By: Richard R. Cahilig
It was 8AM in Sitio Mananggad, Barangay Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan when we started preparing our loads for our hike to Mt. Madjaas in Antique on the same day. It is the highlight of our seven-day exploration so far and the toughest. We’ve traveled from Libacao, crossed the border to Madalag, and hiked the highest mountain in Aklan for the past two days. Spending a night with the people of Panipiason was a heartwarming experience for us. Their warmth and humility deeply touched us. As we were preparing to set-out, one of our guides anxiously told us that he’s not sure if we can cross the rivers today because of the downpour last night. The rivers are unpredictable when it rains. He asked us to think again whether to proceed or not. Persistent with our journey, we decided to continue.
My childhood was filled with outdoors and adventures. I grew up in the highlands and as a kid, the mountains served as my playground. Hiking Mt. Madjaas was a dream to me back then. Going to school, I would always look up to it and wish that I can climb it someday. It was last year when