Unspoiled beaches with ivory sand and clear waters, a warm people, verdant seaweed farms and delectable coconut crabs. These make the Caluya group of islands rich.
Text/Article written by Harthwell C. Capistrano
Caluya, A hidden gem in Antique
The absence of high-rises further makes the islands a perfect getaway for nature trippers who want a respite from the pains of city life. There, they can go snorkeling, diving, boating or swimming alongside playful dolphins.
White Sand Beach in Sibato Island
Caluya is 4 hours away by boat from Libertad, Antique and 6 hours from Pandan, Antique
Its over 20,000 people are among its greatest assets.
Fish Sellers in Caluya
Caluya is also known for tatus, a coconut crab with bluish streaks on its back. Its raw meat sells for P500 a kilo.
Coconut Crab locally known as “Tatus”
The coconut crab is related to the hermit crab. But unlike the hermit crab that spends most of its life in water, tatus cannot survive underwater.
They can grow up to 40 centimeters, weigh up to four kilograms and live for more than 30 years. Its powerful claws can lift objects almost seven times its weight.
These elusive crustaceans are hunted at night when they forage for food. Hunters use flashlights and grilled coconut as bait.
Sea urchins locally known as “Tirik” is another exotic delicacy of Caluya
“Yes, people gather here, especially from the mainland Antique. We invite them to join us in our yearly celebration. More people are coming over not only to witness the festival, but also to see what the tatus look like and taste how delicious they are,” Mr. Javier said.
Caluya is also known for seaweeds. Mr. Javier said they are the fifth largest seaweeds producer in the country. Styrofoam floaters of the monolines that anchor the seaweeds dot the surrounding waters of the island.
To improve accessibility to the island, town Mayor Reynante J. Lim, Sr. said there was a proposal to open a 1,200-meter landing strip and construct a port at the town center. A port in Barangay Masanag, about 30 minutes away by motorcycle from the poblacion, now serves Caluya and its 18 villages.
The island has electricity from 8 a.m. until midnight from a diesel-powered generating plant operated by the Antique Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANTECO). For emergencies, the island has a health center with a physician, nurses and midwives. The Semirara Island nearby has a 25-bed hospital owned and managed by the Semirara Coal Corporation.
Too tiring? The island’s unspoiled natural resources, friendly people and exotic dishes might be worth it. Caluya can also serve as a jump-off point for the seven other islands. Pumpboats are available for island hopping and Boracay in Malay, Aklan is just two hours away.
Caluya is a great place to unwind in its peaceful and beautiful environment
Address: San Nicolas Bldg. T. Fornier St., San Jose, Antique
Landline: (036) 540-7024
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