Antique is an intriguing coastal province on the Island of Panay, Western Visayas. It occupies the entire west side of the island facing the Sulu Sea and the provinces of Capiz, Ilolio and Aklan lie to its east. Though it is not regarded as a tourist destination by most, Antique has its own set of natural, historic and cultural attractions that are worth visiting.
If you’re traveling from Manila or Cebu, your best bet is flying by Philippine Airlines to Kalibo International Airport. From there you can either drive or board a bus to San Jose. You can find accommodations in San Jose and travel to different places of interest after settling in.
Aklan offers plenty of opportunities for exploring the great outdoors and the underwater wonders of the area. There are also stretches of white sand beach available for the avid sun lover. Waterfalls, springs and forests are waiting to be discovered by the visitor who is not afraid to take the road less traveled.
The highlands that separate Antique from the rest of Panay Island are teeming with outdoor adventures. The dormant volcano Mt. Madias has at least 14 waterfalls and several lakes that beckon avid trekkers and hikers. The island’s highest peak, Mt. Nangtud is another exciting climb, with unexplored trails that lead to springs, waterfalls and caves.
Some of the best natural attractions are located in the southernmost part of the province, in the town called Anini-y. Siraan Hot Springs is a popular attraction that features sulfuric waters flowing into a pool embraced by lush greenery. The water is said to be therapeutic and the views looking out to the sea and the islands Nogas and Hurao-hurao are breathtaking.
Nogas Island is a 24-hectare island located three miles off the coast of the Anini-y. It is a bird and marine sanctuary that can be accessed by boat, 15 minutes from town. The clear waters and fine sands of Nogas Island are best suited for scuba diving, snorkeling and shelling. The island is uninhabited but there is a lighthouse at its center which can be accessed via a tunnel of calachuchi shrubs.
Those who are looking for virgin beaches can head to the Caluya group of islands which are considered Antique’s best kept secrets. The unspoiled white sand beaches of Caluya rival that of famous Boracay and the astounding abundance of marine life is a diver’s paradise. There are no commercial establishments in this part of the province so visitors are expected to rough it out a little in tents or seek accommodations with the friendly locals.
Antique bears the slogan “Where the Mountains meet the Sea” because if the proximity of its highlands to the coast. The province is a treasure chest of natural wonders waiting to be unearthed. It is already beautiful while it is undeveloped and it is bound to offer so much more once it fully opens its doors to mainstream tourism.