Thursday, June 05, 2014

Young, restless and excited (still responsible) at Marucdok

Jun, Dexter, Chito, Alan at the edge
Young, restless and excited (still responsible). I remember this climb to a destination in Bataan in a remote place not considered as a mainstream  by any standard. By plain guts and blind faith, we were prompted to bring in a big group just for the sheer excitement of sharing the thrill of mountain climbing and nature.

Novice as leads, yet we successfully overcame the hurdle and drove the group to one of the most awesome places in Luzon at an elevation of about 4,000 feet above sea level set in a river that drops to a cliff several hundred feet. Dinner served via candlelight in a floating river was the 1st concept private dinner I had done in the outdoors. Though the group was already bound by a common mindset on positive thinking and leadership, this climb cemented further linkages and relationship that spanned decades. Read who’s who in the participants’ list in this daring asecent to Bataan Peak in Marucdok, Morong also known to me as the venturing into the unknown (then.)

Bataan Peak Climb
Marucdok, Morong Bataan
12-13 March 1994
Small and rocky streams, very dense forest trails,  jungle trails, and cliffs. Steep in the initial trekkinq, almost abandoned trail in the second part with lots of fallen trees and twigs. Trek is a representation of the best of Famy for the streams & fall, Maculot for the steep climb, Makiling for the virgin forest and Montalban for the rocks.

1st half has established trail, 2nd half of trail is almost not traversed and not popularly explored. Falls and peak overlook at the forest, Nuclear Power Plant, Morong and the South China Sea.

Moderate If not raining (22 C to 26 C), cool in the evening
Elevation: Estimated at 6,000 feet

Length of Trail: Approximately 6-8 km. Climb has two parts; an intro climb that leads to the waterfall and the campsite and the assault climb that ends with a cliff to be scaled that ends at the Bataan peak.
Flora: The wilderness with a lot of poison ivy, vines that cling to your shoes, socks and pants, thorny plants.

Bataan Peak Notes:
Gregg, Nelson, Chito and Joy at the ridge and peak
On Clothing: Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are recommended to protect your skin.  Wilderness abounds and a lot of plants will surely cling to you.  Expect to get some rashes.  So keep those first-aid kits handy. Weather is not that cold but not that hot. Choose comfortable outfits. Waterproofing may not be necessary but you can't tell.  Be prepared anyway.

Bring some shorts to wet in the stream.
  • On Food/water: Cooking is not a problem. Your stove will function well in the campsite.  Water is available up the Falls but not on the way up to the peak.
  • On Shoes: The terrain is quite uneven. Make sure your footwear can handle stepping over different sizes
  • and formats of rocks, fallen trees and twigs, rock scaling and the stress on the feet going done steep descents. You may need to wear two layers of socks.
  • On Pack Weight: Keep it light as the trail after 30 minutes is quite steep. But don't leave out the essentials. Bring a daypack or an assault bag in case it will be needed in scaling the peak.
  • On Expenses: Bring at. Least P250.0 to cover transpo cost and contribution to the guide.  Aircon bus fare fro, Manila to Balanga is P 57.00, P 20.00 from Balanga to Marucdoc.
  • On Physical Preparation: All trekker must be physically fit.  The terrain is demanding. Suggested physical activities at least 10 days before the climb are: a) aerobics every other day, b) brisk walking for an hour every other day. c) stair climbing daily up and down six floors.
Helpful Info: Aircon bus trips from Manila to Balanqa can be taken from Dorotheo Jose corner Avenida thru Panther Express. Trips are available every 30 minutes starting at 5 am up to 9 pm.  Travel time to Balanga is 3 hours. Provincial bus trips from Balanga to Morong passing at Marucdoc can be taken at the Balanga Plaza. Trips are available every hour only up to 4PM. Those with own vehicles are encouraged to bring them. Roads are superior all the way.

Based on Participants List:
Dan Sevilla, Chito Razon-AEL, Meluchi Adriano, Rowena Altuna, Joey Ansaldo, Gustavo Ansaldo, Nana Araneta, Carlos Arambulo, Ayres Arcilla, Randy Arcilla, Ronald Arcilla, Alan Barona, Trisha Besa, Chacha Cordero, Gregg Cordova, Joy Dawis, Ricky Francisco, Joan Fabe, Jun Galang, Ricky Gonzales, Paolo Gonzales, Joy Jesena, Dexter Lansang, Claude Sta. Clara, Bill Ty

Based on Groupings:
  • Chito Razon, Alan Barona, Gregg Cordova, Joy Davis, Jun Galang, Joy Jesena, Dexter Lansang, Nelson Malabanan, Claude Sta. Clara, Bill Ty
  • Chacha Cordero, Meluchi Adriano, Rowena Al-buna, Paolo Gonzales, Ronnie Tumbokon, Glo Tuason, Leny Tuason, Ronald Yu. Ricky Francisco, Gustavo Ansaldo, Joey Ansaldo, Ricky Gonzales
  • Carlos Arambulo, Nana Araneta, Trisha Besa, Joan Fabe, Levy Liro, Joanne Rufino, Carlo Zialcita, Ayres Arcilla, Rarndy Arcilla, Ronald Arcilla, Avic Mendoza, Roel Soriano, Nitoy Reyes, Regi Reyes
Day 1 Saturday 12 March
7:00     Assembly at Marucdok bridge, the jump-off point between Bagac and Morong, about 13 kms. before Morong
7:30     Start of trek to the falls/campsite
10:30   Estimated arrival time at the falls
Prepare and take meals, wash-up, refill water, enjoy the falls and rest
11:30   Prepare for 2nd half of trek
12:00   Leave falls for the Peak
04:00   Estimated arrival at the base of the cliff
05:30   Estimated arrival at the peak.  Watch sunset and the view
Establish Camp, pitch tent, prepare and dinner
06:30   Take dinner
07:30   Socials
10:00   Lights Out

Day 2 Sunday 13 March
05:30   Wake up and watch the sunrise
Prepare breakfast
Take meal and other necessities
Break and clean-up camp, prepare for the descend
12:00   Start descend
12:30   Estimated arrival at the falls
2:00     Prepare and take lunch
3:30     Wash-up and rest
Start descend for Marucdok
Estimated arrival at the highway

Option 1
04:00   Travel -to the beach site
05:30   Establish camp, pitch tent and prepare meals
6:30     Supper
7:30     Socials and cocktails
10:30   Lights out

Option 2
5:00     Break camp
7:00     Manila for trip back.  Take Last bus trip to Balanga


  1. Nelson recalls the following: we were 37 riding in 16 or 17 vehicles plus 1 army truck to secure the VIPs. Nelson and Claude met for the 1st time in this climb riding in someone else's car. Nelson, Claude and Dex were in 1 tent. Bill Ty brought a 1 man tunnel tent. Joy Asuncion was dragging Nelson who was under the influence of Red Bull. Allegedly, he did not sleep the night before due to excitement or anxiety. Also they picked up Rowena at her house. As part of the clothing preparation, gaiters were bought at Oca's Expedition Plus. He remembers dinner at the river with plates and glasses floating in the water with the candles.The shrubs at the ridge gave relief to the assault team as the heat was draining them. The pleasure of achievement can be seen at their smiles in the attached foto. EL Dan acted as lead and sweep shuttling back and forth to check on every member at the price of getting drained when time to assault for the ridge. He did not proceed anymore. Nelson has fond memories because it was enjoyable although tiring. He could not recall though why he was not at the ledge of the cliff. Fear perhaps? or when the post climb was. But he was struggling thinking where we had lunch after the climb. Share us your stories too.

  2. Dexter Lansang as the saying will never, ever forget your first
    • eh yung niluto kong pasta? may nagreklamo?
    • sa pagod at gutom, kahit mahulog ulit sa lupa, palagay ko walang magtatanong bakit ma-buhangin yung spaghetti! hahahah
    • nag assault din ba si kulas? di yata. i remember Jun G.Claude9, at siempre, kung wala si Gregg, walang makakababa mula sa ridge!
    Tochs Razon Mabuti na lang sa comment nalagay ang wrong info. More recalls from you Dexter.
    • packed our lunches for the assault team. kaya nga natapon spaghetti kakamadaling ilagay sa ziplock, buti na lang si joy lang nakakita. hahahah!!!
    • nursing a bottle of SMB on the way home, forget who's car i was in. probly yours chits? with claude? then nagyayang mag detour sa trellis? promoting your carlsberg.... no, hard selling. haha