I was roused from my slumber by the cold droplets of rain on my skin. In my long blue dress, I found myself scrambling to find shelter, boosting myself up inside the fishermen’s quarter. It was much more deafening inside the cramped sleeping quarter as the fishing vessel’s massive engine sputtered underneath, like a snoring giant. To be honest, this was not how I imagined it would be. When my friend, Kara, told us that we can sleep while in transit to Seco Island, I envisioned bunk beds and ferries. We got a huge fishing vessel, used tarpaulins for beds, and our bags for pillows instead. But the dawn’s fiery display promised a better day.

It was a trip devoid of luxury but filled with priceless awakenings. Antique is just like that. It takes you back to basics. But although I might not always find the kind of comfort that more developed tourist destinations offer, it surely gifted me with something more precious: a much-needed reminder that the best things in life are often pure and simple.

UNDERSTANDING ANTIQUE

“Antique: Where the mountains meet the sea.”

Located on the western section of Panay Island in Western Visayas Region (Region VI), the whole western side of Antique, from north to south, faces the Sulu Sea, blessing the province with more coastal towns than landlocked ones. The eastern portion shares border with Aklan, Capiz, and Iloilo. Antique comprises 18 municipalities, San Jose (de Buenavista) is the capital and also the most populous. Aside from the rugged terrains, inland natural wonders, beaches, and islands, the province is also laden with historical sites. All these and more make Antique not just a mere side trip or day tour attraction from its other well-known neighboring provinces but a truly worthy tourist destination.

More info about Antique:

  • Location: Antique is part of Panay Island, which is in Western Visayas, the Philippines.
  • Language: Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon. Most of the Antiqueños can also speak and understand Tagalog and English.
  • Currency: Philippine peso (PHP, ₱). PHP 100 is around USD 1.91, EUR 1.70, or SGD 2.60 (as of May 2019).
  • Mode of payment: Cash is preferred. As of writing, most of the banks, including major ones like BPI, BDO, Metrobank, PNB, DBP, and Chinabank, are located in San Jose, therefore ATMs are concentrated in the capital town. Robinson’s Place and Gaisano Grand Mall also have ATMs. Be sure to bring enough cash with you before going to remote areas.

HOW TO GET TO ANTIQUE

Philippine Airlines flies to Antique, Iloilo, Caticlan, and Kalibo.

If you view Antique on a map, you will realize that it is shaped like a seahorse, swimming upside down towards the Sulu Sea (plus the offshore islands of Seco and Caluya). Stretching 155 kilometers from north to south, you can enter Antique from any of these gateways: Kalibo Airport, Caticlan Airport, Iloilo Airport, or Antique Airport. Philippine Airlines flies to all these destinations.


VIA ANTIQUE AIRPORT (EVELIO JAVIER AIRPORT)

Antique Airport is also called San Jose Airport because it is located in San Jose de Buenavista, the provincial capital. To avoid confusing it with San Jose Airport in Mindoro, let’s just call it Antique Airport in this post. (It is officially called Evelio Javier Airport.) Philippine Airlines offers the Clark – Antique route thrice weekly — Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. This is the best option for those traveling to the southern portion of Antique including the towns of San Jose, Sibalom, Hamtic, Tobias Fornier, Anini-y, Belison, San Remigio, Patnongon, Valderrama, and Bugasong.

Apart from these towns, those traveling to southern Iloilo towns — Miagao, San Joaquin, and Guimbal — find it more convenient and faster if they enter via Antique Airport.

If you are coming from Manila, Genesis P2P buses operate between Manila (NAIA 3, Ortigas, and Trinoma) and Clark International Airport. See schedule here: CLARK P2P BUS SCHEDULE

From the airport to town proper transit, tricycle fare is P10 per person. You can also hire a tricycle for P50-100, depending on the number of luggage and location within the town.


VIA ILOILO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

A good option for visiting the southern towns of Antique is the Iloilo International Airport. This is even better if Iloilo is a part of your itinerary. Several airlines have direct flights to Iloilo Airport daily.

  1. At the airport, ride a van to SM City Iloilo. Fare: P50.
  2. Ride a taxi to Molo Terminal.
  3. Take another van to Antique. Travel time: around 3 hours. Fare: P180-200.

If you plan to head straight to the northern towns of Antique from Iloilo, you can ride a bus bound for Culasi, Pandan or Caticlan. Travel time: 4-5 hours.


VIA KALIBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

If you plan to travel to the northern portion of Antique such as Pandan, Culasi, and Tibiao, Kalibo International Airport is a good option too. Various airlines have direct flights to Kalibo, Aklan daily.

  1. From the airport, you can take a tricycle to Ceres Bus Terminal.
  2. Board a bus bound for Pandan or San Jose (depending on your destination).
  3. Get off at your destination. If unsure of your stop, tell the conductor where you’re going and ask them to notify you when it’s your stop.

Travel time: 2-3 hours.
Fare: P100+


VIA CATICLAN AIRPORT

If you plan to visit both Boracay and Antique, you may also choose Caticlan as your jump-off point to Antique.

  1. Ride a tricycle to Caticlan Jetty Port.
  2. Around the jetty port area, find the Ceres buses bound for Antique.
  3. Get off at your destination. If unsure of your stop, tell the conductor where you’re going and ask them to notify you when it’s your stop.

Travel time: 2-3 hours


BY SEA

Antique has two seaports: Lipata Port in Culasi and San Jose Port in the provincial capital. There are plans to connect Antique (Culasi-Caluya) to Mindoro via FastCat. For now, the available option for sea transit is the Roll-On Roll-Off ferries from Manila to Caticlan. At the Jetty Port, look for the Ceres buses bound for Antique.


GETTING AROUND ANTIQUE

Antique is pretty much still under-the-radar. There are jeepneys, tricycles, hired vehicles, and even habal-habal (motorcycle taxis) that can take you within the town and shuttle you from town to town. However, these are still limited and they follow schedules. Most of the time, you will have to wait for the jeepneys to be filled with passengers. The waiting time can be 15 minutes to an hour, so if you are pressed for time, this might not work for you.

For convenience, you may avail the service of travel agencies and tour operators for packages that best fit your personality, your needs, and/or your budget. Katahum Tours is one of the accredited tour operators in Antique. It offers different tour packages and transport services.

Katahum Tours Contact Details:

Mobile: +63 947 531 6518 (Smart) / +63 917 450 3121 (Globe)
Email: fate@katahum.com or katahumtoursantique@gmail.com
Website: www.katahum.com
Facebook: Katahum Tours


WHERE TO STAY IN ANTIQUE

Although San Jose is the capital town, other towns also have a decent number of accommodations — hotels, hostels, inns, guesthouses, and pension houses. Tibiao, Pandan, Tobias Fornier, Mararison, and Anini-y are some of the towns that offer lodgings to tourists. As the province is still on its early stage of development when it comes to tourism industry, don’t expect to find five-star hotels yet. Most have basic amenities like towels and toilets; others provide breakfast, toiletries, transportation service, and tour packages.

Here are the places where we stayed during our time in Antique:

  • Esprutingkle Business Hotel (San Jose de Buenavista)
  • Aningalan Highlands Strawberry Garden (San Remigio)
  • Calawag Mountain Resort (Tibiao)
  • Kawa Inn (Tibiao)
  • Enrique de Mararison (Mararison Island, Culasi)
  • Pandan Beach Resort (Pandan). ✅ Check Rates & Availability!.

Search for more Antique Hotels!


THINGS TO DO IN ANTIQUE

For convenience, we can group the list below into two: north and south.

The North’s attractions include those of Pandan, Culasi, and Tibiao municipalities. These attractions are nearer the world-famous Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan. If you are planning to explore both Antique and Boracay but got limited time to do so, you can tackle these attractions first. These attractions are also more feasible if you are entering and exiting via Kalibo International Airport or Caticlan Airport. Here are the attractions in the north.

  • Kawa Hot Bath
  • Tibiao Eco-Adventures Tour
  • Bugtong Bato Falls
  • Seco Island
  • Mararison Island
  • Malumpati Cold Spring
  • Naranjo Water Park
  • Dioso Farm

The South spans the towns San Remigio, Patnongon, San Jose de Buenavista, Hamtic, Tobias Fornier (formerly Dao), and Anini-y. If you want to explore both Iloilo and Antique, these attractions are workable especially if your gateway is either Iloilo International Airport or Antique Airport.

  • Aningalan Highland Strawberry Garden
  • Igbaclag Cave and Stone Castle
  • Antique Heritage Tour
  • Alpas (Tobias Fornier)
  • Nogas Island
  • Sira-an Hot Spring

Kawa Hot Bath

You might have come across a post on Instagram showing a person “being cooked” in a large wok (vat or cauldron) complete with all those eye-catching “ingredients” such as flowers and leaves to make it more colorful and interesting. This is Antique’s signature Kawa Hot Bath. It’s Pinoy-style hot tub.

Antique is one of the largest producers of muscovado sugar in the Philippines. After extracting the juice from the sugarcane, it is then boiled in a kawa until it reaches a certain level of thickness to produce the sugar. The kawa eventually found another purpose that benefits the tourism industry of Antique. At present, you will find a lot of places and resorts offering kawa baths. We tried ours at Calawag Mountain Resort in Tibiao where you get to choose the flavor for your bath — coffee, salt, milk, beer, and wine!

Location: Calawag Mountain Resort, Barangay Tuno, Tibiao, Antique

Calawag Mountain Resort Kawa Bath Rates:

Kawa Salt Bath – P299+/person
Kawa Milk Bath – P399+/person
Kawa Coffee Bath – P399+/person
Kawa Beer Bath – P399+/person
Kawa Wine Bath – P599+/person

Other Fees:

Calawag Entrance Fee – P50+/person
Lumpiga – P399+/table
Picnic Table – P399+/table
Native Gazebo – P499+/gazebo


Tibiao Eco-Adventures Tour

While in Tibiao, there are other things to do aside from the kawa bath. Water adventure activities are fun, especially during the right season when the cascades and rapids are strong, usually from June to October. You can do basic or extreme water tubing and extreme kayaking down Tibiao River. After the thrilling yet fun water experience, you can relax by pampering yourself with any of these — coffee body scrub, body massage, and fish spa. You can also combine water tubing with a body scrub, and capping it off with kawa bath.

Calawag Mountain Resort Rates:

Basic Water Tubing – P199+/person
Extreme Water Tubing – P499+/person
Extreme Kayaking – P899+/person
Tibiao Fish Spa – P119+ (30 minutes)
Foot Massage – P249+ (30 minutes)
Coffee Body Scrub – P399+/person
Half-Body Massage – P249+ (30 minutes)
Full-Body Massage – P499+ (1 hour)

Katahum Tours’ Tibiao Eco-Adventure Day Tour Package: P2,249+/person
(Minimum of two pax)
Inclusions: nature trekking, Bugtong Bato Falls, Kawa Salt Bath, Hanging Bridges, swimming and boulder jumping at Tibiao River, natural jacuzzi, bird’s nest, visit Museo de Tibiao and original branch of Tibiao Bakery, motorbike ride around Tibiao, unlimited Tibiao fish spa, Antiqueño lunch at Calawag Mountain Resort, DOT-trained eco-guide, waterfalls guide, and entrance fees

Note: This is just one of the several tour packages that Katahum Tours offers for Tibiao Eco-Adventure experience.


Bugtong Bato Falls

First tier (left); second and third tiers (right)

Bugtong Bato is usually included in package tours organized by travel agencies, tour operators, and hotels. The multi-layered falls, nestled at the mountainside community of Barangay Tuno in Tibiao, is one of the popular attractions in Antique. The waterfall system has seven tiers, but only three are frequented by tourists because they are the most accessible. You will pass by communities and rice paddies on the way to the waterfalls.

The first cascade can be reached after trekking for about 30 minutes from the jump-off point, which is also the registration area (landmark: barangay hall/covered court). After that, you will have to climb several steep steps to reach the second cascade. For those who want to challenge themselves, you can rappel your way up the third cascade where you can reward yourself with a cold dip in the pool. The third tier has the deepest pool and the most confined area. The best time to go is during the rainy season when the cascades are roaring, but be extra careful as trails will be muddy and slippery.

Location: Barangay Tuno, Tibiao, Antique
Registration Fee: P50/person
Guide Fee: P150-200 (maximum of 4 pax)
Calawag Mountain Resort Bugtong Bato Package: P249+/person


Seco Island

I have to warn you: getting to Seco Island can be a bit of a challenge. One, instead of a ferry or FastCat, you only have, as of writing, a large fishing vessel to transport you to the island from Tibiao. Two, the sea transit may take 2-3 hours, depending on the wave/sea condition. Three, you need to be up very early, like 2:00 AM. But the real warning is this: guard your heart. Seco Island will make you fall in love with its raw beauty. It broke my heart when it was time to leave.

From the Kinaray-a word meaning “elbow”, Seco Island was named as such because of its shape. The uninhabited 1.5km stretch of fine “polvoron-white” sand, enveloped by the varying shades of clear blue waters, is almost bare save for a few vegetation, concentrated on one side of the island. The island is perfect for kitesurfing and, well, beach-bumming! Camping used to be popular here, but since this is a Marine Protected Area, camping activities are regulated. For day trips, visitors need to leave after lunch as the current can get too strong going back to the mainland.

Jump-off Point: Tibiao, Antique
Best Time to Go: Summertime

Katahum Tours’ Seco Island Adventure Day Tour: P2,499+/person
(Minimum of five pax)
Inclusions: island adventure activities (swimming, exploring the island, boating), roundtrip boat ride (Tibiao mainland-Seco Island), hearty Antiqueño lunch on the island, cooler with ice and two gallons mineral water, Tibiao Bakery snacks, DOT-trained eco-guide, island guide, entrance fees, and free unlimited fish spa upon arrival on the mainland

Note: This is just one of the several tour packages that Katahum Tours offers for Seco Island Adventure experience.


Mararison Island

The town of Culasi is the jump-off point to Mararison Island (also called Malalison Island). It’s only a 15-minute boat ride from the mainland, so it’s very easy to get on the island. Mararison Island is best known for its Mararison Children’s Choir, welcoming visitors upon their arrival on the island. The children are local residents of the island. The beach where the boats usually dock has a sandbar, Kawit Sandbar, acting as a runway for beachgoers. This is also the side where most of the island folks reside. You need to register upon your arrival. You will find cottages that you can rent and snacks and drinks that you can buy from the small stores and stalls. Homestays and guesthouses are also available; most of them have basic/bare amenities. Better bring your own toiletries and towel.

Aside from the cream-colored sand of Kawit and Mayanan Beach, you can also explore the island by trekking along the trails snaking up and down the hills while also enjoying the idyllic view of the island and the Sulu Sea. The best spot to do this is at the Mararison Island viewpoint. Going further the other side of the island, you will find other beaches — Gitusan Beach and Luyo Beach. If you are into rock formations and caves, check out Gui-ob Cave and Nablag Islet on the opposite end of the island. We stayed at Enrique de Mararison located on this side of the island.

Environmental Fee: P20
Registration Fee: P20
Boat Rental: P750 (Roundtrip, good for 5 pax)
Trek Guide: P250 (maximum of 4 pax)
Cottage Rental: Starts at P300 (depends on size)

Katahum Tours’ Mararison Island Adventures Day Tour: P2,249+/person
(Minimum of two pax)
Inclusions: island adventure activities (trekking, see the pitcher plants and other flora and fauna, exploring the mini-cave, crossing the islet of Nablag, swimming), roundtrip boat ride (Culasi-Mararison Island), native cottage or table for picnic, a hearty Antiqueño lunch by the beach, DOT-trained eco-guide, island guide, and entrance fees

Note: This is just one of the several tour packages that Katahum Tours offers for Mararison Island Adventure experience.


Malumpati Cold Spring

A Hall of Fame awardee, Bugang River is no stranger to being in the list of Philippine’s cleanest inland bodies of water. The river is located in Pandan, blessing the town with various kinds of eco-tourism activities and attractions such as the Malumpati Cold Spring. Pandan is just an hour drive from Caticlan Port; hence, most of the tourists are coming from Aklan (Boracay) to Malumpati as a side trip. The health spring’s main draw is its refreshing cool water, attracting residents and tourists alike, especially during summer. Other activities you can do aside from swimming are hiking, picnics, diving, and water tubing.

Opening Hours: 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Admission Fee: P40 for adults and P30 for senior citizens and PWDs (tourists) / P20 for adults and P15 for senior citizens and PWDs (residents) / P10 (children)
Accommodations: P200-500 (cottages) / P1200-1800 (overnight rooms)
Water Tubing: P200/person (includes tube, life vest, helmet, and guide)
Trek Guide: P200 (maximum of 5 pax per guide)

Katahum Tours’ Malumpati Cold Spring Day Tour: P2,249+/person
(Minimum of 2 pax)
Inclusions: Eco-adventure (nature trek, swimming and river jumping, water tubing), native cottage or table for picnic, a heart Antiqueño lunch by the river, DOT-trained eco-guides, tour transportation within Pandan, and entrance fees

Note: This is just one of the several tour packages that Katahum Tours offers for Malumpati Cold Spring experience.


Naranjo Water Park

Another attraction along the Bugang River is the Naranjo Water Park, which is only a few minutes drive from Malumpati Cold Spring. For water activities, the water park offers kayak, stand up paddle board, pedal boat, and river cruise. If you just want to unwind and pamper yourself, kawa bath and fish spa are also available. The water park is also a favorite lunch stop for locals and tourists, providing a relaxing (and romantic) ambiance as you feast on the food.

Location: Sto. Rosario, Pandan, Antique
Pedal Boat: P350 per hour
Stand Up Paddle Board: P250 per hour / P500 (Half Day: 4hrs) / P800 (Whole Day: 8hrs)
Kayak: P250 per hour / P500 (Half Day: 4hrs) / P800 (Whole Day: 8hrs)
River Cruise: P80/person (minimum of 10 pax, maximum of 16 pax); 45 minutes (cruise duration)
Kawa Bath: P300 (2 pax, 30 minutes) / P400 (4 pax, 30 minutes)
Fish Spa: P100 per hour (adult) / P50 per hour (children, 12 y/o below)


Dioso Farm

It has always been my dream to have a small farm near the mountains; one from where I can drive a short distance to get to the beach whenever I miss the saltwater and the balmy sea breeze. Dioso Farm embodies every bit of that dream. Upon entering the arch leading to the farm, it hit me, like a deja vu, and reminded me of that desire.

Dioso Farm and Mountain Spring Retreat is a little paradise in Pandan, Antique. This is another great getaway option while in town; it offers a more intimate encounter with nature as the management regulates the number of visitors per day. The quaint farm features a natural pool, kawa bath, a few cottages, several picnic tables, and overnight accommodations. But aside from promoting eco-tourism, the other thrust of the farm is to promote education as some proceeds of the fees collected are donated to the Antiqueños for Reading and the Leocadio Dioso Memorial Public Library in Pandan. If you want to book a day tour, Pandan Beach Resort can arrange it for you.

Contact Details:

Pandan Beach Resort
Barangay Dionela, Pandan, Antique
Tel.No.: (036) 278 9379
Mobile No.: +63 917 580 9648
E-mail: pbrpandan@gmail.com


Aningalan Highland Strawberry Garden

Yes, you read that right! There are strawberries in Antique too! Aningalan Highland Strawberry Garden is perched on the mountainous region in the town of San Remigio. The seedlings, thriving in the cool highland weather, come from Baguio and Benguet. You can go strawberry picking here with your family or friends when you visit during the right season, which starts as early as November and can last until April. If you visit during the off-peak season, the garden grows other vegetables and fruits. It also treats guests with colorful spectacle as different flowers bloom year round.

Other activities you can do here aside from fruit-picking and buying fresh produce and souvenirs are sunset-viewing, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, and camping. If you are into trekking, not far from here is another interesting place to visit — Danao Lake. You can view the sunrise, ride a balsa (bamboo raft), and have a picnic.

Location: Barangay Aningalan, San Remigio, Antique
Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Environmental Fee: P50/person
Entrance Fee: P50/person


Igbaclag Cave and Stone Castle

Igbaclag Cave is also located in Barangay Aningalan in San Remigio. On the outside, it looks like an imposing stone castle, hence the moniker. The cave is composed of two cave chambers with various openings. The bridge on the right side leads to a narrow entrance. After a few steps, you will reach the “balcony”. If you are up for the challenge, you can go cliff scrambling up the “terrace” where you will be rewarded with the panoramic view of the area. Note that the way up there can be really tough. Either that or just sashay your way to the exit and complete the caving in less than five minutes (sans the photo sessions). Also, if you are into botany, two species of Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world, flourish around the area — Rafflesia lobota and Rafflesia speciosa.

Environmental Fee: P30/person
Guide Fee: P150-200 (maximum of 4 pax)
Note: The Rafflesia fully blooms during the rainy season and it only lasts 3-4 days.


Antique Heritage Tour

Anini-y Church

If the four provinces of Panay Island were sisters, Antique would be that silent sister who seems to keep things to herself, but when she does engage in conversations, she speaks volumes. Antique has a lot of stories to tell when it comes to history and heritage. Its age-old structures and historically significant events add colors to Antique’s mostly green and blue natural assets. Here are some of the historical landmarks and heritage sites (in “southern” Antique):

  • Patnongon Ruins. A Spanish-era Augustinian church and convent made of stone and mortar. Construction started in 1860 and was completed in 1895, but not long after, it was damaged during the Philippine Revolution. It could have also been Antique’s biggest Catholic church and one of the oldest in the Philippines, but WWII happened and what was left was the facade ruins. It was converted to St. Augustine Academy of Patnongon in 1962, retaining the original facade.
    • Bantayog ng Wika. Located in San Jose de Buenavista, it is an imposing column installed at EBJ Freedom Park, immortalizing the native language, Kinaray-a, which is said to be the first to exist in Panay Island. The monument hails Antiqueños culture and identity through Kinaray-a language.
    • Gen. Leandro Fullon National Shrine. Located at the plaza in front of Hamtic Municipal Hall, it honors Antique’s revolutionary commander during the Spanish colonial rule.
    • Malandog River. Also located in the town of Hamtic, the river is said to be the site where the ten datus from Borneo first landed during the 13th century.
    • Anini-y Church (St. John de Nepomuceno). Built in the 19th century, one of its interesting features is the archaic method of construction — using coral stones as building blocks and egg whites to bind them.

    Alpas

    Alpas encompasses a restaurant, an organic garden, and guesthouse. It is ensconced between the national road and a beach in the town of Tobias Fornier (formerly Dao). The property got its name from the Tagalong word “alpas”, which means “to be free; to go beyond”.

    The restaurant’s peculiar bamboo structure is conspicuous from the road, tickling the curiosity of travelers. The owners, Ken and Kim, aim to promote sustainability, sourcing all the ingredients (for the restaurant) and the materials (for the other products and services) locally. I personally enjoyed my time here. The restrooms are quite peculiar too! But I won’t tell you what made them unique; you have to experience it yourself. :p Alpas also offers cooking classes. Check the official website for details. Aside from the gastronomic brilliance, the property also features tranquil lodging spaces near the beach. Book and reserve through the website also.

    Location: Sitio Ban Ban, Paciencia, Tobias Fornier, Antique
    Opening Hours: 12:00 NN – 2:00 PM; 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM; Note: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
    Mobile No.: +63 939 358 2092
    E-mail: alpasphere@gmail.com
    Official Website: www.alpasph.com
    Getting There: From San Jose, you can take the bus (P30) or a jeepney (P40). From Ceres Bus Terminal, board a Dao-bound bus. Just tell the conductor the address and the bus will drop you off in front of Alpas. If you opt to ride a jeep, go to Robinson’s Mall Jeepney Terminal and take the jeep bound for Casay or Anini-y. Taking the bus is recommended than the jeep.


    Nogas Island

    According to one of the many versions of oral folklore, Nogas Island emerged from where a commoner, Nogas, drowned. Nogas won the heart of a chieftain’s daughter, Anini-y. In order for him to marry her, he has to perform tasks. Nogas asked a mermaid (some say a fairy godmother) for help. They struck a deal but Nogas failed to do what he promised when he already got what he wanted from the mermaid.

    Nogas Island is located about 4km off the shore of Anini-y. The island can be reached 15-20 minutes from the mainland. It is an uninhabited protected island. The 24-hectare (marine and bird) sanctuary features white-sand beaches, calachuchi tree “tunnel” (which leads to a lighthouse), a colossal balete (banyan) tree, and mangrove forest. The island’s surrounding waters are good for snorkeling and scuba diving.

    Jump-Off Point: The usual jump off point is Sira-an Hot Spring
    Boat Rental: Starts at 500 (good for 6 pax)
    Environmental Fee: P20-50
    Entrance Fee: P20-50
    Getting There: From the town center of San Jose, take a jeepney to Anini-y. The fare is P60 (up to Sira-an Hot Spring).


    Sira-an Hot Spring

    Surrounded by supernatural and mystical folk stories, Antique’s southernmost municipality, Anini-y, is far from being boring despite the very laidback atmosphere. Aside from the marine sanctuaries, rivers, mountains, and notable heritage sites, the town boasts a therapeutic sulfur hot spring located just along the seashore — the Sira-an Hot Spring. Local residents prefer to go there in the morning when they can enjoy the cool sea breeze while taking a relaxing dip in the hot tubs.

    Entrance Fee: P100/person
    Mobile No.: +63 929 295 0879
    Getting There: From the town center of San Jose, take a jeepney to Anini-y. The fare is P60 (up to Sira-an Hot Spring).


    These are just some of the many things to do and places to visit in the province. But hey! Exploring the whole of Antique is made easier now that Antique Airport relaunched. The province has become more accessible. And again, if you want a hassle-free trip, tour operators can handle your itinerary, land/sea transfers, and even food, depending on the package you choose.


    SAMPLE ANTIQUE ITINERARY

    Here are two sample 4D/3N itineraries for Antique. You may make changes and adjustments depending on your budget and the number of days you want to spend exploring the province and other neighboring provinces.

    The sample itineraries assume that:

    You are a party of two and splitting the expenses.
    Your meal allowance per meal/person is P100-150.
    Your hotel per night is P1,500.

    OPTION 1: NORTHERN ANTIQUE ADVENTURE

    DAY 1: PANDAN

    08:00 am – Arrival in San Jose
    08:15 am – Travel to Pandan (P75-100, Ceres Bus)
    10:15 am – Hotel Check-in
    10:30 am – Travel to Naranjo Water Park (P10-25, Tricycle)
    12:00 nn – Lunch (P150)
    01:00 pm – Travel to Malumpati Cold Spring (P10-25, Tricycle)
    01:10 pm – Malumpati Cold Spring (P40, Entrance Fee)
    04:00 pm – Go back to hotel and rest (P10-25, Tricycle)
    05:30 pm – Early Dinner (P150)
    06:30 pm – Socialize
    08:00 pm – Lights Out

    Note: Another option is to do Dioso Farm instead of Naranjo OR you can book Dioso Farm through Pandan Beach Resort and stay here overnight. That way, you get to experience all three — Malumpati, Naranjo, and Dioso Farm.

    DAY 2: MARARISON ISLAND

    07:00 am – Wake up
    08:00 am – Hotel Check-out
    08:15 am – Travel to Culasi (P40-50, Ceres Bus)
    08:45 am – Culasi Port (P10, Registration / P20, Environmental Fee)
    09:00 am – Travel to Mararison Island (P750, Boat Rental good for 5 pax)
    09:30 am – Mararison Island
    12:00 nn – Lunch (P150)
    01:00 pm – Go back to Culasi Port
    01:30 pm – Travel to Tibiao (P40-50)
    02:15 pm – Tibiao town center
    02:30 pm – Travel to hotel (P70/2, Habal-Habal)
    02:45 pm – Hotel Check-in
    03:15 pm – Experience Kawa Bath (P399/pax)
    04:30 pm – Fish Spa (P119/pax, 30 mins)
    05:00 pm – Rest
    06:00 pm – Dinner (P150)
    07:00 pm – Socialize or Lights Off

    Notes:

    • Some accommodations have kawa ang fish spa amenities, so you must check first before booking. Calawag Mountain Resort in Tibiao provides both services.
    • You can do Seco Island for Day 2 BUT it’s advisable to get a tour package offered by tour operators in Antique like Katahum Tours.

    DAY 3: TIBIAO ECO-ADVENTURE

    08:00 am – Wake up
    08:15 am – Breakfast
    09:00 am – Travel to Barangay Tuno (P70/2, Habal-Habal)
    09:15 am – Register at Barangay Hall (P50)
    09:20 am – Trek to Bugtong Bato Falls (P150, Trek Guide good for 4 pax)
    09:45 am – Bugtong Bato (Tier 1-3)
    10:45 am – Go back to Barangay Hall
    11:10 am – Go Water Tubing down Tibiao River (P199/pax, Basic Water Tubing)
    12:00 nn – Lunch (P150)
    01:00 pm – Swim and chill at your hotel
    05:00 pm – Rinse
    06:00 pm – Dinner (P150)
    07:00 pm – Socialize or Lights Off

    DAY 4: DEPARTURE

    The itinerary above will cost you around PHP 2,500 (USD 48, SGD 66, EUR 43) per person, excluding airfare, accommodations, rentals, and shopping expenses but including a little bit of allowance for any miscellaneous expenses along the way. For this itinerary, you can also enter and exit Antique through Caticlan Airport or Kalibo Airport.


    OPTION 2: SOUTHERN ANTIQUE ADVENTURE

    DAY 1: SAN REMIGIO

    08:00 am – Arrival in San Jose (Antique Airport; via Philippine Airlines flight)
    08:15 am – Travel to San Remigio (P30, Jeepney)
    08:30 am – San Remigio to Aningalan Highland Strawberry Garden (P150/person, Habal-Habal)
    09:00 am – Aningalan Highland (P50, Environmental Fee / P50, Entrance Fee)
    09:30 am – Check-in
    10:00 am – Aningalan Highland Activities
    12:00 nn – Lunch (P150)
    01:00 pm – Travel to Igbaclag Cave or Danao Lake (P150, Habal-Habal)
    01:15 pm – Igbaclag Cave (P30, Environmental Fee / P150, Guide Fee good for 4)
    02:00 pm – Return to Aningalan Highlands (P150, Habal-Habal)
    02:15 pm – Rest
    04:00 pm – Explore more (ATV bike ride, trekking, photo ops, etc)
    05:00 pm – Wait for the sunset
    06:00 pm – Dinner
    07:00 pm – Lights Out

    Notes:

    • San Remigio is also the site of Antique’s pride — Antique Rice Terraces. The 600-hectare rice terraces clusters nestle in Barangay Fullon. For hassle-free transit, you can just avail a tour package from DOT_accredited tour operators. Katahum Tours has tour package options for Antique Rice Terraces.
    • If you are carrying more than one pice of luggage, you might want to hire a tricycle going to Aningalan from San Remigio town center.

    DAY 2: HERITAGE TOUR

    08:00 am – Wake up
    08:45 am – Check-out
    09:00 am – Travel to San Remigio (P150, Habal-Habal)
    09:30 am – San Remigio to San Jose (P30, Jeep)
    09:45 am – San Jose; Visit Bantayog ng Wika
    10:00 am – Travel to Hamtic (P10-25, Jeep)
    10:30 am – Malandog River/Gen. Leandro Fullon Shrine
    11:30 am – Travel to Tobias Fornier (P25-30, Jeep)
    12:00 nn – Lunch at Alpas
    01:00 pm – Travel to Anini-y (P10-25, Jeep)
    01:30 pm – Anini-y Church
    02:00 pm – Travel to Sira-an Hot Spring (P10, Jeep)
    02:15 pm – Sira-an Hot Spring (P100/person, Entrance Fee)
    05:00 pm – Rinse and Rest
    06:00 pm – Dinner (P150)
    08:00 pm – Lights Out

    Note: You may also check in at Sira-an Hot Spring Resort. Just call in advance to check the availability of rooms and the rates.

    DAY 3: NOGAS ISLAND AND MIAGAO (ILOILO SIDE TRIP)

    08:00 am – Wake up
    09:00 am – Travel to Nogas Island (P700, RT Boat Ride good for 6)
    09:20 am – Nogas Island (P20-50, Environmental Fee / P20-50, Entrance Fee)
    09:30 am – Start exploring the island
    11:30 am – Lunch (P150)
    12:30 pm – Return to Anini-y mainland
    01:00 pm – Check out & travel to Miagao (P40-50, Bus)
    02:30 pm – Miagao Church
    02:45 pm – Travel to Iloilo City (P40-50, Bus)
    04:00 pm – Explore Iloilo City
    05:45 pm – Return to San Jose (P100, Bus)
    07:45 pm – Arrive in San Jose
    08:00 pm – Check-in
    08:15 pm – Dinner (P150)
    09:30 pm – Lights Out

    Note: Last trip of bus from Iloilo to Antique is at 6:00 PM.

    DAY 4: DEPARTURE

    The itinerary above will cost you around PHP 2,500 (USD 48, SGD 66, EUR 43) per person, excluding airfare, accommodations, rentals, and shopping expenses but including a little bit of allowance for any miscellaneous expenses along the way. For this itinerary, you can also enter and exit Antique through Iloilo Airport.


    OTHER ANTIQUE TIPS FOR THE POOR TRAVELER

  • Be mindful of the transportation schedule. Jeepneys and tricycles usually operate from as early as 5:00 AM to around 6:00 PM. Last trip for buses is at 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM.
  • Always bring sun protection. Outdoor activities are fun but protect yourself too from the harmful UV rays. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to avoid damaging your skin from too much exposure from the sun. Remember to use eco-friendly sunscreen. These are products that don’t contain chemicals like oxybenzone, parabens, and benzophenone. You may also bring a cap, umbrella, sunglasses, and scarf.
  • Dispose of your trash properly. Do not litter and leave trash anywhere — beach, mountain, caves, etc. If you can’t see a trash bin, take your garbage with you until you can dispose of it properly.
  • Practice sustainable tourism. Support the local products; however, ensure that the production process didn’t endanger other creatures or harm the environment. Bring your own water bottles and eco bag to lessen plastic wastes.

  • FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANTIQUE

    Is Antique safe?

    Antiqueños are known to be warm and hospitable, so it is generally safe to explore the province. However, you are still responsible for securing your belongings. Same goes to your safety while doing activities: wear life vests, wear aqua shoes (especially on rocky shores), and wear a helmet if you are going around on a motorcycle. Always listen to the locals’ warnings and instructions.

    When is the best time to visit Antique?

    All year round! There is always something worthwhile to do in Antique, whether summertime or rainy days. Summer in the Philippines covers the months of March to May. Locals and tourists flock to the beaches, cold springs, highlands, and the islands to beat the heat. For those who like chasing waterfalls and conquering the rapids, it’s best to do these activities during the wet season (June to October).

    For festival enthusiasts, March and April are the months to remember. The Council of Balabago Re-enactment happens every first week of March. It commemorates the historic meeting of the ten Malayan Datus in Malandog for thanksgiving. The Binirayan Festival is held every last week of April to remember the arrival of the ten Malayan Datus in Antique via Malandog River.

    Are there ATMs in Antique?

    Yes, of course, there are ATMs in Antique. However, the highest concentration is in the provincial capital, San Jose de Buenavista. If you’re hitting the islands or other destinations outside San Jose, it’s best to have enough cash with you.

    What are the local products of Antique?

    For pasalubong shopping, here are some of Antique’s notable products: tablea, muscovado sugar, handwoven patadyong, handmade claypots, and those items and crafts made of abaca, bamboo, nito, bariw, and buri.


    How’s the phone signal in Antique?

    Strong signal in San Jose for both Globe and Smart networks. Intermittent connection in remote areas, especially the mountainous villages.


    What’s the power socket used in Antique?

    Electricity Info: 220V, 60Hz. Socket Type A.


    This travel guide was made possible by Katahum Tours and Philippine Airlines.

    Cover images taken by Celine Murillo and purchased from Shutterstock.



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    Asta Alvarez

    Blogger at PhilippineBeaches.org
    Asta is the Managing Editor at PhilippineBeaches.org and a regular contributor to The Poor Traveler. She's also a mountaineer, production designer, and cineaste.
    Asta Alvarez

    Comments

    1. Sam Sees World says:

      Wow, this was such a well-written article on Antique! I have been dying to go somewhere in Asia and if I end up in the Philippines I will definitely use this as a guide! Thank you so much for all the detail in this. It must have taken ages, but I really appreciate the effort.

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