MT. IGCORON in Binangonan, Valderrama, Antique is definitely one of the most beautiful mountains I have climbed. Rising at an altitude of 437 meters, it stuns everyone who visits the town of Valderrama. Rice paddies adorn the jump-off point of the mountain. The saw toothed summit(s) and the 90 degree cliffs are the prominent features of the mountain.
It was unplanned. I never heard of Mt. Igcoron. I was a total stranger in the land I set foot on. I was in an official trip to Iloilo. I extended my trip to explore the province famous for the Kawa Hot Bath, which was the main reason of my trip.
A three hour trip from Iloilo took me to the capital of Antique. After asking some locals, I bumped in to the provincial tourism office in San Jose. It was 12 noon and I was thankful to "No Noonbreak" policy.
While inquiring about the spots in the province, I was fascinated by a picture of a saw toothed mountain named Mt. Igcoron in Valderrama. Mountains are my first love, so I exactly knew where to go. After many inquiries, I finally got to the tourism office of Valderrama in the span of 2 hours. There I met Chester Rene Regondon, who instructed me how to get to Mt. Igcoron.
VILLA VALDERRAMA RESORT
By 4pm, I was on a habal-habal with food supply bought from the local stores. We were heading to Villa Valderrama Mountain Resort. The resort is operated by the local government. It is a site famously visited by mountaineers and campers.
I explored the place alone like I own it. The trees are so tall. No one was around except one of the guards and a curious dog.
There's a swimming pool but I enjoyed more on the river.
I knocked at the guards quarter, there were 3 of them that time. They gave me a deck I requested for. We dined together and slept with a kerosene lamp.
When morning came, I woke up with the rain. Tolerating the drizzle, I headed to the swimming pool and took an early dip.
I wearily asked God why He let the rain pour down on my trekking day given the very clear weather the past day.
Then I met a guide named "AGI". Agi means gay in Hiligaynon, but he proved he's not.
The heaven was still shedding mists while Agi led me through the scenic rice paddies. Clouds blurred the beauteous mountain. White was all around. My heart was heavy as my eyes were deprived of the wonderful scenery.
When I started panting, the drizzle slowed down and the clouds were moving here and there and behold, the beautiful mountain unleashed its glory. The clouds, yes the clouds, complimented its beauty.
THE CLOUDS FURTHER BEAUTIFYING THE MOUNTAIN IS GOD'S ANSWER TO MY WEARY QUESTION... I then thanked Him for the rain!
We passed and crisscrossed through rivers and mini-falls...
STUNNING RICE TERRACES REALLY CAUGHT MY ATTENTION! I kept looking back at them while heading to the summit...
The steep open trail was really a dangerous challenge. In an hour and half, I found myself catwalking on the narrow ridge, moving up and down from summit to summit. An indescribable view kept me trailing along the 90degree ridge.
The highest summit pulled me like a magnet. Atop, the KING OF THE WORLD shouted in overwhelming joy!
Time moved so fast that I have to give up my kingship.
Before moving down, Agi led me to a cavern right at the neck of the highest summit. This has been a vertical bivouac to overnight hikers.
We trailed back down savoring every bit of Mt. Igcoron.
HOW TO GET THERE:
A. From Iloilo, take a bus to San Jose, Antique. Take a jeep to Valderrama. Tricycles and habalhabals can be hired to Binangonan (jump-off) or Villa Valderrama (if you want to stay overnight).
B. From Iloilo, take a bus direct to crossing ILaures. Take a tricycle to Valderrama. Tricycles and habalhabals can be hired to Binangonan (jump-off) or Villa Valderrama (if you want to stay overnight).
For registration and inquiries, please contact:
1. Mr. Tim Ledesma, Valderrama Tourism Officer (0917-507-5409)
2. Mr. Flord Calawag, Antique Provincial Tourism Office (0927-699-5727 / 0919-813-9893)
3. Ms. Jola Lyn Tingson, Antique Natural Tourism Program Head (0977-811-0017)
4. Mr. Mike Tiad, Villa Valderrama Nature Park Manager, (0926-314-6733)
Mountain Permit- P50.00 per head
Guide Fee- P500.00 for group of 5 and below