Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mt. Tarak

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 / Hours to summit: 2 days, 5-6 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3

The Backpackers:
Ivan Laurence Ignacio
Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.
Ralph Flores
Liz Honrade
Frank Aguilar
Jovy Duremdes
Contz Cirujales
Deepee Piano
Len Tomas

Candidates for Induction:
Angel Cawaling
Marion Macapagal
Weng Topasi
Clue Fajardo

Induction Climb at Mt. Tarak
By: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr

The climb to Mt. Tarak was a special event for The Backpackers (BP) not only because it was it's second major climb but more importantly, it was BP's  first Induction Climb. Four outdoor enthusiasts' lives and their lifestyles were expected to become more active after this event.

Because Dee Pee and Len's end-of-shift were at 8:00 AM, the BP Lead Ivan approved a second group to climb later at mid-morning. The advance party that was composed by six BP Pioneers (Ivan, Frank, Ralph, Jovy, Liz, and Contz) and four aspiring members (Angel, Marion, Clue, and Weng) was led by the Lead himself and left Manila at 6:00 AM; while the second group started the journey to Mariveles, Bataan at 10:00 AM with Heinz.

First Group's Journey to the Ridge...

Invading Brgy. Alas-Asin

Brgy. Alas-Asin's Captain's Office
Climbers are required to drop by the Barangay Office of Alas-Asin to register. Currently, it collects P40.00 per head. An Official Receipt is provided upon registration and that paper is good enough so that Nana Cording would allow you to pass their so-called "our-property" and continue the trek to the Tarak Ridge. Unlike before, Nana Cording's script now says "Kung magkano lang ang kaya nyong i-donate, malaking bagay na yun... pwede din namang wala... kumbaga, tulong nyo na lang sa matatanda..."

A pose before the trek
Lunch in a Carinderia: kung saan nagpaluto ang grupo ng sinigang pero di na binalikan.
Isa pang pose!
By the mountaineers' bench
Girls force
Enjoying Nana Cording's place.

The Papaya River

Reaching the the Papaya River is always something to look forward to among mountaineers when climbing this fantastic mountain. Once you find it means you are three quarters of the way through the Ridge. It almost marks the start of the assault to the greater elevation of Mt. Tarak. It has an approximately 5 feet high falls that creates a mini pool where freezing water awaits you. You can swim. And, your tired legs will definitely get relaxed when you  immerse them in. So far, the river is clean and as a matter of fact, it's a water source for drinking and the like among climbers. 

The Papaya River Falls

The Trio's Follow Suit...

Dee Pee and Heinz

The huge "Mt. Tarak Ridge" signage (see picture above) that is just along the highway leading to Bataan makes it easy for first timers to locate where to start the trek to this mountain, which is one of Mariveles, Bataan's pride.

An easy and recommended route to Mt. Tarak is by boarding a bus bound for Bataan. Genesis and Bataan Transit are on top of the list with terminals in Cubao, Quezon City. Drivers and their assistants always anticipate to have mountaineers on board but reminding them to drop you off Brgy. Alas-Asin is advisable.

A long road
Len and Dee Pee by a mini falls

With some help from The BP Lead and information  from Pinoy Mountaineer website ( the late party was able to join the rest of the group and enjoyed the mystic beauty of "Maria Velez".

Tarak Ridge and the view as seen from that 1,006 MASL (ridge) and 1,130 MASL (peak) heights is undeniably magnificent- the reason it is always one of mountaineers' list of favorite mountains. The pictures below captured by our cameras should serve as a proof.

At the Ridge and Peak

Tarak Ridge offers panoramic view in daylight, which turns into a dramatic scenery when the sun sets.

The Induction 

Finally, after acing three challenges (2 minor and 1 major climbs) along with The Backpackers, Angel, Marion, Weng, and Clue got the price. They were inducted as official BP members. They are now certified Backpackers!

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