Mt. Manaphag in Iloilo - Philippines
Mount Manaphag is located in the Pan de Azucar (which is also the other name for mountain), an island which can only be reached by a pump boat in forty-five minutes from the town of Concepcion in Iloilo province. With white-sand beaches, astonishing crags and hills, the Pan de Azucar Island is only one of the strings of small islands that are located in the northeastern coast of Iloilo. With an elevation of 2,900 above sea level, Mt. Manaphag can be considered a low peak. But it possess to interesting features-its outstanding crags and a steep incline. Perhaps the steepest peak in the Philippines, Mt. Manaphag features slopes ranging from sixty to ninety degrees.
According to the legend, a giant named Toya, used to live in the summit of Mt. Manaphag. Toya takes a bath in a lagoon on the summit of the mountain using the shell of giant clam to scoop the water. But based on the observations of the climbers who have reached the summit of Mt. Manaphag, the peak of the mountain is very narrow to be able to accommodate a lagoon. But some natives still believe about the existence of the lagoon, due to a sizable piece of flat ground in the northwestern side of the summit. Another issue about Manaphag is the claim that it is an extinct volcano.
A steep cone that resembles the hardened core of a long extinct volcano, it naturally supports the belief of some of the local people who consider Manaphag as an inverted volcano. But the rock of Manaphag is sedimentary rock, not a volcanic rock so this belief is also dubious. When the MFPI Yearly Congress and Climb for 2000 was held in Guimaras Island, Mt. Manaphag was picked for one of the side-strips of some its delegates. This is the first instance that Mt. Manaphag was introduced to mountaineering enthusiasts across the Philippines.
In any case, Mt. Manaphag has long been an important peak for mountaineers that are living in Negros and Panay islands. Carved on trees on the summit of Mt. Manaphag are the initials AMS and USAMS. It is not usually allowed to advertise on the summit, the mountaineering club of Iloilo must have included the mountain on its itinerary. For its part, a Negros mountaineering club (Negros Mountaineering Club) climbed Manaphag in December 2000.
So far, the only trail to the summit of Mt. Manaphag is the Ponting trail. This mountain trail starts from the beach of Barrio Ponting east of the island, then climbs westward on a gentle slope that has a lot of rubble in the open sky and climaxes in the sixty-five to eighty degree angle of the northern island. At least two to three days are needed to complete the Mt. Manaphag climbed, not counting the time that are allotted to land and leave the island.
All mountaineers are also advice to watch out for the unbearable heat of the sun on the rock-strewn 1st phase and the steep angle of the 2nd phase of the climb. Relieving the difficulty of the climb in the Ponting Trail is a water source and campsite areas at the Northridge were climbers can rest for a while. For awe inspiring sceneries, a lot of vantage points feature vistas of awe inspiring crags in Pan de Azucar as well as the view of the other islands.
Sadly, the forest of molave and other woods in the mountain have lost some of its density. But the best resource that Manaphag can offer is the hospitality of its locals that are living in Ponting, Looc, Tambaliza and Makatunaw. Mt. Manaphag also offers a good venue for big-wall climbing enthusiasts. Manaphags East and South Face are very inviting to a serious rock climber. Mountain climbing enthusiasts will surely love Mt. Manaphag.