First Major! Tarak Ridge

It was still my birthday week and to end it, I decided to take part into something I’ve never tried before: a major climb! 🙂

I was feeling confident about it because I’ve already climbed 3 mountains. Although all of them are what mountaineers consider to be ‘minor climbs’, I think I’m already quite capable of taking my love of the mountains to the next level. And where to?

Tarak Ridge in Mariveles, Bataan.


It was true that I was confident about this climb. But before we started, there were moments when I had this creeping fear that I might not be capable of doing this after all. In my head, I was screaming “Shet! Di ko yata to kakayanin” “Shet, wala akong preparation! Ni wala akong jogging or exercise!!!” “Shet ang taba ko!” and more things like that.

I brought with me my friend Marla. It was her first climb. Daring it may be for some to climb Tarak as a first but Marla got all the right to do it. With an athletic energy and a powerful daily routine, I say she got what it takes.

That made me feel a little more scared. “Shet! Kaya ko kaya to?

Haha! But of course there was no turning back. I swallowed those balls of fear like some crunchy bitter melon and I never did show that I felt scared.

The assembly was 3:30 AM at the Five Star bus station in Cubao. Marla and I were about to meet a friend, Carlo, who I got to meet in a training couple of months ago. Carlo also shares the love of adventure and he himself is quite busy with lots of it. I mean, part of his job is traveling how nice is that? It was him who invited me for this climb since he knew I did climb some mountains. Together with Carlo was Doc Christian who I also got to meet from the training. Apart from the two, I did not know anyone.

Lucky for Marla and I, the whole group (from VAC) is filled of fun loving and outgoing individuals. Laughing and having a great time seemed inherent to many of them and that worked out super great for us.

From Cubao is a 3 hour bus ride to Mariveles, Bataan. We had some breakfast before we started our hike.

tarak trans2

From the jump off point is a 4 hour (or less) hike to the Papaya River where we pitched our tent.

Like all other mountain trails, the path was a test of strength and stamina. With all those assaults and with the large bag at my back, it was as if I was testing the maximum expansion capability of my lungs. Haha, silent breathing was only an option for me that lasted at the first half of the journey. The rest of the adventure, wala na kong pake kung hinihingal man ako haha! But of course we’ve had breaks to catch our breaths and to calm our rapidly pumping hearts down.

Our campsite by the Papaya River. I was supposed to bring a tent good for 4+ buti na lang my friend Frances let me borrow his small tent yay! 🙂


At the campsite, we had our lunch. For a couple of minutes we had some rest there to re-energize for our ascent to the ridge. We left our bags and I took nothing but water (and my flashlight and phone) for our hike up.

Boy, I knew it would be that hard but I never realized how challenging it was until I was on my way up! Puro assault and grabe lang, haha! Sabi nga nila, breathtaking! Literally taking our breaths away lol.

Nahirapan ako! But that’s okay because I did it anyway!

At the ridge! Photos courtesy of Marla.


The wind was so strong at the ridge. And the view was fantastic. After all the sweat and the catching of breath, beholding the sight over there was truly empowering.

It would be lovely if we pitched our tent there but I’ve already decided that there’s no way I could bring a backpack, much less a backpack with a tent, at the ridge.

We made our photo shoots and we also started looking for the iconic tree of Tarak, because having a photo with it is what supposed to be the iconic evidence that we’ve been to Tarak.

But sadly, that’s something we failed to do.

Anyway, because of the kwela people we’re with, everything suddenly became hilariously iconic 🙂

Also, it turned out that the iconic tree that we mistakenly saw turned out to actually be the tree that we’re looking for after all hehehe 😀

We made our descent before the sun set but the darkness overtook us eventually. We had our flashlights anyway so hiking back to the campsite wasn’t difficult during the night.

The whole trip was a remarkable one indeed. It was fun joining a group of people I never met before and then finding out how wonderful their company is.

Us 🙂 Photos courtesy of Sir Al and Sir Jeco 🙂


God is truly amazing in many ways.


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