CULASI, Antique—For a few seconds, the pair of elusive feathered creatures appeared, chirping from a tree branch somewhere in the forest fastness of Mount Madja-as.
“It was a rare encounter,” Detchie Gaad, who was with a team of the Panay Bird Club, said of the “maradyang,” a bird species that is endemic only to Panay Island in Western Visayas.
The majestic Madja-as, mountain ranges of Culasi town in Antique province, 2,113 meters above sea level (masl), is the home of the most diverse flora and fauna, some already in a critically endangered situation. It is dubbed one of the last frontiers of Panay and considered by mountaineers one of the toughest climbs in the country.
The Panay Bird Club visited Madja-as “not only to explore the hidden natural treasures of the unspoiled rainforest but to document the maradyang,” according to Ruperto Quitag, its cofounder.
Only a few scientists have surveyed the species found in Madja-as and the two other peaks—Mount Nangtud (2,117 masl) and Mount Baloy (2,080 masl)—in the vulnerable mountain ranges of Antique. Interestingly, other people have started to document the flora and fauna that might interest them for future entries in scientific publications.