|Sitting over the edge of a cliff.|
We started our trip on a cold Friday morning. It was raining hard and that got us even more excited. After buying some dried fish and some pork from the wet market, we went to the tricycle terminal to catch the second trip for the morning and waited for 5 more passengers before leaving the town of San Jose.
We reached Inabasan in less than 20 minutes and got off at the start of the dirt road going to Barangay Inabasan. The road was inaccessible even for tricycles due to the heavy rains for the past few days. We had no choice but to walk for a 1-2 kilometers before reaching the starting point for the hike. By then the three of us were already panting even though we were just warming up.
We rested for a few minutes and after quenching our thirst, we started with the real hike.
We asked for directions whenever we saw people from the low lands but when we reached the middle part of the mountain, we were on our own. We passed by springs, thick vegetation and rice terraces. It was a muddy hike and we went through rough terrain, navigating our way through dense forests, across bamboo bridges, muddy slopes, and rejuvenating streams of fresh flowing water. It was the ultimate adventure and it was really fun.
|Crossing an old bamboo bridge.|
We had lunch, slept for an hour and after regaining our strengths, we stocked up on water and asked Nong Edel or rather The Super Nong Edel, to guide us to the summit.
It really took us some time to reach the top because the path was relatively difficult to pass. We literally crawled up on some slopes, holding on to anything we saw for our dear lives. We went through hell! Aside from the slippery mud, we walked on terrain that had sharp cogon grass, barbed vines that scraped the skin off of your feet, dead tree trunks that easily broke off and slippery rocks. We crawled down steep slippery slopes while Super Nong Edel was literally whistling his way through the dense jungles of Sibalom. When we were on our last 20-30 steps from the summit, we ran and squealed like little kids.
From where we stood, we saw the great mountain ranges of Antique going north, the famous Mt. Madiaas (the tallest mountain in the Island of Panay) as well as a good 360 degree view of everything surrounding the mountain. The air was cold and there was fresh grass everywhere. To the west was the sea, glistening in the afternoon sun. It was something that we only saw in National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. The view was simply breathtaking. We felt like we were on top of the world. It was paradise!
|From where we are standing, one could see the town of San Jose.|
|This is the highest point of the mountain which can in fact be seen from San Jose's town plaza.|
When it was already dusk, we decided to hike back up to the campsite and call it a day. We washed ourselves and prepared for dinner. We stayed in a small hut a few meters from Nong Edel’s house.
While waiting for our food, we noticed a firefly fly past the door of our cottage. I went out and tried to catch it, but I was astounded when I saw hundreds of them hovering around a nearby tree. The view was magical. It was like Christmas. I saw 2 or 3 fireflies flying around the area before but never in swarms.
We had KBL for dinner, a classic recipe because of its main ingredients: kadyos (pigeon peas), baboy (pork), and langka (jackfruit). It was mouth-watering and was perfect for the weather and the place. The fire cooked rice was also delicious and complemented the taste of the fried fish tocino and home-made, salted eggs.
We slept at around 1 in the morning because it was raining real hard and water was dripping all over the place. We heard different animal noises around the cottage, including that of the goat living under our hut. What made it worse were the mosquitoes that were still persistent enough to find holes on our mosquito nets. The bites were tolerable and we dozed off when it got really cold.
|We had native chicken adobo for breakfast.|
|The small hut where we slept. It was especially cold during the night.|
The next morning, we woke up with freshly brewed coffee on our door step. Nothing beats the taste of kapeng barako on a cold morning. We had breakfast and after waiting for the heavy rain to stop, we had our traditional photograph taken with our host family. After a few shots, we expressed our gratitude to Nong Edel’s wife and his kids, said our goodbyes and went on our way with Nong Edel guiding us down the mountain.
It was a very memorable adventure and I sure wish that the next time we go back to the mountains, there will be more of us coming. The scratches, insect bites, mosquito bites and muscle pains are all worth it.
|Walking over slipper rocks|
|Washing the mud off at one of the small waterfalls.|
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|Brgy. Inabasan, Sibalom, Antique|