This is a guest post from Hencynt Soria.
Let’s start with this: “Traveling is fulfillment and traveling is happiness,” a lesson I learned from the adventures I have joined in. Igbaras is one of the towns in Iloilo. I cannot say anything about the place for I do not have any idea about the people and what they have to offer. Until the time when I had discovered their hidden gems.
We considered this venture as our 1st year anniversary as Happy Campers (that’s what we call ourselves) since we started traveling to Igbaras (Mt. Napulak) last april 2016. We considered this as an escape from the workloads and stress brought about by reality. Now I’m going to share what we had in Igcabugao, Igbaras.
Weeks prior, one of my friends contacted the local tour guide in the place, Nong Murot (+639269270903). We had to make sure everything was fixed especially our safety since rumors of rebels are spreading all throughout the country.
Thanks to the Big Boss up there, the place was considered safe as Nong Murot’s wife stated. Moreover, she added that we had to go there as early as 6 am for us to avoid the blazing heat of the sun.
Food and Water! That’s what we needed. You have to plan what will you prepare. Not too heavy nor light, just enough since you will be traveling by foot and with your own weight. So as early as 4 in the morning, we went to Super, a wet market in Iloilo, to take the jeepney to Igbaras.
It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to travel to Igbaras for 50 pesos only. From the town proper we had to ride a habal habal that cost 150 pesos. Another friendly advice is to choose a driver who is well acquainted with the road going to Igcabugao since the way up can be rocky, steep and for first timers, nerve-breaking. You can contact Sir Noli, motorcycle driver in +639357902614.
The drivers will lead you directly to Nong Murot’s house where you will register and be given a short amount of time to prepare. You can safely leave your things at the bamboo hut provided for trekkers where you can also stay overnight. Make sure you only bring what is necessary (Sun block! I swear!). Since everybody is ready at 7:30 am, we started escaping the routine.
Everybody was excited to witness what they had seen in the web. You must have the energy, patience and most of all the hype of an adventurer in order to witness Igcabugao’s pride.
Going to the planned spots was never easy. You have to be mentally and physically ready on the challenges prepared for you. As we were talking to the guide, he said that we had to climb mountains, cross 5 rivers, walk long trails, and slide on soft soil. Of course some of us experienced palpitations and all of us needed to catch our breath. But you know what slowed us down?
We were captivated by the soul of Mother Earth. Unknowingly, those hurdles we encountered made us one with Nature. We were embraced by the sceneries She portrayed and made us realized that we are only a speck in this vast and marvelous world. Indeed, 4 hours of hiking was exhausting yet the spirit inspired us to seek for more adventures.
At last! The most anticipated waterfall, Guiritsan, had shown itself (11AM), waiting to be discovered and explored. If it’s summer season, do not expect for overflowing water. According to Nong Murot, during rainy seasons, the stone at the back of the water can’t be seen.
What’s more interesting is that the water is very cold despite the scorching heat emitted by the sun. The guide said that the water is 10 meters deep, so if you don’t know how to swim, there’s a specific spot in where you can still take pleasure in its coolness.
The most awaited part of the trip is the food. In every strenuous travel we have, we really appreciate the flavor of the food we bring. With a combination of the sound of the waterfall, chirping birds, and the music of the trees, nothing can compete with its taste even the fancy restaurants you have entered. In short, Gutom lang po kami!
Another waterfall we had visited was the enormous, Iglibog falls. Hidden behind huge rocks, which at first I thought was a cave, lies Iglibog falls. I must say that this is one of the falls I’ve seen with very strong current with respect to the season.
By 3 in the afternoon, we went back to our base. We had to freshen up and prepare ourselves to go home. Nong Murot’s wife, Nang Diding, prepared banana cue and a freezing cold 1.5-liter Coke which instantly quenched our thirst for only, for only 200 pesos.
We took the habal-habal again to get back to town. And of course, you had to close your eyes when you go down since the road is breathtaking and expect a bumpy ride. By 5 in the afternoon, we were back to the city of love, Iloilo.
Some people say we are crazy for spending what supposed to be our rest time, tiring ourselves with conquering mountains . Nevertheless, it’s a worthy sacrifice. Your body is drained, your mind is tired, yet your spirit is fulfilled. You have been prepared again by Nature for the complexities of life. Yes, definitely! We are crazy for making ourselves overjoyed.
To summarize our expenses, we paid P700 for the tour guide ,P20 each for the environmental fee, and P50 each for day use of the bamboo hut.