water.

It was almost 4 in the afternoon when we reached Nanay Cording’s place where we took some rest and ate our snacks. There are toilets in the jump-off where we could clean up and change our clothes.

Lesson learned:
You’ll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only thing you have. If you feel like giving up, take some rest, and then continue moving forward until you reached your goal.

If you want to know if you’re now capable of a major climb, try conquering this mountain too. I did! And so are you! 😊

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