Mt. Tarak Ridge: The Story of Perseverance and Camaraderie
“You don’t climb mountains without a team,
You don’t climb mountains without being fit,
You don’t climb mountains without being prepared
And you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards.
And you never climb a mountain on accident – it has to be intentional.”
- Mark Udall
As what the quote goes, climbing a mountain must have a purpose, a different purpose of diverse teams. We are once asked “Why do you climb?” I echoed the same question to myself on our intention why we are climbing. At first, it is because we feel fulfilled every time we reached the summit, we feel robust by conquering heat and height, and we feel hale and hearty through perspiration. But above all those intentions, it is now clear on our mind why we surmount summits. And we learned this by conquering Mt. Tarak, our first major climb after defeating eight mountain peaks.
August 29, 2015
0830H: Actual time of departure from Pasay Rotonda via Genesis bus bound to Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan. We collect ourselves an hour before the departure. We (HAFEEX PH) together with Rhea (the Amazona), whom we climb with before, are set to conquer the summit of Mt. Tarak towering at 1130 MASL. Fare of P277 per person, travel time took us 4 hours.
1230H: Actual time of Arrival at Bataan. We then proceed to Barangay Hall of Alas-asin to register. Barangay authorities will offer you a guide if you need one, especially for the first timer. In our case, we refute to secure one even if this is our first time to explore Mt. Tarak. We relied on the information we collected from other blog regarding the easy to follow trail of the mountain. Barangay authorities just let us have their contact numbers in case of mishap. We first have our meal before mounting.
Rhea, the Amazona :)
HAFEEX PH Team (L-R: Jason, Jojo, Rommel)
1330H: Ascent to summit. As what is expected, trail can be easily followed. Walking constantly will take you to a store where you need to register, log-in and log-out. Porters are available here for those who need. Notably manifold banners of different mountaineering teams and outdoor enthusiasts will welcome you in the store.
A trail of Mt. Tarak emulates the trail of Pico de Loro; forested, woodland, vapour, mud-covered. Track is both uphill and downhill, which requires you 3 hours of trekking crossing three watercourses before reaching Papaya River.
1630H: Arrival at Papaya River. Upon onset at the river, we were not really surprised by the number of fellow mountaineers who occupied the camping area who like us took advantage of the long holiday. We just then feel the cold flowing water from the river where more mountaineers enjoy dipping themselves. Troubled with the time, we dashed to continue the trek to camp at the ridge before sunset. From here, trail is hell taxing (Overrated? Well not). Mt. Tarak will not be rated as major climb for nothing. One must be ready to assault for it will be an uphill battle. Shattered from a 3 hour walk, I personally am already catching my breath and sensing the pain in the limbs. On our mid race, rain pours over the forest where we stationed to secure our personal effects and valuables. Rainfall just adds up to the more challenging trail turning ways into waterfall of mud waters, requiring our happy feet to be soaked. Chilling while walking is terribly felt, not to mention cramping one’s happy feet. We in our mind already keep on asking for His guidance and safety. Machined with perseverance and fuelled with hope and faith, we finally reached the ridge.
Setting up camp.
1830H: Arrival at Tarak Ridge. Feeling relieved, we scout for the camping area. Fortunately, rainfall halted and the sun waited for us to shed us light enough to set our camping tents. Just after setting up our tents and drying up ourselves from damp, here comes the rain again pouring and testing on how we manoeuvres. As luck would have it, the rain halted for good allowing us to have our socials. A story of camaraderie went in when we are having our siesta, while a gusting wind is hitting our tent and the freezing temperature above is wrapping our body, I was chilling awfully waking up my buddies despite of taking a dose of ibuprofen and supplement beforehand. Kuya Jo has let me turned the pillow I’m using into a blanket offering his to mine to lock a heat I needed. Hand in hand, body heat is being transferred from one back to another, Kuya Jo’s to mine – mine to Rommel, and that’s brotherhood. Rhea, who owns incredible stamina and strength, the reason behind calling her Amazona, sheltered alone on the separate tent next to ours was equipped with body heating covers.
August 20, 2015
0630H: Ascent to summit. Good Morning Bataan! We ready ourselves to chase the sunrise at the summit. The trail is now grassy and beware of grass cut, we have some. After an hour of walking, we stationed to have our photo ops as sun is already at its height ready for capturing.
0800H: Arrival at summit. More photo ops and appreciate the stunning landscape of Tarak Ridge. It’s all worth it!
1000H: Start descent.
1130H: Arrival at Papaya River.
1500H: Arrival at the shower station.
After all the experiences we went through by conquering Mt. Tarak, the mere reason why we always want to be back at the summit is because we gain and become conscious of the values and traits the mountains could ever impart to us. There are values that we would not appreciate in our daily life because we see a lot of things ignoring the lessons behind those things. The values that may are being technically conveyed but not practically delivered.
Mountains remind us how to grip for hope, hold a faith, to persevere, lend a hand, and more about life! And being cognizant about it? That’s why we climb mountains.
HAFEEX PH | #happyfeetexplorerPhilippines
Emilio Atabay Jr./Jason Arnoco/Rommel Montalan/Alpha Rhea Galomalim
Blogged by: Jason