Why Is Antique an Underrated Tourist Destination?

Far from the hordes of tourists, Antique has plenty to offer the adventurous traveler.

Located in the verdant island of Panay, the province of Antique tends to get overlooked by tourists heading to Iloilo City down south, Caticlan in Boracay up north, and Gigantes Island in the East. But thanks to some travelers who went off the beaten path to explore in Antique (and the power of word of mouth), more and more visitors are coming to the province to experience its wonderful destinations set in all types of terrain; mountains, forests, rivers, islands and even in quaint seaside towns.

Need more convincing why you should visit Antique? Then here’s a list of things to do and places to visit.

Seco Island

A long curving sandbar shaped like an elbow (hence the name “seco” from the word “siko”) forms the entirety of Seco Island. Voyaging to this island may take 5-6 hours by boat but once you step on its powdery white sands and swim in its azure-colored waters, you will instantly realize that the arduous journey was all worth it. Stunningly spotless, with only pockets of small trees and scattered shrubbery providing shade from the gleaming sun, Seco Island is a prime example of how beautiful nature can be when left alone.

 

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Mararison Island

A 20-minute boat ride from the port of Culasi town takes you to this island facing Sulu Sea. Upon docking, be prepared to be amazed at the angelic voices of the Mararison Children’s choir belonging to the small community here. These kids will belt out a harmonious traditional song called “Kinaray”, capably and with grace. After that,hike to Lantawan Peak to take in the gorgeous 360-degree view of the island. Along the trail, you can also find pitcher plants and at night, thousands of fireflies hovering under trees. Stay at one of the island’s homestays to fully enjoy the island, but always bear the community’s rules in mind, especially those concerning keeping the island spotless by practicing sustainable tourism.

 

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Igpasungaw Falls

Situated in the hills of Sebaste, Antique are nine levels of waterfalls highlighted by the wide Igpasungaw Falls. Its gushing waters will instantly tempt you to take an invigorating dive into its cold, crystal clear natural pool. Going to this waterfall only require a relaxed 45-minute to an hour of hiking.

 

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Spot the Reclusive Rafflesia Flower

The Rafflesia Speciosa, a rare flower endemic to the island of Panay and Negros, is found in the forests of Antique. Searching for this flower makes your exploration in the province even more thrilling. The Speciosa is part of a family of twenty-eight Rafflesia species found mostly in the jungles of South East Asia. The Rafflesia has no flowering season and takes up to nine months to mature, blooming only for five to six days before it withers away. The small barangay of Aningalan is where one could chance upon the reclusive and beautiful Rafflesia Speciosa and Rafflesia Lobate flowers.

 

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Hike the Picturesque Rice Terraces in San Remigio

A staircase of rice fields stretching over a vast expanse of a six hundred-hectare plantation is another of Antique’s hidden gems. Known to the locals since the time of their ancestors, but only discovered a few years ago by outside travelers, the rice terraces of Brgy. Fullon in San Remigio is a smaller but equally spectacular version of the famed Banaue rice terraces. Going here demands at least four hours of arduous trekking, but those who do so are rewarded by the jovial hospitality of the community inhabited by the indigenous group of Iraynon Bukidnon.

 

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Have a Relaxing ‘Kawa Hot Bath’

‘Kawa Bath’ is a method of bathing composed of a firewood-heated water blended with a variety of herbs. It dishes a revolving energy flow and soothing feeling for bathers who indulge in this traditional dipping practice common in Tibiao, Antique. The sweet aroma emanating from the plant leaves and flowers combined with the warm water brings a calming sensation to every part of your body. Various resorts in Tibiao such as the Calawag Mountain Resort offers Kawa Hot Bath to their guests.

 

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Go on a wild River Tubing

Elevate your adventure game by engaging in a swirly exploit, riding an untethered inner tube down the Tibiao River. Enjoy the thrills as you pass by numerous rapids while surrounded by the stunning sights of the rainforest. River tubing in Antique gives a dual sense of excitement and a relaxing activity.

 

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Experience an Unforgettable Meal at Alpas

Doubling as a beach resort and a restaurant in Tobias Fornier, Antique—Alpas’ unique way of providing guests a sustainable dining experience is fast gaining great word-of-mouth raves. This zero-waste and 80-seat restaurant made of bamboo serves organic food sourced mostly from their own permaculture garden. The result is a sumptuous spread that isn’t just colorful and creatively plated, but also delicious.

 

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Scale the Sharp Edge of Mount Igcoron

Many hikers feel daunted at the sight of this pointed mountain from the jump-off point. But in the past few years, the summit of Igcoron has become a favorite among the hiking community because of the jaw-dropping view one sees when standing at its pointy peak.

Winning tip: Have your guide take your picture from the adjacent peak to achieve this kind of photo (see below).

 

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Have you visited Antique? Tell us about your adventures below!

About the Author

Marky Ramone Go

Marky Ramone Go

Marky Ramone Go is a travel-junkie, writer and photographer based in the Philippines. Aside from contributing articles to various publications and websites, he narrates his experiences wandering the tropical paradise of the Philippines, the culturally rich regions of South East Asia, Sri Lanka and India on his travel blog Nomadic Experiences. After Asia, he is keen on exploring South America and eventually hoping to trace Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" trail in the United States to Mexico.