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A Learning from our Mt. Tarak Experience

Yesterday was another adventure with my travel buds and as always, it was an experience filled with laughter and learnings.

We were not able to make it to the summit because we had a strict turn-around time. Only two people in our very small group made it to the famous ridge-Jules and Ren, about 40 minutes away from the summit, while two us (yours truly and Glee) guarded their packs and slept to our heart’s content in the middle of an inclined terrain, right on top of the soil with a chilly mountain breeze refreshing our sweaty, tired bodies.

Key Learning:

Ang pikon ay laging talo.
The major reason why we did not make it to the summit was due to an encounter with the most arrogant and condescending mountaineer I have ever met. We were in the Papaya river, gearing up for our assault. Based from our IT, we should be able to make it to the summit in time - that's about 90minutes from where we were. We did not hire a guide because the barangay treasurer informed us that we didn’t need one because the trails were clear and leading straight to the summit. From the jump-off to the Papaya river, the trails were good and common sense should point you to the right direction. It was when we reached papaya river where we got a little disoriented since there were several trails and so we asked this seemingly innocent mountaineer who was bathing in the river. I asked him where the trail was which he answered, then I asked how far we were from the summit, which I actually know but wanted to verify since it was pretty obvious he just got down and you know what he said?

“Kami kasi nakuha naming ng 90 minutes, kayo siguro mga dalawang oras.”, and then he smirked. The nerve! Mountaineers are usually respectful and the hard-core veterans I’ve met were not condescending. They’re usually very helpful. Anyway, even if he did not deserve any respect, I politely said thank you and we left. I told my friends of course and they got pissed as well. We talked about him while trekking in a fast pace so we completely missed the correct trail (it’s on your left side, before entering Papaya river) - which was practically screaming with trail signs (rocks on top of each other placed in easy to spot locations). We ended up in a small falls – not bad though and from there, we backtracked a bit and tried to spot the other trails hoping we would find a shortcut (actually Ren, tried to look for other trails while we rested..hehehe). Finally, we decided to make our way back to the Papaya river and that’s when we saw the “Hello, I’m the trail leading to the summit” type of trail. Oh well, we had fun checking out the other side of the Papaya river.

When we reached the correct trail, we were about 30minutes from our turn-around time which was 2:00PM. Earlier, we had agreed that we would head back, wherever part of the mountain we where when 2PM strike because the last bus from Mariveles to Manila, departs at 6:00PM. We tried to go as far as we can and in the end, we were all proud of our efforts.

Me, Glee and Ren had our “post-climb” dinner where we talked about the climb (hehe..kasi ikaw Jules, umuwi ka na eh) and shared what we learned about ourselves and our opportunities for improvement. As for me, I have been taught an important lesson by nature – not to let anger cloud my judgment, so thank you arrogant dude. That day, we missed the summit of Mt. Tarak but what we learned in this climb and the experiences we had as a group of friends was well worth the energy, the time, the pain and the effort.

By the way, here’s our itinerary. I have updated it with some information like the actual bus fares.

December 28, 2008 - Sunday 
0430 - Assembly Time - Five Star Cubao
0500 - Depart Five Star (Departure time – as usual, will be strictly followed)
0800 - Arrival at Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan; register at Brgy. Hall (P40)
0815 - Start trek – (from the street leading outside the barangay hall – turn left – cross the street and go straight to where the signboard to Mt. Tarak is)
1115 – ETA Papaya River, lunch
1200 – Resume Trek
1330 - ETA - Tarak Ridge
1400 – Turn-around time (Start trek down)
1730 – ETA – Old couple’s hut – change
1600 – ETA – Highway; catch bus back to Manila

Actual Expenses:
Bus Fare : Five Star Cubao to Brgy. Alas-Asin, Mariveles – 259pesos (one way, airconditioned)
Brgy. Alas-Asin, Mariveles to Pasay (via Genesis Bus, airconditioned)– 269 pesos
Registration Fee (Barangay Hall) 40 each (plus free use of bathroom)

About 10-15 minutes from the jump-off, we saw an old couple who lived in a hut, they asked for a donation and we also had to register with them. They were nice though and allowed us to use their restrooms which are far more cleaner than the one in the barangay hall. They also gave us boiled bananas for snacks.

IT References:

2. Sykes Outdoor

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