Mar 26, 2011

Balaan Bukid Trek: A Road of Pilgrimage

Other destinations of my Iloilo trip 2011:
Trappist Monastery
Mt. Taripis Dayhike

Balaan Bukid viewpoint overlooking Iloilo City

One of the highlights of my Iloilo trip is a visit to Guimaras’ highest point… Balaan Bukid in Jordan. Rising at nearly 160+ meters above sea level it affords one a view of the Iloilo City and the Iloilo strait in between.

Balaan Bukid is a famous pilgrimage for devotees across Panay…it’s their version of Mt. Banahaw of Luzon. The road to the top is adorned with Stations of the Cross, beginning at the jumpoff point. We were told by locals that the trail can get congested during the Holy Week.

After we were dropped off by the tricycle to the jumpoff, we repacked our things and bought several supplies. During that time a mango peddler offered the fruit for P30 a kilo. We all know that Guimaras is famous for their sweet mango plantation. I would’ve bought a kilo had he offered it later when we got down.

the road is not paved...

The road trek is a fairly easy one. A fast-paced hiker can reach the top in 10minutes while a leisurely trek depends on the comfortable pace of the hikers.

From the jumpoff point it is a trek on a cemented road with varying elevations. The trail gradually changes to rocky brown soil. It's also marked by the 15 stations of the cross (trivia for me since I initially thought there's just 12, lols).

first station

2nd station

3rd station

Obviously the 6th. =P

lookit! just like a sidewinding snake

felt like i'm on a different dimension

it's the 9th.... we're almost there! (methinks it's till 12th only)

so near.... yet so far!

the 10th
i happen to like this tree
mystical trail

we there yet?

not quite... but who would mind?

eeerrr we go.... one moar!

wtf? another turn?

oooowwww. red land...

12th. This it?

At nearing the summit/highest point, the trail is made up of loose rocks. I was careful on the descent of this trail as it is really slippery. There’s also toilet at the rest stop before the final summit trek. At this location, a large cross from afar is visible by now. 

huge tree

this is it!

A few meters before the summit is a viewpoint to the right, marked by 3 wooden cross. The trail is now made up of sharp rocks.

3 wooden cross

Finally, the chapel became visible after a few minutes from the viewpoint, and after the 15th station. There were cemented steps leading to the chapel. To my right is the large cross, but there’s a fence with “no entry” signage on it. 

getting closer....

omigosh there's a 13th?

and the 14th....

view of the port

rocky trail

the chapel

sideview of the cross

strong wind that greeted me

When we arrived, there were just a handful of tourists taking pictures in the area. The sky is foreboding rain, and the wind is a bit strong when I first took pictures of Iloilo City from this viewpoint. A few minutes more, there arrived a wave of youngsters… and then the rain started to pour. 

solemn park

eerie silence is comforting


chapel facade

inscription outside

We went inside the chapel to let the rain pass, and at the same time took photos of the interiors.

burning candles

church interiors

trusted pals

By now there’s a flock of students making commotions in the place. We decided to go down to get to town as we intend to visit other destinations like Trappist Monastery, also in Jordan.

green waters. likey!

the calm

the other side

The descent was a swift one. When we reached the jumpoff, it rained a bit. We walked a few meters before we got a ride back to the highway. We then proceeded to our next destination, the Trappist Monastery.

slippery trail

ratrat mode na

almost there...

almost...... theerreeee....

road back

water garbage


deserted road

oopppsss not so deserted

there's hope for a good trip!

From Iloilo City, ride a jeepney to Ortiz Port. (php7.00)
From the port, ride a motorized boat to Jordan Wharf. (Php13.00)
From Jordan Wharf, arrange a tricycle to get you to Balaan (Php30.00-2pax)
From Balaan, ride a tricycle for Php10 back to Jordan Wharf

Note: If you have questions you can head directly to the Tourism desk at the port. They will happily assist you. I think they are collecting fees I forgot but if I remembered it right it’s around 5-10php pax. They will also give you the tourist rates for the hired transport. When I asked the boat driver about the tricycle fare he quoted around php20.00 for the hired ones, but the Tourism desk gave us Php30.00. I don’t want to hassle myself with the unsubstantial difference so I just let it pass.

I have been looking for a place to have an annual pilgrimage. Guimaras is a candidate.

February 25, 2011

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