The day after our arrival in Malay, I decided to do some sightseeing at the nearby province of Antique. Joined by Jandy, with Marve at the wheel of our 2003 Mitsubishi Adventure and my nephew John Paul Sta. Maria as guide, we decided to visit Malumpati Health Spring and Tourist Resort (also called Malumpati Cold Spring) in Pandan. The resort is located about 7 kms. from Pandan town proper.
|The scenic Malumpati River|
From Malay Poblacion, we traveled along the Malay-Buruanga Rd., passing by a number of road repairs along the way. Upon reaching the main highway, we traveled some distance until we reached Brgy. Sto. Rosario where, at a junction, a road leads to Malumpati. From here, the 3.5-km. distance to the resort was a mixture of dirt and concrete.
|Road sign at the junction|
The Malumpati Watershed and Forest, in Brgys. Sto. Rosario and Candari, is a part of the lowland elevation forest of the Northwest Panay Peninsula. A declared municipal watershed and park, it has a lush green forest, limestone formations and is home to rare butterflies, the rare Visayan Writhed-billed Hornbill (Aceros waldeni, locally called dulungan) and the critically endangered Visayan Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides Panini, locally called tirik).
|At our rented picnic hut|
The exceptionally scenic Malumpati River, emerging from a cave system, is the largest river on the Panay’s northwestern peninsula. Part of the Bugang River System, it is called Malumpati to differentiate it from the crystal-clear, blue waters of the 6 km. long Bugang (said be derived from a tree with the same name) River, adjudged as the cleanest inland body of water in the Western Visayas by the Gawad Pangulo ng Kapaligiran (GPK) in 1996, which is a long stretch of river from Brgys. Sto. Rosario, Guia and Zaldivar. The word malumpati was derived from the Ati words malukso (meaning “to jump”) and talumpati (meaning “to announce”).
|The concrete bridge across the river|
Upon arrival at the resort, we paid the requisite admission and parking fees and took a picnic shed. The resort has a man-made pool created by a concrete dam which keeps the blue-green waters at a certain level but also allows it to overflow during heavy rains. The headwater is a 35-min. walk from the resort. Normally packed with picnickers during weekends and the summer season, the resort was thankfully and blissfully deserted saved for a few picnickers who left soon after we arrived.
|At the cordoned off diving platform|
The resort has a sari-sari store where we bought some snacks and, just outside the entrance, an eatery, accessed by a short flight of stairs, where we ordered food to be cooked for our lunch (pansit canton, grilled pork belly and steamed rice). While waiting for it to be cooked, we rented a salbabida (rubber tube), for PhP20, and went down into the river to sample its bracingly cold waters which is said to be healthy to drink.
|The moored bamboo platform|
A concrete bridge, spanning the river’s width, allowed us to cross over to the other bank where we got a cottage for our stuff. Beyond the bridge is the pumping station for the Pandan Water District.
|The pumping station of Pandan Water District|
Directly over the river’s deepest part (said to be 20 m.), on the opposite bank, is a diving platform which, however, was cordoned off. John Paul, instead, made his high dive from the bridge. Stunted trees, whose gnarled roots extend right up to the riverbank, also make ideal diving platforms. Moored along the bank of the river, directly under the bridge, was a bamboo platform.
|The new comfort room facility|
A seemingly new addition is a tourist class comfort room facility which was inaugurated last October 3, 2012 and said to have cost PhP1.2 million.
|The concrete dam|
The Malumpati River offers a fairly long 6-km. stretch of still water (requiring some paddling) and a few mild (grade 2 with a few grade 3 spots) in high water, rapids ideal for novice kayakers. The river’s run begins at the resort where one can kayak out, in a grade 2 kayak, to rapids on the way down to the spring water pool. Pull-out is 5 kms. from the start.
|John Paul diving off the bridge|
For those who prefer a less strenuous and more leisurely ride, the resort is also the starting point for an exciting, hour-long river rafting tour where one can appreciate the diverse flora and fauna along the way.
|Jandy, Marve and John Paul share a salbabida|
Malumpati Health Spring and Tourist Resort: Sitio Malumpati, Brgy. Guia, Pandan, Antique. Admission: PhP10/pax. Parking Fee: PhP35. Picnic Hut Rental: PhP25. The resort is a 15-min. tricycle ride from Pandan town proper.