Tarak – Pantingan Reverse Traverse Dayhike
Tarak – Pantingan
Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles to Sitio Gabon, Brgy. Saysayin, Bagac
Climb Date: April 23, 2016
Tarak to Pantingan Reverse Traverse was not yet documented in the internet as I looked for guide and itinerary. In most cases it’s the other way around Pantingan-Tarak Traverse. I don’t know what’s gotten into us but after we called off an event due to lack of participants we got excited to try this route.
I’ve done my first Tarak overnight climb last October 26, 2014 via regular trail from Alas-asin to Papaya River to Tarak Peak. Back then, we had camp at the ridge and enjoyed the sunrise. We never got the chance to hike El Saco that’s why we are trying this route.
Not much planning
This climb is just for the two of us. Me and my buddy as we tried to break our limits and conquer our weakness. We decided not to invite someone because it’s our quality time together.
Since we decided to climb this mountain 2 days before the climb date, we have very limited information regarding the route from Tarak Peak to Pantingan jump off. Because of this we have prepared two hammock, one brown trekker large tarp, five pork in beans in different flavor, lots of energy bar, six liters of water, packed lunch, headlamps, toiletries, a few emergency medicine, one malong, sandals, one earth pad and a set of extra clothes. We prepared for an overnight climb but our mindset is to do a dayhike.
We rode Bataan Transit Bus by 9:30pm and arrived at Brgy. Alas-asin by 1:00am. We went to Brgy. Hall to register though I’ve been thinking twice because I don’t know if they are still awake at this wee hour. Fortunately, the Hall is open and there are two men who are still awake. We spend more time talking with the officials who are telling stories and asking questions about us until we decided to start the trek before 2:00am. We didn’t get a guide since there’s no one around except for the two officials who are wide awake at that time.
The familiar road to Nanay Cording is an easy 15 minute trek but due to lots of dogs along the road we told ourselves not to walk fast to avoid provoking the dogs. We hope not to awaken Nay Cording but her dogs made loud barks more than the dogs on the road. Nay Cording woke up and of course readied her log book, we asked for forgiveness for waking her and give our voluntary entrance fee and made our leave.
The trail hasn’t changed much since 2014 only this time the noise of birds and insects are very distinct. We had it all for ourselves and we are very grateful to hear those noises especially the noise of owls maybe telling stories of ancient time far from us. One and a half hour later we entered the forest leading to Papaya River. Along the trail we manage to talk about a lot of things and before we know it we reach Papaya River in just One hour and fifty minutes.
One group is camping at the Papaya River, we got the chance to meet them because they are still awake and drinking. They are not really mountaineers but seamen who decided to give it a try and camp at Papaya River before they sail back to the sea. They were very kind, they offered us coffee and their food but we just accepted the coffee since we are not yet hungry and it’s hard to have a full stomach going up to the ridge. We refilled our water bottle and drink the coffee and stayed a bit more to hear their stories and give in to their selfies photo ops.
We said goodbye and thank them for the coffee, we tread the assault going to the ridge and to the campsite and before dawn we reached the campsite at exactly 5:20am. We love to photograph sunsets and sunrise so we decided to stay at the ridge to watch for the sunrise and enjoy the morning breeze.
The sunrise was very beautiful as always. It’s one of the beautiful things that we can have for free so why missed it if yo can enjoy it. We get tired of posing and doing photo ops after the sun rises but before we proceed to the summit we ate some biscocho to have some energy.
As we climb higher we looked back to see the familiar island of Corregidor and Pico de loro in Ternate far from the background.
The dead tree at the summit is still there, it is almost the symbol of Tarak Peak where most climber do their piece of photograph but this time I felt that the tree is getting weaker and might break in a matter of time. But, as adventurous as we are we still did a photograph at the tree.
At this part, we are now ready to delve into the unknown since we’ve never been up to this part. We took the only trail going up which according our offline GPS map is leading to El Saco. We had some more photos at the cleared area with rocks before we climb to El Saco.
We had some photos at this rocks called dila as it resembles a tongue sticking out. We also passed by the skywall as stated in the map but of course a photo is mandatory.
We have reached El Saco but there was no view because the peak is at the middle of the forested area. There are small rocks littered the peak so we decided to have a take five and grab some snickers before descending to the crater.
The steep descent from El Saco to the crater is a staggering one hour and 20 minutes. But don’t fret because on the way one will see the whole caldera rim with the formidable-looking Bataan peak to the right.
Also, the trail leads to Bakwat River is littered by pitcher plants. In fact their are numerous pitcher plant of the same specie along the trail you just have to be mindful to see it.
Before we reach Bakwat River we meet a group of mountaineers traversing Pantingan Tarak and they are now on their second day. I didn’t get their group name so here’s the picture. I hope they get this photo or if you happen to know them just kindly tag them.
We reached Bakwat River by 10:20am and here we decided to have breakfast and stayed for a good 30 minutes rest. Bakwat River is the last water source so we filled all our water container before start trekking again.
After breakfast and a 30 minutes of good rest we are again ready to trek but this time is a very toilsome assault. A truly very toilsome ascend, in fact we are ascending with our both hands and feet, a literal 4×4 climb. It was more than 500 meters of 80 degrees ascend I tell you it’s one of the hardest after our 14 hrs dayhike in G2 this one deserves respect. We almost underestimated this mountain. According to what I saw in the net while I’m writing this article they have used a rope to descend this portion going to Bakwat River but we didn’t bring a rope though we manage to ascend, it is still very technical. The soil is loose, some rocks are loose and the tree roots are from reach so you have to be very extra careful if you plan to do this reverse traverse. We took this toilsome ascend for two hours before we reach the peak.
The difficulty of this trail is the same if not more than that of the trail of Mt. Guiting-Guiting. Take note that this is not for beginner. Only those who have experience climbing major mountains may do this reverse traverse trail.
We finally reach the peak (I’m not sure if the name in my map is correct but it says Garuchas Peak) after struggling the 80 degrees ascend. I had to admit that it drained me that’s why we spend a good 15 minute rest before proceeding to Mag-asawang bato. Along the trail you will pass by a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the crater and some nameless peak that’s worth exploring. In one of this viewpoint my body had given up, it is asking for a rest and I have to give in. To be continued…
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