Guest post by: Flord Nicson Calawag
Antique is fastly becoming one of the tourism hot spots in the Visayas. Recently, Tibiao and the Province of Antique was listed as one of the 5 must visit provinces in the Philippines.
Sunset at Tiguis Beach by Jonathan Jurilla
Visit Tibiao Antique
Table of Contents
Tibiao offers a perfect mix of nature and adventure. From adrenaline pumping activities, beautiful beaches and exciting food trips, you will never get bored in Tibiao. Here are the Top 15 reasons why you should visit Tibiao soon:
1. A taste of the very first Tibiao Bakery
Tibiao Bakery is the first bakeshop in Tibiao, Antique. It provides affordable yet with outstanding quality food products to Antiqueños. Established in 1953, Tibiao Bakery has spawned out numerous branches mainly in Iloilo City, and to the whole Panay Island and there’s even one in New Zealand. It is a landmark in Iloilo, and is well known for its pandesal, ensaymada, and pan de coco among others. Its product ranges from breads, biscuits, cakes, cookies, sweets to short orders like puto, siopao, pancit molo, spaghetti and hamburgers.
Tibiao Fish Spa
2. Tickling experience at Tibiao Fish Spa
After an adventure in Tibiao, take a load off and experience the relaxing sensation of hundreds of little fish nibbling on your feet like little masseurs. The town boasts of the most affordable fish spa in the world using locally bred “TheraFish.”
Tibiao Fish Spa stands out from conventional fish spas because of its affordable rates and novel offerings. While most fish spas use imported Garra ruffa fish which are expensive to acquire and maintain, Tibiao Fish Spa uses several species of fish sourced from the highlands of Tibiao in the province of Antique to provide the fish spa experience in a uniquely Filipino setting.
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.
Kawa Hot Bath in Tibiao
Enjoy a unique relaxation experience in Tibiao by bathing in a hot kawa (large vat or frying pan), just like a local jacuzzi. This unique kawa hot bath will surely relieve the stresses in your body. Just imagine yourself dipping in a kawa filled with warm water with local herbs and flowers. This kawa was used before for cooking muscovado or organic brown sugar but later on, it was developed for this only one of its kind purpose.
4. 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”.
It consists of four main parts: the leader, playground, the inner and outer slopes, and the bag. The leader blocks the path of the school of migratory fish that lead them to the playground. From the playground, the fish enters to the outer slope by means of the pointed nettings. As the fish passes through the slope, it enters to the inner slope or non-return valve dropping into the bag where they are trapped and hauled for the catch.
Tibiao has a good fishing ground and it is believed to be the highway of migratory fishes. Having a productive waters, Tibiao produces commercial species of pelagic and migratory fishes such as tuna and tuna-like species, caranx, marlins, Spanish mackerels or tangigue, barracuda, swordfishes, cavallas, red tail scads and sardines.
5. Nature Trekking to Waterfalls
You will be hiking along murmuring streams and hidden rice terraces to Bugtong Bato Falls. The Bugtong Bato Falls belongs to Bandirahan mountain – a place used as a hiding place by Japanese Soldiers during WWII.
Trivia about Tuno:
• Tuno comes from the local tree named Tipuno.
• Tuno River is part of the Tibiao River with its source from Mt. Madja-as and Bugtong-bato falls.
• Distance from Poblacion or town proper is 7 km.
• Livelihood: farming and tourism
6. Experience life at the cascading Bugtong-bato Falls
Bugtong-bato waterfalls is a seven-tiered water falls located at Brgy. Tuno, Tibiao. Once you reached the barangay proper, it requires a 1.5 km trek for at least about 35 minutes before you reach the waterfalls. At the moment, only the first three falls are accessible because there is no trails yet going to the other falls and it is still quite risky. In order to reach the third fall, you will rapel in the cascading 2nd fall. This would be another unique adventure for nature lovers. We recommend you wear closed sandals or shoes while we trek to the falls.
The 1st fall has a height of 135 ft. or 41 meters. This is one of the highest waterfalls among the seven-tiered falls. Enjoy swimming in the lagoon and try experiencing a water massage through the current of the fall.
The beauty of the 2nd fall is that you could rappel from this place to the third fall in the cascading fall. Rappelling to this fall is like climbing a stairway while holding the big rope. For first timers, local guides will be assisting you for the climb. Just take one step at a time because the stones are slippery.
The 3rd fall has the deepest lagoon in this place with a depth of more than 4 meters or 13 feet. It is also great to experience the water massage in that area.
Brick and Pottery Making in Tibiao
7. Pottery and Brick Making
Learn a new skill in Brgy. Bandoja, a village in Tibiao known for its pottery and brick making. This place is blessed to have 450,000 metric tons of clay reserve for pottery and brick making. Get a hands-on in making the pots and bricks. Discover the art of creating hand-made pots and bricks as you mold chocolate-brown soil into marvelous masterpieces.
White Water Kayaking
8. White Water River Kayaking
The Tibiao River boasts of crystal clear waters suitable for white water rafting/kayaking at various grades of difficulty. Courses are available for those interested to experience this challenging recreational outdoor activity. For Grade 1, basic kayaking course introduces first timers to paddling a kayak in calm waters. Grade 2 course are fit for those kayaker who wants to experience a higher level of skill paddling through the rapids and big stones. Grade 3-4 course are for those professionals who want to enjoy an adrenaline rush adventure in the strong currents surpassing the big boulders and difficult maneuvers.
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.
Sunset at Tiguis Beach Photo by Jonathan Jurilla
9. Sunset-viewing at the Tiguis beach
The beach is facing the Cuyo East Pass, a part of the South China Sea. Tiguis beach is famous for its white cliff of its shore, canopy of trees and cool blue sea. This area is also a perfect place for sunset-viewing. Soon investors will be putting up a giant water slide to the sea, as part of the adventure package for Tibiao.
Water Spa at Butong River
10. Butong River
This is Butong river is named after the most abundant species of bamboo along the river, the Butong bamboo. What makes this place unique is the presence of the biggest boulder in town wherein tourists can experience rock climbing and boulder diving. The deepest area around the boulder is 8-10 ft., ideal for boulder diving.
This area is part of Brgy. Tigbaboy. The barangay is named after the two local things abundant in the barangay before the ‘tigbaw’ (a local grass) and ‘baboy’ (a wild boar).
11. Tibiao Eco-Adventure Park Zip Trip
Tibiao’s newest tourism destination, the Tibiao Zip Trip is the longest in Panay Island. It is a two-way zipline with 500-m cable each.
12. Malakagat Hanging Bridge & Tigbaboy Hanging Bridge
Malakagat Hanging Bridge can be found near the Ever Land Park and Kayak Inn. Before typhoon Frank, this suspension bridge leading to Sitio Malakagat, Brgy. Tuno has a rigid and strong structure. The high level of water that reached the bridge and the strong current during the typhoon made the bridge a swaying hanging bridge and a tourist destination. From the hanging bridge, you will have a perfect view of the white water river of Tibiao and the perfect cone shape mountain of Brgy. Tuno.
The 1st hanging bridge in townis is the Tigbaboy hanging bridge, a 65 meter suspension bridge. Another experience awaits you because you will experience passing over the bridge while riding the habal-habal. This bridge leads the way to the barangay proper.
Tibiao Native Handicrafts and Souvenir Products
13. Buy Tibiao Native Products
Located at Centro Sur, Tibiao, all kinds of native products such as banig, bayong, native products, hats, gift boxes, bayong bags, hat, abaca and clay products are available. All of the native products are made in Antique.
Tibiao Native Products Photo by Tonzie Gay
14. Zorbing down the Tibiao River
Zorbing in Tibiao is operated by the newly opening Ever Land Park located at Brgy. Tuno, Tibiao. The process involves rolling downhill inside an orb, generally made of transparent plastic going down the Tibiao River. The harness orbs used are good for two riders. You will experience a 21-m rolling or a 7-seconder zorbing.
15. Riding a habal-habal or Sky-love
Just like in other parts of the country, Habal-habal is also famous in Antique because it is the fastest way of transportation to the mountains. Sky-love is derived from the two words ‘sakay’ and ‘love’ just like how the driver calls for passengers “Sakay na Love”. These type of transportation is famous in provinces in the Philippines where jeepneys and tricycles cannot stand the rough, steep terrain and narrow roads.
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Flord Nicson Calawag is the owner of Tibiao Fish Spa and Katahum Tours. He is a marine fisheries graduate from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) in Miag-ao, Iloilo.
He discovered a kind of fish from a friend’s mountain and he later utilized them in their first ever fish therapy spa in the town of Tibiao.