Watch: Traversing Iloilo and Antique, climbing the elusive Mt. Baloy, and completing the Panay Trilogy | rich'nritch.com

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

“The experienced mountain climber is not intimidated by a mountain - he is inspired by it. The persistent winner is not discouraged by a problem - he is challenged by it. Mountains are created to be conquered; adversities are designed to be defeated; problems are sent to be solved. It is better to master one mountain than a thousand foothills.”

― William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994, Author

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.

After hours of walking through a dense jungle, we took a quick rest on a makeshift camp called Hinawanan Camp near Mt. Hinagdung. The camp was made by Higher Grounds Mountaineers - Iloilo during their Holy Week climb to Mt. Baloy more than two weeks ago.
After hours of walking through a dense jungle, we took a quick rest on a makeshift camp called Hinawanan Camp near Mt. Hinagdung. The camp was made by Higher Grounds Mountaineers - Iloilo during their Holy Week climb to Mt. Baloy more than two weeks ago.

Makapagpahinga nga muna kahit panandalian. Mukhang di ko kakayanin ang tuloy-tuloy na lakaran dahil sa sobrang bigat ng aking mga dala. Hindi pa kami nangangalahati at malayo-layo pa ang aming kailangang lakbayin. 

"Mauna ka na at susunod ako sa'yo mamaya-maya," sabi ko sa aking kasama habang tinatanggal ang strap ng aking backpack na tila nakabaon na sa aking mga balikat. 

Inilapag ko ng marahan ang mabigat na backpack na aking binubuhat at pinagmasdan ang kagandahan ng kapaligiran. Sobrang ginhawa ang aking nadarama habang nilalaliman ko ang aking paghinga. Ang malamig na hangin ng kagubatan ay ramdam ko habang pumapasok sa aking katawan.

Sinulit ko ang bawat sandali pero teka, kailangan ko na palang magmadali. Kailangan ipagpatuloy ang paglalakbay kasi yung kasama ko sa unahan ay tiyak na kanina pa nag-aantay.

Maraming beses kaming naglakad-nagpahinga pero hindi kami huminto. Natapos namin ang paglalakbay sa loob ng labinlimang oras mula sa Karatagan, Calinog, Iloilo hanggang Busog, Valderrama, Antique. 

As we go deep into the wilderness, I remember our last year's traverse from Aklan and Antique and I must say, the scenery is almost similar. We followed our guide as we continue walking in the darkness of the night with our headlamps on. We walked for almost 15 hours from Karatagatan, Calinog, Iloilo to Busog, Valderrama, Antique, traversing the two provinces. We left Karatagan at 8:03 AM to Sitio Agtuhay with Tay Radnie. He then turned us over to Rodel who guided us to DENR Nursery and passed us to our next guide, Jan-Jan, going to Busog. We reached the house of his father, Tay Rogelio, in Busog at 12:06 AM. It was pretty much of a struggle. We were welcomed by our guide's family and prepared us dinner. We spent the night in Busog and decided to continue our hike to Mt. Baloy at 12:03 PM the next day.

This was not the original plan. We were supposed to hike Mt. Baloy via Higher Grounds Mountaineers - Iloilo's Tarzan Trail but due to the unavailability of the guides in Brgy. Aglunok, we continued our journey to Brgy. Busog and started from there.

We successfully conquered Mt. Baloy on the third day of our hike. Hitting the trails of Mt. Baloy gave us a euphoric feeling. Mt. Baloy is a remote mountain located deep inside the Central Panay Peninsula. It sits on the border between the three provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, and Antique. With a height of 1958 meters above sea level, it’s the 3rd highest and also the most difficult mountain among Panay’s Trilogy. Its dense forest and isolation make it very hard to conquer in the early 1990’s. 

It took us three and a half day of actual hike to complete our traverse from Calinog, Iloilo to Valderrama, Antique and hike Mt. Baloy. We spent a total of 5 days and 4 nights to complete our journey. Indeed, climbing Mt. Baloy and completing the Panay Trilogy at the same time is a memorable and remarkable experience.

Read: Full story of our climb here: Pushing Through: Overcoming Mt. Baloy’s Challenges and Completing the Panay Trilogy

About the Author

richard's picture
Rich is a former Systems Administrator who left his job abroad in 2016 and spontaneously went backpacking in Israel and all ASEAN countries for more than 7 months before he headed home back to Philippines. He loves history, culture, geography, photography, and explorations. While traveling, he keeps a digital journal of his experiences and make interesting stories out of them. Often, you can see him driving his scooter around remote areas in Panay searching for new mountains to scale. Traveling made him realized that travel writing is his passion. Now, he spends most of his time blogging and managing our website. He is a Tourism Promotion Services NCII holder and finds pleasure in supporting local eco-tourism.

 

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