Finding a Sherman Tank on Top of a Mountain

June 05, 2011 Mountain Climbing

What's a Sherman tank doing in the middle of a mountain range in Nueva Vizcaya and Pangasinan?

The hike to "Tangke," which is what the locals call the peak, was one of the highlights of the recently conducted friendship climb of Pilipinas Sierra, one of the country's most respected outdoor clubs.

Getting there:

Sta. Fe is the usual bus stop for those heading to Isabel and Cagayan. It sits at the end of Dalton Pass.

We set up camp at Barangay Imugan. From there, our rented vans took us to Barangay Malico, the farthest and remotest barangay of San Nicolas. It was a 13-kilometer drive on a narrow and zigzagging road.

From the barangay welcome signage, our vans took us further until the end of the road. From there, we walked.

It was an easy 3-kilometer trek with well-maintained trails and a magnificent view of the Caraballo Mountain Range.

I walked with Pilipinas Sierra President Pastor Henry Pagauitan, and he mentioned that it was their exploration team who found out about this site. They were looking for a site for the friendship climb and spotted a small sign of Imugan Falls, so they went there and visited. Through interviews with the locals, they found out about Tangke.

I appreciate the hike to Tangke because the view of the mountain range was so expansive. It got even more beautiful closer to the tank when we entered a pine tree forest, which is as impressive as Mt. Ugu.

Although I already knew there was a Sherman tank there in the middle of that mountain range, it was still amazing when I first saw it. When we got there, some of our friends were already there scrutinizing and taking photos of the tank.

According to our GPS readings, it is located at the following coordinates -- Lat 16.168469 and Long 120.855869. I think it has an elevation of 1000+ meters.

According to a local farmer, Tangke is on the boundary of Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya.

Some firearms were also dug from this hole, which, according to the team of Pilipinas Sierra, are now with local government officials.

The Salacsac Pass:

After Tangke, we visited another historical landmark in Malico, the Salacsac Pass. This is a shorter trek but with a good view of the historic Malico.

For a very remote place, Malico is a bit progressive, which, according to stories, is because of the grants provided by the Japanese government.

We could also see from the trail the winding river where the Barangay got its name. It has good potential for another summer destination because of its cool weather, vegetation, and really picturesque location, except that it is very isolated because of the poor road conditions.

The Salacsac Pass monument stands on the highest ridge in memorial to the men who died during World War II. Malico is the site of a major war between the US Army 32nd (Red Arrow) Division and the Japanese Army.

According to the marker, between February and June 1945, 4600 Japanese soldiers and 3200 American soldiers, plus some civilian Filipinos, died on a pass in Malico.

Thank you very much Pilipinas Sierra for opening up this trail!

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