Mataudya Clean River and Seemingly Endless Mini-Waterfalls: Why Malay Is More Than Just Boracay | rich'nritch.com

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.
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.

In this blog, I am featuring the sheer beauty of mother nature at mainland Malay’s clean river, diverse forest, and scenic waterfalls all in one place called Sitio Mataudya in Brgy. Nabaoy. It’s obviously an off-the-beaten path but worth wandering into. Yes, “hidden” is the right adjective for this place; you can only see this paradise after you hike for several hours on mountain trails and rivers. I recommend this destination far more than just an alternative to Boracay. Besides, the island is presently closed for rehabilitation.

My favorite one among numerous cascading waters in Mataudya
My favorite one among numerous cascading waters in Mataudya

It was Labor Day last year (May 01, 2017) when I, together with two friends, Jaylord and Thed, and a guide, Tay Turuto, ventured out into the boundary of Malay and Buruanga. Jaylord had already explored the area once but had not gotten enough so he decided to accompany us. We started our hike at around six in the morning. I’ve learned from the big sign beside Nabaoy Elementary School that the area is part of the Northwest Panay Peninsula. It started off through forested cliffs with a couple of river crossings (if you opt to go downstream, you may pass through Narra Resort or Dapdap Resort and follow an upriver trail). After one hour of walk in the middle of the forest, I spotted some interesting plants and insects then snapped photos of them. That set my excitement. After two hours, we checked our mobile GPS and found out that we have already reached the boundary and from a vantage point, we could see the central part of Buruanga and its surrounding mountain ranges. Further up is an open area covered with thick wild ferns. It was exactly 10:00 AM when we reached an abandoned house where we took a rest while our guide picked some buko for us. After finishing our buko juice and had some snacks, we continued our hike.

With Jay and Thed in a wood bench made by locals as a resting spot
With Jay and Thed in a wood bench made by locals as a resting spot
Capturing early morning sun rays amidst forest trail
Capturing early morning sun rays amidst forest trail
These fall down from old huge trees looking like flowers
These fall down from old huge trees looking like flowers
Locally known as “katilog” abundant in forests and said to be poisonous
Locally known as “katilog” abundant in forests and said to be poisonous
A young native pineapple fruit sprouting from its host
A young native pineapple fruit sprouting from its host
Making a stop after two hours of hike to have a glimpse of Buruanga’s gorgeous vista
Making a stop after two hours of hike to have a glimpse of Buruanga’s gorgeous vista
Getting a closer view (as far as my camera lens can go) of Buruanga’s central part
Getting a closer view (as far as my camera lens can go) of Buruanga’s central part
This stick insect adapts with the color of its habitat
This stick insect adapts with the color of its habitat
An abandoned house situated near the intersection of Nabaoy and Mataudya rivers.
An abandoned house situated near the intersection of Nabaoy and Mataudya rivers.

Not too long after when we reached the intersection of Nabaoy and Mataudya rivers. We took some time there talking about the water sources and stretches of the two rivers. It was good to note that Nabaoy River is mainly part of Malay while Mataudya River is in the boundary of two towns. From that point, we walked along and onto the river. It was almost endless and surrounded by virgin forest. What mesmerized me the most that I didn’t miss taking photos of each of them were the seemingly endless mini-waterfalls and century-old trees. I also enjoyed walking onto the crystal clean river and picking up edible snails locally known as ‘banag.’ That was very surprising for me. I didn’t expect to see and experience such pristine beauty in the interiors of my own town. I regret not knowing about it early. I could have spent a lot of time hiking or camping there for several nights.

At my back is the starting point for river trekking in Mataudya side
At my back is the starting point for river trekking in Mataudya side
River trekking at Mataudya
River trekking at Mataudya is enjoyable because of this natural bounty that doesn't seem to run out
The first impressive mini-waterfall that would welcome you before they go unlimited
The first impressive mini-waterfall that would welcome you before they go unlimited.
A winding waterfall cascading over different levels of rocks
A winding waterfall cascading over different levels of rocks
This spot looks like a twin mini-waterfall
This spot looks like a twin mini-waterfall
Another beautiful spot of cascading water
Another beautiful spot of cascading water
This twin waterfall is the most inviting among all
This twin waterfall is the most inviting among all
Better to walk on through the middle than stepping on either of the two wide rocks covered with moss
Better to walk on through the middle than stepping on either of the two wide rocks covered with moss
Too much beauty and bounty in one place
Too much beauty and bounty in one place

Too much beauty and bounty in one place

Too much beauty and bounty in one place
Water massage, anyone?
One of the century-old trees standing firmly beside the river
One of the century-old trees standing firmly beside the river

 

A huge old trees that would mesmerize any hiker passing by.
One of the huge old trees that would mesmerize any hiker passing by.

 

This unique tree with twin trunks holds a canopy of leaves that look like an umbrella.
This unique tree with twin trunks holds a canopy of leaves that look like an umbrella.

 

Snail picking is fun and bringing it home for lunch the next day is something to look forward to.
Snail picking is fun and bringing it home for lunch the next day is something to look forward to

There were lots of bouldering along the way and the climbing up to circumvent small waterfalls. Approaching 12 noon when we reached the heart of the river. It’s a patch of land surrounded by water ideal for camping. We decided to take our lunch there so as to enjoy the tranquility and diversity of the place. Jay took charge of our packed lunch and the moment he took it out from his bag I was surprised because they were packed in wilted banana leaves. I excitedly opened one and I saw a handful of steamed rice with adobo chicken flakes on top. He told me it’s called ‘pastil’ which he copied from Maguindanaoan dish. It was my first time eating it and it was delicious. I finished two and in fact, a day later I craved for it. Thank you, Jay!

Pastel, a Maguindanaoan delicacy that satisfies my peculiar taste buds and hungry stomach.
Pastil, a Maguindanaoan delicacy that satisfies my peculiar taste buds and hungry stomach
Feasting over my pastil courtesy of Jaylord
Feasting over my pastil courtesy of Jaylord with Tay Turuto eating his own packed lunch beside me

It was just so timely that we’re already done with our lunch when we saw a snake skin on top of a wide rock. Continuing further, we spotted some more old big trees and waterfalls. More or less, we’ve walked onto 30 waterfalls. That’s quite fascinating! We walked on top and crawled under dead logs following the river until we reached the foot of another mountain. We scrambled over loose soil and clung on vines during our ascend.

Upon seeing this snake skin, I look around hoping to find the newly-dressed snake
Upon seeing this snake skin, I look around hoping to find the newly-dressed snake
This big centipede comfortably crawls on top of a wet rock
This big centipede comfortably crawls on top of a wet rock
An impressively straight tree at the heart of the forest
An impressively straight tree at the heart of the forest
A tall waterfall along the river trail
A tall slim waterfall along the river trail
A huge dead log blocking the trail so you have to either climb over or crawl under it.
A huge dead log blocking the trail so you have to either climb over or crawl under it
This thick vegetation welcomes you before ascending to Mt. Butong.
This thick vegetation welcomes you before ascending to Mt. Butong

On top of the mountain, we stepped on several marble stones and bumped into wild plants. They were interesting. Few minutes after 5PM when we successfully came out from the jungle and had a view of the entire Boracay Island. We also had a glimpse of the sunset before our descent. There was a huge rock along the way which I climbed up for a photo shoot. Exactly 6PM when we stopped as Tay Turuto opened some buko for us on trail. That quenched our thirsts. Around 8PM when we finally finished the hike and reached our guide’s house. We divided the snails before I headed home. I walked to my house that night very happy and fulfilled especially after giving the snails to my mother.

This big hole in an old tree is a bunk for wild rats according to our guide
This big hole in an old tree is a bunk for wild rats according to our guide
One of the many marbles we stepped onto in Mt. Botong
One of the many marbles we stepped onto in Mt. Botong
The fleeting sight of sunset during our descent
The fleeting sight of sunset during our descent
Finally, we’re out from the forest and this viewpoint showcases Boracay and Romblon islands.
Finally, we’re out from the forest and this viewpoint showcases Boracay and Romblon islands.
The view of a nearby mountain located in Buruanga
The view of a nearby mountain located in Buruanga
Trying to scale a steep interesting cliff beside the trail
Trying to scale a steep interesting cliff beside the trail
After drinking the juice, it’s time to scrape the buko for a perfect snack
After drinking the juice, it’s time to scrape the buko for a perfect snack.
Watching sunset is always my favorite part of the day
Watching sunset is always my favorite part of the day

 This amazing picturesque Mataudya is the perfect trip to get off the beaten path and see 30 or more mini-waterfalls in without crowds.  

August 20, 2018

About the Author

ritchel's picture
Ritch is a teacher who works full-time on weekdays, travels around Panay on weekends, and visits several provinces in the Philippines and countries abroad in summer. She loves random weekend nature trips, community immersion, and native coffee. Her mantra is "travel and learn." Hiking mountains has long been her favorite recreational activity and reaching out to indigenous people has took her to different places across regions. During her free time, she enjoys writing about her trips and share them to her students online. She is a Tourism Promotion Services NCII holder and commits herself to promoting great about each place she visits, from it's beautiful people to amazing destinations and attractions.

 

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