At the southern part of Bataan Peninsula is Mount Mariveles, a dormant volcano towering at 1,388 meters above sea level. It is bounded by the towns of Orion, Bagac and Mariveles, where majority of its land area falls.
Mount Mariveles is popular in the local mountaineering community as one of the major climbs near Manila. To date, there are six known peaks with established trails – Tarak and nearby El Saco, Pantingan or Banayan Peak, Bataan, Mariveles and Vintana. Aside from these six, there are other peaks around its caldera that are waiting to be explored.
I got to summit Tarak Peak (1,026 meters) on a day hike, approximately five-hour assault from the trailhead at Barangay Alas-Asin of Mariveles. It was generally a climb with moderate difficulty and best done before the sun rises to avoid the scorching heat. The view atop Tarak Peak is the famed Tarak Ridge with the 360° vista of the surrounding towns as wel as the other peaks around the caldera, overlooking the West Philippine Sea and Manila Bay with the island of Corregidor and Cabbalo from the distance.
The usual itinerary for a day trike coming from Manila is to catch the midnight or 1 AM bus to Mariveles and get off at Alas-Asin, register at the barangay hall and start the trek before 430 AM. You are estimated to arrive at Tarak Ridge at around 9 AM and to Tarak Peak before 10 AM. Start your descent around 11 AM and you’ll be back at the trailhead around 2 PM with enough time for a food trip in Mariveles or Balanga before coming back to Manila. Estimated budget per person for a group of four is around P1,000.