Mount Matarem is located at the southern end of Mount Iraya, an active volcano in
Batan Island. As an adjacent volcanic edifice of the heavily forested volcano, it is bound by three Ivatan towns: Mahatao, Uyugan and Ivana.
The word matatarem means steep, which aptly describes both the weather-beaten trails and the craggy contours of this natural attraction.
Pit Stop at the Signage
On the cement road leading up to Mt. Mataterm, you’ll find the famous “Blow Ur Horn” signage around the corner, blind spot warning drivers of any oncoming traffic. It has also become the unofficial pit stop of sorts, the perfect site for taking breathtaking views of the majestic surroundings. Social media is rife with wacky photos of tourists pretending to move the rocky hillsides with their bare hands.
The presence of goats, carabaos, and cows being herded along the slopes completes the pastural scene not typically found anywhere else in the Philippines. The contrast of the steep slopes and raging sea beside it is a sight straight out of a fantasy fiction movie. A flying dragon is all that’s missing to complete the fairytale-like scenery!
Reaching the Peak
You may climb the mountain by foot by following several trails, the most established one of which starts at Brgy. San Vicente, Ivana. It takes about two hours or so to reach the top of the mountain summit, so make sure you have adequate provisions on your way up. The trail leading up to the peak starts off with a pasture area that leads up to wide pathways. There are evergreen trees and other tall plants, fruit bearing trees, colorful birds, and flowers all around the trail, lending an almost other-worldly feel to your surroundings. Bring your best hiking shoes and get ready to take on some steep areas and slippery slopes throughout the trail. It’s all worth it once you reach the peak, where you’ll find unmatched views of both sides of Batan, Sabtang, Itbayat, and other areas; some say on cloudless days you might even catch a glimpse of Taiwan on the horizon!