Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

C9 – 2011 Freedom Climb in Tarak Ridge (Mt. Mariveles)

DPM in Tarak Ridge Boulders.

June 11-12, 2011

The Freedom Climb is an annual event organized by the Federation of Filipino Mountaineers (FIMO) wherein various mountaineering groups climb different mountains on the weekend closest to the Philippine Independence Day (June 12).  For 2011, this fell on the weekend of June 11-12.

Ochock, Lirio, Edel and Bonie at the bus station.

For 2011, DPM chose Tarak Ridge as its destination for the Freedom Climb.  Tarak Ridge is a part of Mt. Mariveles and is known for its beautiful grassy ridge and view of Manila Bay, Corregidor and Pico de Loro.

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At Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan (Tarak Ridge Jumpoff).

We met up in a bus station in Cubao and rode the bus all the way to Brgy. Alas-Asin, Mariveles, Bataan.  Since the organizers of the Freedom supposedly made a bid to have the climb recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the climb event with the most number of participants, there were a lot of other mountaineers going to various mountains, including Tarak Ridge.

At the Freedom Climb registration booth with Dyumar and Edel.

When we arrived in Brgy. Alas-Asin, we had to register with the Brgy. Hall (Php40) and at the official Freedom Climb booth before we could start climbing.  It was late in the morning 1 when we started climbing.  The trail up Tarak Ridge is not that difficult but due to the large and heavy backpack I was carrying, it was a laborious climb.

DPM on its way to the campsite.

We bought packed lunch and ate on the trail.  Some of our companions in the group did not bring packed lunch so they passed us in the trail so they can get in the Papaya River campsite earlier to cook food.

After a few hours of climbing, we finally passed Noy and his group cooking near a stream.  Since we already ate, we just stopped by and rested while we waited for them to finish cooking and eating.

When we started climbing again (not really a climb anymore since the trail was almost flat from that point), we arrived at the Papaya River campsite just after 10-15 minutes of walking!  When we arrived there, there was hardly any place to pitch our tents.  And to think that we stopped at the stream for more than half an hour and several groups passed us by!  We could have gotten a better place to put up our tents.  The group had to split into with one group camping on the other side of the river and us camping near the trail.

Papaya River is nowhere near the ridge and there is another campsite on the ridge but we chose to camp in the river because we thought that the campsite on the ridge will already be full, plus there is a water source on the river whereas we had to lug water for cooking and drinking if we camp in the ridge.

We climb to the ridge early the following morning.  The trail to the ridge is steeper and continuous ascent (compared to the relatively easier climb to Papaya River).  It is reminiscent of Pico de Loro (from Alibangbang to the summit camp).  We arrived early for the flag-raising ceremony so we took pictures, lots of it.

Fuji S4000 panorama (stitched panorama).

The two love team of the group then:  Lirio and Ochock, James and Blezh. * DPM posing on rocks

It was still early for the ceremony so we decided to climb some more to reach the El Saco Peak (the Mariveles peak nearest the ridge).  When we came to a group of boulders (just half a kilometer from the peak), we just took more pictures and no longer went for the peak.

By the time we descended back to the ridge, the flag-ceremony is already over and most of the other groups have already gone back to the river camp.

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(Above)Admiring the view of the mountain.

(Right) Dan fixing his bandana * Noy and Dan on the dead white tree (most identifiable landmark on the ridge) * Felix, half-smiling, half looking glum.

(Left)  Jingerx waving her flaglet

There were a couple of non-people pics I took at the ridge.  At the time, I was amazed and very proud of these pictures.  I found them very sharp and clear (of course, I didn’t know any better and came from cellphone and point-and-shoot cameras).  A DSLR is still a month away.

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We went down and had a wonderful time taking a bath in the clean and clear waters of the river.  We cooked our lunch and packed for the descent to the jumpoff point.  The descent of course is much much easier than the ascent.  We took a shower in one the nearby houses and rode a bus back home.

It was a tiring climb and I saw the bad effects of mass climbing (trampled vegetation, etc.).  It was also the first and only time I’ve climbed Tarak Ridge – such a wonderful mountain with a beautiful view of Manila Bay).  I hope to climb back there again and shoot a picture of the sunrise and sunset and of course to enjoy the waters of Papaya River.

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