This is the second part of the long weekend series, the first one, being in Malumpati Cold Spring in Pandan, Antique.
And so after a cool dip in Malumpati, we traveled back to the heart of Antique. Specifically, in town of Culasi. We had our tricycle drivers picked us up to the main road and took the bus for three hours from Pandan.
The next stop was Malalison (Mararison) Island in Culasi, Antique. Also nicknamed as the Batanes of the Visayas, it is a good mix of serene seascape on one side and beautiful mountains on the other. If you are a beachbum who also loves hiking, then this place is for you!
We booked two rooms at Anna Sophie Hostel which gives one the magnificent views of Mt. Madia-as, the highest peak in Panay Island. According to myth, this is the home of the Visayan deities. I had read about this story back in college, and not quite surprising, the locals believe the peak is enchanting. Hiking here is currently restricted due to landslides brought about by the unpredictable weather in this mountainous area. I mean, the queen of the mountains in this island.
We were told that it will take at least 3 days for an expert mountaineer to reached the upper part of Mt. Madia-as, though making it to the summit was made impossible by the crevasses that’s prone to flooding even with very little rain. Friends and I were looking at each other, and it was like saying, “yeah… it will take us a month”.
Here’s that magnificent beauty as I saw from the hostel’s window. Ladies and gents…. Mt. Madia-as.
After the mandatory rest period… and the rain… we went out. Across the street, about two blocks away, we excitedly snapped photos of destination number 2: Malalison Island (translated as prodigal).
What a great beauty she is!
We took a night’s stroll in downtown Culasi and was excited for the island trip the next morning. We were scheduled to leave the hotel at 6AM. (The boats were also arranged by them, you just have to find a guide to tour the island which is not very difficult, but comes with a fee, of course).
It would take 15 minutes to reach the beautiful Malalison Island. The small boat we took can carry 4 passengers and the water was so clear you can see the corals as you cross. Malalison Island is a marine sanctuary, and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to.
The island is even more beautiful up close. It was still early when we arrived.
But here’s what she looks in midday! There must be a reason this is mein Mann’s favorite island getaway, right?
When we arrived, we were surprised by the number or campers and tents that greeted us by the shoreline. Upon arrival, you will also have to pay an environmental fee of 10 pesos. The locals are very friendly and obviously used to seeing visitors.
Some sights by the shoreline…
The clouds can get too close here, too..
And of course..who wouldn’t enjoy the serene sea…
As previously mentioned, Malalison Island is not just for beach lovers but for hikers as well.
Of course, to take advantage of what it can offer, you can either swim first and hike later, or the other way around.
Situated in the middle of the Visayan sea, majority of the areas here have no shade, except for the small trees planted by the community on their backyards and by the shore. Be sure to have your sunblock handy.
Along the way, you’ll get to see some things like this:
or maybe this..
of course, this…
As a reward for catching your breath along the trails, expect to see the following:
And yes, you’ll be walking by the cliff in Malalison… it may be like this..
The port of Malalison as seen from above…
The town of Culasi as seen from the top of Malalison…
It would take about 2 hours to finish the trek, but we decided to take it slow and kept snapping photos of the very beautiful view around.
Trekking in Malalison Island was great. The sad thing was, irresponsible tourists who come and think they can help the locals by just giving them livelihood throw trash at the peak, or along the way, perhaps thinking the locals can pick after them at all times.
Where is your favorite long weekend escape?