August 28, 2009
Mt. Manaphag (Pan de Azucar)
by: Singarong Backpackers
Mount Manaphag is situated in Pan de Azucar (also the other name for the peak), an island which could be reached by a pumpboat in 45 minutes from Concepcion town in Iloilo province. With white-sand beaches, spectacular crags and verdant hills, Pan de Azucar Is. belongs to a string of small scenic islands dotting the northeastern coast of Iloilo.
With an estimated elevation of 2,900 ft. ASL, Mt. Manaphag is a relatively low peak. However, it possesses two remarkable features - its spectacular crags and very steep incline. Perhaps the steepest peak in the country, Mt. Manaphag flaunts of slopes ranging from 60 to 90 degrees.
According to legend, a giant named Toya used to inhabit the summit of Manaphag. Toya takes a bath in a lagoon on the summit, using for a scoop the shell of a gigantic manlot or clam. As modern man seeks ways to to distinguish the facts and fictions in a myth, testimonies abound, either negating or upholding, some elements in the Manaphag legend. Based on the observations of many climbers who had reached the summit, the peak of Manaphag is very narrow to be able to sustain a lagoon of a size. However, some sources adamantly maintain the belief for the existence of the lagoon, found in a sizable tract of flat ground slightly below the summit in the northwestern side. As to the presence of a giant manlot, one version has it that the manlot is merely a rock with the rough semblance of the real thing. A contrasting view holds it however to be a real oyster; allegedly, it was taken out for its pearl aboard a helicopter a couple of decades ago.
Another thorny issue about Manaphag is the standing claim that it is an extinct volcano. A steep cone resembling the hard core of a long eroded volcano, it naturally perpetuates the notion of the common folks who consider it as a kulob nga bulkan or inverted volcano - whatever that means. At any rate, the dominant rock of Manaphag is dalepe or sedimentary rock - not igneous or volcanic. Whatever is true, only the experts could tell with authority.