Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Walk to Remember

photo by Toby Pagulayan Jr. (PALI)
The province of Iloilo has a rich and unique; sundry and dramatic landscape. With its 43 towns bounded by a long coastline in the northern and southern portion; chains of tall mountains in the southwestern and areas descending in a series of abrupt steps; with a significant forest lying along the central and patches of protected areas; and a high quality wilderness with high levels of protection within our extensive and diverse reserve system, Iloilo offers hope for the future of our remarkable natural heritage.

With a range of environment accessible from major roads, whether on a long day’s outing or a short wander; a gentle stroll, a physical challenge or mountain vista, Iloilo has plenty for you.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)
With the concept of human appreciation of nature’s beauty and the strong Christian spirit of its people, the AGONY HILL in Alimodian emerged as a destination popular especially during the season of lent. It is a rolling slope towering above the picturesque poblacion of the town and used to be long isolated by its steep ascent with slopes thinly covered with trees. It is now a pilgrimage site with its 14 stations of the cross built and situated within the place. The trek isn’t particularly taxing. With not much shade around the area, the view around however is breathtakingly beautiful.

photo by Toby Pagulayan Jr. (PALI)
Very accessible especially for visiting tourists is the MARI-IT WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARK located at the West Visayas State University College of Agriculture and Forestry in Barangay Jayubo, Lambunao. It is a rescue and captive breeding center that houses exotic birds like Dolongan and Tarictic Hornbill. It is also home for White-spotted Deer, Warty Pigs and Racquet-tail Parrots or Dangag. Concerned individuals in the area helps in restoring and maintaining a healthy ecosystem and hope to give the park’s native species the respite and protection they need to survive. It is also a picturesque destination that boasts of three prominent waterfalls namely: Inas, Montillano and Aguas amidst majestic trees and flora endemic to the area.

The BULABOG PUTI-AN in Dingle can be enjoyed as a day visit to the area since one does not have to go on extensive trail blazing. Combining trekking and cave exploration, the trip offers a rare opportunity to get close to one of Iloilo’s rarest limestone rock formation in Panay excluding Guimaras. It is situated in an area of rich biodiversity with caves that create a rare natural situation for its fragile environment. This old growth forest is also a perfect laboratory for the study of flora and fauna. Protected areas such as this is especially important for preserving the most biologically distinctive ecological park in the province—that is, those with exceptionally high species diversity with many species endemic to that area.

photo by Ramon Ramirez
Considered to be one of the more popular scenic attractions in the province are the Tabionan pine trees of BUCARI in Leon. Poised to be a chief mountain resort and tagged as the summer capital of the province, the place can be enjoyed as part of a day or an overnight visit. It has spacious green areas perfect for picnic and a camp facility nestling amongst its densely forested pine trees, reminding one of Baguio. It is filled with views of parallel mountain chains whereas the altitude increases, vegetation changes from forest to pine patches of cool temperature. The area provides a great variety of wildlife especially flowers. It has a fertile agricultural area.

A unique experience to commune with nature is a trek to the MAASIN WATERSHED. Take an easy to moderate trek along its reasonable terrain with canopies of bamboo and mature trees that gives a refreshing alternative from the usual humdrum life in the city.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)
One of the more remote corners of Barotac Viejo, NAGPANA is a relatively accessible destination. The walk is not hard and there are great views of northern ranges, backed by thin forest and great stretches of thin, rolling grasslands, luxuriant vegetation and the refreshing, streaming cool waters of its falls.

A more adventurous trek will take one to IGCABUGAO CAVE, 14 kilometers away from the town proper of Igbaras. It is a downhill walk on a rocky track. Along your way to the cave are tremendous rock formations where one can relax in the cool and clear waters of Igbolo Creek. The chambers inside the cave are eerie and immense. Lantern-equipped guides will take one to a pool of clear but extremely cold water.

The beauty of Iloilo is that there is no shortage of adventure. It has many appealing destinations of undulating sceneries---unspoiled, quiet and a great break from the city. Explore Iloilo…truly a memorable place.

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