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

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

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The summit of Mt. Nausang

Tay Freddy, ma-ea-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-ea-pit eon lang, Ma’am, una eon 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.

The ranges of Mt. May-Ayo, the starting point of the trail to Mt. Maylomay.

I didn’t expect to experience it on my second hike in this mountain. April 2017, a week after the successful exploration of AMSI (Antique Mountaineering Society, Incorporated), when I first hiked Mt. Nausang (Mt. Maylomay). Sarah (a fellow hiker) and I were the second group and the first two Aklanons to summit the highest mountain in Aklan with an altitude of 1,464 MASL. Its summit is located in Barangay Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan and its ranges extend to Libacao, Aklan.

Some of the Photos of our hike in Mt. Nausang in April, 2017:

The view of Dumalaylay river
From left to right is Mt. Abobo, Mt. Ibunay, and Mt. Maga-so-eong, part of Panipiason mountain ranges.
The view of Agtughangin river in between Mt. May-Ayo and Mt. Maga-so-eong.
The view of Oyang, Libacao, Aklan and the Aklan River.
Locals carrying their abaca down to the village

 

Abaca is one of the main sources of livelihood in Panipiason

 

A sneak peek of Agtughangin falls from Mt. May-Ayo
Mt. Maylomay was named after this Lomay tree.
The vegetation and the fog are heavily thick when you are approaching the summit.
My fellow Aklanon hiker, Sarah, and our guides on the summit of Mt. Nausang.
Mt. Nausang's summit is covered with dense jungle and thick fog
One of the view decks of Mt. Nausang that we found few meters away from the summit.

Looking back, I planned to explore it in 2015 but the barangay captain didn’t permit me because the trail was inaccessible after typhoon Haiyan hit the area so I ended up hiking Mt. Maga-so-eong (the ranges above the Panipiason proper) traversing to the famous Agtughangin Falls.

The view of Mt. Maga-so-eong from Barangay Panipiason's plaza.

Some of the photos of my hike in Mt. Maga-so-eong in 2015:

The mountain is heavily covered by fog due to the typhoon.
Mt. May-Ayo is also covered by fog.

 

 

 

The abaca farmer's hut where we stayed for the night.

The dense forest on the other side of Mt. Maga-so-eong.
During our descent, we passed by this cassava plantation in the slopes of the mountain using kaingin system.

The view of Mt. Abobo
The famous Agtughangin Water Falls
The famous monkey bridge and Mt. Maga-so-eong in the background.

A day ago, jumping off from Oyang, Libacao, Ritchel and I tried to establish a trail going to Mt. Nausang. Gerry, our local guide, said that it’s not possible to hike the mountain from there because of the heavy obstacles. The trail has not been used for a long time and became more difficult after the typhoon. Thick vegetation, heavily-thorned plants, and logs were all over the path making it impossible to be cleared in a day or two. Unable to proceed, we descended from the mountains of Oyang and crossed to Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan. We decided to hike the pinnacle of Aklan in Panipiason. We arrived at the jump-off point in the afternoon hungry and exhausted after our failed Libacao exploration. We arranged our guides, had our lunch, and warmed up in preparation for our ascend. It’s my third time in the place and it still didn’t fail to amaze me. The views are scenic and the people are very warm.

Weighing our backpacks using a steelyard balance

 

 

 

 

The funny part was when one of the folks asked us where we’re heading and we said, “to Mt. Nausang”, he claimed there’s no such mountain in the village. We rephrased our answer and said, “to the highest mountain in Aklan”. Then he said, it’s name is Mt. Maylomay not Mt. Nausang. He explained further that ‘Nausang’ is the name of the stream flowing from the foot of Mt. Maylomay in Panipiason going to Libacao and down to Aklan River with its head meeting the peak of the Aklan’s highest mountain. It was mistakenly named ‘Mt. Nausang’ by a certain geological surveyor. His statements bewildered us so we started asking until tens of people and children were around us listening. Ritchel cracked some personal jokes and everyone laughs around. It was a fascinating scene!

With the friendly and accommodating people of Barangay Panipiason

It was past 5PM when we started to ascend. We decided to go for a night trek expecting to reach May-Irimnan campsite at 9PM. From there, it would be easy to reach the summit early in the morning. With limited batteries and no power banks, we turned off our smart phones. We’d been walking deep inside the jungle under the heavy downpour for long hours without monitoring the time. We were soaked and shivering by the time we arrived to the site. We swiftly set up our tarp shelter and tent. While I was preparing dinner, Ritch remembered to open her phone and checked the time. We were both shocked to know it was past midnight. Exhausted and cold, we managed to sleep after eating.

Stunning view of Panipiason mountain ranges during our ascend to Mt. Nausang

Looking at the mountain ranges of Aklan

The next day, we continued our hike to the summit. Though it was my second time, the path still amazes me. Going up was steep and covered by mossy forest. In the absence of view decks, the trail served as perfect scenery. We reached the summit at 9AM.

May-Irimnan Campsite

The trail up to the summit is covered by mossy forest.

On the summit of Mt. Nausang
The view deck is covered by thick fog

The fog was all over the area when we started our descent. We left the campsite at 11AM and touched down Panipiason proper at 8PM. It was an overwhelming joy and fulfillment to have hiked the highest mountain of our home province and seen it’s own treasures.

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