A Week into the Wild: What We Found in Walking Across Aklan and Antique Mountain Ranges for 7 Days | rich'nritch.com

A Week into the Wild: What We Found in Walking Across Aklan and Antique Mountain Ranges for 7 Days

Somewhere in Aklan-Antique border.

More than the famous powdery white sand beach of Boracay Island, many parts of Aklan remain hidden and untouched. The province of Aklan, particularly the towns of Libacao and Madalag, is home to numerous unexplored mountain ranges; a potential mountaineering destination in the country. The highest mountain in Aklan, Mt. Nausang (locals call it Mt. Maylomay), has just been explored by AMSI (Antique Mountaineering Society Inc.) in May. Mount Nausang is 1,464 MASL. It's summit is located in Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan and it’s ranges extend up to Oyang, Libacao, Aklan. Inspired by the exploration of AMSI in Mt. Nausang, Richard and I attempted a hike traversing Mt. Nausang from its ranges in Libacao, Aklan to it’s summit in Panipiason, Madalag and connect it to Mt. Madjaas in Antique. The hike was our personal endeavor, fuelled by our strong passion for exploration.

With the friendly people of Baranggay Oyang and staff of DENR, Aklan
With our guides before we left Baranggay Oyang, Libacao, Aklan
Crossing the Aklan River in a bamboo raft, commonly used by locals for river crossing.
Aklan river running from the mountains of Libacao all the way to Kalibo
On the first night of our exploration, we stayed in this Abaca farmer's hut.
The dense forest of Oyang mountain range. This is part of Mt. Nausang's range from Madalag that extends to Libacao, Aklan.
Our guides are trying to find good scenery inside the dense forest.

The stunning view of Libacao mountain ranges

Our expedition didn’t go well as planned. We were unable to find a trail connecting Mt. Nausang and Mt. Madjaas. Due to terrain difficulty, we had to cross from Libacao to Madalag and hike Mt. Nausang in Panipiason side.

With the happy and friendly locals of Baranggay Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan before we hiked Mt. Nausang
Looking at the view of Aklan mountain ranges while we're climbing Mt. Nausang in Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan
During our assault to the summit of Mt. Nausang

The trail leading to the summit is steep and has plenty of plants called Lagiwriw.
On the summit of Mt. Nausang, the highest mountain in the province of Aklan.

After our descent, we continued our hike to Mt. Madjaas and descended in Osorio, Antique. After 7 days of arduous walking in the jungles and mountains of central Panay, we completed our journey. 

Celebrating with the kids after our tiring yet fulfilling climb
The famous Agtughangin Falls in Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan. It feels good to
get refreshed in a natural shower after a tiresome hike.

Our experience from the unexplored ranges of Libacao to the highest pristine mountain of Aklan (Mt. Nausang) in Madalag and traversing the Aklan mountain ranges to reach the summit of the highest and majestic mountain of Antique (Mt. Madjaas) in seven days were, by far, the BEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES as Akeanon mountaineers. We've seen the unimaginable treasures hidden in the wilderness, the richness of the flora and fauna, and spectacular views atop the highest peaks. We've gone through death-defying, nerve-racking, don't-you-slip boulders, cliffs, knife edges, rocks, and overhangs.

Drinking water, the local way


Holding on to tree roots during on some of our ascends and descends


Pristine river deep inside the jungle
One of our guides helping us carry our load across the river.
The trail has unlimited waterfalls; here's one we found along the way
We found these amazing huge boulders in the middle of the river. Impressive!
Feasted on native rice and native chicken tinola for our dinner. We spent the night here with the locals before we continued our hike to Mt. Madjaas the following day.
A fresh catch of huge wild freshwater shrimps locally known as ulang (u-eang in Akeanon).


And look, they also caught some freshwater eels (sili in Aklanon)!


Our breakfast is ready, fuelling before we set out for another tiring hike.
Madang-ga Waterfalls (it means hot and humid in Aklanon)


A closer look of Madang-ga Waterfalls.


An area showing how dense Aklan forest is.
The rain is pouring but we have to keep going to arrive on time to the next camp site.

A heavy forested area somewhere in Aklan-Antique border.
Nanaw River, running from the foot of Mt. Madjaas all the way to the Aklan river.
A plane crash happened somewhere in this area a long time ago
A small waterfall not far from the river, the water is so clear and it's very cold like ice.

We've slept in huts, a cave, and under the canopy of trees in the middle of a rainforest and overcame the freaking coldness of the night. We've trekked in the evening and in dawn. We've smiled and laughed at our slips, falls, and rolls amidst all the mud, sweat, bites, scratches, sprains, and bruises. We've struggled against leeches and insects. We've survived the heavy rains and fog.  

The best place to spend the night in the middle of the jungle, used by some locals as shelters when they are out around this area harvesting ratan.
Cooking our breakfast in preparation for our longest trek yet. Breakfast in the cave XD

The hardest trek so far, mainly waking along and across rivers and  waterfalls.

The stunning view of small waterfalls flowing from Mt. Madjaas as seen from the Aklan side.

Aklan mountain ranges from on top of Mt. Madjaas.
The view of the town of Culasi, Antique from the trail of Mt. Madjaas; showcasing the islands of Mararison and Batbatan.
The view of Aklan mountain ranges from Maria Christina side of Madalag, the source of Timbaban river.
The view of Aklan mountain ranges from Panipiason side of Madalag, the source of Dumalaylay River
According to our guide, this is one of the summits of Mt. Madjaas.
Mossy forest in Mt. Madjaas
Stunning view Madjaas ridges all the way down to Culasi during our descent to Osorio via Alojipan trail.

Breathtaking view of sunset over Sulu sea

Mt. Madjaas summit is usually covered by clouds in the afternoon

We've immersed into the diverse cultures of our local guides and the communities we passed through. We've learned their dialects and ways and ate with them like a family as they treat us as their own.

Playing with the kids of our host family in Barangay Osorio, Culasi, Antique the next day after our descend from Mt. Madjaas.
Showing the photos of our hike to the kids, they're amazed and can't stop laughing :)



Leaving Barangay Osorio to Culasi

 And the best thing that happened to us is - we've found in nature the happiness that we deserve. 

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