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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

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.

July 18, 2018

Pushing Through: Overcoming Mt. Baloy’s Challenges and Completing the Panay Trilogy

The Kinulitan trail of Mt. Baloy is a narrow path cut through the thick wild plants called ‘lagiwriws’ or ‘ragiwriws,’ which cover the entire area. The leaves are like of pandan plant but the branches are long, entangled, and crawling like vines. It offers a tremendously thrilling experience! The Kinulitan trail was established by AMSI (Antique Mountaineering Society Inc.) with Talahib Eco Trekeers and guides from Barangay Busog, Valderrama, Antique in 2015.

“We advise you not to go,“ said PSI Jose Nemias P. Pamplona, OIC of the Calinog Municipal Police Station. Exactly 3:00 in the afternoon of April 16, 2018 when we arrived at the station for log in. We were entertained first by an officer who asked for our IDs and recorded our personal information in a sheet of paper. Afterward, he brought us to the room of PSI Pamplona who was still out for an official business that time. With the use of a topographic map hanging on the wall of the office, he oriented us about the geographical location of the trail we will take to reach Mt. Baloy from Calinog side. He told us of the dangers ahead which at some point, made me think of backing out. The whole area is considered as a ‘hotspot'. While deciding to proceed or not, Sir Pamplona suddenly arrived. We shook hands and introduced ourselves as friends of the 20 hikers of Higher Grounds Mountaineers-Iloilo who did the same traverse two weeks ago headed by Sir Jay Plantinos. We showed to him the photo of the map provided to us by Sir Jay and explained to him our goals for the hike. He then continued the orientation and upon hearing his negative advise, I turned my head to Richard and consulted him. Richard said he wants to proceed and convinced me to drop the negativity. After a while, we told Sir Pamplona that it is unethical for us to abandon the hike prior to meeting our host in Karatagan and we wanted to assess the situation personally when we reach the jump-off point. He then wished us good luck and even joked to send his office a copy of the trail photos after our descent. That lightened up our mood.

July 10, 2018