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.
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.
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.
|leech on my backpack|
|flowers in Camp 2|
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