Tarak Ridge: A Marvel on its Own

Tarak Ridge is a range integrated in Mt. Mariveles. It is not a really a mountain or has a summit on its own. It is a part of Mt. Mariveles, which is a dormant volcano in the province of Bataan, Philippines. Tarak Ridge is considered as the most popular hiking destination in Bataan due to its beautiful ridge and its majestic view of the sea and the island of Corregidor.

There are buses in Cubao going to Mariveles which can drop you off at Alas Asin waiting shed. For those who are coming from the North, there are buses passing by in San Fernando, Pampanga that are bound to Mariveles.

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Three hours after departing from Cubao, we arrived at the barangay hall where we paid a registration fee of PhP 40. From the barangay hall, we walked for 30 minutes going to Aling Cording’s house which is also the jump-off point. If you want to start fast, you can take the tricycle which will cost PhP 150. You will also register your name at the jump-off point in Aling Cording’s house, however, payment is not required. But if you want to make donations, you can do so. Shown in the photo is the banners of different hiking groups who conquered Tarak Ridge.

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Hiring of local guides is not mandatory because there’s already an established trail and you won’t get lost. However, if it is your first time and you want to feel secured, you can hire guides. You can also get Aling Cording’s number for emergency purposes.

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The first part of the trek is relatively easy where the trail is flat to slightly inclined. The trail is also wide but at times you’ll be walking through grasslands.

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It takes around 3 hours before you can reach Papaya River which is a rest and camping station. You can even drink water from the river itself. However, drink at your own risk. I tried getting water from the river because I was so thirsty and I had no water supply anymore. Fortunately I didn’t get sick.

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The hard part begins after the Papaya River. Endless steep ascending trails await so make sure you are refreshed enough before continuing with the trail. You have to use both of your hands during the assault trails. There are lots of tree roots and branches which you can hold on to upon climbing. It’s a bit painful to the knees so better be prepared.

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After one and a half hours, you’re already in Tarak Ridge. You’ll find yourself in a rocky open area without any shade at all and feel the hot rays of the sun. Make sure you put sunscreen lotion to avoid sunburns. Most hikers prefer to camp here than beside the Papaya River.

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IMG_1144After all the hardships and challenges along the way, the view at the top is so worth it. You can stay here for a while to take photos, eat your packed lunch, or rest.

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Tips on climbing Tarak Ridge

  • Rest before the hike. You need all the energy to climb this trail especially at the latter part.
  • Bring lots of water, like 3 liters. I brought 1 liter of water and it was not enough so I had to get water from the Papaya River. It’s very humid and hot during the trail.
  • Make sure you’re fit enough to hike. Climbing roots and branches will challenge your strength and endurance.
  • Bring trail food, such as mixed nuts, energy bars, or chocolates. This will sustain your energy throughout the hike.
  • Wear proper hiking attire – durable shoes, dry fit shirt and pants, and covering for your arms. These will protect you from the sharp leaf blades, branches, roots, and insect bites.
  • Bring trekking poles. This will be useful especially when going down the rocky trails.
  • Have a positive mindset. 🙂

Sample DIY Itinerary

1:30 AM – Meet in Cubao to ride the bus departing for Mariveles (Schedule of trip is every 20 minutes starting at 12:00 midnight)
2:30 AM – Depart from bus terminal in Cubao
5:30 AM – Arrive at Alas Asin barangay hall for registration
6:00 AM – Arrive at Aling Cording’s house or jump-off point
6:10 AM – Start trekking
9:30 AM – Arrive at Papaya River. Eat early lunch or rest.
10:00 AM – Start ascend to the Ridge
12:00 NN – Arrive at the Ridge. Enjoy the view. Take photos. Eat lunch. Rest.
2:00 PM – Start descend to Papaya River.
3:00 PM – Arrive at Papaya River. Short rest. Replenish water supplies.
3:30 PM – Start trekking back to the jump-off point.
5:30 PM – Arrive at jump-off point. Take a bath. Wash up. Rest. Eat dinner.
6:30 PM – Depart from jump-off point.
7:30 PM – Arrive at the waiting shed. Ride Genesis bus going to Pasay or Cubao.
10:30 PM – Arrive in Manila

Sample Estimated Budget (from Cubao)

Bus fare from Cubao to Mariveles                           PhP 267.00
Bus fare from Mariveles to Cubao                                     267.00
Registration Fee                                                                              40.00
Wash up                                                                                                20.00

Total Minimum Budget                                                  Php 594.00

Optional Expenses
Guide Fee (per group)                                                     Php 900.00
Lunch                                                                                                     60.00

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