I’ve been wanting to visit Antique from the moment I saw their tourism promotional video Krruuhhaay! Katahum kang Antique by Dante Beriong on Youtube. Last month I finally experienced Antique and for me, this is one of the most beautiful provinces I have visited in the Philippines.
Miagao Church – Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva
It was early morning when we left Days Hotel in Iloilo to meet other Antique Heritage Tour participants at the UP Visayas Campus. Together with fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers and UP Visayas students, we left the campus at around 7am and headed to the southern part of Iloilo.
San Joaquin Cemetery
Before heading to Antique, we visited two heritage sites in Iloilo – the Miagao Church and the San Joaquin Cemetery. Miagao Church is also popularly known as the Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva, one of the iconic structures that you should not miss while heading to Antique if you are coming from Iloilo.
Inside San Joaquin Cemetery Chapel
After our short stop in Miagao Church, we also visited the San Joaquin Cemetery and the San Joaquin Church. The San Joaquin Cemetery is located along the main highway in the town of San Joaquin. The construction of San Joaquin Cemetery was commenced by the last Augustinian parish priest of the town named Fray Mariano Vamba in 1892. A statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched stands on top of a baroque style gate, and on each side of Christ, two columns with angelic figures are poised as guards.
Siraan Hot Spring
In addition, sculpted heads of two cherubs and a skull representing death marks the entrance of the cemetery. Take twenty stone steps after entering the gate and you will be greeted by the Baroque designed mortuary chapel standing on the center. It was such a beautiful chapel.
We also went to the San Joaquin Church but there was an undergoing construction when we visited the place. This Roman Catholic parish was built in 1869 by Spanish priest Reverend Tomas Santaren. The National Historical Institute listed the church as a National Cultural Treasure.
Buri Products of Antique
After visiting San Joaquin heritage sites, we headed to our first Antique destination – the town of Anini-y. Our first stop was at the Siraan Hot Spring. It was already raining when we arrived at the resort but it did not stop us appreciating the beauty of the resort and the mistical Nogas Island which we can view from afar.
From Siraan Hot Spring, we headed to San Juan Nepomuceno Church of Anini-y. This church is the last standing colonial church in the province of Antique. Built in 1600’s, this towering edifice was made from coral stones. At the back of the church, a beautiful lighthouse can be found with a rewarding view of Nogas Island.
Lechon Kawali at Melindas Restaurant
Our next stop was at Melinda’s restaurant for our Brunch. The restaurant was just simple, it reminds me of my favorite carinderia back in my high school days but the food in this restaurant are exceptionally good!! We were all reminded to eat light since we still have our lunch in Tibiao but I guess nobody listened LOL, we all enjoyed their dinuguan, lechon kawali and their super delicious Chopsuey (chinese mixed vegetables).
After chorus of burps! we proceeded to Brgy. Diclum for our Buri Weaving activity. Buri weaving is the source of livelihood of womens in this Barangay. Students from UP Visayas were devided into several teams and they were tasked to create a small buri bag as part of their immersion.
San Juan Nepomuceno Church of Anini-y
This type of activity not only help students understand the value of livelihood programs, it also help the locals by showcasing their talents and generate sales from finish products they are selling as souvenirs. Buri Weaving is not an easy task, it involves patience and skills in order to create art pieces. To be able to contribute to the local community, i bought several pieces as part of my pasalubong shopping (24 buri wallets to be exact).
From the town of Anini-y, we headed to the town of Hamtic to visit the Malandog Historical Marker and the General Fullon Shrine. The Malandog Marker is believed to be the original Landing site of the first Malayan settlers in 1200 A.D. while the General Fullon Shrine located in front of the municipal hall of Hamtic, Antique was built to honor the commander during the revolution against the Spanish colonial rule in the island of Panay.
We also had a quick stop at the Patnongon Church. Patnongon is one of three places where the Augustinians built a church and convento of stone and mortar. Patnongon Church was destroyed during the World War II in 1941-1945.
Patadyong Weaving in Antique
Our next stop was at Bugasong Loom Weaver’s Association in Barangay Bagtason to checkout the Patadyong Weaving. We were all lucky to witness the local weavers making this local textile called patadyong. Patadyong is the Visayan version of Malong. This hand woven cloth is often used as skirt and just like Malong, this is a very useful garment. Patadyong is being threatened with extinction but with the help of Bugasong Loom Weaver’s Association, locals are still familiar in the process of making this multi-colored textile.
Patadyong Products of Antique
After our cultural immersion, we headed to the town of Tibiao for an adventure packed activity – the Lambaklad Fishing. Lambaklad fishing is a local way of catching fish utilizing a huge bamboo raft. It was already late in the afternoon when we joined a group of local fishermen in their Lambaklad fishing.
Imagine a huge raft with almost 20 fishing crew combining their effort in hauling a fishing net against the challenging waves just 20-30 meters away from the coast of Tibiao. The huge waves are scary but after seeing the huge catch, it created a whole different story.
Fishing with local community
Lambaklad fishing is part of the Tibiao Adventure package offered and conceptualized by a local tourism mover and proprietor Flord Nicson Calawag of Katahum Tours. To help the coastal community and provide a unique activities to tourists, Flord Calawag integrated this fishing activity as part of their tour package.
Lambaklad Fishing in Antique
We headed to Tibiao Fish Spa for some relaxation. It was actually my first time to tryout Fish Spa. At first, the irresistible tickling sensation made me hesitant to continue the session but after few minutes, I got used to it and finally loved it.
Tibiao Fish Spa
Our fish spa experience was followed by a dinner sponsored by Tibiao Fish Spa then we headed to the University of Antique auditorium afterwards for their cultural presentation entitled Istorya-Kanta Kinaray-a.
Istorya-Kanta Kinaray-a Cultural Presentation
The cultural presentation features local artists like Dante Beriong – the man behind the famous Krruuhhaay! Katahum kang Antique tourism jingle. It was a night of good music and lively cultural dance performances from the University of Antique students. It really feels good to watch this type of performances once in a while. Watching the show made me realize one thing, Filipinos never ran out of reasons to celebrate. We are indeed the happiest people on earth!
I really commend Flord Nicson Calawag of Katahum Tours for his unparalleled love of promoting Antique to the rest of the world. Huge thanks also to the Provincial Tourism Office and the Department of Tourism for making this trip possible.
Antique is really a promising destination and I would love to go back there anytime… More stories soon!
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