August 4, 2009

Mt. Madia-as 2007 (First Major Climb)

Province: Culasi, Antique
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Flores, Culasi
Elevation: 2117m (HP - Panay Island)
Days required / Hours to summit: 3-4 days / 14 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 8/9, Trail class 1-4
Features: Open slopes, Mossy forest, Waterfalls, Highest Point

Some questions have been raised whether Mt. Madjaas (or Madja-as; Madia-as) is the highest or second highest in Panay, but for now it is recognized as the highest. And regardless of this dispute, Madja-as is certainly the mountain that makes Antique a truly rewarding destination for climbing.

Madjaas means 'mataas' in some local dialect, but in English it can suitably described as 'lofty' instead of just tall. This loftiness will definitely be felt in the summit which opens up to the view of Western Panay island and the surrounding seas, but it extends to the mossy forests of the mountain, in which several unique flora and found have been identified.

Mount Madia-as
by: Maningning

MT. MADJA-AS, the highest peak in the island of Panay, was first scaled by a team led by John M. Fortes of Philippine Airlines in January of 1977. In May of that year, Mt. Madja-as was assaulted by a group comprising of members of the Ilonggo Mountaineering Club, among others: the brothers Dodot and Vic Pison; Babes Galuego of the Provl. Governor's Office; Arch. Tony Sangrador; Pakit Mandar and Virgilio of the local DOT Office; and Negrense climber Ed Gatia.

The summit of Mt. Madja-as is 2,117 m above sea level. Its peak is always shrouded with clouds but the mountain can bee seen during clear weather and late afternoons. All year round Madja-as keeps its forest and vegetation evergreen with fourteen waterfalls around its base. Trekking to the summit one has to endure a 15-kilometer stony road leading up to a dry river bed; brave an improvised wooden and bamboo bridge over boulder-strewn river, hurdle numerous hills before reaching a village at its foot where the ascent actually starts; tightrope walk on a two-fool bridge floating on a sea of clouds; clamber up near-vertical slopes precariously holding on rocks, grasses and roots of trees on to more than a thousand feet above, contrive schemes like rubbing soap on pants, tucking in tobacco grains in socks to ward off leeches; be ready with a raincoat for heavy rains occurring anytime.

A journey to the mountains of Madja-as is an experience, a beautiful mountain scenery, different species of flora and fauna, rare orchids, pitcher plants, wild herbs, wild deer and boar, cloud rat, a bonsai forest looking neatly trimmed, a lagoon, and a rainforest that provides Madja-as a weather of its own.

More Pictures Here

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