Not to be confused with furniture and other old items, Antique (pronounced an-tee-ke) is an elongated land on the western side of Panay Island. There is no shortage of tourist attractions here as the province is home to natural wonders like gorgeous white beaches, stunning waterfalls, and attractive mountain landscapes. There are also fun and unique activities that you can try only in Antique.
Malalison Island may look like an ordinary island from a great distance. But once you're there, you will be greeted by its dazzling white sand and shimmering blue waters. The picturesque hills are similar to the ones in Batanes. While swimming, snorkeling, and boating are all fun activities in the island, the best will have to be hiking the hills overlooking the beach where you can enjoy pleasant sightseeing.
One of the best waterfalls in the area is Bugtong-Bato Falls, which is a seven-tiered falls that each lead to a clear water basin. You can hike to the different layers and swim in each pool. Climbing the rocks are quite challenging but the fun experience will be all worth it.
Near the falls, you can try a unique spa treatment called the Kawa Bath where you will soak in an old black vat full of warm water and aromatics. You will look like you're being cooked alive in a witch's cauldron but it is actually relaxing and therapeutic as well. Another activity you can try is the Tibiao Fish Spa where you soak your feet in a pool full of fish who will chew on your dead skin cells.
While there is no direct way of getting to Antique by air, you can fly to its neighboring provinces of Aklan or Iloilo. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia all offer flights to these destinations. From there, you can easily travel to Antique by land. From Manila, travel time to Aklan takes about 65 minutes. Flights to Iloilo, on the other hand, take about 75 minutes.
Traveling by sea is also another option. There is also no direct way to Antique via this option, so you’ll also have to take a ferry to Aklan, which usually lasts for about 12 hours.
By Land (once in Aklan or Iloilo)
Once you’ve arrived in Kalibo, Aklan, you will have to board a Ceres Bus bound for San Jose, Antique. The travel time takes about two hours. If you’re arriving in Caticlan, the Antique-bound buses are found at the Caticlan Terminal. The trip is about one and a half hours.
If you traveled to Iloilo, then you will have to ride a van to the Molo Terminal where jeeps and vans headed for Antique await. The ride from Iloilo to Antique lasts also for about two hours.
How to Get Around
While in Antique, the most common mode of transportation is the tricycle. There are plenty of tricycles in the province and you can ask the driver about some of the ideal destinations. Jeepneys are also available.
What to See
The San Juan Nepomuceno Church, also known as the Anini-y Church, is the only preserved Augustinian church in Antique. The original church structure was built in the early 17th century but has suffered deteriorations over the years. The present structure, built in baroque architecture, was completed in 1879. The church is also made of corals and stones, which add character to this religious and historic landmark.
Antique is most notable for its breathtaking natural wonders that will satisfy your wanderlust.
Nogas Island is a great spot to enjoy the sun, sand, sea. It is has nice beaches and lush mangroves. Visitors can climb the rustic lighthouse on the island to enjoy a stunning view of the azure waters and the surrounding natural wonders.
However, Malalison Island is what is considered as the “Jewel of Culasi” (Culasi is a town in Antique). More than its fine sands and clear blue waters, the island also offers various attractions which will bring you closer to nature. Its hilly terrains are similar to the emerald landscapes of Batanes. At the rear end of the island is the gorgeous Nablag Islet, a rocky hill which can be accessed by crossing a sandbar at low tide. Head to the top of this hill so you can feast your eyes on a spectacular view of the horizon.
Meanwhile, the islands of Caluya and Seco are pieces of paradise that could easily rival its more famous counterparts like Boracay. Both have gleaming white sands and aquamarine waters that have barely been touched. Anyone can live out their tropical beach fantasies on these places.
The Sira-an Hot Springs is a government-owned resort with relaxing hot springs. This is the perfect destination for those who want to experience the therapeutic effects of soaking in warm waters. On the other hand, there is also the Malumpati Cold Spring in the town of Pandan where you can enjoy a literally cool dip to beat the heat.
Another unique adventure you can try in Antique is to ride a bamboo raft and cruise along the Bugang River. This majestic river is said to be one of the country’s cleanest bodies of water. The cruise will let you pass through five barangays and along lush vegetation on the riverbanks.
A more thrilling experience awaits adrenaline junkies at Tibiao River where kayaking along its raging rapids is the main draw. Both beginners and experienced kayakers can enjoy this attraction since the rapids are divided into four stages with different difficulties.
Tibiao River also features a quirky attraction: the inn by the river offers a relaxing bath in a large cauldron or kawa. You will look like you are being cooked alive by a wicked witch—amusing but quite a relaxing experience because of the soothing warm water with all the aromatics like herbs and flowers.
You can also visit the sugar mill at the town of Laua-an. Watch how local sweet treats like bandi, butong butong, and sugarcane juice are processed and made. The place also sells various pasalubong items.
Another interesting place in Antique is the Buri Handicraft Association, Inc. in Tobias Fornier, where women turn simple buri palms into fine handwoven items like bags, baskets, wallets, and mats in colorful designs. The Bagtason Loom Weavers Association, on the other hand, is where you can learn how to weave your own patadyong, a fabric made from cotton.
Events and Festivals
The Binirayan Festival is the highly anticipated event in Antique. Celebrated every third weekend of April, the festival is held to commemorate the arrival of the 10 Bornean datus on the island of Panay. It is a great way for the locals to retrace their roots and recognize the identity of Antiqueños.
Where to Eat
Tibia Bakery was established in 1953 and is the oldest bakery in Antique. It has delectable breads and pastries like mamon, biscocho, macapuno buns, and their best seller, the teren teren bread.
Floring’s Carinderia may be simple and unassuming but its dishes are delightful. The house specialty is the native chicken adobo, made with native free range chicken. Their adobo is also distinct because of its color from atsuete and the spicy kick from bird’s eye chili or siling labuyo.
Rosh Al Café is another popular dining place in Antique and the go-to place for lomi and grilled yellow fin tuna. Meanwhile, Marquessa’s Bistro offers a beachfront dining experience. Their menu features a mix of Filipino, European, and American dishes that will surely tickle your palate.
Fare: PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 7,000.00
Airfare from Manila to either Iloilo or Aklan will cost you as much as PHP 7,000.00. Be on the lookout for promos where you can avail of tickets as low as PHP 2,000.00.
The usual fare for a tricycle ride when in Antique is about PHP 20.00 per person. Fares for the habal-habal are negotiable. You can also hire one for a day tour for around PHP 300.00 for two persons.
Food: PHP 150.00 to PHP 200.00
Dining in Antique is affordable. Meals usually start from PHP 150.00 to PHP 200.00. The servings are already huge enough to leave you satisfied.
Shopping: PHP 20.00 to PHP 500.00
Key chains and ref magnets are inexpensive souvenir items for only PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 apiece. Souvenir shirts start at PHP 150.00. Woven goods like bags, wallets, and mats cost as much as PHP 500.00 per item.
Accommodations: PHP 1,500.00 to PHP 4,000.00
Even with a low budget, you can have quality accommodations in Antique. Budget rooms can go for as low as PHP 1,500.00. If you’ll be staying in a hotel, an overnight stay will set you back as much as PHP 4,000.00.
Activities: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
Go swimming, snorkeling, zip-lining, or island hopping when in Antique for about PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00 per person.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
A small amount of PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 should be okay when tipping in a restaurant. Feel free to add a bit more when tipping tour guides or your habal-habal drivers.
||Arrival in Tibiao, Antique
||Enjoy a simple breakfast at Tibiao Bakery before heading out for your activities of the day.
||Head over to the Tibiao River for whitewater rafting.
||Enjoy a nice kawa hot bath after whitewater rafting.
||Have late lunch at Everland Inn.
||Visit Nica Rambuan Farm.
||Visit Tibiao Pottery and Bricks where you can try your hand at making a clay pot.
| 6:00 PM
||Have early dinner at Floring’s Carinderia and retire for the night.
||Depart Tibiao for Malalison Island.
||Go on a hike to visit Nablag Islet at the rear end of the island. Afterwards, enjoy beach bumming in the surrounding areas.
||Have lunch on the island.
||Depart the island.
||Visit a patadyong weaving center.
||Visit the Anini-y Church.
| 6:00 PM
||Have dinner at Merlina Restaurant and retire for the night.
||Have breakfast at the hotel.
||Roam around town and shop for souvenir items.
||Prepare for checkout.
||Have lunch at Tay Inggo’s Manokan and Seafood Restaurant.
||Depart Anini-y for Iloilo International Airport.
||Check in at the airport.
| 6:00 PM
||ETA in Manila
The average temperature in Antique is 28 degrees Celsius. It is dry for the most part of the year, though the months of June to October are usually marred with thunderstorms and rain showers. Pack light and breathable clothing when visiting, and don’t forget to bring a jacket or a scarf to keep you warm when it gets cold especially at night.
There are a number of medical centers available throughout the province. The well-known hospitals are Angel Salazar Provincial General Hospital and Antique Medical Center, both of which are found in the provincial capital of San Jose de Buenavista.
Drug stores and pharmacies are also accessible in the province. However, it is best to pack your own medicine, especially if you have certain medical conditions.
Antique is a safe and peaceful province to visit, though that does not discount that possibility of petty crimes from happening every now and then. Travelers are reminded to always be vigilant when in the province. Keep an eye on your valuables at times, especially when visiting crowded and public places.