Almost two years after doing the epic Pantingan-Tarak Traverse Dayhike (which has since come to be known as ‘PanTarak’) as the first-ever team to do so (see Hiking matters #386-387), my good friends Koi Grey, Jeshua Sales and I returned to relive the great experience (sorry Daryl and Coby!). Starting the hike at exactly 0300H (thank you Sugar Sales for chaperoning us!), we lost no time in making our way to Pantingan Peak, reaching its summit at 0715H – a little bit better than our original record of 4 hrs 30 mins.
This section – actually an entire hike in itself with over 1000 meters altitude gain, features a short rough road section before entering a rainforest notorious for its bees. Past this forest, one passes through a grassland that, via Danny’s Gate, reenters the forest which has a trail characterised by continuous assaults all the way to 1408 MASL. What a workout – even as the hike is actually just beginning!
After breaking our fast in Pantingan, we proceeded to the ridges, and then, finally, at 0900H, we started the 400-meter descent to the crater of Mariveles Range, reaching Bakwat River at 1000H. What ensued was a rolling trek through the slopes within the crater itself; it would take several ups and downs before we finally set foot on the ascending trail that led to El Saco Peak.
The trail has greatly improved since we first passed through it. Even though it was still reminiscent of the old, overgrown Talomo-Apo Traverse, this time there were no really bolo-requiring obstacles and we felt very comfortable throughout. We were at El Saco by 1215H, Tarak Peak by 1300H, and by 1630H we were at Nanay Cording’s – making for a total of 13 hours and 30 minutes, versus the 20 hours it took us the first time around.
What an enjoyable hike! I definitely look forward to doing it again in the future!