Situated at the western part of Visayas are six provinces showcasing different landscapes that will leave a traveler in awe. On the 18th of January, I chose to roam around Region VI: The Western Visayas, also known as Panay.
This post focuses on the Antique, one of Panay’s best preserved provinces, which I visited after my Negros Occidental-Guimaras-Iloilo trip.
To get to Aklan before Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival traps us within its hordes of visitors, my friend and I traveled to the seemingly sleeping province of Antique.
Geography and Accessibility
Antique is a province situated at the lower left side of the Panay Island. On its right is the highly urbanized province of Iloilo, and on its left are seas and straits connected to the Sulu Sea.
There are no airports in this province, but one could reach this via bus or van either from Iloilo or Aklan.
Roaming around Antique
From Molo Terminal, we rode a van (180php) going to Caticlan, Aklan, but we asked the driver to drop us off at Tibiao. Do note that vans fill their vehicles with passengers, whereas buses have scheduled trips usually one hour apart from each other.
It was about a four-hour trip to Tibiao, Antique, one of the municipalities at the center of the province. It is the home of the Kawa Hot Bath, where a visitor is invited to take a bath on a big cauldron which the locals used to utilize when processing sugar amongst other products.
From the highway, we took a habal-habal to Kayak Inn, the most known inn that offers this service, for 70php one way. Since we’re only dropping by to try the hot bath, the habal-habal drivers offered to wait for us and bring us back to the highway.
Before reaching the Kayak Inn, we paid 50php entrance fee on a made-up shelter along the way. Then we continued the motorcycle ride along the paved roads.
The Kayak Inn management accepts walk-ins. Visitors could opt to try the Kawa Hot Bath for 250php at a cauldron that could fit just one, or try it on a bigger cauldron that could accommodate more than two persons, for 250php per person.
While waiting for our bath to be ready, we soaked ourselves in the cold waters of the river below. The river’s current was quite a bit too strong. This is why the management of the inn also offers kayaking for 900php.
When the cold water was already quite unbearable, we checked our hot bath and found them with flowers and leaves while the fire was still on. At a temperature comfortable to us, we dipped into the cauldron and relaxed our minds, untill our stomachs were hungry enough to call us out.
While talking a proper bath, the inn prepared our lunch where we chose to have either liempo or chicken for 80php. A cup of rice costs 15php.
It was after our late lunch when we went back to the highway and caught a bus going to Kalibo, Aklan. It was about a two hour ride to Kalibo and our tired and calm bodies napped on our way to Kalibo.
Other places to visit: Malalison Island in Culasi, Antique
Primary mode of transportation: habal-habals, buses or vans (along the highway).
We came back to Antique to try the river tubing we came across on the internet. Buses from Kalibo, Aklan to Pandan, Antique costs 72php per head. Ride a bus with a “San Jose” sign.
After an hour’s worth of ride, we asked to be dropped off at the highway where tricycles to Malumpati Cold Springs are available.
At 50php per head for a tricycle that could accommodate up to seven people, we hit the unpaved roads to the mystical place. We paid 40php entrance fee to the cold springs and talked to the tubers who offered us river tubing for 200php per person.
We trekked for about 15-20 minutes before we reached the blue lagoon, a beautiful blue basin of water where the currents begin. From there, we took our place inside the tubes (floaters) as instructed by the guides.
There is a one-is-to-one ratio of guides to visitors to assure safety, but I won’t tell much so that I wouldn’t spoil the experience.
Just a few notes, though: be careful not to go near the trees for there are sleeping snakes who might go wild if disturbed. Also, remove eyeglasses or sunglasses even if the sun shines down so brightly, lest, the currents might take those away. Lastly, always listen to guides and trust them. There are strong rapids that might sound scary but coming from a scaredy cat like me, they’re absolutely the best part of the trip!
After the river tubing, we swam on the very deep waters of the mystical Malumpati Cold Springs. If you are feeling quite adventurous, feel free to dive into the pool via the plank specifically provided for divers.
They also sell lunch there; 200php for liempo which is good for 3 people.
Since there are no tricycles around the vicinity, we asked the tricycle driver who brought us to the cold springs to fetch us and bring us back the highway.