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Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail

August 7, 2008

Mt. Mariveles (Tarak Ridge)

It was raining cats and dogs last weekend, two low pressure areas was reported around the Philippine sea with a chance to be a tropical storm. Because of this, we were already on the brink of cancelling our trip to Mt. Mariveles (Tarak Ridge). But when one of my friends friend who lives in Balanga reported that there was no to minimal rain there. We decided to proceed.
We took the Genesis bus bound to Mariveles Bataan. The trip was about 3-4 hours depending on traffic. Jump-off starts at Barangay Alas-asin. Here, registration is required and you need to pay P40 at the barangay hall. A bit expensive but this includes a bath before going back to manila after climbing.
I had been hearing good reviews of tarak ridge from the mountaineering coummunity, and even from my friends. And I guess it didnt just lived to my expectations but exceeds it. After getting through barangay Alas-asin you enter the reforested part of the mountain. Here you will see big eucalyptus trees that had been planted maybe around the late 90's. A few minutes of walking and you will arrived at the 'kubo' of two old couples who was responsible for the tree replanting. The old woman has a long story to tell about their struggle (which took a lot of our time) to stay in that place. The next part of the trek you will be greeted with rich and maybe untouched forest. Large trees, several insects and you can even hear monkeys howling maybe to mate or mark their territories. We were even able to see a huge waterfall from a distance. After a few hours you will rich papaya river. You may opt to camp here and go for the summit early morning the next day. But we decided to camp at the summit. Its really is nice to dip at the crystal clear water, but we decided to do it coming down.
After papaya, the hard part. 1-2 hours of complete assualt. Its a good thing that tree roots are plenty on the trail, or else its really is gonna be slippery. We reached the summit almost dark, luckily there is a campsite were the trees are blocking the winds. Tarak ridge is well known for its strong winds in the summit, I had a friend who broke his tent pole here. During our cooking it started to rain, and it was on/off until morning. We had only one chance of clearing to have view of the entire area.
We woke up early to a not too good weather. Rain was still on/off. We reached papaya and to my suprise the water was not discolored from the rain.
We had a very nice dipping. We were even able to see small waterfalls that was created by the rain on our way down.
I was very happy with this climb that I promise myself to comeback again but with a different weather. Ill say it again, this mountain didnt just lived to my expectations but exceeds it. =)


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