December 14, 2015

Tarak Ridge: First Major Climb

Tarak Ridge: Adobo version

Tarak Ridge

This is one of my memorable climbs not just because it was my first major climb but I realized I can climb a mountain with major difficulty. Mt. Tarak  (1,130 MASL) has a difficulty of 4/9 and to be honest I wasn’t ready.  My last climb was back in 2012; I don’t exercise and I am usually sleep deprived. The night before our climb I slept at 12 midnight; I cooked adobo for our lunch and because internet.

I woke up at 3 in the morning to cook for breakfast. Yes, I am that nice. Hahaha! I was still sleepy but my nescafe 3in1 creamy white was doing its job well so I got that going for me. Our call time was 5 am but we left the house past 5. WOMEN, that’s why.

Our trek mates were getting impatient for waiting because we were an hour late. We arrived at Alas-asin at around 6 am. We paid the registration fee (which is left of the road) at the barangay hall then headed to Aling Kurding. You can walk from the highway or ride a tricycle to Aling Kurding’s. We chose the latter. Aling Kurding is an adorable old woman who guards Mt. Tarak. She’s been there for almost a hundred years yet she has the strength of a 30 year old woman. I’m just kidding.

With all seriousness, Aling Kurding lives at the foot of Mt. Tarak and that’s all that I know about her besides her being so nice. Her grand daughter, Ate Beth, was our guide that day. She has the strength of a horse. She has been climbing Tarak for a long time and what amazed me was she used slippers and she only brought 500 mL of water. Damn!

Anyway, let’s get back to Mt. Tarak. The trail has two parts: the easy at first which get harder and the hard which get extremely hard. The first part takes two hours and the latter takes one and a half to two. On the first part, the trail was easy but we walked through fallen trees and sometimes big rocks and giant roots. The moment you see talahib weeds the trail gets challenging: steep but manageable. Just be careful on holding on to plants because some are thorny.

When the going gets tough

After an hour of holding on to anything that looks sturdy we reached the Papaya River. It doesn’t offer a nice picturesque view but it’s a good place to rest – the water was refreshing and you can refill your water bottles here.

Papaya River

Papaya River

After our photo ops at Papaya River we decided to continue and boy it was hard! We have to stop every now and then because the trail, up to the ridge, was steep. You have to hold on to branches and roots of trees because you have nothing else. And every time I ask our guide, Ate Beth, how far the ridge is her response is always “One hour more.” She’s a joke.

View at Tarak Ridge

Tarak Summit

Well anyway, no matter how hard the climb was, when you get to the top it’s all worth it. The wounds I got from the thorns are worth it. The sprain didn’t matter because when you’re on top everything is just beautiful.


Register at Barangay Hall
Ride tric to Aling Kurding
Arrive at Aling Kurding
Start trek to Papaya river
Arrive at Papaya river
Start trek to Tarak ridge
Arrive at Tarak Ridge
Rest and eat
Start trek to Papaya river
Arrive at Papaya river
Start trek to Aling Kurding
Arrive at Aling Kurding

How to get there:

For those coming from Metro Manila, ride a bus bound for Mariveles in Fivestar, Cubao. Look for Bataan Transit buses, their trips start at 1 am. Tell the bus driver that you’re going to climb Mt. Tarak. If he doesn’t know where that is, get off from the bus and go to Genesis. Kidding. J Tell them to drop you off at Alas-asin Barangay Hall.  

Major Expenses:
Guide – 900 (for the group)
Tric – 100/pax (roundtrip from main road to Aling Kurding)
Bus (from Cubao to Alas-asin) – Around 250-260/pax

Important reminder:

Unless you’re a pro, do get a guide. There are a number of mountaineers who get lost at Mt. Tarak (as per Ate Beth). Because Mt. Tarak is sometimes a troll.

Contact (Guide):
Ate Beth: 09495869556


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