MY ONCE UPON A TOUGH TARAW CLIFF EXPERIENCE 17


Taraw Cliff El Nido PalawanTaraw Cliff is that giant limestone karst overlooking the beautiful town of El Nido in Palawan. It is the highest peak in town and the most prominent figure resembling a fortress when seen from the waters approaching El Nido. It is both forbidding and magnificent especially the protective manner of how it seems to engulf the entire town within its expanse. To some this is just another scenery to admire but to the more adventurous of spirits, this is another opportunity for a thrilling, totally nerve-wracking experience. After all what awaits atop the cliff is absolutely rewarding which makes it totally worth all the pain.
I’ve always wanted to climb Taraw Cliff. The stunning bird’s eye view of the rest of El Nido I’ve seen in the photos on some of the travelers I am following on Instagram made me unable to resist the itch of taking too its arduous challenge. I regret missing the chance to climb it the first time I flew to Palawan in May but finally, after totally discarding my itinerary having fallen madly in love with Coron lingering there way too long during my visit last November, I had come to finish my business with this marvelous piece of rock
We started the trek late at 7AM. Mind you! If you want to enjoy taking in the picturesque view atop Taraw cliff, you will have to start trekking as early as 5AM so in time the sun rises up and the heat becomes unbearable, you’re just about done taking in the scenery. Not that the view is easy to get enough of. This may be the shortest hike I’ve been to, just standing at 300 MASL or so, but probably one of the toughest. The trek kicked off with us (myself and the guide) walking along local houses. After taking several turns to the right and left, we finally reached the start point of the entire ordeal.
Taraw cliff is no joke. Unlike other mountains where you will start trekking along grasslands or woodlands, this however will welcome you with relentless bouldering. The entrance to the trail reminds me of that hidden passage I used to sneak into to get to our favorite place back when I was younger. It has a cavelike entrance situated above boulders which we had to overcome as the first obstacle. I had to be very careful with my steps as missing will pretty much cost me my life or a limb, no make it two. After finally making it past the entrance, we continued walking along rockstrewn terrain. We even passed by a small lake. The scene I’ve come to witness took me to some otherly world. It’s like somewhere pirates would go burying their treasures. It felt kinda eerie but all the more it got me excited.
I was relieved when my foot stumbled on a flat, soft surface. Oh earth. Dirty, muddy earth. I had smiles all over my face until the rocky terrain resumed. This time there was no telling when will it end. We continued walking with me leading the way until we were faced with the first 90 degree of pure rock climbing along limestone rock. The sharp edges of the rocks made the climb extra challenging given how stupid I was to forget my gloves. I went to climb first with my guide standing by down below giving me directions which I was truly appreciative given how I lack the better of judgement when it comes to bouldering.
Taraw Cliff El Nido Palawan
I got passed the first trial but was not at all relieved when I was told there are 2 more of those coming that were 3 times more difficult than the one I’ve just finished. We continued walking along rocks, bumped into some other tourists who seemed very fulfilled with what they’ve accomplished that day, tried to avoid falling off while walking at the edge of the cliff to reach the other side and pretty much did all the unthinkable just to get through the day unscathed. I had survived the two 90 degree rock climbing but my hands were already sore. We went on a steep descent, the first for that day then quickly ascended going to the other side. Oh! A lot of things happened that I forgot to mention how exquisite was the view of the town halfway to the top. I’ve walked over pointed rocks trying real hard not to go off balance. After which I was like Spiderman literally glued crawling west on a stone wall to cross the other end of the trail. Everything seemed to happen in a blur that I lost track of the other details. What I just can attest is that I went through a hell of a something before I found myself grinning like a child at the magnificence of what my eyes were seeing that day standing on the highest point of El Nido.
Taraw Cliff El Nido Palawan
Words are unable to describe the beauty of El Nido as seen atop Taraw Cliff. Even brutal with the photos unable to give it justice. The fortresses of limestone engulfing the town, the houses and buildings lined along the shoreline, the deep blue waters and several islands dotting Bacuit Bay. All of them seemed to have been carefully placed where they were to form something that is beyond perfect. The scene was so surreal that it melted my heart with so much gratitude. It was all I need to rid me of too much exhaustion. In my reverie, I was tempted to think as if I’m in a different place other than my motherland but doing so is betraying the truth that the Philippines is indeed beautiful more that what I, most its people and the world give it credit for. Oh dear. I am blown away how my every time this land of ours never cease to amaze me. It’s richness. It’s beauty. It can never be somewhere else but here. You’ll know it right away.
 Taraw Cliff El Nido Palawan

It was with a heavy heart that I had to bid that heavenly view adieu. I wished I could stay longer despite the scorching heat of the sun. However, it seemed like I wasn’t the only one who’s got the same intention as several minutes after reaching the summit of Taraw cliff came other tourists. I forced myself down the cliff tracing the the path from where we came. Going down was a lot easier but running out of water was a torture. I had no choice but to endure the thirst which made me feel strangled in chains by the neck. Taraw cliff may have not been too kind that day, nevertheless I got no regrets and I would absolutely be up to its challenge again. Someday.


Taraw Cliff El Nido Palawan

TIPS FROM A WEAKLING OF A CLIMBER IN ME
  • Bring lots of water. I promise you’ll need at least a liter of it.
  • Wear gloves
  • Don’t dare wear slippers or just trekking sandals. It’s gonna be shoes all the way
  • Wear long sleeves or arm sleeves. You’ll thank me for it. I swear
  • Apply sunblock. Black is beautiful but UV Lights can kill you with skin cancer.
  • Be careful. Don’t rush. You’ll eventually get there.

 

 

 

 


HOW MUCH WAS THE ENTIRE ORDEAL

Tour agencies in El Nido offer the climb to Mt. Taraw at P500 which can be shared by 3 people but there are those who offer it at P300. It’s up to you. You can still haggle if you think the price isn’t fair yet.


There you go. You’ve just seen the other side of El Nido. Now you know that it isn’t at all just seas and sands. It can be home to adventures none of us have known yet so don’t be scared to explore and discover something new. If you have other ideas which would make a visit to Palawan more exciting, please shoot them on the comments box below. I would really love to read them.

Do check my comprehensive travel guide on the cheap EL NIDO A LITTLE OVER P5000 IN 5 DAYS: Budget Travel Guide To Cheap Eat, Sleep And Fun Activities to learn how you can make the most out of your travel to this paradise.


FOR OTHER THINGS EL NIDO and the rest of PALAWAN, check out these posts:

RECENT UPDATE

Due to the very unfortunate incident which injured 2 foreign tourists and almost cost the life of a local guide who climbed Taraw Cliff earlier this year, the officials of El Nido have permanently suspended hiking activities to the cliff. Please make further verification on this matter if you plan to include this adrenaline infused activity on your itinerary.


Ayt folks. Until next time. See yah 😉

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17 thoughts on “MY ONCE UPON A TOUGH TARAW CLIFF EXPERIENCE

  • izan

    hi there
    i will be at el nido next week for a day (29th september) and planned to climb the taraw hill and snorkeling. is it true that hiking at taraw has been suspended? until when? and do u have any guide’s contact since we not book anything yet. thanks

    • Keza M Post author

      Hi Izan. Taraw is still open but the usual trail is already closed. There’s another trail used to hike to the top. I’m sorry I don’t have a number of the guide.

  • Lot

    I just climbed Taraw Cliff the other day…the usual back breaking trail is still closed and but they have built an alternative route to reached the top. They built the canopy walk and they opened last October 19,2015. My guide Julius told me they have been using this trail called the “Ferrata” for almost a year now and it’s the safest way to get to the deck that offers such an amazing view of El Nido. It cost 400php…a guide,helmet and harness is provided. One can reach the top in 15 mins if youre in top shape.Of course it’s not as thrilling and exhilarating experience as climbing it with sheer gut and strength but for those who wants to see the amazing view up there, this is really a very good option.
    I was told that the guide that fell that day is already paralyzed from the waist down. Sad really because he is still in the prime of his life.But he was intoxicated when he went up there with his tour group😟