Tarlakyatan 2013: Hiking ANZAP Twin Falls
As of this writing, Tarlakyatan 2013 was one of my best experiences outdoors. This event was able to mix a group of fun climbers, an enjoyable journey, and a breath taking destination. This 3 days and 2 nights outdoor event by Tarlac Mountaineering Club includes choosing the activity you want ranging from light to moderate climbs or trail run. I and my sister chose to hike the ASEAN-New Zealand Afforestation Program (ANZAP) Twin Falls trip, the activity that required overnight camping. Little did we know that we’re in it for a challenging but fun climb with awesome people.
Our theme songs for the trip were Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus and Put Your Hands Up In The Air by Black & White Brothers. McPol’s and Jonie’s short and entertaining blog entries will tell you why.
The ANZAP Twin Falls comes from a 200 meter height landscape. So imagine piling me up vertically 35 times (I’m 5’9″ by the way) or putting 13 bungalow houses on top of each other! That’s how tall it was.
I was surprised on how beautiful it was and felt like I was in in the majestic land of Lothlórien (the land of elves in Lord of the Rings). Though the water volume was not that much, it gave a misty effect when it falls on the stone landscape combined with the rays of the sun. Moreover, the wild horsetail plants used on man-made landscapes was all over the place giving it a more enchanting effect.
The hike to the twin falls is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a light to moderate climb but with at least 2 hours worth of semi-steep assaults. It requires a good level of fitness to survive the 4 hours ascent to the campsite then another 1.5 hours from campsite to the waterfalls.
Leg 1 – BRGY. NAMBALAN TO CAMPSITE
Our group started to hike late Friday morning , around 11am. John, our team leader, decided for us to have lunch to save time as we were waiting for our guides to arrive. I was impressed by how level headed everyone was knowing that it’ll be scorching hot during the climb at that hour. After eating, John just left a message in the jump 0ff site that we’re going ahead. We’ll just wait for the guide in the rest area with mini-hut.
Initially, we had to cross the river of Mayantoc after walking for a few minutes. As expected, it was more difficult to climb while the sun was angry hot. I think we rested more than the usual because the heat was too much to handle. Fortunately, when we arrived in the small hut, everyone rested for about an hour and waited for the guide and the manageable heat.
Before continuing, there was a source of water 10min away. The guides helped us refill the water containers which needed refills. Around 2:30pm, we continued the hike.
Our last rest place before arriving in the campsite was overlooking the curvy river of Mayantoc with its generally green landscape and blue sky. The tiresome hike was creeping on to McPol’s nerves that he decided to get a quick nap while the photographers took advantage of the images that they could get.
After that relatively long rest, the group finally decided to move and arrived in the campsite after 20 minutes. Better climbers can do it in one day but thank God our itinerary included overnight camping! We didn’t go straight to the waterfalls but enjoyed each other’s company first on our camping night before continuing the trip the day after.When we arrived in the campsite, everyone pitched their tent. Next was dinner preparation.
You could tell that I, my sister, and Juric (the www.visittarlac.com group) were the inexperienced ones. As we just brought out our packed dinner, the others started to bring out their cooking items. I asked them why bother cooking if you can just bring your dinner. The answer was “to not get bored.” It’s one of their creative outlets if you regularly climb mountains.
Yep, we had a cook-off and a feast! Food prepared on site were John’s special sinigang na mackerel (Saba brand), Carmelo’s cream soup, Starr’s spam, and Emerson’s honey glazed chicken with paprika. Add our lechon paksiw and everyone’s rice, that’s equal to the fun and fulling buffet for the night.
Socials became more sociable when John brought out the Emperador Light. With one bottle, one cup, a dozen pair of ears, handful of stories, and shared laughter; team ANZAP undeniably had more fun than what we expected.
LEG 2 – CAMPSITE TO ANZAP TWIN FALLS
What woke me up that morning was the pleasant singing of the birds. Everyone was told to eat early, break camp, and pack so we can leave unnecessary baggage in the campsite then continue going to the waterfalls. As everyone was preparing their coffee for breakfast, the forest smelled like a café for a while.
Lucky for us again that there’s a water source 15 minutes away from the campsite. Everyone filled their colored Nalgene bottles then off we went to the twin falls.
After half an hour of walking, we entered a fascinating site of a bamboo forest!
Paired with this exciting view is an equally sad fact that a once massive tree is now on the ground because of men’s effortless thoughts on their environmental future. Kaingin is still evident in the area which should prompt us, the capable ones, to reach out to our fellows in the mountains.
With less than an hour of more of zigzagging and steep descents, we came across a small waterfall. Everyone was kidding that after all our efforts, we’re just going to see this small body of water.
Alas! Last few more minutes of climbing. Most of the last few minutes involved dealing with boulders. Then, we heard the falling of water.THE ANZAP TWIN FALLS
When I saw the two waterfalls, I was astounded by how it made me feel serene at that moment. The mist created by the waterfall was clearly seen because of the morning sun rays. Most of the trees and plants had a light green hue which usually meant newly sprouted leaves. I left the group for a moment just to savor this refreshing feeling for myself.
When I came back, most of the guys started to swim in the 2 to 4 feet natural pool of the right waterfall though the bottom floor was mossy. Others were clicking their cameras left and right. Half hour more of these then we were told to eat the trail food we brought because we’re leaving in a few minutes.
I would have loved to stay for a day but it was crunch time, we still had a concert to catch in the basecamp.
It wouldn’t be as fun in the trip if it wasn’t for the right mix of people. To John, Paul, Bless, McPol, Jonie, Emerson, Starr, Victor, Carmelo, Juric, Diana; thank you for the experience. Below is the video made by Victor Callos showing the whole journey of the group’s team.
1. Mon Corpuz
2. Julio Ricardo Cancio (Click here for his Facebook & Tumblr album)
3. Emerson Benoza
Video by Victor Callos