Cradled between land and water on the western edges of Panay Island, Antique is rich with marine and terrestrial life. In this quick guide, find out more about this province’s unique topography, culture, and tourist destinations.
Antique is famous for its protected forests, magnificent mountains and stunning beaches. Noted for their weaving and pottery industry, Antiqueños are renowned weavers and potters in the Philippines. Their fabrics and cloths are also finely made and are highly valued. Their grain, wine (manufactured from coconut sap), and sugar are shipped worldwide. The province is also known for its native folklore, which features scary characters like the “aswang” and the “manananggal”.
Direct flights from Manila bound for Antique province are now available through the carrier, Cebu Pacific Air. Domestic flights land at the Evelio Javier Airport, which is the only airport in Antique’s provincial capital, San Jose de Buenavista.
If you’re looking for a cheaper travel alternative, you could also ride a ferry, which transports buses from Batangas to Kalibo through the RoRo (roll on roll off) service.
From nearby provinces, buses and jeeps can be hailed to reach the province of Antique. From Aklan, take a tricycle ride to Kalibo Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus. If you’re coming from Iloilo, ride a van heading to Molo Terminal. From there, take another van or jeepney ride to Antique. The journey will take about two hours.
Traveling around the province can be done by riding jeepneys, tricycles and habal-habal motorcycles. Hired cars can also take visitors to different locations.
Though often overlooked because it has the popular island of Boracay as its neighbor, Antique has its own share of stunning attractions. The classic design of the Anini-y Church will greet most first-time visitors on tours in Antique. This colonial church, which survived the 1948 Lady Caycay earthquake, is a lovely sight to behold.
A walk through the white sands of the tropical Malalison Island will give visitors a breathtaking view of the ocean. This island does not have round-the-clock access to electricity, which is perfect for those who want to take a break from fast-paced modern living.
Travelers can also visit the Sibalom Natural Park to learn more about the endemic species of the province. The park serves as a home for many exotic plant and animals, but the highlight of this destination is the Rafflesia speciosa, the biggest flower in the world that is globally endangered.
Whether you want to lounge on the beach or enjoy an adventure tour, there's always something to do on this island paradise. Adventure and thrill seekers have a wide selection of activities to try in Antique. They can explore the Batbat and Punta Coral Reefs in Barbaza or they can visit the Seco Island in Tibiao to see the wonders of the province’s marine ecosystems. More options include going on a nature trek to the seven-tiered Bugtong Bato Falls, or taking an exciting kayak ride down the rapids of Tibiao River.
For a relaxing and slightly tickling experience, travelers can visit the Tibiao Fish Spa in the town of Tibiao. Here, hundreds of locally bred therafish nibble at the skin of the guests’ feet. Considered as the most affordable fish spa in the world, this place is a definite must-see. In Tibiao, you can also visit the Kayak Inn, where they offer kawa hot baths. Visitors get the novel experience of bathing in a giant kawa (a large vat or frying pan).
To cap off their visit, travelers can try their hand at pottery and brick making in Bandajo, a village famed for their clay masterpieces. Here, one can learn the basics of clay molding, and visitors also have the option of taking their creations home.
Antique's food haunts serve mostly Filipino dishes. As the tourism is still in its early stages, there are more carinderias than fancy restaurants. At Vbots Lutong Bahay, you can enjoy taste-comforting, home-style Filipino dishes with a Kinaray-a twist. Generous servings of carne frita, kinilaw na labanos and nilagang baka will satisfy appetites. Don’t forget to try the native specialty batchoy, a noodle dish with pork broth.
Another good alternative for a filling meal is Floring's Carinderia in Bugasong. This humble hut offers delicious adobo made from native free-range chickens.
Travelers can also stop over at Tibiao Bakery to buy baked goods. Products range from breads, biscuits, cakes, cookies, and sweets to short orders like siopao, pancit molo, hamburgers, and spaghetti. Their bischocos and teren-teren bread (bread resembling carriages) are perfect snacks for the trip home or to give as pasalubong to family and friends.
The province's bars and music lounges are still few in number as of now, but nights can still be enjoyed in what is already available. Mingle with locals and listen to great live stage performances in the rooftop club, Bar 360. Another popular place to see live bands is at Parillahan, a restaurant and bar that serves great drinks and delicious food. Pandan Beach Resort's Marquessa’s Bistro and Bar can also be visited for a quiet night while sipping cocktails or beers with friends.
Antique has a number of accommodation choices suited for budget travelers who don't mind having simple amenities. There are also a number of great, higher-end resorts that visitors can check out. The Anna Sophie Hostel & Garden in Culasi is the place to be for beach enthusiasts, with clean rooms and a sandy beach just four minutes away. The Pandan Beach Resort can also be booked. This resort has seven suite classes that you choose from. Friendly staff and a restaurant serving good food make this a tourist favorite.
Situated on a seemingly remote, hilly part of the island, the Zipline Inn, on the other hand, is a nature lover's paradise. A very simple kubo can be rented here. While it does not have air conditioning or modern facilities, it does offer an extremely relaxing atmosphere close to nature. The Kayak Inn in Tibiao also offers affordable lodgings and exciting Tribal Adventures. Visitors can go on kayak eco-adventure rides at the Tibiao River, which flows near the inn.
Visit Antique during the Binirayan festival. Held annually on the third week of April, this week-long festival includes colorful street parades, beach shows, plaza concerts, a beauty contest and even a trade fair.
Wear comfortable, functional shoes with good traction. Most areas are not paved or cemented. To avoid slipping, especially in the rainy season, wear shoes that have good traction.
Bring mosquito repellents. Antique is still quite a rural destination, making it home to many insects, most notably mosquitoes.