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Friday, April 17, 2015

MT. IGCORON IN VALDERRAMA, ANTIQUE: An Unexpected Trek

 

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.





When the night came, darkness devoured the whole place. Electricity was out. I was given a candle and I headed to the last room where I was assigned. I was alone in a very big building with many rooms. The silence was so creepy. Fear enveloped my whole system. Without much thinking, I grabbed my backpack and decided to join the guards at their quarter. I moved swiftly. When I was stepping down the staircase, I saw somebody holding a candle and imitating my motion and even my face. Every hair on my skin stood up. I jumped, skipped some cases with suppressed scream. Later, I found out there was just a giant mirror.

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.

After breakfast, I trekked to barangay proper to see a guide. The rain showered on me along the way.  



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 ASCENT

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...






The view became more and more stunning as we further ascended. 




 

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.





In a span of a half day, a wonderful stunning mountain was added to my list of conquered summits.

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)

Rates: 

Mountain Permit- P50.00 per head
Guide Fee- P500.00 for group of 5 and below

18 comments:

  1. thank you, bro. i will be glad to trek with you too...

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  2. Valderrama is my hometown.

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    Replies
    1. so lucky of you to be in that wonderful place...

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  3. Hi! Nice shots and commentary of our famed "Mt. Igcoron".. Would you mind if I replicate your pics to be posted in our town's FB page? Its a treat to share these wonderful pictures to our fellow Valderramanhons.. Credits to you for this amazing job! [BONG RIVERO III, Office of the Municipal Mayor, LGU-Valderrama, Antique]

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    Replies
    1. Sure, sure, Sir Bong.. It's an honor. Rako gid nga salamat...

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    2. I will highly appreciate if you would suggest some additional persons for the readers to contact when climbing to mt. igcoron. I'm also considering a repeat climb...

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  4. ThankYou for exploring the beautiful Mt. Igcoron & telling the world your story that made us appreciate the wonder of God's creation.

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    Replies
    1. A very beautiful mountain with a story worth telling about. Thanks too...

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  5. Im welling to go with you for your repeat climb..il be available on the first week of january. Just contact me at my email address firefox7421@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. thank you very much, firefox. looking forward to do another climb with you.

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  6. Hello, how much for the fee at the resort and the guide? Good read, btw :)

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  7. hi, karletchon. the resort charges P250 per pax per night. guide fee can be negotiable from P350-P500.
    enjoy your climb...

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  8. Hi..such a nice place...I guess the view nice for a pre wedding shoots..I like the place...anyone can be a tour guide.thank u

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    Replies
    1. hi, jen. it's a really nice place. for proper coordination, you may visit tourism office of valderrama. they can recommend you a tour guide. my guide was a local named "Agi". he has no contact number, but he is known in the area.

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  9. Hi Sir,

    Do you have any information of a local guide that can help us explore this beauty. We are planning to go there by this month.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Ron. Guides are available at the jump-off. For registration and other info, please contact: Mr. Tim Ledesma (Valderrama Tourism Officer) – 0917-507-5409. Hope this will help you...

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