It was 10 years ago when I first traveled to Antique.
I was a Segment Producer of a top Public Affairs show in the country, and I traveled to the province to do a story about Ati, the indigenous people of Antique. My cameraman and I landed at Iloilo airport and then traveled for about 4 hours going to Tobias Fornier formerly known as Dao.
At that time, my friends were amazed that I had this kind of job. I get to travel while working, but little did they know the stress and sleep deprivation that I had to endure to produce meaningful stories for TV. It wasn’t always fun, and in reality, these out-of-town shoots are not really considered “travel.” It was all work.
We interviewed the local officials of Tobias Fornier, but the highlight of the trip was when we hiked the mountains to visit the Ati tribes. I remember passing through countless rivers and muddy trails. I hiked barefoot. That was tough, but I was able to manage probably because I was younger, in my early 20’s.
When we reached the Ati community, we were welcomed by their warmth. I could still remember the genuine smiles of the elders and children with amazement and curiosity for our cameras and equipment. Then an old Ati woman came up to me and offered me a gift. It was like a coin purse adorned with different colors. I didn’t understand all that she said, but I somehow got it that she was telling us that she made it by herself.
I offered her to just buy the coin purse. I don’t know I just felt at that time that it would be more helpful for her If I just buy it rather than accept it as a gift.
But I guess it was a bad move, the old lady seemed sad and hurt.
Then Janet, our contact who works in an NGO, whispered something to me. “Accept it. Remember they don’t need money here in the mountains. They just rely on their crops. Just accept and you’ll make her happy.”
And I did accept it, thanked the old lady, and witnessed how her face glowed after that.
That’s my biggest takeaway from that trip. Not all people want money. If someone genuinely wants to give you something, accept it and never assume that they wanted money in return. It was a humbling and soul-enriching experience. I also felt that it was a representation of the people of Antique, they were all warm and always willing to help.
That was probably one of the most memorable experiences from that first travel to Antique because, after that, a series of unfortunate events happened. The worst of all was when we missed our flight from Iloilo back to Manila due to a tight schedule and long hours of land travel going to the airport.
When we arrived at the airport, the airline personnel said that the plane was about to depart. We were late, but they could help us and gave us one solution. They said that they could still accept one passenger because the other slot was already given to other customers, and we had to decide at that very moment.
My cameraman told me to just board the plane, take all the tapes with me, and just leave him there. But I declined. We were partners, a team, when we arrived in the province, so we will also leave as a team.
And so we were left in Iloilo with no money and all. Production and editing were delayed. It was a disaster.
A lot of things have happened in ten years. I eventually quit my TV job and transferred to the corporate world. I pursued writing and launched a travel blog. Now, I already quit my corporate job to become a full-time travel blogger.
After 10 years, I am back in Antique as part of a group of travel bloggers and content creators invited by the Philippine Airlines, Antique Tourism, and Katahum Tours to boost the province’s tourism as well as to promote PAL’s thrice-weekly direct flight to San Jose, Antique from Clark.
Is that a coincidence? To be back in Antique to promote the exact solution to the problem that we experienced a decade ago when we missed our flight at Iloilo airport back to Manila?
Well, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, and I truly felt that, that there’s a reason why I was back in Antique. I’m just happy that with PAL’s direct flight to Antique, people don’t need to travel all the way from Iloilo or Kalibo anymore. This is good news for all Antiqueños.
1. Seco Island
Our call time was 2:00 AM.
From Calawag Mountain Resort where we stayed overnight in Tibiao, we traveled for about 30 minutes going to the jump-off point. Since our boat going to Seco Island was huge, it just couldn’t dock near the beach so we boarded a small flat wooden boat to be transferred to the main boat. And that’s where the problem happened.
Because of strong waves, the flatboat that much like a raft, felt like it would almost capsize. When it was about to overturn, I slipped and I guess that force, my weight helped in a way to put balance to the boat. It was a scary experience especially to my fellow bloggers who have their drones and equipment with them.
Our boat was a huge fishing vessel that can accommodate a lot of passengers. We decided to just sit and lie down in the boat’s open area to feel the sea breeze. We departed at about 4:00 AM, and it was a smooth ride until it rained. We scrambled and the crew helped us to put some cover.
After more than an hour, I decided to transfer to the end part of the boat where the crew and fishermen were resting on top of the fishnets. There, I got to see the full view of the sunrise. It was a perfect mood in anticipation of the beautiful island of Seco.
I got excited when I first saw the sandbar of Seco Island from afar. Finally, we arrived after about 3 hours of travel. We were again transferred via a flat wooden boat from the fishing vessel to the beach of Seco island.
The long travel, the rain, and stressful transfer via a wooden raft were all worth it when we finally witnessed Seco island in its full glory. The sand was indeed powdery white and the view was indeed relaxing. We took some photos and videos while we were waiting for the rest of the team. You know what’s going to happen when you’re with travel bloggers, content creators, and Instagramers, right? There’s going to be a lot of picture taking and IG stories. So, I also made mine. LOL! This was posted as IG Story on my Instagram account, jon. espina
When the entire team was complete, we then transferred to a nearby cottage to rest and chill. This trip was organized by Katahum tours, so there was an orientation first to set the expectations of the participants as well as some reminders.
Please take good care of this island. Seco Island is a paradise, so please bring all your trash to the mainland and dispose it properly. I have to be honest, Seco island is near perfect, the only not-so-good thing that I noticed was some bonfire aftermath on the beach. Please don’t tell me that this will be washed ashore and all because the truth is there were some ashes and black discoloration on the sand. With Seco island’s white powdery sand, those black discolorations would make you sad.
If visitors couldn’t resist making bonfires, maybe the local government can assign a designated bonfire area, or they can just bring some kawa to the island to be used for a bonfire so the beauty of the sand will be spared?
After our lunch, we then explored the beach and the sandbar. I had a great time bonding with my fellow bloggers and content creators, and the exciting part was the drone. And you know what’s going to happen when a friend has a drone? There are going to be a lot of awesome top and aerial shots, like this one.
We were so happy to be in Seco island that we decided to spell Antique here. Thanks to Mariane of Trip ni Mariane Youtube Channel for this idea and photo.
Seco Island is a gem of Antique and you should visit this once you traveled to the province. For hassle-free travel to Seco island, try the service of Katahum Tours. You can check their prices and packages at Katahum.com. Highly recommended.
2. Mararison Island
It was about 3 years ago when I saw an episode of a popular Magazine show on TV featuring Mararison Island. After that, I’ve planned my Panay island trip many times and Mararison was one of my main destinations, but sadly that didn’t push through because of the demands of my corporate job. I’ve booked two flights to Kalibo in two years, but I wasn’t able to use them.
Now, that I’ve already quit my corporate job to become a full-time travel blogger, I’ve planned my trip again. But I must be lucky that destiny has finally answered this longing to the island when I was included in a team of bloggers and content creators invited to a Press Trip to Antique, and Mararison was one of the destinations we explored.
It was a bit bumpy 30-minute boat ride from Culasi to Mararison. The travel time can be reduced depending on the condition of the waves. I was expecting that we would dock on the beach itself, but I was wrong, we were actually on the other side of the island.
Since it was low tide, we had to transfer to a wooden flatboat and then walk for another few meters. It was pretty adventurous.
We then arrived at Enrique De Mararison resort and spent the night there. I was particularly happy with these cute welcoming committee members of the island. LOL!
We had a sumptuous seafood dinner and finally had the chance to chill after a few days of exploring the province. Some of us were able to work on our laptops. Well, most of the team are remote workers and digital nomads. It was a nice and worthy experience seeing them work. As for me, I didn’t have any urgent work at that time.
The next morning, we were already awake as early as 4:00 AM to hike the hills of Mararison to take a shot of the sunrise as well as to experience the sandbar on the other side of the island.
It’s nice to witness the different colors of the sunrise from the highest point of the island, but one thing that also made us excited was the strong internet connection on top of the hills. Finally, we were able to post updates as well as share IG stories in real-time. Just like this video.
We just took our time when we reached the peak. After that, we decided to descend and proceed to the island’s community where the beach and sandbar are located.
It was nice to finally enjoy the beach of Mararison. On that early morning, we were the only people on the beach. I could still remember the time when I first witnessed this beach on TV and somehow wished if I could also watch the Mararison Children’s Choir.
I knew it was impossible because there was no advice that it would be part of the itinerary. But well, the universe must have felt my longing and I eventually met the members of the choir and see them perform in a different place. More story about that later. From now, let’s just enjoy the stunning sandbar of Mararison.
3. Nogas Island in Anini-y
On the last day of our 7 day trip to Antique, we departed in Tibiao early in the morning and traveled to Antique’s southernmost municipality of Anini-y (pronounced as Anee-nee-ee).
Our jump-off point is at the Sira-an Hot Spring Resort and its coastal area and then traveled by boat to Nogas Island for about 15 minutes. Nogas Island is a 24-hectare government naval reservation island in Antique. I mentioned this as a side trip because Nogas is just 4.8 kilometers from the shoreline. It is near the mainland that you don’t need to stay on the island overnight. There are resorts in Anini-y and nearby towns that travelers can stay.
Nogas Island is quite an interesting one. More than the beach itself, the island has a unique charm that will surely delight every traveler who loves trees and nature.
Honestly, the main attraction of Nogas island is not exactly the beach, it is a tunnel-like pathway surrounded with calachuchi trees or plumeria towards the inner part of the forest until reaching the lighthouse.
This looks magical, perfect for couples wanting to have that dreamy and spellbinding photo.
At the end of this series of calachuchi trees is the lighthouse. Sadly, it was closed when we visited so we went further to the inner part of the forest until we saw this huge balete tree. It felt like we were in a setting of a fantaserye, with all those mythical and enchanted creatures.
Some of my fellow bloggers climbed it, and some explored the lower part of the tree. So, Sandy of Lost Juan thought of a good idea, why don’t we take a group shot? Using his drone, we were able to have this perfect shot like a literal family tree.
Going back, we decided to pick up some trash, and sadly we got a lot. To those who are planning to visit Nogas island, please be mindful of your trash. Let’s all help the local government in protecting the island. Bring your garbage back to the mainland and dispose of properly.
FULL BLOG POST: Nogas Island in Anini-y, Antique
4. Kawa Hot Bath Experience in Tibiao
This is probably the most popular activity in Antique. The province has become known for its Kawa Hot Bath over the past years. Although more kawa hot bath experiences are being introduced from different parts of the country, Kawa Hot Bath in Tibiao, Antique is the original one, and you should try this.
I was able to try my Kawa Hot Bath experience at Calawag Mountain Resort in Tibiao. This is the place where we also stayed for a couple of days during the entire 7-day trip. Aside from experiencing the resort’s rustic and close-to-nature accommodation, they are also offering different types of kawa hot bath experiences. This can be either with milk, coffee, or beer. You choose.
Well, whatever kind of kawa bath experience you want, this is surely a relaxing experience. Try it.
There are many resorts in Tibiao that offer the Kawa Bath experience, but I highly recommend Calawag Mountain resort for their nice accommodation, amenities, and warm people who are always ready to help. Calawag Mountain Resort also offers tour packages via their company, katahum tours. Check out their tours and packages on their website, katahum.com.
5. Calawag Mountain Resort
Calawag Mountain Resort is located in the mountains of Tibiao, just beside the river. The best thing is that they were able to build structures made of wood and bamboo to maintain that countryside feel while also integrating with nature.
Its rustic and simple accommodation will make you feel relaxed and close to nature. It’s peaceful that we had a good night’s sleep.
Aside from that, Calawag Mountain Resort also offers a variety of services such as Kawa Hot Bath, Fish Spa, Body Scrub, massage, and even some adventure activities like river-tubing. They also offer packaged tours for travelers wanting to visit and explore Antique’s top attractions. Book and stay at Calawag Beach Resort by checking their website here.
6. River Tubing in Tibiao
Early in the morning, we traveled for about 15 minutes by van going to the Barangay Hall of Brgy. Tuno, then we walked a little until we reached the side of the river. Then, the adventure began.
Well, all we had to do was to let go and let the strong current of the river take us. It was pretty stable in the beginning, but once we get to those spots with the strong water current, that’s when we all felt the excitement and adrenaline rush.
This is highly recommended to those who want to try some adventure in Tibiao, Antique. You don’t have to worry because this is safe, and the guides were really helpful. They will help you once you get stuck in between rocks, or if you feel that you’re getting left behind. Try this! Again, we tried this adventure activity via Katahum Tours.
7. Aningalan’s Highland Strawberry Garden
You might be wondering what you just read, but yes there is a strawberry farm in Antique. This is Highland Strawberry Garden located in Barangay Aningalan in San Remegio.
Although we weren’t able to experience the strawberry picking because the harvest season is still in January, the wide strawberry farm with the stunning views of the mountains is enough to give us that chill and relaxed vibe. The farm is approximately 880 meters above sea level, so expect that cool temperature especially at night.
We also spent the night in this property and experienced the warmth of the owners, Sir Steve and Lovella Nodque. Currently, they have 3 rooms perfect for groups and families.
This property started when Steve’s brother brought some strawberries and decided to plant them within their lot. With its cool temperature, the strawberry flourished and they thought of planting more. At first, only the children within their area were the usual visitors until they decided to develop it into a full-blown farm.
Steve shared that their strawberry farm first got traction on social media when a Canadian citizen from Capiz visited their place and shared photos on Facebook. It went viral according to him, and it was the start of having continuous visitors to the farm.
Now, the property is a haven for nature lovers who wanted to chill and experience the cool temperature.
8. Igbaclag Cave in San Remigio
After visiting Danao Lake early in the morning, it was just a few minutes of drive until we reached Igbaclag Cave. Well, it was not really the site of the cave itself, it was just the starting point of the trail.
We followed a trail into the woods until we reached this huge monolith with many holes and cavities. The main or huge cavern is the Igbaclag Cave.
We then crossed a small bridge made of steel cables. I was pretty cautious when I stepped into it because you know my weight. LOL! And it was really deep. The bridge bounces with my every step so I have to be careful.
Inside the cave, it was obvious that there were more cave systems but our guide advised that since most of it is unexplored yet, we just have to follow the usual path. My fellow bloggers climbed the high part of the monolith and even had some drone shots there. As for me, who is an overweight dude, our guide advised me to just follow the easy trail.
Since I was able to go out of the cave pretty early, our local guides showed us some other cave systems in the monolith which was also exciting.
9. Alpas Restaurant in Tobias Fornier
Alpas is a unique restaurant located in Tobias Fornier in Antique. Unique was my first impression of the property because it was obvious that there’s no other restaurant like this.
First, the entire place is made of bamboo, creatively pieced together to form a relaxing place so that air can flow freely from the mountain and the beach. The food was great, mainly composed of fresh vegetables and fish cooked in a distinctly special way because it tastes so good. Ken, who is also the owner of the restaurant, is the Chef.
Kimberly, Ken’s wife, shared that they focus on sustainable gourmet dining, sourcing organic ingredients from the local community by patronizing local farmers.
The restaurant is very creative and Instagramable. By just looking at the place, you could feel that this is a creative expression and a realization of a dream of the owners. Alpas is also a guest house. You can eat and stay at their accommodation by checking the details on their website, www.alpasph.com
10. Bugtong Bato Falls
From Calawag Mountain Resort, it was just a quick 10-minute land travel going to the Barangay Hall of Tuno in Tibiao, the starting point of trek going to Bugtong Bato Falls.
Bugtong Bato is a multi-tiered falls that is a popular place for a relaxing dip into its cool water. The once famous destination for locals to go for picnic and bond with friends has slowly become popular also among tourists. After an approximately 30 minute trek, we finally arrived at the first tier of the falls. To reach the second and third tier, one has to either do the rappeling on the falls itself or endure the steep climb on its side. Don’t worry these are supported with ropes.
Going up, I decided to climb passing through the falls itself. There were some pretty slippery parts but I was able to manage. Reaching the third tier of the falls was probably the highlight of the entire trek. The falls there was bigger and there were more parts conducive for swimming.
Visiting the Bugtong Bato Falls is perfect for those who want to experience some adventure and nature tripping. The trail was also something to look forward to as there were some nice views and more rice terraces along the way.
11. Dioso Farm
Our last two days in Antique became memorable because of Dioso Farm in Pandan.
After visiting Malumpati cold Spring and Naranjo Water Park, we wanted a place to chill and relax. Good thing our next destination was Dioso Farm, our relaxation was even raised to a higher level, because at Dioso Farm, we experienced peace and closeness with nature.
The piece of land is a gem located beside a mountain and near the rice fields. Walking for a few minutes going to the farm was already a treat passing through some rice paddies. But the highlight was when we arrived at the farm itself.
It was aesthetically pleasing to the senses with trees and cottages with a mountain spring to dip, swim and enjoy. In the middle of the farm is a dining table where Ms. Gigi Bautista, the owner of the farm, served us a sumptuous lunch with delectable dishes of vegetables, fish, and kakanin of Antique. I loved the monggo paired with grilled fresh fish.
When we had the chance to chat with Ms. Gigi, it was then that we all realized that the farm is not just about tourism and farming, it serves a bigger purpose. A large part of the earnings from the farm goes to the fund that supports the Leocadio Dioso Public Library which promotes reading as a habit among children to foster learning. and quality education.
By patronizing Dioso Farm, you are not only treated with a relaxing place to connect with nature, but you’re also helping the kids of Antique in our own ways.
The entrance fee to the farm is PHP 30, while the patuyaw lunch is Php 250 per person. Dioso Farm is still in the process of continuous development as the owners are always open to creative ideas to improve the farm to help the farmers and the community. It’s going to be exciting what the farm would be like in the coming years.
The owners of Dioso Farm are also the owners of Pandan Beach Resort, so staying at Pandan Beach Resort would be more comfortable if you also plan to visit Dioso Farm. Contact them at 09175809648, and email pbrpandan@gmail
12. Eat Kinaray-a Food in Tibiao
During our lunch at Calawag Beach Resort, Sir Ram Villaluna, the Tourism Officer of Antique and a Chef, served us some delectable Kinaray-a dishes.
Just the look and the color of the food made me a little excited, and it didn’t fail us when we tasted it. Serenaded by the Mararison Island Children’s Choir while having our lunch and dipping our feet in the river was another unique experience.
My personal favorite is this Kinaray-a dish called Porbida Chicken. The color resembles that of tomato-based food like Menudo or afritada, but then it is noticeable that the dish has gata or coconut milk that makes it creamier. Sir Ram added that Porbida chicken is made of native chicken, atsuete oil, onion, garlic, chicken broth, gata, and alupidan leaves. Prepare your extra rice when you taste this dish, just like what happened to me. It’s delicious!
For the desert, I loved this purple or violet-colored kakanin. This is also called Puto Bumbong but with the taste, this is a level-up version of Puto Bumbong, and the color is much vibrant. What sets this puto bumbong apart is the muscovado of Antique. You should try this when you visit Antique. Experience the rich culture of Antique by trying out their food.
13. Naranjo Water Park and Bugang River
Antique is also proud of one thing, it’s Bugang River, awarded as the cleanest river in the Philippines. And you’ll be able to experience this through Naranjo Water Park located along with the Bugang River complete with relaxing and adventure activities.
We tried one of Naranjo’s most popular activities, the River Cruise. It’s like Antique’s answer to the famous Loboc River Cruise of Bohol. The river cruise is only PHP 800 per trip with a minimum of 10 persons per trip with a travel time of about 45 minutes.
I was also happy to experience kayaking through the clean and peaceful river. To those who also want to try this activity, the kayak rental fee is PHP 250 per hour.
Location: Naranjo Water Park
Pandan, Antique, Philippines 5712
14. Watch the Mararison Island Children’s Choir
It was about 3 years ago when I first saw these children on TV after being featured in a top magazine show. I remember telling myself that it would be nice to watch these children perform one day.
I have been planning to visit Antique for the longest time, but my demanding office job didn’t allow me to do so. Honestly, I have already booked two flights to Kalibo in two years, which I wasn’t able to use. You know because of my job.
Now that I am already a full-time travel blogger, the plan to visit Mararison was also renewed and it turned out that destiny has also become good to me. I was included in a group of media, travel bloggers, and content creators invited by PAL, Antique Tourism, and Katahum Tours to promote the province as well as PAL’s direct flight to San Jose, Antique from Clark.
I was delighted to finally experience Mararison especially its sandbar and beach. As I was enjoying the long stretch of beach, I thought of something, maybe it would be nice if we could see the kids perform. But you know, it wasn’t part of our itinerary in Mararison.
After a few days, the universe might have heard my longing, when I saw the kids at Calawag Mountain Resort. They were invited by Sir Flord, the owner of the resort to be part of his special day, his wedding. And we were lucky that they performed during our lunch that day. I was filming their performance, no one had any idea of the joy that I was feeling at that very moment. It was like a simple longing, that has finally become true. The kids’ performance was amazing. It was pure talent, and a pure joy to watch.
After the well-received Mararison song, they also gave us a beautiful Kinaray-a rendition of the popular song, Kahit Ayaw Mo Na, another awesome performance.
15. Danao Lake
From our early morning call time at Aningalan’s Highland Strawberry Garden, we traveled for a few minutes until we reached the jump-off point of the trek going to Danao Lake. This is located in San Remegio, Antique.
Although we weren’t able to catch the sunrise at Danao Lake, it was still a nice experience to the peaceful lake early in the morning. Some of my friends tried riding the wooden raft, while others were just happy to be taking pictures. We also had our breakfast in one of the cottages beside the lake. You should try it too when you visit Antique.
16. Malumpati Cold Spring
Malumpati comes from the phrase Malumpat ang Ati.
Malumpat is a native word that means will jump, while Ati are the indigenous people of Panay. It is because this cold spring used to be the place where the indigenous people of Antique used to swim and enjoy.
Now that the Malumpati Cold Spring is not that secret anymore, anyone can visit and enjoy its cool relaxing waters. Entrance fee is PHP 20 for adults (residents) and PHP 40 for adult (non-residents). The fee is only 10 pesos for seniors and children, while cottages range from PHP 200 to PHP 500.
17. Pangabuhian Weaving and Fiber Processing Center
The Pangabuhian Weaving and Fiber Processing Center in Mabaor, Tibiao, Antique keeps the art of old-age weaving alive, but it also has a good story.
Gemma Tomolin, who handles the operation of the weaving center, shares that it all started as a small family business that produces quality patadyong, bags, and other products using abaca and piña fiber. Until such time that the industry was supported by the locals and even received funding and training from Senator Loren Legarda, who is the newly elected Congresswoman of Antique.
Now, the center is not just a place to buy quality and native products, but also where they train students to be future weavers. They really keep the art alive in Antique.
Support this industry by buying their quality products. The center is located at Barangay Malabor in Tibiao, Antique.
18. Pandan Beach Resort
Antique is known for nature-inspired accommodation that will surely give you your deserved tranquility, a place of being away from the stress of city life.
But after a few days of exploring Antique and you need a comfortable place to stay with a bit of luxury complete with a huge bed and air-conditioned rooms? Well, Pandan Beach Resort is for you.
Located in Pandan, Antique, Pandan Beach Resort has enough rooms that can accommodate even the big groups of friends and families. I can attest that the rooms are very cozy and comfortable, look!
Aside from that, they also offer delectable Filipino dishes coupled with love and personal touch by its owner, Ms. Gigi Bautista. One thing that made our stay with Pandan Beach Resort was her warmth and motherly care. You should check out Pandan Beach Resort when you travel to Antique.
19. The Rice Terraces of Antique
I first saw these rice terraces of Antique being featured in a top magazine show in the country. It is located in Gen. Fullon in a remote village in San Remegio, Antique.
With the drone shot of the TV show, I was amazed with these well-preserved rice terraces in a 600-hectare area in the mountains. It would be nice to personally visit these rice terraces one day, but there is one bit of a challenge. It’s not easy to go there. You have to hike for 5 hours to get there, and then probably another 5 hours or more back.
During our tour to Antique, a trek to these rice terraces was not part of our itinerary, probably because going there is not a walk in the park. You also have to be prepared and physically fit. If you want to visit these rice terraces in the most convenient way. I mean less the hassle and all, check out the tour offered by Katahum Tours.
Well, another point that I want to stress here is that Antique has a lot of rice terraces. Not just that majestic one in the mountains of San Remegio. You can visit some rice terraces even in Tibiao. We experienced that when we hiked Bugtong Bato falls and witnessed these rice terraces along the trail.
Truly, rice terraces are not just something that can be experienced up north in Ifugao, but also in the Visayas. Indeed, Antique has a lot to offer when it comes to nature and eco-tourism.
20. Malandog River
Antique played a huge part in our history, that’s why there are heritage and historical sites that you can visit in the province. This also shows how Antiqueños value their history and identity as Filipinos.
That’s PotpotOn our first day in Antique, we visited the historic Malandog River, the site where the ten Bornean datus first landed when they arrived in Panay during the 13th century. During those times when the primary settlers in Antique were Ati or the indigenous people, the arrival of these datus signifies the merging of culture and heritage which shaped Antique today. Malandog River has also served as a refuge for many fisherfolks during typhoons or bad weather.
21. Bantayog ng Wika in San Jose
This is a column located at the EBJ Freedom Park in San Jose, Antique. It was installed by Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) to recognize Kinaray-a, the native language of Antique as part of the 131 native languages of the Philippines.
Evidence shows that Kinaray-a was the first native language used in Panay Island before people learned to speak Hiligaynon and Akeanon. It was only the time when Chinese who settled on the island had difficulty pronouncing the letter R, so it was later replaced by L, which was also the birth and evolution of other languages in Panay.
Bantayog ng Wika is a symbol of Antiqueños’ identity through their language and rich culture.
22. Anini-y Church (St. John de Nepomuceno Parish)
We visited this church while on our way to Highland Strawberry Garden and it was a worthy side-trip. The Parish of St. John de Nepomuceno is the last standing colonial church in Antique. It has withstood many calamities and earthquakes, a towering symbol of Antiqueños’ faith.
It was built between 1630 and 1638, which was made of corals and made steady and strong using thousands of egg yolks and whites. Amazing right? It was an enriching experience to be able to interact with the locals after exploring the church.
23. General Leandro Locsin Fullon National Shrine
Antique has its revolutionary hero and he is General Leandro Fullon, born in Hamtic, Antique on March 13, 1877.
General Fullon was the liberator of Antique during the Philippine revolution by being the commanding general of the Philippine forces in the Visayas. On September 6, 1877, he left Cavite to be the leader of the Filipino forces to Panay island with thousands of armies and officers under his command.
When the civil government was organized, he became the Provincial Governor of Antique, until his death on October 16, 1904.
Other notable historical sites are Patnongon Ruins, supposedly the oldest church in the country, if not destroyed during world war II, and Evelio Javier Monument, former governor of Antique who was assassinated last February 11, 1986, for his fight against Marcos’ Martial Law.
How to get to Antique?
Philippine Airlines has just recently launched its much-awaited direct flight from Clark to San Jose, Antique. This is thrice weekly every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
Book your flight now at Philippine Airlines’ website.
Philippine Airlines’ direct flight to Antique from Clark
Our flag carrier Philippine Airlines opened its new route from Clark to San Jose, Antique last December 2018. It started as a twice-weekly flight but later became thrice-weekly due to its increasing demand from Antiqueños. The service is operated with a brand-new 86 seater Bombardier Next-Generation Q400 aircraft.
This is indeed another milestone for Philippine aviation as more Antiqueños are now empowered to experience the efficiency of air travel and they will be able to fly home more often. This route also serves passengers from the southern Iloilo towns of Miagao and San Joaquin, as it is easier to travel there via San Jose, Antique than the Iloilo airport.
Our flight from Clark to San Jose, Antique was scheduled at 6:00 AM. We just took a 2:00 AM Point to point (P2P) bus service from Trinoma, Quezon City to Clark with two hour travel time. We arrived in Clark at 4:00 AM, and it was just the right time to check-in and prepare for the flight.
It was a smooth flight, and past 7:00 AM we landed at San Jose Airport in Antique. We experienced the warm welcome of the Antique Tourism team and Katahum Tours. As the official travel was about to start, Ms. Cielo Villaluna, Head of PAL’s Corporate Communications gave us a brief background of their Clark to Antique flight and we also did some photo ops posing the famous Philippine Airlines pose with our both hands placed in our hearts. Truly, PAL is the heart of the Filipinos.
Antique is where the mountains meet the sea. It is indeed a gem of Western Visayas. In our 7 days of exploring the province, we’ve been to waterfalls, mountains, beautiful landscapes, islands, and beaches. Here are some of the places that we explored and some awesome things to do in Antique.
Where to Stay in Antique
Here are the hotels and resorts that we stayed at during our 7-day tour in Antique. These are all highly recommended.
1. Calawag Mountain Resort
This resort is located in the mountains of Tibiao, Antique, and just beside the Tibiao River. Enjoy being close to nature from its treehouse accommodation to activities like river tubing, kawa hot bath, and others. Calawag mountain resort is a perfect relaxation and social media detox that you need. Did I mention that there’s no internet nor phone signal here? Check their website here and Facebook Page for more details and booking.
2. Pandan Beach Resort
If Antique is known for rustic, close-to-nature accommodation. Well, in case you need something that exudes a bit of luxury, Pandan Beach Resort is for you.
They have rooms with comfy beds to meet your taste. They also offer delectable food and a personal touch kind of service from its staff and owners. Here’s the Facebook Page of Pandan Beach Resort.
3. Kawa Inn Resort
If you’re in Tibiao, Kawa Inn is also a good option for that native accommodation with air-conditioned rooms ranging from couple rooms to family rooms that can accommodate up to 12 persons.
Aside from that, with Kawa Inn, you can also experience Kawa Hot Bath, Tibiao Fish Spa, full-body massage, and a lot more. They also have a nice pool at the back of the property with a nice view of the mountains. Book a room through their website here.
4. Aningalan’s Highland Strawberry Garden in San Remigio
They have 3 rooms to accommodate groups and couples.
Stay at this property while enjoying cool weather and spectacular views of the mountains. Plus, you can also pick some strawberries during harvest season. Contact their Facebook Page here.
5. Alpas Guesthouse in Tobias Fornier
Alpas Restaurant in Tobias Fornier is slowly becoming popular for its sustainable dining experience promoting organic ingredients and supporting local farmers. They’re also a guesthouse.
Their Consuelo House is a beachfront house that can accommodate up to 5 guests with complimentary breakfast. Check out Alpasph for bookings
6. Enrique De Mararison in Mararison Island
This is one of the few resorts that you can choose when you visit Marasison. This is located on the other side of the island and you have to either hike the hills or ride a boat going to the island’s famous sandbar.
7. Dalaag Campsite and Resort in Tobias Fornier
Another good option for group or family gatherings and accommodation. They have one of the biggest swimming pools in the province. You have to check and experience it.
8. Esprutingkle Business Hotel in San Jose
We stayed in this hotel on our last night in Antique before flying back to Clark. It was a comfortable stay. I had a good night’s sleep too. Highly recommended if you need a place to stay in the capital town of Antique.
Where to Eat in Antique?
Of course, there are some small eateries and local restaurants in the province that offers dishes and even the local Kinaray-a food. But here are just some restaurants that we tried that are worthy of your visit.
Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant
This looks like a simple restaurant with videoke but their dishes are authentic Italian. Mamma Mia Restaurant is owned by Daniel Orsini from Milan and he is proud to share that all of the ingredients in his restaurant are sourced from Italy.
The in-house restaurants of the resorts that we stayed and experienced were also good and commendable. They offer delectable Filipino food.
Calawag Mountain Resort – Their boodle fight is something that you need to try. This is only PHP 249 per person and composed a choice of chicken adobo or chicken papisik, grilled pork with pancit, rice, and mixed vegetables. Delicious.
Pandan Beach Resort – Their in-house restaurant served us a delicious vegetable lumpia, pancit, and relaxing Arroz Caldo. Their breakfast meals are also commendable with brewed coffee.
Dioso farm Mountain Spring Retreat – I loved their monggo and vegetables with grilled fish complete with kakanin from Antique and fruits. Their patuyaw lunch is only PHP 250 per person. Visitors can also bring their food and pay only the entrance fee, but in case you need to avail of their food, it’s really good.
This trip back to Antique after 10 years is very personal for me. It felt like my life created a small full circle from a stressed TV producer who missed his flight from Iloilo back to Manila to a full-time blogger who is now helping promote PAL’s direct flight to Antique from Clark – the solution to the problem that we experienced a decade ago. Antique deserves your attention, and it is time now to plan your trip to this province. Kruhay!
Thank you Philippine Airlines, Antique Tourism, and Katahum Tours for making this trip possible. Rest assured that we are always here to support the growth of tourism of the province. Special thanks to Sir Flord Calawag of Katahum Tours for your warmth and hospitality, to sir Ram Villaluna of Antique Tourism Office, and Ms. Cielo Villaluna, Head of PAL’s Corporate Communications.
Of course, Thank you for the help and assistance, Lala and Romeo.
It is also a privilege to travel with my fellow travel bloggers and content creators. Cheers to our memorable experiences in Antique and for our new friendships. Please follow my fellow awesome content creators below.
There you have it. I hope you find this long blog post helpful to your plans in visiting Antique. Book your flight to Antique via Philippine Airlines and explore the province, hassle-free via Katahum Tours. Seriously, Antique should be on your bucket list. Start planning your trip now.
Note: This blog post was first published on May 26, 2019. Updated 2021