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What It's Like Exploring and Scaling Mt. Balabag in Idio, Sebaste, Antique Traverse to Yawan, Ibajay, Aklan

The breathtaking sight from the view deck of Mt. Balabag at sunrise

Blessed with plethora of stunning natural landscapes and seascapes, it’s not surprising that the province of Antique located in the Island of Panay is one of the new eco-adventure destinations in the country. With its pristine mountains, largely untouched forests and unique biodiversity, it is also becoming a favorite destination of hikers as well as local and international researchers. In fact, the three highest and toughest mountains in the island popularly tagged as the ‘Panay Trilogy’ comprised of Mt. Madjaas, Mt. Nangtud and Mt. Baloy are generally located in Antique. While hiking activities are concentrated in the trilogy mountains, there are still many ranges in the northwest part of the province that are left unexplored by mountaineers and one of them is located in Barangay Idio, town of Sebaste.

September 6, 2018

Exploring the Wilderness of Aklan: A Very Challenging Hike to Mt. Nausang, Aklan’s Untamed and Highest Mountain in Panipiason, Madalag

Tay Freddy, ma-éa-yo pa (is it still far)?, Ritch asked Pastor Freddy, our local guide, while we were walking in the middle of the night in the mountains of Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan. “Ma-éa-pit éon lang, Ma’am, una éon sa unahan (we’re getting close, Ma’am, just few meters ahead),” Pastor Freddy replied. The rain was pouring and we started to feel cold so we stopped for a moment to get our jackets and rain coats. I pulled out my tarp and shared it with Ritchel and Tay Freddy and together, we used it as a walking shelter as we continue our hike to May Irimnan campsite. It was a struggle.

November 22, 2017

Bulwang Falls: Undiscovered Massive Waterfall Located in Idio, Sebaste, Antique

The massive Bulwang Falls in its full glory

With its stunning green rolling hills, rocky mountains, diverse forests, impressive waterfalls, scenic coastline, and zestful people, the village of Idio in Sebaste, Antique doesn’t seem to run out of hidden wonders. Last Sunday morning was a perfect day for chasing waterfalls. Typhoon Ompong has just left and the sun was out, smiling. We took a scooter ride to Barangay Idio, Sebaste, Antique to visit the amazing Bulwang Falls located in one of its jungle’s interior. During our hike to Mt. Balabag last month, our guide Tay Lucrito told us that he knows a massive waterfall in Idio that hasn’t been explored yet. The hidden waterfall is located out of way from the trail so we planned to explore on our return.

September 23, 2018

Captivating Langoyon River: A Hideaway Paradise with Fascinating Natural Swimming Pools in Tagororoc, Nabas, Aklan

The cool and crystal clear water between the limestone walls and its surrounding nature makes Langoyon River  a perfect weekend getaway.

True to its town’s slogan that says, “Pangibabaw Nabas!” (which means Standout Nabas!), the town is really going up in placing itself on the international tourism map being Boracay’s neighbor. Nabas is popularly known for its spine-tingling cold springs. There’s Hurom-Hurom, Basang, Manyuko, and the latest Bungan-Bungan. But talking about rivers and waterfalls matched with adventures, I recommend Langoyon River and Tagaroroc Falls. These two spots are best for daytime jaunts and both found in Brgy. Tagaroroc, Nabas, Aklan. The barangay crossing is located 15-min tricycle ride away from Godofredo P. Ramos Aiport also known as Caticlan Airport which services Boracay Island, and along national highway to the Kalibo International Airport in Aklan’s capital. Major Philippine airlines fly to both airports many times a day. 

August 22, 2018

Mataudya Clean River and Seemingly Endless Mini-Waterfalls: Why Malay Is More Than Just Boracay

Sitio Mataudya serves as a boundary for the interiors of Malay and Buruanga, Aklan with a bounty of mini-waterfalls and century-old trees.

Probably one of the reasons why you love out-of-town trips is that you never really see how beautiful and rich your own place is before a tourist does. And when it happens, you regret why you didn’t see or experience it first. Suddenly, you feel like a stranger in your own backyard. Gladly, I am not. As a Malaynon who lives very close to Boracay Island, I am aware how famous the island is that almost all people who visit Aklan and/or Malay intend to go to Boracay. Well, I can’t blame them. Boracay is an ‘island paradise.’ But the town of Malay is not just all white beaches and the island is not the only tourist destination. Beyond the usual Boracay, the mainland is just as breathtaking - only much freer from the crowd of tourists. There is the lush greenery part perfect to feel attuned to nature at its purest form. If you’re into hiking, I have previously featured the Banderahan and Panaktakan viewpoints that offer a gorgeous vista of Boracay Island and its surrounding islets, Romblon Islands, and Sibuyan Sea accentuated by the spectacular sight of the rolling hills and an array of wind turbines nearby accessible via Brgy. Argao or Brgy. Napaan.

August 20, 2018

Pandan Hills: Eastern Aklan’s Hidden Paradise

An early morning view of Pandan Hills

Pandan Hills are verdant rolling hills located in Barangay Bay-ang, Batan, Aklan. It offers a beautiful 360-degree view of green sloping grounds covered with cogon grasses, nearby forests, mountain ranges, and the Tinago Lake or ‘Tinagong Dagat.’ The vast grassland serves as a food sanctuary for cows and carabaos (water buffalos) while the surrounding lake is known as one of the province's rich fishing grounds. The refreshing panoramic view of it’s rolling hills can rival the Panaktakan of Malay. If the western side of Aklan has Boracay Island as a world’s premier destination, the eastern side has Pandan Hills which is considered as a top attraction for adventure-goers, newbie hikers, and landscape photographers. Besides being hidden, it is also far from the maddening crowd and bustle of the semi-urban side of the province.

August 10, 2018

Mt. Balinsayaw, an Easy to Hike Peak Near Kalibo and Boracay with Scenic Views

Mt. Balinsayaw Peak

Balinsayaw Peak is a new hiking spot located in Barangay Mabusao, Ibajay, Aklan, near the Aklan-Antique border. It’s a rock mountain with overwhelming views and a perfect place for sunrise viewing. Getting to the peak will only take you 30 minutes of hike from Barangay Mabusao proper. The views along the way are enjoyable and the top offers a gorgeous vista of Mabusao and its nearby barangays.

August 9, 2018

Panay Trilogy: Top 3 Highest and Difficult Mountains of Panay

The three mighty mountains of Panay

The long and rugged mountain ranges of Central Panay is home to the three of the most difficult mountains to climb in the island and in the Philippines. They are also the three highest mountains in Panay Island known as the ‘Panay Trilogy.’ Their isolation and hostile terrains make them formidable and highly respected by hikers. Remoteness and vastness of ranges covered by extensive forests are two of the factors why they remain elusive and pristine. Scaling them is difficult and lengthy but the trails and the summits offer awe-inspiring sceneries, unspoilt panoramic views, and thrilling experiences.

August 3, 2018

Watch: Traversing Iloilo and Antique, climbing the elusive Mt. Baloy, and completing the Panay Trilogy

Watch: Traversing Iloilo and Antique, climbing the elusive Mt. Baloy, and completing the Panay Trilogy

We've been walking day-long on this unfamiliar terrain while carrying our full packs, heavier than what we carried in Mt. Mantalingajan as we both recall. Each time I step on the ground, the strap of my bag presses heavily on my shoulders and back. Whenever I turn my head, I can smell the gas leak coming from the container on my backpack. It was intoxicating. It's the fuel of my multi-fuel stove. The gasket of the container was badly damaged yesterday when I refilled it from the roadside gasoline vendor while on our way to Barangay Supanga, Calinog, Iloilo. I take rest every now and then to relieve the pressure on my shoulders, back, and knees.

July 18, 2018

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