And just so you know, that BC is termed in this generation to be “before covid”…
Prior to the start of quarantine rules implemented in the country, I had the opportunity to have my last local travel with fellow colleagues-slash-adventurers to climb Mt. Tarak in Mariveles, Bataan.
Before this adventure came to life, I had to go through a month of preparations — physically, mentally and financially. Thanks to two of the (cray) influencers from our team, I was hypnotized (just kidding, they only did some sales talk to make sure I will join) to sign in our employer’s Adventure Club. Well, I did it for three reasons and they’re all personal.
Fast Fact: the past Carla ain’t into climbing mountains due to some physical limitations. The few folks who’ve known me personally would tell you I am more into bodies of water (aka beach) and walking on flatlands. But I guess, trying something new or risky could awaken my senses too that’s why I ended up going for it.
The preparations really tested my patience and tolerance to pain cause I gained muscle pains and buckets of sweat. Despite that, I’m grateful cause it contributed to my health and weight loss goals. I even get to use some of the routines I learned from the sessions, now that we are working from home. In that month’s prep, I also had to attend a few training sessions after work or weekends which somehow took a bit of a stress in managing my time (and wishing I’m like my other colleagues who are just at home). I know, though, that I signed up for this so I have to set my mind to keep going. Financially, I also had to spend a few moolahs for one item or gear at a time. Never thought those I just see in racks of adventure gear stores would be something I would need to purchase. For now, some of them are in my drawer cause obviously we can’t take long trips at the moment (and that’s alright for me, ok).
Going back to the BC trip, our month long prep led us to that weekend. Our cray adventure started with an early morn bus ride for 3.5 hours from Manila to Bataan. Armed with a big bag of essential stuff (cause yeap, this ain’t like my usual travels that I can use a luggage with wheels) and less sleep, we started our walks at 7am to head off to the campsite. It took us before lunchtime to reach it cause we had to take numerous stops. Admittedly, I was one of those who had to make a few quick breaks.
From the campsite, we settled up to the rest of the night wherein it became our buying time to get our ample rest, to apply our gourmet cooking camp style (nakssss haha) and to socialize with the fellow adventurers. Just when we thought the early lights off at camp was a breeze, it didn’t prepare us for what’s coming the next day (before sunrise).
Waking up at 3am with our headlights, small bags and jackets, my whole well being was tested as we headed to the ridge to catch the sunrise. And because it was still dark, it made the trek even scarier and harder for me. Not everyone has the same level of strength and endurance, I was already having the creeps in walking in those steep paths. Hanging on to huge roots and heavy rocks were my only saving grace. Adding to the challenge was the heavy winds while climbing up. As I was walking, the human side of me was already telling myself that I would just wanna stop somewhere safe and quit climbing. However, there was also this side of me that’s telling, “you are already here and the only way is up, why stop now?”. As I kept climbing, I was saying in my head “keep going and Lord, let Your will be done till I get there”.
And of course, no need to guess, we all made it at the top and at least this short story had a good ending. It was very windy and breezy at the top that it won’t be easy to simply stand up and take your obligatory travel pose or selfie. After enjoying some time at the top, we had to get down back to campsite for breakfast, pack up and head back to jump off point (for that well deserved bath / shower and lunch) before going home.
Reaching the top, while watching the sunrise, is such a blessing, an achievement and a realization. It may not reap me awards, recognition or any monetary value, but it’s those experiences that can’t be robbed or scratched off from you. It may have just been two short days, but led me to thoughts and symbolism of who I am, what I am capable of and where I could eventually be heading. My fears and doubts have been tested in this trip. However, it opened my eyes that it’s ok to fear but do it scared anyway. Reality bites, staying in the comfort zone is easier and changing lanes or decisions is scary. What’s scarier is staying stuck to what is not making our own lives happier and more meaningful, just because we already kept in our brain that decision. Looking back and now, I’m glad this made me change my mind, learn from experience and hopefully, inspire a person or two to do the same.
Though I know it will still take a while for us to go on adventures and travel, I cannot promise this will be the start for more climbs for me in the near future. Perhaps, this will be more of a spark for me to just start more new adventures, either on my own or with a few good people around. After all, life ain’t all about major milestones, it’s more about how you lived it truly well and to the fullest.
To cap this off, here’s just a few personal quick tips, should you have plans to go in Mt Tarak in God’s time AC (after covid, that is):
- Difficulty of climb (according to Mountaineering groups’ sites) is 4/9. Thus, if you’re a first timer, think / decide carefully. And if you really want to go still, make sure you really prep physically for this.
- If your preference is to camp out in the ridge and not near the river, bring extra pegs for your tents. It really is windy up there. Otherwise, the safest is to do how we did it.
- Mobile and data signal is present but not in all areas within the trail, so make use of the time to be one with nature and enjoy the experience.
- If you opt to camp out near the river, be careful with your food packs. Preferably, keep them safe in your tents cause there are a few monkeys out and about. Well, they won’t harm you but most likely they might get your food if exposed.
- There is water source in the river. However, if you’ve got some sensitivity in drinking H20 in certain sources (like me), better bring “Aquatabs (Triclosene Sodium)” which you can put in the water before drinking. It serves as sort of a chlorine to keep your drinking water safe for your tummy. I tried it while I was there and I had no probs with it. This can be bought in local drugstores.