Antique Travel Guide
Table of Contents
In one of the main lands of the Philippine archipelago lies the province of Antique. Antique is located on the entire western end of the Visayas group of islands, west of Iloilo and southwest of Aklan.
For many years now Antique has been underrated for its slightly disadvantageous location—it is located near tourist hotspots Boracay and Iloilo and is thus oftentimes overlooked by vacationers and travelers. We should, however, remember to appreciate those left unnoticed—because there are always some things that we don’t see in them that have yet to be explored.
Consider the things that you are missing. Consider Antique.
Getting to Antique
To get to Antique you may choose to travel by land, air, or, yes, even by sea depending on your point of origin. The popular entry point to Antique is either from Aklan or Iloilo. To get there by land you may ride a bus from Molo District, Iloilo to Antique’s capital city, San Jose. This type of bus trip would take about 3 hours of travel time.
Staying in Antique
Before anything else, you should consider looking for a place to stay in while in this province. There are a lot of things to do and things to see here in Antique, so you can’t expect your trip to be short.
Of course, where you stay should depend on what exactly you plan to do in Antique, but for first-time travelers, it is recommended that you stay in La Parola Orchids Beach Resort (Check Rates and Availability). The ambiance here is really peaceful and it is guaranteed that your stay will be as satisfying as it gets. Air-conditioned rooms here start at Php3000, with hot and cold water, cable TV, and a view of the beach.
Pandan Beach Resort [Check Rates and Availability] is also one of the top-rated hotels in Antique because of its amenities and its proximity to some of the best diving sites, hiking trails, and landmarks in the province. Here they offer Php1500 for an air-conditioned room with hot water and 24/7 internet access. You may also book your tours here.
If you’re looking for relatively affordable rooms, you may try booking one in Centillion House 2000 (Php1000 for a simple, air-conditioned room with hot water). It’s located along the busy road of the city and in front of a mini-mall.
Things to do, things to see
The province of Antique is located on the westernmost tip of the mainland, so there are plenty of beaches and island groups to explore here.
The Caluya group of islands, for instance, not only serve as a diving spot, it’s also teeming with diverse marine life. The islands of Caluya are also heavenly white-sanded beaches, and if you’re clever enough you can find the perfect spot for a romantic date by the seaside.
Discover Seco Island
While island hopping you should also opt to go to Seco Island, yet another white sand beach Antique has to offer.
Experience Lambaklad Fishing
Lambaklad fishing is one of the largest fish traps in the country. It is located in Brgy. Malabor, approximately 3 km. from town proper. Lambaklad is derived by fusing the dialect, “lambat” or net and “baklad” or fish corral, hence “lambat-baklad” or in short, “lambaklad”.
Try White Water River Kayaking in Tibiao
The Tibiao River is one of the best white water rivers in the country perfect for kayaking. In fact, it hosted the first “International Kayaking Cup,” which was initiated by Tribal Adventures, Inc. in 1997.
Relax at Tibiao Fish Spa
Tibiao Fish Spa’s first facility was right in owners backyard in the quiet town of Tibiao, Antique where they first observed the characteristic behavior of the fish that the company now call TheraFishTM. The first customers of the fish spa were neighbors, fishermen, and farmers who took advantage of the extremely affordable rates. The news spread by word of mouth and soon busloads of students and thousands of guests representing over a dozen nationalities dropped by Tibiao Fish Spa conveniently located along the national highway.
Experience Kawa Hot Bath in Tibiao
The giant vat or kawa, in the local language, was originally used to cook muscovado sugar. Now that sugar production is no longer a popular livelihood in Antique, these kawas were converted them into these chill tubs.
Hike Mt Madia-as
If you’re not a fan of the sea there’s always Mt. Madia-as in the municipality of Culasi. It’s a dormant volcano with 14 waterfalls and is believed to be the abode of a local deity.
Sira-an Hot Springs
Antique is also the home of many hot springs which are believed to be medicinal. The hot springs of Sira-an are numerous, and some are even located underground. You don’t even have to do anything here. Just stay in the water and the heat will detoxify and rejuvenate you.
Malumpati Cold Springs
And if Antique has hot springs, it also has a cold spring—Malumpati Cold Spring. The water of Malumpati runs directly to the Bugang River. The area is the ideal place for swimming and picnicking.
Visit Bugtong Bato Falls
Another wonder of nature that should be worth visiting while in Antique would be Bugtong Bato Falls in Tibiao. Getting to the falls is one tough hike, but you’ll love it when you get there. Also, there are plenty of things to do once you get there—zip-lining, swimming, more hiking, picture-taking, or, just, admiring nature.
If all these are not enough, Antique is also home to the world’s largest flower—the Rafflesia. See it for yourself in Sibalom Natural Park.
The list of natural wonders here in Antique goes on—as expected of the province that is oftentimes called “the Land Where Mountains Meet the Sea”.
Tired of Antique’s natural environment? Stop by at the capital city San Jose. Visit the marketplace to see local products, or, travel from there to the province’s famous landmarks. There are several churches there which were built way back during the Spanish Colonization Era in the 1800s, and there’s also the famous Old Watchtower in Libertad which witnessed the war.
Gastronomic adventures await
As a province located directly beside the sea, Antique has been known for its marine products. But where should you eat?
There are, of course, a lot of restaurants to eat in, but for first-time travelers, you should try Seaview Restaurant in Pandan. Like the name of the place itself states, Seaview Restaurant is strategically located in the seaside, so the ambiance here is relaxing and peaceful. Also, you’re guaranteed that the ingredients of the restaurant’s specialty (which are obviously local Antique seafood cuisines) are always fresh.
Peanut Brittle from Antique
Tay Inggo Manokan and Seafoods Restaurant in San Jose de Buenavista is also highly recommended. Dishes here are home-made and the cooks specialize in adding that unique Antique twist in its seafood and poultry dishes.
If you’re the explorer-type there are always plenty of small food stalls around to try.
Of course like all vacations, your stay here in Antique will have to end, eventually. So before you go make sure to buy yourself or your loved ones some souvenirs.
What to Buy?
The province of Antique is known for its muscovado products. Muscovado sugar mills can be found in almost every municipality. Buy yourself a bottle of sweet muscovado or buy your friends muscovado candies.
Grab some bread at the famous Tibiao Bakery. A popular pasalubong shop in Antique, Tibiao Bakery is the first bakeshop in Tibiao. Established in 1953, Tibiao Bakery has spawned out numerous branches mainly in Iloilo City, and to the whole Panay Island and you’ll be surprised, there’s even one in New Zealand.
Other products Antique is known for include coal, marble, copper, and gemstones. You can buy handcrafted products in the marketplace of San Jose de Buenavista.