Photo (right) by @ashing021 on Instagram
The province of Antique, which is situated on the western tip of Panay Island in the Visayas Region, is one of the most underrated places in the Philippines. Its tourist attractions include some of the best Philippine white sand beaches, islands, diving sites, waterfalls, and mountains.
It has earned the nickname "the province where the mountains meet the sea" because of its Philippine geographical features. It is surrounded by the rugged central mountains of Panay and the Sulu Sea on the west.
Antique got its name from the town of "Hamtic," which was once the province's capital. The province’s high slopes and rough, lengthy mountain ranges have segregated Antique from the rest of Panay's provinces. As a result, they have established their own language, Kinaray-a.
Antique's tourism industry keeps expanding due to its abundance of tourist spots scattered throughout its 18 municipalities, which are ideal for adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts. Tibiao, Antique, is one of the municipalities aiming to become a popular eco-adventure destination, and it is the most-visited location for those wanting to try the unique Kawa Hot Bath activity.
For flights to the Philippines Antique, you can book direct Manila to Antique flights via Philippine Airlines. You also have the option to take a flight to the nearby provinces of Iloilo or Kalibo, Aklan first, and then take a bus to Antique. You may also travel via sea, aboard Roll-On, Roll-Off (RORO) ships that travel to Caticlan, or via passenger ferries that dock at the Lipata Port in Culasi.
Once you get there, check out these top tourist spots in Antique that you can add to your Philippine itinerary:
12. Mt. Igcoron
Photo by @maritchiel on Instagram
Mt. Igcoron is a mountain located in Valderrama, a small town in Antique. Its height is only 700 MASL (meters above sea level) compared to other mountains in Antique and Philippine mountains for hiking. What distinguishes Mount Mt. Igcoron from the rest are its jagged peaks and 90-degree slopes.
The allure of Mt. Igcoron is not limited to its size. The difficulty of the climb is the source of pride in reaching any of its seven summits. From the starting point, visitors will have to pass through rice fields and mountains. From there, climbers will see how captivating its jagged peaks are.
- Read our article on hiking in the Philippines
Climbing its peak is not just a walk in the park, it is an almost vertical climb. Climbing to the top is almost like rock climbing, hikers have to hold onto their gear like a rope and wear gloves for protection. It is worth the climb because from the top, visitors will get a 360-degree view of the green hills and mountains of the nearby peaks.
11. Nogas Island
Nogas Island, an undisturbed and remote marine sanctuary in Anini-y, Antique, is a 24-hectare government naval reservation island and an idyllic tourist spot in Visayas that is considered a protected area, which is why visitation is regulated. Aside from being surrounded by white sand beaches, the promenade planted with frangipani that leads to a historic lighthouse is the island's most prominent feature.
The island is also ideal for nature-lovers due to its abundance of vines, natural trees, and bushes like the captivating Banyan tree. Furthermore, because it is a marine reserve, colorful corals and a variety of underwater species may be found, so visitors can bring their snorkeling equipment.
10. Aningalan Highland Strawberry Garden
Photo by Aningalan's Highland Strawberry Garden
Aningalan is nestled above 1,000 MASL (meters above sea level) among the little highland town of San Remigio, Antique. This mountaintop settlement is known as the "Antique Vegetable Basket" and sometimes referred to as "Little Baguio", the Luzon destination known for strawberry picking activities. One of its main highlights is the Aningalan Highland Strawberry Garden. This secluded farm in Antique provide travelers with picture-perfect vistas and a fun strawberry-picking experience.
Strawberry picking is available from November through February. On the other hand, visitors can witness the blooming of the highlands with its sunflowers and hydrangea globes during the summer months of March to June. They also have free-range animals, organic vegetable gardens, and fresh produce.
Aside from picking strawberries and purchasing fresh produce and souvenirs, other activities available here for travelers include sunset gazing, picnics, hiking, mountain biking, and camping.
9. Igbaclag Cave
Photo by @ashing021 on Instagram
Igbaclag Cave is also in San Remigio's Aningalan. The name is derived from its resemblance to an enormous stone castle. At the stone top of the cave, various trees and vines have grown that swing when the wind is strong. Various bird species also construct their nests in the holes of the cave.
The cave is divided into two chambers with varying entrances. The larger cave, which is home to countless swiftlets, has two entrances and small paths that lead to undiscovered areas. The other is more stark and short.
- Check out our article on the must-visit caves in the Philippines
The cave is capped by towering limestone boulders that create a cliff known locally as Stone Castle. Travelers are in for a surprise because once inside, it truly seems like they’re in a castle, especially in the area called "Balcony" with its high ceiling tower. For the most daring, visitors can try climbing to the jagged and pointy peaks known as "Terrace" and be amazed by the panoramic view from the summit.
8. Mt. Nangtud
Mount Nangtud is the second-highest peak in Panay Island and the third-highest peak in the Visayas region. Located on the border of Barbaza, Antique, and Jamindan, Capiz, this mountain has a total elevation of 2,074 MASL. It is part of the Central Panay Mountain Range, Panay's and Western Visayas' longest and largest mountain range.
This mountain in Antique is well-known for its "sea of clouds" and unique flowers, as well as its mossy woodland. The "Knife Edge Trail" is Mount Nangtud's most well-known and picturesque trail. Because of its geographical location on Panay Island, it has become one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the Visayas, with an 8/9 difficulty rating and requiring more than 3 days to reach the summit.
7. River Tubing at Bugang River
Photo by Pandan, Antique Tourism
One of the most visited tourist spots in Antique is the Bugang River, noted for being the cleanest inland water in the Philippines. The Bugang River has won local and international awards, thanks to the excellent management of the Bugang Ecotourism Organization.
The river stretches for at least 6km, and its source is at least 30m deep. The water runs through the entire town of Pandan. The river is also the city's main water source, with pumps and filtration systems nearby to support and supply water to the city.
The Bugang River has received many travelers over time as there are many fun activities to do here, such as riding bamboo boats on the river or enjoying river tubing. These activities allow visitors to see how clean the river is for themselves as they navigate the clear waters and see how the locals have maintained it over time.
Moreover, the river tubing activity is both exciting and relaxing, guests will see the beauty of the Bugang River, surrounded by centuries-old trees that have always protected the purity of the river, and a wide variety of flora and fauna. River tubing is also one of the best activities during the rainy season in the Philippines when the water level is higher.
6. Seco Island
Seco Island is a tiny, elbow-shaped island with shallow, azure seas and a 1.5 km strip of white sand situated in the Antique municipality of Tibiao, Antique, which also serves as the island's entry point. The island got its name from the local term for “elbow”. It is one of the best islands in the Philippines.
Seco Island is also one of the best Antique tourist attractions to go for swimming, camping, and kiteboarding. The island offers kitesurfers consistently strong winds that might also accelerate surfers when they are mounted on surfboards.
Despite being a tiny island with a few trees, Seco island nonetheless boasts a section of undeveloped white sand beach. There are only a few open cottages in the area. Although camping is permitted there, visitors must provide their own camping gear.
5. Antique Rice Terraces
Photo by @arnoldvincentf on Instagram
Banaue in North Luzon is widely known for the Banaue Rice Terraces, but Visayas also has its own: the Antique Rice Terraces. This 600-hectare rice plantation in San Remigio, Antique nestled in a valley surrounded by undulating hills and mountain peaks, between the two magnificent falls of Iglangit and Igtamoni. The Iraynon Bukidnon, an indigenous community in Antique, have conserved the cluster of terraces, which is now regarded as a cultural asset.
Mt. Iglangit, Mt. Igpayas, and Mt. Igbangto, three enormous mountains, surround the village. Due to this, the village is shielded from powerful winds. The rice terraces are also surrounded by rivers and waterfalls, making the supply of water unrestricted.
The valley falls in the other direction and is traversed by a section of the Sibalom River. It takes not only strong leg muscles but also patience and tremendous physical endurance before arriving at Antique Rice Terraces as travelers must travel past 5 mountains first.
4. Bugtong Bato Falls
Photo by Calawag Mountain Resort
One of the 17 waterfalls in Tibiao, Antique, the Bugtong Bato Waterfalls is a 7-tiered waterfall that has fresh and clean water that falls straight into the Tibiao stream from the basin. Visitors of this tourist spot in Antique may take a dip at the falls after it cascades down the mountain.
The first three waterfalls, which are all about 150 ft tall, are accessible. Aside from swimming, trekking, and taking photos in one of the top waterfalls in the Philippines, the area surrounding the falls is great for picnics. Its waters flow immediately into the Tibiao River, which offers the best whitewater kayaking rapids. Meanwhile, inflatable rafts can be utilized for whitewater rafting during the rainy season when the river is high.
3. Malalison Island (or Mararison Island)
Mararison Island is a 55-hectare island in Culasi, Antique, and is considered one of the most famous Antique tourist spots. The name Mararison is the subject of several legends, but according to locals, Mararison is a name derived from the personality of Madya-as daughter, which meant “the disobedient one”. It was only after Typhoon Haiyan's devastation of the province that the media started showcasing the beauty of the island.
A panoramic view of the island may be found at Mararison's summit, which can be reached by hiking up the island's hills. Aside from trekking up the hill, travelers can go swimming and snorkeling, and explore Nablet Islet, where they can take in the beautiful scenery.
On the other hand, a sandbar facing mainland Panay is located east of Mararison and extends more than 100m from the island's primary coastline beach. It’s no wonder this Culasi, Antique tourist spot has become a perfect backdrop for photos.
2. Malumpati Cold Spring
Photo by Malumpati Health Spring & Tourist Resort
Malumpati Cold Spring, one of the most well-known eco-resorts and springs in the Philippines, is renowned for its cold-spring pools and well-conserved forest. Due to its location in Pandan, Antique, about 52km from Tibiao, it’s not as visited by travelers compared to other Antique tourist spots.
The resort's namesake, Malumpati, is derived from "malumpat ang ati” (aetas would jump). The term "Aetas" describes a group of indigenous Filipinos. According to stories, one of the Aetas' favorite pastimes is jumping into the spring's crystal-clear waters.
Visitors can relax in the area's cottages or camp for free if they have their own tent. Swimming and water tubing are two of the most exciting things to do here.
1. Kawa Hot Bath
One of the most well-known attractions in Antique is the Kawa Hot Bath. The majority of these may be found at Tibiao, which is the most well-known location for kawa hot baths. The kawa hot bath is a unique experience where you take a hot bath in a big water-filled cauldron over fire.
In addition to the interesting metaphor of being “cooked alive”, the Kawa Hot Bath is also known for its healing properties, which include relieving body aches, enhancing blood circulation, calming distress, and other advantages depending on the herbs infused with the water. The Kawa Hot Baths in Tibio, Antique are mostly located outdoors with a view of the Tibiao River.
Plan Your Trip to Antique Now
Antique is one of the most underrated destinations in the Philippines. With breathtaking natural landscapes and rich history, Antique isn't only famous because of its close proximity to Boracay, known as the location of White Beach and fun Boracay tours, and Iloilo, known for its heritage sites that you can explore in Iloilo tours. Part of Antique’s allure lies in the fact that there is always something new to discover on each visit.
Tourism in Antique is all about appreciating nature, culture, and people. There are so many trips and experiences to do in the province that it's impossible to do them all in a single trip. For convenience, you may book one of the many Philippine tour packages or discount travel packages on a travel booking website like Guide to the Philippines which includes transfers, accommodation, and an itinerary of some of the best tourist spots in the Philippines.
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