Deciding to join a Holy Week Climb in Mt. Madja-as was easy. Climbing the mountain is another story.
With an elevation of 2,177 meters above sea level, Mt. Madja-as makes the tallest mountain in Panay, and the second tallest mountain in Visayas following Mt. Canlaon. Located in Culasi, Antique, this mountain is quoted by some as the most challenging climbs in the Visayan islands.
I was so excited the moment I purchased my ticket bound for Iloilo. I never been to this place, but I heard a lot of great things about it. I text Kuya Jahbert regarding what to expect on Mt. Madja-as. Since he had been there last December 2011, he’s the best guy to ask questions about this majestic mountain. A second later, (Hardcore, and a lot of leech) a reply from him got me thinking, and doubt if I can make it to the summit. On the second thought, I already bought my ticket. There’s no turning back. Next thing I knew, I was packing my bag for the the climb.
We leave Cebu around 6PM, and arrived in Iloilo port around 8AM the next day. It was a long trip, but the good thing about it, is I got to meet a couple of climber on the boat. The bad thing about it, I forgot their names. I’m really bad at names. 😦 Well anyway, upon arrival, we decided to buy a ticket going back to Cebu, just to avoid getting stranded.
Since we haven’t had our breakfast that morning, we decided to eat in a carenderia just outside Iloilo port. Afterwards, we hired a taxi going to Iloilo V-hire Terminal. As far as I know, Iloilo has a separate terminal for their buses.
We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Sumanting from Tourism Office when we arrived in Culasi. A good-natured and hospitable that he is, he invited us into his office to sign some papers, and let us relax for a little. A 4-hour ride can be exhausting sometimes.
Since we arrived in Culasi at lunch time, we decided to have our lunch. This dish is the specialty of Culasi, which you can see in every eatery in the area. Can you guess what’s on this dish? 🙂 Fine then, the main ingredient of this dish is SHARK! Yeah, that’s right. The taste? Taste like tuna. This cost P25 per serving.
Have I told you that we forgot to buy a butane in Iloilo? The moment we jump inside the v-hire, we told our driver to pass by a Mall in San Jose so we could buy a butane. The problem is, our driver take a different route. When we checked my print-out map, we’re way too far from the mall. When we communicate with Mr. Sumanting, he mention someone selling a butane in Culasi. But when we get there, we realize that the butane he’s talking about is different from the butane we’re commonly using. We take the risk and sacrifice a little of our time to ask someone to buy a butane in San Jose, which is a 2-hour drive from Culasi. We pretty much don’t have a choice. We couldn’t push through with the climb without the butane. How the hell are we going to cook our food without the butane? We waited until 8PM, which means we’re already 1 day delay of our itinerary.
We arrived at our jump-off point in Brgy. Alojipan around 9PM. By then, we all decided to push through and night trekked our way to the forest line. We were thinking of chasing our itinerary. We break camp early the next day, around 5am, and start trekking towards Camp 1. There were few open trails, but since we started trekking early, we were able to avoid the heat of the sun.
|leech on my backpack
Leech is very abundant in Mt. Madja-as. So if your planning to conquer this majestic mountain, I suggest you wear a leggings, an arm guard/warmer and a pair of gloves. Thinking back, even wearing all these things didn’t spare me with the leeches. A couple of leech find their way to my nape. So disgusting. I really hate it, even though they look cool with their rasta colors.
|flowers in Camp 2
After pitching up our tents in camp 1, we tried to summit Mt. Madja-as. We left all our belongings in the camp, and just bring with us our lunch and a handful of trail food. We believe we can do it. We’ll be able to go back at the camp before midnight. But the trail going to Camp 2 was telling us that pushing to the summit is impossible. We pass through a knife edge ridge, that with just wrong move, you’ll gonna be saying goodbye to the world. There’s no trees which you can hold on to for balance. I was about to back-out by then, but most of my friends are so persistent in getting to the summit. So I tried to catch up with them, asking one of my friend to hold my hand as I cross the ridge. We arrived at camp 2 around 3PM. Our guide told us that it’ll take another 2-3hours to summit Mt. Madja-as. If we push through, we could arrived at the peak around 5PM or 6PM the most. Thinking back of the trail we went through, it’ll impossible to be back in camp 1 before midnight. It will also be very dangerous on our part to cross the knife-edge ridge at night. Right there and then, we decided to backtrack our way to camp 1 and call it a day.
Going back to camp 1 was difficult. We were blown by strong winds when we pass through the knife-edge ridge. Thank God we are all safe and was back in camp 1 around 6PM. We hit the sack early, so we could rest our worn out body.
We started to backtrack our way to Brgy. Alojipan the next day. Since we arrived early in Alojipan, we all went to the river to enjoy the clear cold water. A few minutes later, we find our way back to Culasi to catch a boat to Malalison Island.
Here’s a video from our climb. Enjoy!
Check out my other adventures in Antique:
* Culasi, Antique | Mt. Madja-as Climb Video
* Culasi, Antique | Exploring Malalison Island
* Mt. Madja-as | Climb Itinerary