Panay Trilogy: Top 3 Highest and Difficult Mountains of Panay | rich'nritch.com

Panay Trilogy: Top 3 Highest and Difficult Mountains of Panay

The three mighty mountains of Panay
The 'Panay Trilogy'

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.

The West Panay Mountain Ranges are the series of mountain ranges stretching along the west coast of Panay Island, bordering the Provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo.
The West Panay Mountain Ranges are the series of mountain ranges stretching along the west coast of Panay Island, bordering the Provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo.

Here are the Panay Trilogy mountains:

Mt. Madjaas

The summit of Mt. Madjaas from the false peak.
The summit of Mt. Madjaas from the false peak.

Mt. Madjaas is a legendary mountain with a height of 2,117 meters above sea level. It’s the highest peak in Panay closely rivalled by Mt. Nangtud at 2,073 meters above sea level. It’s one of the tough mountains to climb but relatively easy among the three in the Trilogy if you take the Flores Trail. It’s located in Culasi, Antique but it’s ranges on the eastern side extend to Madalag, Aklan. The word ‘madjaas’ locally means ‘tall’ and its origin can also be traced from the story of the Ten Bornean Datus and the ancient “Confederation of Madjaas.” There are mythical stories about this mountain and the most famous I’ve heard from the local folks is that the mountain was a chunk of landmass created by the gods to cover an old great sea. This majestic mountain is home to diverse flora and fauna. The enchanting mossy forest on the trail will make you feel like your in a fantasy world of the movie Lord of the Rings or Hobbit. It’s also has scenic views of the coast of Antique that spans along the Sulu sea, nearby islands, neighboring mountain ranges, rivers and waterfalls.

There are three entry points going to Mt. Madjaas. The more established but long is the Flores Trail in Barangay Flores, Culasi, Antique composed of an old trail and new trail. The steep and open is the Alojipan Trail in Barangay Alojipan, Culasi, Antique. The most challenging is the Panipiason trail in Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan. While most mountaineers opt to hike Mt. Madjaas via Flores or Alojipan trails, it can be also accessed from Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan. The Panipiason trail is much long and difficult among the three but offers breathtaking view and exceptional experience for adventure-seekers. Apart from being tedious, the trail is so dense, passing through numerous mountain peaks, trekking along rivers and climbing on waterfalls. The trail was originally used by some residents of Panipiason to visit their relatives living in Osorio, Culasi, Antique in the past when there were no roads connecting Barangay Panipiason and Madalag’s town proper yet. People have to walk a day to reach Poblacion and to be able to travel to Antique. Nowadays, due to the availability of motorcycle in Panipiason, locals travel by road and only a handful of them know the said trail.

Full story of our hike to Mt. Madjaas: http://richnritch.com/2017/11/24/traversing-aklan-and-antique-three-day-hike-mt-madjaas-panipiason-madalag-uncovering

Mt. Nangtud

The EBJ peak and the summit of Mt. Nangtud
The EBJ peak and the summit of Mt. Nangtud

Mt. Nangtud is located few kilometers south of Madjaas in Barbaza, Antique. The dispute between Mt. Madjaas and Mt. Nangtud about being the highest mountain in the island of Panay has never seemed fully settled, however, most of the data point to Mt. Madjaas as the highest. With the height of 2,073 metres above sea level, it’s the second highest mountain in Panay but hiking this formidable mountain offers more challenges than it’s closest rival. 

The only jump-off is Barangay Lomboyan, Barbaza, Antique. Hiking Mt. Nangtud is tough and lengthy. The trail is long and mostly or half of it is open. The journey starts from sea-level across unpredictable wild rivers with strong currents, sheer cliffs and narrow ridges. The assault to the summit mainly involves ascends to mostly 80-85 degrees of steep mountain slopes wherein carrying a full-pack load can make it more dragging due to elevation and gravity pull. Despite of its trail difficulty, many hikers aspire of conquering it because of its rewarding views and unique features.

Full story of our hike to Mt. Nangtud: http://richnritch.com/2017/12/08/hiking-formidable-mt-nangtud-our-epic-hike-second-highest-mountain-panay-and-one-toughest

Mt. Baloy

Mt. Baloy Daku
Mt. Baloy Daku

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 1,958 meters above sea level, it’s the third 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. 

There are several trails to Mt. Baloy established by various mountaineering organizations in Panay. Mt. Baloy can be accessed from the barangays of San Agustin and Busog in Valderrama, Antique and in Aglunok, Calinog, Iloilo. The huge challenge of climbing Mt. Baloy is its remoteness. The trail of this elusive mountain is longer than that of Mt. Nangtud and it’s dense like Panipiason-Madjaas trail. The long approach to Mt. Baloy is extreme and lengthy but conquering the toughest mountain in Panay trilogy is undoubtedly a remarkable experience. 

Full story of our hike to Mt. Baloy: http://richnritch.com/2018/07/10/pushing-through-overcoming-mt-baloy’s-challenges-and-completing-panay-trilogy

The span of the West Panay Mountain Ranges separating Antique from Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo.
The span of the West Panay Mountain Ranges separating Antique from Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo.

In 2016, the IMC linked Mt. Madjaas to Mt. Nangtud. There are several mountaineers who already completed the Madjaas-Nangtud traverse which takes 8 days or more, one of them is Asanyas. In the summer of 2017, IMC completed the links between the three mountains. Thereafter, mid of the last week of October and early November 2017, the IMC did the historic traverse to the three mighty mountains of Panay in one go, completing the Trilogy traverse in a span of 16 days.

Completing the Panay Trilogy or traversing the three are both considered as ultimate mountaineering experiences that many mountaineers dream of achieving.

August 3, 2018

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