An Adventure Trek to Balaan Bukid in Iloilo
Balaan Bukid, or Sacred Mountain in the Hiligaynon dialect of Panay, is located right at the tip of a short peninsula called Bondulan Point that juts into the Iloilo Strait and serves as the gateway into the Iloilo Harbor. Specifically, it is situated in Barangay Hoskyn, which is approximately 3 kilometers from the capital town of Jordan in Guimaras. Even though it is 3 kilometers across the strait, Balaan Bukid has indelibly marked its towering presence in the Iloilo cityscape.
Atop Balaan Bukid is the Ave Maria Purisima Shrine which is has a small chapel and is marked by a giant white cross that is visible all throughout the province. This vantage point offers a scenic view of Iloilo city from across the Iloilo Strait. The shrine is a pilgrimage site for Catholic devotees especially during the Lenten Season when a local version of the Passion of Christ, called Ang Pagtaltal sa Guimaras is performed.
Climbing Balaan Bukid has become an Ilonggo way of life and its difficult to find someone in Iloilo City who has not hiked to its peak in his life. If you are looking for an outdoor adventure this coming Holy Week, it would be an excellent idea to join pilgrims and locals in a trekking expedition to Balaan Bukid. You dont need any permits to climb the Sacred Mountain but if you are traveling with a buddy or your loved one, allow at least P500.00 expense money, most of which you will be spending for transportation and food for your daytime trip. Brush away your apprehension because there are convenience stores on your way to the top and dont forget to wear your favorite sunblock.
Start your trip at daybreak. From your hotel in Iloilo, take a ferryboat at the Aduana Port or any of the big outrigger boats at the Ortiz Port bound for Jordan Port in Barangay Rizal. From there you can take a tricycleor if you feel like it, you can start your trek to Barangay Hoskyn where you can take a short rest and purchase food and water for your climb to the Balaan Bukid summit. The 45 minutes that it will take to ascend to the summit will be a bit rough but not too difficult going if youre in shape. Along the way, take note of the 14 Stations of the Cross strategically laid out along your way to the top.
By mid-morning, you should already have reached the summit saying a little prayer of thanks in the chapel for a safe journey after which, you will pick a nice spot to enjoy the breathtaking view of Iloilo City down below.