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Monday, January 22, 2018

Answering the Call of Adventure on Tarak Ridge


Ever since I left my college mountaineering club in the University of Santo Tomas, I have trekked to the mountains few and far between. It felt like a romantic separation that left me searching for ways to reconnect with. I would plan hiking trips here and there, only to shelve it in favor of a trip to the beach. Despite my deep interest in hiking taking a backseat, the call of the great outdoors remained loud and I know that it was just only a matter of time before I stepped on the jagged Philippine mountains again.


Rekindling my love of the mountains

Then it happened. On a recent weekend, I went on a trek to Tarak Ridge in Bataan, upon the invitation of an outdoor outfitter brand Basekamp to test out some of their products. Situated in the dense mountains of Barangay Alas-asin in Mariveles, the jagged trails of Tarak Ridge proved to be the perfect opportunity to bond with old travel-writer friends. A week before our hike, Basekamp trained mountaineers conducted a Basic Mountaineering Course at the Base Kamp Biker’s Pit Stop in San Mateo, Rizal.


Photographer, travel writer and Basekamp Social Media Manager/adventure guru, Jed Rosell assured to us, “Chill hike lang ang Tarak Ridge guys [Tarak Ridge is just a chill hike]”, as he demonstrated the essential Basekamp products we were about to road test.


The whole trail appeared magical just like it was torn from the pages of a fantasy book set in a piece of woodland swarming with fairies. It was only at Tarak Ridge that we saw circling tree branches, turning into mini canopies along the way. A lush family of vegetation, consisting of various plants and foliage, is laid out beautifully on the ground, with green and yellowish shrubberies reinforcing a fanciful notion.


It took us a couple of hours before we reached the Papaya River, where we made camp and prepared for lunch.

Fallen logs lay over gargantuan rocks, surrounded by a shallow stream that leads to a couple of waist-deep natural pools. While we waited for our Basekamp adventure buddies to cook our meals, I joined my fellow travel-writer friends, Celine, Kara and Christine, for a soothing dip.

Ranked with a 4/9 difficulty and a trail classification of three, Tarak Ridge turned out to be what Rosell described to us; mostly a relaxed hike. However, he forgot to inform us of one important detail—the punishing steep trail leading to the campsite.


Battling exhaustion, our party of seven persevered and overcame that difficult part of the hike. “This part is supposed to take us two hours, but we finished it in an hour,” Rosell proudly told us.

As the cool wind gushed over our relieved faces, we witnessed the sun set spectacularly as it slides behind the mountainside of Mariveles. A few moments later, darkness took over and ushered a night sky illuminated only by the shy moon and a handful of scattered stars. Watching the Earth spins from where I lay in my tent, I took an extensive gaze at the constellations, and in between quiet breaths, I silently renewed my love affair with the mountains.

Promoting the leave no trace policy

Most outdoor outfitter brands rely on visual advertising to send their message across. They will bombard you with images of lush forests and azure colored seas to entice you to give outdoor exploration a try. It was an effective approach as I was initially lured into mountain climbing through this marketing strategy.


Basekamp Tramper Retailers Inc. innovates its strategies by incorporating the experience-centric method. Utilizing its numerous store branches to adventure centers, Basekamp has been actively persuading adventurous individuals to embrace the mountain hike. By organizing climbing expeditions and conducting Basic Mountaineering Courses, the company fulfills its mission by advocating a more active lifestyle set in the mountainous region of the country.


 Every month, Basekamp branches organize two climbs per month; a major and minor climb. Before every climb, we invite participants to attend our basic mountaineering course and inform them of the proper hiking guidelines, such as LNT [Leave no Trace policy] and other basic mountain-hike training,” says Greg Galicia, Basekamp store manager of Market Market branch in Taguig.


Now, Basekamp stores function not just merely an outdoor shop, but also a center where kindred souls answer the call of adventure, meet and get together on hiking trips across the Philippines.

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This article appeared on the January 21, 2018 issue of Business Mirror


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