Madalag Liktinon white rocks

Jumping over boulders, the white rocks of Liktinon

The white rocks of Liktinon which means to 'jump'

The white rocks of Liktinon which means to ‘jump’

It was already two hours from the time we started from Madalag in Aklan, that I was getting anxious of reaching the Barangay Liktinon portion of the Timbaban River and get a view of the white rocks, boulders that populate the river. Lapit na po tayo sir, Escot, the tourism officer of the town who acted as my guide assured me, trying to encourage my spirit after the habal-habal ride, the upriver raft, a brief walk and stopover at one of the houses along the way and getting lost at the bend.

Tired, yes, but I was also silently enjoying this off-the-beaten path trip that a Facebook friend Jun, invited me to try. Timbaban River is said to be the cleanest in Panay. The water is pristine and cool with scenic views of the area. It was also the first time for me to try the bamboo balsa, a collection of a few long bamboos tied together into a narrow raft.

But the trek was getting longer and we seemed to be getting nowhere when at one portion, coming up from the river and into an elevated area of the river bank, we hiked the grassy path into some trees. After a few minutes, I already saw something white at the break of vegetation that my heart beat faster. Is this finally it? I hastened my steps, followed the path down to the gap and when I reached it, I was in awe!

Boulders, white rocks of different sizes were scattered along the river’s path and upstream as far as the eye can see. There were ones as big as houses or cars. Between these rocks was the river, passing through gaps, raging, gushing. Swirling in pools and emptying into another, lower pool as it travels down. The rocks were also quite interesting as these were white with surfaces smooth, shaped by centuries of flowing water.

I took images at different portions. It was hard to transfer from one area to another as you have to literally jump over boulders, thus the name, liktinon, meaning, to jump. Just as what you do in Liktinon Falls in Capiz. After photographing, I just had to swim as the water was really inviting!

In between swims, we had lunch of fried chicken and rice. But I just went back to the water after and enjoyed the refreshing dip. After an hour, we headed back and rode the bamboo balsa.

White rocks at the banks of the Timbaban River

White rocks at the banks of the Timbaban River

Tourism Officer Escot Intela leading the way and the one who guided me to Liktinon white rocks

Tourism Officer Escot Intela leading the way and the one who guided me to Liktinon white rocks

Can you find the boy?

Can you find the boy?

A break in the greens shows the white rocks and got me elated as, after more than 2 hours of trek and raft ride, we've finally arrived!

A break in the greens shows the white rocks and got me elated as, after more than 2 hours of trek and raft ride, we’ve finally arrived!

Rocks carved and smoothened by centuries of water flow

Rocks carved and smoothened by centuries of water flow

During school breaks and weekends, these children support their families by transporting people and goods up and down the Timbaban River through bamboo rafts like this one

During school breaks and weekends, these children support their families by transporting people and goods up and down the Timbaban River through bamboo rafts like this one

Braving the rough part of Timbaban River

Braving the rough part of Timbaban River

Upper barangay villagers just walk and cross the river despite the wet weather with their goods

Upper barangay villagers just walk and cross the river despite the wet weather with their goods

Other children transporting goods up river

Other children transporting goods up river

GETTING THERE: Contact Madalag’s Tourism Officer, Francisco “Escot” Intela, +63 921 4885954 to arrange your visit. From Kalibo, you can ride a bus either going to Madalag (longer route), or to Libacao (shorter) and just tell the conductor to drop you at the bridge/junction to Madalag where you can take a habal-habal to the town proper. From town proper, it’s another habal-habal ride going to Barangay Galicia. There’s an ongoing construction work for a road leading to the planned hydroelectric plant near Liktinon White Rocks and access will be easier once this will be finished.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.