Ultimate Guide for Budget Traveler and Adventure Seeker

If someone ask you about Antique , what's the first thing that comes to your mind? I think you would say the famous " Kawa Bath &...

Antique Travel Guide For First Time Travelers

If someone ask you about Antique, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? I think you would say the famous "Kawa Bath". This is the common answer when you ask this question especially for those people who have never been to this place. Honestly, I didn't even know much about this province before visiting. But I assure you that Antique is much more interesting than you probably expect.

Antique (pronounced as an-tee-keh) is known as “The Land Where the Mountains Meet the Sea.” It's a couple of hours away from the country's famous white sand beach, Boracay. The province is part of the Panay Island located in the region of the Western Visayas, bordering Aklan, Capiz, and Iloilo to the east in the Philippines. San Jose de Buenavista serves as the provincial capital and Kinaray-a is the official language spoken by the locals.

With the help of Las Islas Travel and Tours, I was able to visit some of the must visit destinations in Antique. This laid-back province has something to offer especially for those travelers (like me) looking for unique adventures. I have listed below all the information that you need if you are planning to visit Antique.

Where to go in Antique

Mararison Island

Mararison (also called Malalison Island) is a perfect destination for those who love to hike and to swim. It's a small fishing village featuring crystal clear waters, white fine sands, picturesque grassy rolling hills and a lot more. This 55-hectare hook-shaped island is reachable by a 15-minute boat ride from the town of Culasi. You can find the best view of the island and instagrammable spot on the top of the hills.

You can explore the whole island for less than a day. If you want to stay here overnight or for few days, there are available homestays /transient homes that you can rent for P300-P500 / day (depending on the season). Water supply is limited but the electricity is now 24 hours.

Kawa Bath 

Kawa Hot Bath in Tibiao is absolutely a unique spa experience that you must- try in Antique. The giant wok (vat or cauldron), or kawa (tagalog word), traditionally used for cooking muscovado sugar which is now converted to a hot tub. The Kawa takes some time to prepare. They filled it with water and strewn with flower petals and herbal leaves. They burn up wood to heat up the water to your desired temperature.

The warm water plus the amazing view of the river would definitely relax your body. It's a perfect activity after a long day of roaming around the province. Kawa Bath rates starts at P300 per person. Fish spa is also available in the area.

Malumpati Cold Spring (Pandan)

One of Antique's attractions is the Malumpati Cold Spring, as it has one of the cleanest rivers in  the Philippines! The water of Malumpati runs directly to the Bugang River.  The area is clean and the water is clean. There are huts and picnic areas around the huge swimming area available for rent. Expect crowds during holidays and peak season. Activities can be done here include swimming, hiking, picnics, diving, and water tubing. Admission fee is P40 for adults and P30 for senior citizens and PWDs (tourists) / P20 for adults and P15 for senior citizens and PWDs (residents) / P10 (children).

Due to my limited time, these are on the only places I visited in Antique. On my next trip, I will go to Seco Island, a 1.5 km island paradise with beautiful sandbars; Nogas Island (24-hectare government naval reservation island that features white-sand beaches, calachuchi tree “tunnel”, a colossal balete tree, and mangrove forest; Sira-An Hot Spring, a therapeutic sulfur hot spring located just along the seashore; Bugtong Bato Falls, the most famous waterfalls in Antique which is located in Barangay Tuno in the town of Tibiao; and Igbaclag Cave / Stone Castle, is made up of two cave chambers and home to numerous swiftlets or balinsasayaw.

Things to do in Antique

Heritage tour is a good activity where you can visit age-old structures including Patnongon Ruins, Bantayog ng Wika, Gen. Leandro Fullon National Shrine and Anini-y Church (St. John de Nepomuceno). Other activities to be indulged include water tubing, kayaking, boy and foot massage in Tibiao. You can also do hiking in the quiet town of San Remigio where you can find Rafflesia,  the biggest flower in the world that has no leaves, roots, or even stem.

Where to stay in Antique

If you are looking for a budget-friendly accommodation which is near to some of the must visit-destinations in Antique, the  Kasa Raya Inn is the right place for you. I stayed here for 2 days and 2 nights. This charming stilt-house is located along the main road in Tibiao which is the jump off point for travelers who want to visit  the Kawa Bath,  Seco Island, Malumpati Cold Springs,  Bugtung Batu Falls, Malalison Island, and other destinations in Antique.

Kasa Raya Inn offers simple yet clean rooms with comfy beds, meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Antique package tours.  I felt like I'm at home during my stay in Kasa Raya Inn. The staff are very accommodating and friendly. Their tour guide is also very knowledgeable on each places. 

How to get to Antique 

From Clark, take a flight going to Antique. Philippine Airlines (PAL) recently launched direct flights from Clark in Pampanga to San Jose de Buenavista, the provincial capital. The aircraft leaves Clark at 6:00 AM every Sunday and Tuesday, arriving in San Jose de Buenavista at 7:20 AM. The return flight, PR2206, departs Antique 20 minutes later at 7:40 AM, arriving in Clark at 9:00 AM.

Other options

(From Boracay, Aklan) From Manila, take a flight going to Aklan. Airlines such Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily to Aklan.  From Kalibo, take a tricycle to the Kalibo bus terminal and ride a Ceres Bus to Antique. From Kalibo, buses ply the route to Pandan and San Jose de Buenavista. Travel time to Antique is 2-3 hours from Boracay or Kalibo.

(From Iloilo) From Manila, take a flight going to Iloilo City. Airlines such Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily to Iloilo City. From the airport, take a van to Molo Terminal (P50). Then take another van (P110) or jeepney to Antique. From Iloilo, buses and vans take two main roads: the mountain and coastal road. Travel time to Antique is 3-4 hours from Iloilo. Travel time to Antique is 3-4 hours from Iloilo.

For hassle-free tour, you may contact Las Islas Travel & Tours. It offers package tour inclusive of accommodation, transportation to several destinations, all entrance and environmental fees and friendly tour guide. This local travel agency also handles tours all around Panay Island including Capiz, Aklan, and Iloilo.

Las Islas Travel & Tours
Address: 1st Floor, Bancal Public Market Building, Bancal Port, Carles, Northern Iloilo, Panay Island, 5019, Philippines
Contact Number: : 0995-335-7310 / 0929-595-8870
Website: http://lasislas.ph/