Tarak Ridge, despite its difficulty, will give you more reasons to love it than hate it. The rewards of conquering this mountain? A colorful combination of rocks and grassland, a breathtaking view of the sea with the Corregidor island, the towns of Bataan slowly lighting up come night time and a beautiful sunrise turning the skies pink, yellow and orange.
Just like every mountain I have been to, I can never forget my experience at Tarak Ridge. I clearly remember watching how, when the sun has gone and the moon was showing up, the towns were one by one making themselves visible with their tiny, bright lights. I clearly remember setting up our tents in the late afternoon with no other campers in site, then writing my thoughts on my journal. I clearly remember drinking that hot chocolate from my tin cup and silently taking in every second within that moment.
I went with my mountain guide/friend Mosh. We have done several climbs together in the past and I trust that he can guide me and keep me safe despite the fact that he always brings half the size of what I carry. He was kind enough to tie up my tent among the heavier rocks surrounding it, to make sure I and my tent don’t get blown away by strong winds. This place is known for that, by the way. Thankfully, there weren’t any that night.
Mt. Mariveles stands at 1,130 MASL. Once you get past this mountain, you walk further towards Tarak Ridge. Despite its low elevation, it is considered a major climb because the trail will require you to literally climb through tree branches for a good part of the assault.
At the early part of our hike, the mountain already features a lot of beautiful sites to photograph. If you are camping, start at around 8AM to be in time for the sunrise on Day 2.
- Victory Liner bus from Cubao to Mariveles, Bataan where you start your hike. Jump off point is at Brgy. Alas-Asin.
- Nanay Cording – She is a famous character who lives in a hut with a store selling chips, drinks and honey where you can take a rest and chitchat with fellow hikers and local guides. You will also register here and decide how much you will pay.
- Papaya River – This is where you can refill your water bags, eat lunch, take a bath or a nap. The sound of the flowing water definitely helps in making you relax even more. You can camp on this site too.
- Summit – You may camp at the summit of Mt. Mariveles or at Tarak Ridge itself. I highly recommend staying overnight at the ridge, just be prepared for the winds. Great view – CHECK.
- If you are camping, wake up around 3AM and watch the sunrise at the peak of the ridge. It looks aaaahmazing.
- Pack light. Climbing won’t be easy if you have a huge backpack with you.
- Get a guide or go with an experienced hiker. It is considered a ‘major climb’ because it is a bigger mental and physical challenge relative to the higher but minor mountains.
- Bring 2L of water or more, and maybe an extra water container if you can. You will pass through Papaya River which is a good water source. Campers, once you reach Tarak Ridge, you MAY run out of water and MAY have to return to Papaya River to refill. Quite exhausting. Bring lots of trail food.
- If you don’t have a sturdy tent, bring ropes to tie down your tent into rocks.
- A hiking or trekking pole will be helpful.
Goodluck in your Tarak Ridge journey and I hope you love it as much as I did!