25
Nov
2016
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experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger

Kruhay! Top Destinations Around Antique Philippines

Continuing my quest to explore my home country, I went on an exploration round the province of Antique.

ALSO READ: El Nido Palawan : Island Hopping in Paradise

I packed my bag not really knowing what to expect ( like most of my PH trips, I haven’t really researched on the things that we will be doing —- not recommended ok!). So, to be safe, I packed my board shorts, light shirts, a jacket, aqua and also semi-hiking shoes (not the boots type).

Along with some travel bloggers, the Tourism Department of the Local Government Offices per district hosted us. The task ( yheap a good task haha), was to cover attractions from the north to the south of the province. We also went to places that are not yet open to the public to see how to improve and set regulations before tourists can start to visit.

So here are the top places (and memorable ones) that we visited.

Note:

*A more detailed blog per place will be up soon ( link will be provided once they are up).

* Some of the places covered are still not yet ready for visitors so better contact the town’s local government office. (will give contacts at the end of every attraction).

LIBERTAD

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger libertad

ENROUTE TO MAANGHIT CAVE

Straight from Kalibo Airport, my first destination was the town of Libertad (North most town of Antique). Because my flight was around 9 am, I woke up pretty early to get an Uber from Marikina to the airport ( early meaning 4am). This was to avoid the rush hour traffic. I love commuting when everyone is still sleeping hahaha (the best way around Metro Manila).

Without enough sleep, I was just in snooze mode inside the van pick up in Kalibo. Because I was asleep most of the time, I can say that the drive went smoothly. It took us around 2 hours to reach Libertad proper from Kalibo.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger libertad

SHARING LUNCH WITH THE VERY JOLLY LOCALS IN LIBERTAD

From the hotel, I dropped my bag, hopped on a motorcycle and went to a small village where I met up with the group of bloggers and the LGU (local government unit) of Libertad.

I was welcomed with a superb boodle-fight kind of lunch. YEY. I love the locals there, they were very cheerful and fun. I guess they were laughing at me because I arrived late (more on why I got late on a more detailed blog).

Here are my top picks on what to do (that we did) in Libertad

MAANGHIT CAVE

Straight from Bungan-Bungan Spring, a few meters walk, you will reach the Maanghit Cave. The name itself got me curious. Thinking of being polite, I avoided the question on why it is called Maanghit ( maanghit in Tagalog, means body odor). I was thinking that, in Karay-a (local language of Antique), it has a totally different meaning, a sacred meaning perhaps.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger libertad maanghit cave

THE MOUTH OF THE MAANGHIT CAVE

Lo and behold, when we entered the cave, a weird stench welcomed us. This was when our guide explained why it is called MAANGHIT! Hahaha… now it make sense! It is more of a urine smell than a body odor.

The smell was caused by the huge deposit of guano (bat droppings) which you will discover that it is what you are basically walking on inside the cave.

I did regret dropping my bag at the hotel before changing in to my hiking boots. I was wearing only my flip flops inside the cave and it was really hard. Imagine, your sandals, sliding on a wet mud and your feet sliding from your sandals. It was really challenging. At times I want to go back—but I pushed through (almost crying). So please learn from my mistake.

The sound of the bat wings flapping together mimics the sound of rain. Imagine, thousands of bats flying above you. Aside from bats, there are also, cave crickets (huge), tarantula (scary—I saw maybe 5), and tailless whip scorpion (thank you for being tailless).

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger maanghit ccave libertad

A TAILLESS WHIP SCORPION DEVOURING A COCKROACH

This trip is really for those who are looking for a semi-adrenaline rush kind of trip.

ATI VILLAGE

Visiting the Ati Village, was last in our set of itineraries around Libertad. It was a sort of heart-warming visit. Seeing a whole family of Ati (the Indegenous People of Antique) touched my heart. They were so engaging during our visit. I felt like part of their family. The welcome was indeed genuine and warm (see my photo with them—right?).

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger ati libertad

FAMILY PHOTO

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger ati village libertad

THE FUN FAMILY SELFIE

We were introduced to Nanay Mayak (Mother Mayak), she was 98 during our visit but now she just turned 99 (I know right?!–amazing). They said her healthy diet of eating just vegetables and rice were a big factor why she’s still very healthy for her age.

I might plan a visit on her 100th birthday! Any joiners?

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Galahad G. Garcia

+63929-7694753

PANDAN

From Libertad, we drove southwards and went to the town of Pandan. The main attraction here is their famous Water Tubing along Bugang River.

MALUMPATI / BUGANG RIVER
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THE CLEAR WATER OF MALUMPATI RIVER

Bugang River is known to be the country’s cleanest river (a hall of fame awardee).

It is surely one of the clearest bodies of water I have seen. In fact when you go towards the head spring, a place called the Blue Lagoon (because of the color of the water), you can scoop a handful of water and drink (known to have medicinal effect—I did and I am still alive and well).

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger blue lagoon pandan

THE BLUE LAGOON

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger pandan tubing

WATER TUBING….WEEEEEEE

The best thing to do here is to experience their water tubing. You’ll get to trek inside the lush forest (we saw snakes — you’ve been warned), and hop on a train-of-life savers (salbabida). Imagine rafting on individual life savers. Believe me, this is FUN!

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Bong Venus

+63918-4489348

 

antique agoda

SEBASTE

The same day, after our swimming trip in Pandan, we went to the town of Sebaste to hike and visit their famous waterfall. The trek itself is moderate, the only challenging part was the part where we needed to cross the stream as the area was very slippery and the water current was strong.

Going down, I was dragged by the current and fell ( it was not a hard fall though but I can imagine what would have happened when I was not too alert and continued being washed to a bigger ridge/drop.

IPAGSUNGAW FALLS *
experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger ipagsungaw

@ADRENALINEROMANCE DOING SOME ROMANCING AFTER SOME ADRENALINE RUSH

We saw 3 of the nine falls in the area. I think these are the ones that you can really visit (not really sure about this fact though). The best was the big one from the bottom because of its size.

WARNING: This is not for everyone.

After our trip, we found that canyoneering in the area is still very dangerous and you need to have at least a good enough mountaineering skill to consider this place a safe place to visit.

Before even thinking of going on a trip here, I strongly advice to connect with the local government to see how they can assist you.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger ipagsungaw falls

THE START OF THE LONG TREK

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger ipagsungaw falls

ONE OF THE FALLS IN THE AREA

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Nilo Paulino

+63912-6600067

CULASI

Culasi is a cute developed town north of Antique. We were welcomed generously at the municipal hall where we met the mayor and the tourism officer. They were kind enough to keep our bags as we hopped on a boat and explore the island of Mararison (also known as Malarison).

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THE VIEW FROM THE TOWN HALL VERANDA

MARARISON ISLAND

This place caught me by surprise. Probably my favorite in all of the places we have visited in Antique. The boat we hopped on was a small one, so those who are a bit of scared (on boat rides) –> you’ve been warned.

It is famous for its beautiful beach covered with pristine white sand and clear blue waters.

Aside from swimming and snorkeling, one of the best things to do in the island is climb the Lantawan Hills where you will be spoilt by the beautiful scenery. Imagine being a human drone.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger mararison

THE VIEW OF THE MAIN ISLAND OF ANTIQUE FROM MARARISON

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger mararison

MARARISON’S TOP INDUSTRY IS FISHING

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger mararison

…………FRESH FROM THE OCEAN

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger mararison

LOCAL NET WEAVING

What I love most in this visit was observing the locals. I love the simplicity of life being displayed in front of us.

Fishing is the main livelihood of the town, so you will see a lot of boat makers, fish vendors and net weavers.

Before leaving the island, we were serenaded by the Mararison Children’s Choir. Composed of children ranging from the age of 5 to 13. They gave a beautiful performance of songs in Karay-a language (with matching dance steps). It was heart warming. Love love love it.

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THE VIEW FROM LANTAWAN HILLS

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger mararison

HOBBITON?

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger mararison

THE MARARISON CHILDREN’S CHOIR

Tourism Office Contact Person:

John John Sumanting

+63916-3246068

TIBIAO

Probably my favorite town. I love this place because you have a sense of order of a big town but you can also experience the isolation and peace of a small village (haha, don’t know if my explanation justifies my thoughts).

RIVER KAYAKING

From the town center, we drove uphill where the Tibiao River is located. This is also the place where you can experience Antique’s famous White Water River Kayaking.

The owner of the Kayak Inn boasts that he was the one who brought white water kayaking in the Philippines (we need to validate this claim —- but this is really cool). In fact, this place hosted the first (and only) International Kayaking Cup in 1997.

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GETTING READY TO HOP ON THE KAYAK

It was my first time, saying that I was nervous was an understatement. Seeing how the river looks during our short trek was scary. Trusting on our gears and our guides, we hopped on a solo kayak and paddled on.

The key is just let go and don’t panic and let the guide save you if anything happens bad. LOL. Once I started paddling, it was not that scary after all. They only challenging part was stopping and also following the guides on maneuvering left or right. (the guides were standing in the water like a traffic policeman pointing to the direction where you need to go—and will make you panic haha).

I love it! Truly an adrenaline rush moment.

KAWA BATH

If you google antique or even clique on #Antique #ExperienceAntique in Instagram, most probably, 90% of the photos you’ll see are people being cooked in a big sauce pan. Nope, they are not being eaten afterwards, it is a form of warm baths developed in the province using old sugar saucepan from the sugar factories around the province.

When the sugar industry died, instead of throwing, these saucepans transformed into hot tubs and became an iconic symbol of the province, especially in Tibiao.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger kawa tibiao

PERFECT HOT BATH AFTER A COLD KAYAK ADVENTURE

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger tibiao kawa

…..YOU CAN ALSO PLAY AROUND WHILE BEING COOKED TO PERFECTION

You can see several places where they offer this one of a kind bath. The best I’ve see so far was at Kayak Inn where you have the view of the Tibiao River and rice fields and also at Kawa Inn where you can partnered the experience with a fish spa.

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Junneth dela Cruz

+63915-0925751

Kayak Inn: Edwin Endrico, +63921-5702947

Kawa Inn:  Julie Fate Pineda, +63917-4503121

BUGASONG

BUKO BATCHOY

This stop is for those foodies out there. Heard about buko batchoy? Yes! COCONUT NOODLE SOUP!!

I was shocked and excited at the same time when I first heard that we will be stopping for a snack in a restaurant famous for this dish. I look like a kid at the backseat repeating the phrase.. please please let’s go..please!

We where served a big coconut shell filled with soup (batchoy) using shredded coconut meat for its noodle. YUMMMMMMMM!!!

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BUKO BATCHOY!!!!!!!…SPECIAL WITH EGG PLEASE

Contact Person:

Boyet Zerrudo

+0926-4000751

VALDERAMA

It felt as if we stayed in this place the longest as we’ve done a lot of adventurous (and challenging things) here. From singing karaoke (haha adventurous) to hiking in a newly discovered rice terraces. This place is really memorable (both in a good and seemingly bad ways)

VALDERAMA RICE TERRACES

When I first saw that one of our trips around Antique is to explore the newly discovered rice terraces in Valderama, I got so thrilled. This was one of the reasons why I said yes to this trip. I remember reading about its discovery online, that this was accidentally showed up in google maps. How cool is that right?

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama

HABAL-HABAL SANDWICH ON OUR WAY TO THE START OF THE TREKKING SITE

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama

HOPPING ON THE BOAT (PEOPLE + MOTOBIKE)

So the moment has come and we started our journey. In order to go there, we needed to ride a habal habal (motorcycle) and cross the river on it and with it. It took us almost an hour long motor ride to reach the start of our trek. From the base, the supposedly an hour of trek became almost 2 hours for us.

The rain kept on pouring which made the already dangerous trail slippery. Imagine, hiking on a slippery trail (good thing I was wearing a aqua shoes with a good grip), but some of my friends wore their flip flops and endured the muddy challenged. When it started to go dark, with the absence of a proper torch (flashlight), we started using our phones to light our path (my phone didn’t turn on for the next 5 days after this haha—-again, you’ve been warned).

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

CONQUERING THE DANGEROUS HIKE TO REACH OUR HOME STAY

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

THE CHALLENGING PART WAS THE WET (MUDDY) TRAIL

One thing I appreciated during this trip is that me and my friends became closer. You can see how everyone helped each other. And reaching the town proper, where we will spending the night became an achievement (bearing in mind that we will have to do the trek down the next day….waaah).

We slept at the home of the town’s captain as a form of a home stay. There was no proper shower and going on a visit to the toilet means that you’ll need to do a little more trek in order to do your number 2 (I tried to control it the whole time).

With wet clothes and an almost impossible hike, there are still parts of me that tried to appreciate my surrounding. Thinking that we are one of the first – non local visitor of this town. That is something really cool and amazing. Sure we don’t have the ‘hotel’ amenities that we were used to, but seeing the people around us ( in the morning), brought a smile to my face and making this moment precious.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

THEY MADE THIS TRIP SPECIAL.

WARNING:

For non experienced mountaineer, this can be a very challenging hike. Make sure if ever you plan a visit here, to check the weather and also hike with enough day light. As what I have observed, the place is still not ready for mass tourism, it is very dangerous and can create a shock to the community. I am hoping that the LGU will have a solid and strict regulation for tourists at the same time, train more people to properly guide visitors.

More on this trip on a more detailed blog.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

THE VIEW OF THE TERRACES

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

TRULY BREATHTAKING

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

THIS WAS THE VIEW DURING OUR TREK

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger valderama rice terraces

THE VIEW A FEW METERS FROM OUR HOMESTAY

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Tim Ledesma

+63917-5075409

SAN REMIGIO

San Remigio is located at the highest point of Antique. This is the reason why you will feel a sudden drop in temperature (yes, to bringing my jacket). We stayed in a homestay and I was able to interact with the owner of the house.

I love moments like this.

(unfortunately, I only took videos of the town and our homestay, so wait for my upcoming vlog ^^)

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OUR SUPER SAVORY LOMI

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LUBID LUBID, A KNOWN DELICACY OF THE TOWN.

If you are driving in the evening, keep on the lookout for fireflies hiding in the trees and you might get a big light show welcome. I missed this, while some in our group witnessed the spectacle.

IGBACLAG CAVE

Wishing that there will be no more hike on our next destination, I was wrong. But this time, it was just a short trek to reach the Igbaclag Cave. It is a small cave with spectacular rock formations (I forgot the proper term for this—I will edit this out once I remember haha).

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HANGING BRIDGE TO ACCESS THE CAVE

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger

ADRENALINE ROMANCE (YHEAP DOING WHAT THEY LOVE BEST)

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Christine Charity Sanchez

+63908-5663379

ANINI-Y

The last town that we visited was the town of Anini-y. It is situated at the southern tip of the province.

We stayed in this town overnight before we officially end our trip. The sun did show up when we arrived in our hotel, perfect to hang our wet clothes (believe it or not, our clothes from the terraces hike were still not dry) ——— but——– you guessed it right, it rained again while we were in Nogas Island haha

NOGAS ISLAND

A boat ride away from our hotel in Anini-y. We crossed the ocean to go to Nogas Island. A marine and bird sanctuary, Nogas Island is perfect for a day trip.

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger nogas

WE WERE THE ONLY ONES EXPLORING THE ISLAND

experience antique travel blog philippines dubai blogger nogas

THE KALACHUCHI PATH

If ever you will visit this place, you will see a beautiful collection of kalachuchi (jasmine) trees forming a long arched corridor going to the lighthouse.

We also visited a 300 year-old balite (banyan tree), and it is creepy and beautiful as expected. I was hesitant to take photos as in the Philippines, a banyan tree is known to be a house of engkantos (environmental spirits— I am not really sure if this is the correct translation but almost), eventually I took some photos and murmured “tabi tabi po” (please excuse me).

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300 YEAR OLD BALITE TREE

Tourism Office Contact Person:

Edsil Villamar

+63916-8782604


Can’t believe that we have explored this province in a span of 7 days. Antique is indeed a place that can easily be overlooked as it can be overshadowed by its neighboring provinces like Iloilo and Aklan (heard about an Island called Boracay?). Aside from that, it has a reputation of being a home of witches, which made some of the Filipino travelers to be afraid to even stepped on the province. But during our stay, Antique proved that it is a place worth visiting.

You can experience almost everything your wanderlustful heart is looking for. Mountains, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, time for relaxations and also amazing food.

True that there are still a lot of things that the local government needs to improve, as some of the destinations are clearly not yet ready to accept visitors. This part is understandable as compared to other provinces, Antique is still a baby in terms of tourism.

I was happy to know that most of the places in the province are being ran by community based tourism organizations. Meaning, increasing visitors and more attractions being developed will result to more jobs for the locals.

As a Filipino, I am proud to see the beauty of this place and I can’t wait for other people to experience it as well.

antique agoda

kenneth-surat-com

 

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11 Responses

  1. Seems like you guys are having so much fun in the Philippines. Aside from beautiful destinations, the people there are friendly too. Btw, don’t forget to visit Bohol and Siquijor island. I’ve never been to that places too but my friend recommend that to me and I trust them. I think you should go. Grateful to read your Antique itinerary.

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