May 26, 2012

Iloilo-Concepcion's Hidden Paradise, Southern Iloilo, Panay Island

Concepcion town is located at the southern part of Iloilo in Panay Island, Philippines. It can be reach through a private van or a public bus from Iloilo City, Roxas City and Kalibo for an approximately two hours drive. Major airlines has a regular flight schedule daily. A perfect combination of Island and Mountain escapades. Climb Mt. Manaphag's 600 meters above sea level and be amazed with the breathtaking view of the neighboring islets that this mountain can offer, and do not forget to taste thier local crabs and various sea foods that will for sure make you fell in love with the island.  Considered as the steppest mountain in the Philippines. As you climb vigorously, a rewarding-magnificent views will make your senses awaken plus the 180 degrees panoramic view of various pristine islets that lure's you for an island hopping escapades-take a refreshing dive or a snorkeling perhaps on a crystal clear blue water. You can follow the links below for more photo references. Below is my suggested itinerary for your convenience if you want to explore this hidden paradise in Panay Island. 

For more photos: follow these links below:

Day 1: In Iloilo Airport/Sea Port:
  • 7:00 AM: At Iloilo Port/Airport, taking a metered taxi would be a very convenient way & fast to reach Tagbak Terminal, estimated fare around 200-250 pesos. (please tell the driver to take via coastal road coz it faster)
  • 7:45 AM: At Tagbak Terminal, please find the orange bus HPQ Transit bound to Concepcion Town, fare is estimated at 100-150 pesos. Travel time is about 2 hours. (please take note that you need to catch up the 10AM passenger boat only trip to Tambaliza-foot of Mt. Manaphag fare is about 35 pesos one way. Other option is to charter a bangka for 1,500 pesos cruising along various islets.          
  • 9:45 AM: At Concepcion Town, you need to register at the Tourism office, no fees will be collected then buy your pack lunch at the market.
  • 10:00 AM: The passenger bangka depart to barangay Tambaliza, estimated travel time is 1 hour.
  • 11:00 AM: At barangay Tambaliza, the jump off to Mt. Manaphag. Rest for 30 minutes while waiting for a guide. Rooms available for rent at 500 pesos per fan room good for 4 persons at Barangay Kagawad's place. To those who would prefer to pitch a tent at the beachfront. You can pre-order your menu for the night, option would be "lambay/Crab and Fish for PHP 150 per kilo inclusive of cooking already.
  • 11:30 AM: Start trek-ascending to Mt. Manaphag- light pack with trail foods, water and camera-dont   forget. Clothing: must be long sleeves, a thorny trail because of the presence of so much wild rattan on the trail.
  • 02:30 PM: At Mt. Manaphag Peak including rest and picture taking along the trail.
  • 03:30 PM: Start descending, one stopover to taste thier fresh buko at the shoulder of Mt. Manaphag. You have the option to see a real eagle in one of the barangay during your decend. Then a coastal trek back to barangay Tambaliza.
  • 05:00 PM: Back to camp.
  • 07:00 PM: Socials at the beach front. Lights off at 9:00 pm.
Day 2: At barangay Tambaliza:

Option: To those who opt not to go with the island hopping. There is a bangka trip at 6am going to Concepcion town for Php 35.00 fare.
  • 06:30 AM: Breakfast, you can cook or you can order from the small resort, they charge very cheap price (Lutong bahay) owned by a Councelor of Tambaliza.
  • 07:30 AM: Break camp and start island hopping. Bangka is available for charter for Php1,500 pesos good for 10 to 15 persons.
  • 08:30 AM: First stop, Agho Islet
  • 09:30 AM: Second stop, The Sand Bar
  • 11:00 AM: Back at Concepcion town for lunch.
  • 12:00 NN: Heading back to Iloilo City via HPQ bus.
  • 02:30 PM: At Iloilo City

March 31, 2012

Cleaning UP Mt. Manunggal in Balamban, Cebu, Philippines

Mount Manunggal is a mountain located in Barangay Magsaysay in Balamban, Cebu and rises to a height of 1,003 meters above sea level. 
 It is the crash site of the presidential plane Pinatubo which carried and killed President Ramon Magsaysay and seventeen of his presidential staff and some news correspondents during that unforgettable event on March 17, 1957 where an annual trek is held to commemorate his death. 

It is accessible through many trails but the trail from Tagba-o and at Cantipla in Tabunan, Cebu City is the main route from which the yearly Pres. Ramon Magsaysay Death Anniversary Climb is held.
Mt. Manunggal is within the enclave of the Central Cebu National Park and is protected by Republic Act 8457, otherwise known as the “Central Cebu Protected Landscape Act”; which also covers the Mananga-Kotkot-Lusaran river system, the Sudlon National Park and the watersheds of Buhisan, Mananga and Lusaran. The trail to Mt. Manunggal from the jump-off point at the river that separates Cebu City from Balamban is quite steep and could be achieved in about four (4) to seven (7) hours for first-timers, depending upon your physical conditioning, and about two (2) to three (3) hours to those who are now very familiar with its terrain. The trail to Mt. Manunggal from Tagba-o is absent of forest canopies and wildlife and traverses through many upland farms planted with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, eggplants, cabbage, carrots, etc. It is wide enough to let two persons pass by each other at its narrowest part and there are no prominent barriers which impede movement save for the lack of shady areas to rest from the penetrating heat of the sun.

Water Resources abound within the foot of the mountain like rivers, springs and waterfalls and a cool spring near the camping site give visitors a respite from thirst which never falters in water volume even in extreme drought and the El Niño.

On the campsite is where the monument of Pres. Magsaysay is located and the cylinder block of the Pinatubo's main engine is housed to remind visitors of the historical value of Manunggal in Philippine history. A chapel is also erected nearby during the height of a communist insurgency in the '80s to guide the local inhabitants' spiritual yearning.(text source:
 Mt. Manunggal clean up is a yearly activity initiated by Cebu Mountaineering Society (CeMS) in coordination with the Local Government Unit of Balamban- a western town of Cebu. It was started seven years ago by Ramon Vidal and the team with just more or less seven (7) people who has the passion and the noble heart to take care the environment- the mountain-the mountaineer's playground. This is usually be done on the third week of March, a week after the annual Magsaysay climb. 
 This year's clean up were participated by the different mountaineering organizations in Cebu with the SK federation of Balamban Town. Various personalities and age bracket shall I say but united for one noble purpose. And this time it was not just seven people who has the passion to give their share in caring the environment but more than a hundred people who took timeout from their respective families just to join this activity.  
It was an awesome experience to give your share in this very little way to protect and preserve the environment for future generation. 
This year, we were able to accumulate 247 kilos of mixed trash, a bit lower than last year of 375 kilos. I myself has picked 7.7 kilos
I hope in our respective homes, we will educate our respective family members to be responsible with our garbage. We should teach them the proper waste management in our layman's term, because it will start always in our own home. 

Our heartfelt thanks to the Local Government of Balamban, especially to the SK federation who pledges our sumptuous pack lunch with so yummy lechon. We are so grateful for the support. To Sir Ramon Vidal and CeMS for making this activity a legend through the years that every mountaineer can be proud.

Some photos in this page were taken from Sir Ramon Vidal's facebook page. Thank you Sir Mon for the nice photos.