Beauty and Adventure in the Lesser-known Parts of the Philippines
Igbaras and Nadsadjan Falls were an experience of a lifetime
As part of getting ready to launch the first season of tours in 2023 with PHreedom Retreats, my family and I have been doing a bit of scouting around the island of Panay. While it’s challenging to hike trails and walk miles of beaches with a toddler, we did it, even though for much of the tricky part of the climb to a hidden waterfall, the guide wearing flip-flops named Budok carried my young son.
At 270 pounds, I am in no shape to be traversing the rock walls and steep trails of the Philippine backcountry, but I am doing it to get in shape for my duties as a guide in 2023. While my young friend Jacob Wright with be doing most of the strenuous stuff, I will need to be in shape to make sure I can back him up as needed.
But, you see, I am primarily a resort jockey. If you need someone to sit by the ocean at sunset, eating my weight in Philippine green oysters and drinking Red Horse beer while keeping my clients happy by regaling them with stories from my last ten years living in the Philippines, I am your man.
I am built like a fat Viking, akin to my ancestors in Norway. I am pale, bald, bearded, built like a bear, and accustomed to feasts and beer instead of hiking and mountain climbing. I am the perfect person to accompany you should you need to know the best pork dishes at the buffet, or if you want to walk through ancient Spanish churches and museums leisurely.
But, our first stop, Igbaras, was a test, and I proved that I am not only out-of-shape but better at eating and drinking than walking rocky trails.
We rented an SUV to get to the backcountry, and it was a good thing we did because the roads are unpredictable. An hour’s ride will take you to the trailhead. We enlisted the help of a nice little man named Budok after asking suggestions from the area commander. I didn’t know how much trail-walking he would be doing because…