Antique, Philippines

Allow yourself some enchantment and adventure. Visit Antique, historic land of the Binirayan festival, majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, white beaches, rich fishing grounds and white water kayaking. Antique is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is San Jose and is located at the western portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan, Capiz, and Iloilo to the east. Antique faces the Sulu Sea to the west.

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Antique Province location map

Iloilo and Aklan are the gateways to Antique by land. It is also accessible from Palawan, Manila, Romblon, and Mindoro by sea. Buses and Vans bound for San Jose and Libertad are stationed at the terminal in Molo District, Iloilo City. Transportion time from Iloilo City to the capital San Jose is 3 hours.

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Provincial Capitol of Antique in San Jose

Highland destinations abound in the long stretch of Mountain ranges that divide Antique from the rest of Panay island. Mt. Madia-as in Culasi is a dormant volcano with lakes and 14 waterfalls. It is said to be the legendary home of Bulalakaw, the supreme god of the ancients and beckons as a challenge for hikers and trekkers.

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Mountain landscapes in Barbaza

For the more aventurous, climbing Mt. Nangtud, considered as the highest peak in Panay, offers a great view and the experience of discovering unexplored sights. The rugged and varied land of Antique offers visitors a variety of exciting outdoor activities from white water kayaking and white river rafting in the northern town of Tibiao to rexaling in Sira-an Hot Springs of Anini-y, Antique’s southernmost town.

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Refreshing Waterfalls of Camp Eupre in Barbaza

Antique got its tagline “Where the mountains meet the sea” because of the relatively short distance between its mountains and its coast, which lies parallel to it. Just like its highland attractions, there’s absolutely a lot to explore in Antique’s long coastal area aside from providing an unobstructed view of the sunset. On the souhern most tip of Antique is Nogas Island, an uninhabited 26-hectare marine and bird sanctuary.

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Picturesque Sunset in Antique

Batbat and Punta Coral Reefs in Barbaza and Seco Island in Tibiao feature unparalleled wonders of marine life. Antique’s best kept secret though is the Caluya group of islands, with nautral beauty and resources that can easily compete with what the world famous Boracay can offer. Tourists that can bear the 3 hour travel to Caluya are rewarded with white, powdery sand beaches surrounded with pristine waters and diverse species of marine life that have not yet been touched with commercialism.

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White sand beaches of Caluya

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Unspoilt island landscape of Caluya

Another attraction in Antique is its historical sights. The Catholic Church holds a very strong influence on Antiqueños. For centuries, the churches were the physical vanguards of the people. Being a coastal province, and having been vulnerable to attacks by Moro raiders, Antique was guarded by a series of watchtowers, like the ‘Old Watchtower’ in Libertad and Estaca Hill in Bugasong all of which were built under the direction of the Spanish friars. A lot of these heritage structures still stand as a reminder of Antique’s history and culture.

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Old Church Ruins in Brgy. San Pedro, San Jose

According to oral history, related as the legend of Maragtas, Antique is believed to be the landing site of ten Bornean Datus who escaped persecution from Sri-Vishaya, a Hindu-Malay empire that existed at that time in Borneo and Sumatra. There they met the Negrito/Ati (earliest settlers of Panay) chieftain Marikudo. They bought the island from the chieftain for a golden saduk (headpiece or helmet), and a golden necklace, among other gifts, the event is known as the “Barter of Panay”. The Negritos then retreated to the mountains, while the Borneans settled in the lowlands. Today, the landing is commemorated every year in Antique in the Binirayan festival on the month of April with highlights on April 27 to 29.

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Antique’s Booth in the Fiesta of the City of SM City Iloilo

The Antiqueños are noted for their industry. They are renowned weavers through out the Visayas. The Bugasong patadyong, a tube cotton fabric of plaid design, is highly valued because of its fineness of weaving. Piña cloth is also produced in looms throughout the province. Wine manufactured from the sap of the coconut is a cottage industry. Muscovado sugar production is also a big industry in Antique, which has become an attraction of sorts because of Antique’s native delicacies derived from muscovado sugar.

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Native Muscovado Delicacies of Antique

Most people of Antique can speak and understand English. They also have developed their own distinct language called Kinaray-a. This dialect is of Austronesian origins characterized by the predominancy of r’s and schwa sounds spoken with a lilting gentle intonation.

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Source: Wikipedia, Department of Tourism Region VI